No groundhog day for Rovers

Rovers final hero, goal keeper Andrew Marshall, gets a soft landing from Rovers midfielder Ian Huggie McGregor after attempting to punch away a corner.

Football Far North Coast

For a moment the Rovers faithful must have thought it was groundhog day.

Last Sunday they lost the major semi-final against Italo Stars in a penalty shootout after the match was drawn 2-all at extra time, with both the opponents goals coming from dot shots and with the opposing keeper going into the shootout carrying an injury. On Sunday in the final against Goonellabah the scores were locked 2-all at extra time, thanks to two late penalties in regular time to the Hornets. Goonellabahs keeper had been injured in a desperate save only moments before the shootout. In the clubhouse the alarm clock must of rang in the minds of the patrons and strains of I Got You Babe would have started to roll around their mildly inebriated brains.

Then Rovers captain/ coach Tim Sheridan hit the cross bar and they went deadly quiet. Things looked grim for the prodigious gathering of Rovers stalwarts. Someone had to do something special to turn aside the cold hands of fate. Enter Rovers keeper Andrew Marshall, who produced two lightning full length saves to secure the minor premiers a spot in this Saturdays grand final. Needless to say, Rovers were jubilant.

Rovers looked assured of victory only five minutes out from full time with a 2-nil lead after a well placed header from Ben Cassagrande in the first half and a classy chip from the edge of the box by Matthew Olley midway through the second term. Then two hand balls in the box in five minutes allowed Peter ONeil to slot two dot shots and level the ledger. In the interim Rovers had replaced their strike force of Olley and Matthews, and had it not been for the heroics of Marshall, it could have proved fatal to their hopes.

The other stand out was Goonellabahs keeper Craig Attewell, who kept the Hornets in the match with a host of brilliant saves and showed courage well beyond his years.

This Saturday Rovers take on Italo Stars under lights on the haloed turf of Oakes Oval. The teams are well matched across the park and as both sides thrive on attack I expect it will be a big scoring cracker of a match and well worth the entrance fee.

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