By Alex Bagdasarian
Heidelberg United travelled away to Jack Edwards Reserve on Friday night to play against their rivals in Oakleigh Cannons in the Elimination Final.
The ‘Bergers had not won away to Oakleigh Cannons for four years – it wasn’t until they had clashed against each other in June that the Warriors stole the three points and broke the away hoodoo, and were keen to do it all over again.
An early strong dominance from the Warriors in an away game of this magnitude against their rivals was promising, and the hard work paid off, as Maki Petratos crossing a dangerous ball in for Joshua Pin to nod it home to give his side the lead.
A misplaced pass in the opposing half caused the ‘Bergers vulnerable in the back as Nick Eres came out off his line, giving the home side an empty goal to score the equaliser.
With the tide slowly turning towards the home side having possession, Warriors finding it difficult to clear the ball away from their half, the pressure from the home side proved too strong as a header over Eres gave Oakleigh the advantage.
In the dying stages of stoppage time, a corner was whipped into the box, with the header cut back to Luka Ninkovic to nod the ball into the net for the equaliser, sparking the Heidelberg faithful into wild scenes to send the match into extra time.
With very little in extra time, the home side took the lead once again with Chris Lucas striking it past Eres.
Considering the Warriors had not scored from a direct free kick all season, there was only one man that could break that drought. Substitute Sean Ellis scored an unstoppable free kick to once again send the Heidelberg fans into frenzy – we know the mentality of this side putting their lives on the line for when it matters the most.
A match too hard to call had to be decided by the penalty shootout, as the Warriors were unfortunate to score only one, and with Oakleigh scoring three, the home side went through to the next stage of the final playoffs.
Heidelberg United can look for many positives from this game and this season, as their season comes to a close and will no doubt look to fight for trophies yet again next campaign.
Oakleigh Cannons 3 (J. Guest 38’, A. Pantazopoulos 79’, C. Lucas 112’) – Heidelberg United 3 (J. Pin 22’, L. Ninkovic 90+3’, S. Ellis 120+2’)
Penalties – Oakleigh Cannons 3 – 1 Heidelberg United
Team Line up:
GK – 63 – Nickolas Eres
4 – Mallan Roberts (9 – Adrian Zahra 70’)
5 – Ajdin Fetahagic
7 – Reuben Way (c)
8 – Dominic Falla
10 – Ivan Franjic
11 – Maki Petratos (20 – Luka Ninkovic 88’)
13 – Kosta Petratos
14 – Kaine Sheppard
17 – Joshua Pin (15 – Brian Summerskill 105’)
18 – Anthony Theodoropoulos (19 – Sean Ellis 73’)
Subs not used:
22 – Kazuki Okada
27 – Ioannis Georgopoulos