- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 29 November 2012
Photo: Eagles CSE's Adam McKeown is pursued by three Zebras players [PlessPix]
Eagles CSE won the Premier League grand final of the Australian Futsal Association roster 4-2 against Zebras at the Moonah Sports Centre this evening.
In stifling conditions and before 70 spectators at the Gormanston Road complex, Eagles CSE led 2-1 at the interval.
Photo: The victorious Eagles CSE side. Back row, left to right, are Joshua Quan, Liam Scott, Mark Page and Andy Clark. Middle row are goalkeeper Craig Minty and Adam McKeown, while at the front is Jacob Clamp [PlessPix]
Zebras fought back to make it 2-2 early in the second half, but Eagles CSE then showed composure and technical skill to score twice more and ultimately win 4-2.
Eagles CSE seemed more keen and focused as their players were on the court warming up at least 20 minutes before kick-off, whereas the Zebras outfit arrived in dribs and drabs and barely had time to warm up.
They began with only six players in their squad, although they knew that Rowan Heggie had been delayed and would arrive late so the team would have been prepared for that, at least.
Photo: Zebras, the losing finalists, are (back row, left to right) Ashley Fisher, Paul Palmer, Josh Thorpe and Matt Hall. Front row, left to right, are Rowan Heggie, Romeo Frediani and Andrew Telega [PlessPix]
Tempers became frayed at times and Matt Hall and Rown Heggie of Zebras were both shown yellow cards by referee Stratos Plomaritis.
It took CSE Eagles just two minutes to hit the front as Adam McKeown beat keeper Romeo Frediani with a low left-footed drive.
Liam Scott, who had an excellent match, made it 2-0 in the 5th minute with a low shot.
Eagles CSE struck the frame of the goal three times but failed to increase their lead, while Zebras gradually calmed their nerves and started to play a skilful possession game.
Eagles CSE, on the other hand, often relied on the long ball up the court from goalkeeper Craig Minty.
Photo: Referees Stratos Plomaritis (left) and Ben Cornish [PlessPix]
Zebras’ cool heads enabled them to pull a goal back through Matt Hall with a marvellous strike from the right that gave Minty no chance.
Josh Thorpe, who had scored 8 goals in last week’s semi-final, brought out the best from Minty with a curling effort that the keeper turned wide.
Thorpe also kept his own keeper, Frediani, on his toes, with a full-blooded volleyed back-pass that might have embarrassed a custodian whose mind had wandered from the game.
Frediani and Minty both made outstanding saves and neither side was able to score for the remainder of the opening half.
Photo: Eagles CSE's Adam McKeown puts pressure on Zebras' Matt Hall as Zebras supporters Nick Harrison, Dave Thomas and Phil Sutton look on from the stands [PlessPix]
Nine minutes after the resumption, Thorpe made it 2-2 and it was anybody’s game at that stage.
Eagles CSE re-established their momentum and team work, however, and when Andy Clark put them ahead 3-2, it looked curtains for Zebras. Scott showed great skill in outwitting a couple of opponents in a tight situation and his resultant perfect pass towards the far post enabled Clark to slot the ball home effortlessly.
In the 20th minute of the second period, a poor clearance by Frediani gifted the ball to McKeown, who hammered it home to make it 4-2 and seal the match with his second goal of the night.
Photo: Zebras' Ashley Fisher (No.12) tries to tackle Eagles CSE's Jacob Clamp as referee Stratos Plomaritis watches closely, as does time-keeper Gary Pitchford [PlessPix]
Photo: Zebras goalkeeper Romeo Frediani clears the ball. Frediani, who heads the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Futsal Association, presented the two teams with medals at the end of the match and also presented Eagles CSE with their grand final trophy [PlessPix]