It was a familiar story for the Cootamundra Strikers in the Pascoe Cup grand final as, after taking the lead, they allowed Lake Albert to quickly reply, costing them the win.
In circumstances reminiscent of the final round of the regular season, the Strikers lead the Sharks 1-0 but allowed Lake Albert to score shortly after taking the lead, swinging momentum back in favour of the Sharks.
The momentum shift proved to be the turning point in the game, the Strikers never caught up and Lake Albert ran away with the Pascoe Cup title.
Strikers coach Luke Dickinson knows how costly losing the lead was.
“We went up 1-0, got very excited then we conceded within two minutes with only five minutes to go until halftime.
“If we held on, it would have been a very different game,” Dickinson said.
After having the edge in the opening exchanges, the Strikers converted their attacking pressure into a lead after Rowan Davison headed home at the back post off a corner.
Just minutes later, the Strikers conceded a free kick on the edge of their box. The Sharks’ star forward Fred Gardner stepped up and drove the ball past Strikers keeper Kayne Cassidy.
It was a case of deja vu for Dickinson.
“Last time we played Lake Albert we were up 1-0 and they scored within five minutes again,” he said.
According to Dickinson, the equaliser changed the Sharks’ mentality.
“After scoring, they went into the sheds ready to go rather than looking for the answer,” he said.
After the break, the Sharks came out firing and found the back of the net again within ten minutes.
While the Strikers had plenty of attacking opportunities in the remainder of the half they were unable to capitalise and Lake Albert held on for a 3-1 win.
While the result didn’t go his way, Dickinson was proud of how his team performed.
“Everyone played 100 percent, that’s all you can ask them to do.
“No one let anyone down, it’s all you can ask,” he said.
For the Strikers, Kayne Cassidy had a blinder between the posts, saving a rocket of a shot in the first half and defusing a dangerous one-on-one later in the game.
As well as getting his name on the score sheet, Rowan Davison was a rock in defence, keeping the Sharks from inflicting more damage. The Strikers are already looking to next season with club President James Philpott focused on the future.
“We we’ve done really well. Hopefully next year we can be here again and have another shot,” Philpott said.