- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 12 December 2013
Photo: Josh Quan on the attack for FC Blaireaux in tonight's final [PlessPix]
FC Blaireaux won the Australian Futsal Association grand final at Moonah last night with a 5-4 win over Hobart Knights.
It was the second successive year that ‘The Badgers’ had won the title, but last season they were called CSE.
Photo: The victorious FC Blaireaux with medals and trophy [PlessPix]
Hobart Knights obtained a grand final berth despite losing to Mr Jin’s Soccer Academy last week. The latter had fielded an ineligible player and were thus disqualified.
Knights led from the start, but FC Blaireaux could never be discounted as they are composed largely of Victory League players.
FC Blaireaux were missing the injured Adam McKeown and Liam Scott and had just five players, but so did Knights.
Photo: Hobart Knights, the losing finalists [PlessPix]
Mark Page was in goal for FC Blaireaux, while his opposite number was Aaron Marney.
Both are outfield players in the Victory League, but both produced outstanding performances and made numerous excellent saves.
Knights led for most of the match and it was only in the closing minutes that FC Blaireaux poked their noses in front and snatched a win.
The game was played at a fast pace and there were plenty of physical clashes.
When Josh Quan sent Knights’ Tim Chatwin into the first row of benches, Quan tried to apologise but was brushed away by the Knights player.
Photo: The Knights' Blake Smedley (centre) takes on Blayne Hudson (left) [PlessPix]
Chatwin had taken over in goal by that stage for the closing minutes as Knights sent Marney into the outfield to try and salvage the game, but time ran out.
Cracking shot inside the near post by David McGuinness and Adam Woodward in the 5th and 10th minutes respectively, gave the Knights a 2-0 lead.
Andrew Clark pulled a goal back for FC Blaireaux in the 11th minute following a counter-attack and a neat one-two.
Tim Chatwin’s long-range shot seconds later restored the Knights’ two-goal buffer.
Photo: Knights' David McGuinness is tackled by Andrew Clark [PlessPix]
In the 13th minute, Jacob Clamp’s long-range effort made it 3-2 as FC Blaireaux refused to surrender to the underdogs.
Both sides hit the posts and bar, but it was McGuinness who made it 4-2 for Knights in the 16th minute.
Clark netted from Clamp’s pass in the 18th minute to make it just a goal the difference at the interval.
Clark completed his hat-trick 9 minutes after the resumption to at last draw FC Blaireaux level at 4-4 and this boosted the side’s morale and it seemed only a matter of time before they wore down their opponents, who seemed to be wilting.
FC Blaireaux received a shock in the two minutes later when Knights’ McGuinness hit the post and Smedley fired the rebound wide.
Photo: The Knights' David McGuinness shields the ball from Josh Quan [PlessPix]
With 4 minutes remaining, a long throw by goalkeeper Page found Clamp and he headed home the winner.
Knights pushed Marney up for the closing minutes, but not even he was able to salvage the match.
“It was a very tight final and we didn’t play our best football in this game, but we’re pretty happy to come away with the win,” said FC Blaireaux captain, Andrew Clark.
“It was pretty tight, pretty even, and I guess the scoreline showed that.
“We had Liam Scott out with an MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury and Adam McKeown was out with a strained quad, so that was two good players missing.
“I think our Victory League experience told in the end. We were just match savvy, I suppose.
“I think we were always comfortable and we believed in our ability and we got the win in the end.”
Photo: FC Blaireaux skipper Andy Clark holds aloft the trophy [PlessPix]
Photo: Blake Smedley of Hobart Knights shields the ball from Andrew Clark [PlessPix]
Photo: FC Blaireaux's Josh Quan (left) keeps possession against Hobart Knights' Tim Chatwin [PlessPix]