A sublime goal deep into added-on time saw Tarrawanna take out The Fraternity Club Illawarra Premier League Second Grade grand final against Helensburgh.
Helensburgh had the run of the match, however, Blueys substitute Dylan Hogan found the back of the net in the 93rd minute to see retiring club legend Matt Naylor out as a winner.
Thistle forward Caleb Browne was lively in the opening exchanges with a trio of shots with one rattling Jackson Cracknell’s crossbar in the eighth minute.
Tarrawanna’s Blake Barkley tried his luck from distance, but couldn’t hit the target moments before his side had a penalty shout waved away.
Helensburgh attacker Luke Miller injected himself into the match in the latter stages of the first half with a threatening cross moments before a header on target.
Browne and Cody Cuthbertson both had chances late in the half for the Burgh, however, the sides went into halftime goalless.
The Blueys had a couple of opportunities through Jaaron Faux-Collard and Jaidn Parkin early in the second period, but neither were able to test Luke Morgan in Helensburgh’s goal.
In the 65th minute, Cracknell was called into action when Browne got on the end of a misplaced clearance with the Tarrawanna goalkeeper making a smart low save.
Helensburgh’s two biggest chances of the match came in the final 10 minutes with Hudson Hick’s shot deflected off a defender before going narrowly wide of the post.
Soon after Browne played Cuthbertson into the box, but the forward’s shot struck the inside of the right post and somehow stayed out.
The game – which was played in hot conditions – looked set for extra time, but a bit of magic ended up settling the contest.
Tarrawanna defender Nick Morgan played a long ball over the top of the Thistle backline for Hogan to run onto a chip into the goal.
The late goal gave Helensburgh minimal time to respond with the Blueys holding on for victory.
Helensburgh Thistle 0
Tarrawanna Blueys 1 (Dylan Hogan 90+3′)
Player of the Match: Isaac Rafferty (Tarrawanna Blueys)
Helensburgh Thistle: 1. Luke Morgan, 16. Caleb Browne, 3. Dylan Croker, 9. Cody Cuthbertson, 2. Mitchel Fox, 5. Hudson Hick, 8. Michael McStay, 11. Luke Miller, 7. Luke van Zyl, 6. Eamon van Zyl
Substitutes: 13. Harry Balaskas (Luke van Zyl 78′), 10. Jack Dipple (Fox 31′), 12. Dale Edmunds, 15. Reggae Rowley (Eamon van Zyl 90+2′), 14. Ryan Grima
Yellow Cards: Michael McStay 54′
Red Cards: Nil
Tarrawanna Blueys: 1. Jackson Cracknell, 3. Thomas Bent-George, 9. Kane Dorrian, 7. Jaaron Faux-Collard, 4. Nick Morgan, 2. Matt Naylor, 11. Jaidn Parkin, 10. Joel Perry, 5. Mitchell Young, 8. Blake Barklay, 6. Isaac Rafferty,
Substitutes: 12. Jackson Beniuk, 13. Dylan Hogan (Perry 69′), 16. Harrison Jones (Barklay 69′), 14. Bailey Napier (Parkin 89′), 19. Adam Rodriguez, 15. Austin Trevisanut (Bent-George 86′)
Yellow Cards: Jaaron Faux-Collard 54′
Red Cards: Nil
Date: Sunday, 17th September 2023
Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Referee: Brendon Fotheringham
Assistant Referees: Reece Edwards and Steven Bozic
4th Official: John Ruscica
Report by Dylan Arvela, on Twitter @dylanarvela
Photos by Graham Brown