On a near perfect Sunday afternoon at Arthur Eden Oval, Hamilton Olympic came from 0-2 behind, to record a 2-2 draw against Lambton Jaffas and march into the 2015 NPL Grand Final with an aggregate 4-3 score-line.
Both teams spent the opening quarter of the game with physical exchanges and few chances, as you would expect in a game of this level of importance.
The first sniff at a goal scoring opportunity came in the 17th minute with a header by Luke Remington which didn’t appear to trouble Danny Ireland. Ten minutes later, Michael Bridges followed this up with a long range effort which went well over the Olympic goal.
The first opportunity to Olympic didn’t come until the 34th minute when Kane Goodchild weaved his way through a number of bodies, passed to Pat Brown who sent a great shot crashing onto the cross bar with Brad Swancott well beaten.
Seconds before half time, Luke Remington was given too much space and time on the ball on the left and from what appeared a harmless position, he sent Lambton Jaffas with a 1-0 lead into the break!
The second half began with the Jaffas team putting pressure on the Olympic goal which culminated in a 2-0 lead from a volley by Riley McNaughton, after Danny Ireland failed to clear a cross. It could have been curtains for Olympic when a long range effort from outside the box rebounded off the crossbar!
Olympic replied with a great through ball to Pat Brown who forced a great save from an outstretched Brad Swancott.
The urgency on the Olympic bench becomes apparent when they bring into the game Mathew Swan in place of Simon Mooney and Jason Korotkich in place of Ben Koina, with the later partnering Jacob Bailey in the midfield and Reece Cooper moving further forward, just behind Kane Goodchild.
Mason Campbell chips a delightful ball from the back to Mathew Swan on the left who sends in a ball across the face of the Jaffa’s goal and eventually to the head of Pat Brown who buries it into the net for a 1-2 score-line!
Olympic are enjoying a good attacking spell with the Swan brothers combining well and forcing a great save from Brad Swancott while an effort by a Reece Cooper – Kane Goodchild combination results in the Jaffa’s goalie clearing with his feet.
Olympic continue to press for the equaliser which will avoid the game going into extra time with Jacob Baley forcing Brad Swancott to finger-tip the ball out and Jason Korotchich firing a shot onto the body of the Jaffa’s goalie.
Despite the efforts of the Olympic players the game goes into extra time.
During this period, Olympic continue their attacking momentum but Jaffas attack too! We have an extra half an hour of open ended football with goal mouth action at both ends.
During an Olympic counter attack, Reece Cooper gets behind the Jaffa’s defence and with the keeper to beat, pushes the ball through Brad Swancott’s legs to record a final 2-2 scoreline!
Hamilton Olympic win 4-3 on aggregate and join Edgeworth Eagles next week in 2015 EPL Grand Final.
Earlier in the day U19s lost 3-0 to Broadmeadow Magic and were eliminated with a 4-2 aggregate score while U22s crashed out to Emerging Jets 2-0 for an elimination and an 8-1 aggregate score.
Source: Tom Tsamouras