Soccer: Rovers through to cup final
RICHMOND Rovers are through to their first Anzac Cup soccer final since 2009 after seeing off cross- town rivals Lismore Workers with a 3-1 home win.
Rovers lived up to their tag of favourites with another decisive win in a tough, physical encounter on Friday night, maintaining their unbeaten record.
It took just 10 minutes for the 2015 major premiers to take the initiative, with a deflected free kick from set play specialist Russell Dent finding the net.
Rovers went on to create the most chances, only for agile Workers goalkeeper Phillip Sillah to keep them at bay with some vital saves.
But he was beaten again late in the first half when a cross from Kurt Walker found deadly striker Jonathan See for a clinical finish.
The Redmen came close to scoring just before the break with a stinging free kick from Jonty Miller, but he was denied by Rovers custodian Andrew Marshall, who pulled off a sensational diving save.
Rovers continued to create the better chances in the second half only to be frustrated by Sillah, allowing Workers to fight their way back into the game with a brilliant solo goal from Sam Sharkey 15 minutes from time.
Sharkey beat several defenders before blasting his shot into the top corner to set Rovers' alarm bells ringing.
But a late goal from Kurt Walker eased their nerves, to the relief of player-coach Bobby Bugden.
"They gave us a bit of a scare late on, but overall we created a lot more chances on goal, it was only their 'keeper that kept them in it," Bugden said.
He praised midfielders Jake Nind and Jacob Heffernan for key roles in the win, along with reliable defender Jeremy Perkins.
Rovers will now meet either 2015 minor premiers Byron Bay or 2013-14 Anzac Cup champions Lismore Thistles in the cup final, with Bugden confident they can go all the way to claim the first silverware of the season.
"We pride ourselves on our performances in big games and we're looking forward to it, no matter who we play," he said.