The Indoor Soccer grand final between Bayer Neverlosen and M&C Parisi Floorboards last Wednesday night lived up to all the hype with Bayer Neverlosen winning 3-2 in a thriller.
In the lead-up to the match all the talk was about how little separated the teams and how tight the match would be.
Floorboards stunned Neverlosen in the opening minutes of the match when Robert Childs found the back of the net to give them a 1-0 lead. Following the opening goal, the game settled into a more predictable pattern.
Floorboards tried to impose themselves as they pressed forward and played the ball around while Neverlosen played very direct and planned to strike on the counter-attack.
Neverlosen levelled the scores at 1-all when striker Dan Howard found himself isolated one-on-one with a Floorboards defender. As he has done all year, Howard was able to turn and drill the ball into the back of the net to score.
Both teams were creating goal scoring opportunities and Neverlosen’s goal keeper Jimmy Suroto was frustrating the Floorboards’ strikers parrying away their shots and diving on any lose balls.
Neverlosen’s second goal came after Floorboards got punished for overcommitting. Suroto sent the ball to Jade Buckman in the centre of the court who linked up with Howard who sent it back to an unmarked Buckman in front of goal who then slotted it home.
Neverlosen extended their led to 3-1 when Howard was given space and sank a long range goal from his left foot.
Right on the stroke of half-time, Lydia Wells went close to scoring for Neverlosen however Floorboards’ goalie Brian Ambrose made a close range save and the score was 3-1 at the break.
With Howard heavily marked and Buckman carrying an injury, Neverlosen’s attack was stifled in the second half. Their defence was led by Bonnie Buckman who was working overtime to repel Floorboards’ constant attack.
As time ticked down the intensity and tempo of the match increased. Floorboards were throwing everything at Neverlosen. Jason Foster, Marc Cummins, Ben Turton and Shannon Purton all had good opportunities in front of goal but Suroto thwarted all attempts.
Finally with five minutes remaining Floorboards were able to penetrate Neverlosen’s defence with Cummins blasting a shot home from a distance to set up an epic finish.
With Neverlosen leading 3-2, Floorboards still had a chance of winning the game if they could land a female goal (double points). After all they have the leading female goal scorer in the their side in Purton and throughout the match she had been worrying the Neverlosen defenders.
Floorboards’ final attack on goal came within the last minute of the match.
The ball was crossed into Neverlosen’s goal box where it split the defenders and, fortunately for Neverlosen, the ball passed inches in front of Purton’s foot after her desperate lunge to reach the ball. Neverlosen won 3-2.
Bonnie Buckman was named the Player of the Grand Final.
The Leading Male Goal Scorer of the season was Daniel Howard (34 goals) and Leading Female Goal Scorer was Shannon Purton (14).
The season’s Male Best and Fairest was Brock Ford (four votes) and the Female Best and Fairest was a three-way tie between Hannah Young, Georgia Baker and Lyndsay Klopper (all had three votes).—contributed