By Cal Behrendt, FSC Match Reporter
In a clash of the two best sides in the WCG Cranes District League Reserve Grade competition, Fernhill Foxes took on Thirroul Thunder at Wetherall Park in the Reserve Grade Grand Final for the right to call themselves Champions.
Fernhill entered the game as pre-match favorites, having topped the ladder with 54 points across their 22 matches and waltzing past Warilla Wanderers 2-0 in the Major Semi Final to book their spot in the big match at the first point of entry.
However, Thirroul – who finished 2nd on the ladder with 47 points after 22 matches – had to work to book their spot in the game, after losing 2-1 to Warilla in the Qualifying Final.
The side then defeated Oak Flats Falcons 3-0 to move onto the Preliminary Final where they faced Warilla again, this time gaining revenge in the biggest possible fashion, with a 6-0 demolition of the Wanderers enough to send the Thunder into the final.
Both sides had taken a win over the other team during the regular season, with Fernhill downing Thirroul 5-3 in round 4 and Thirroul beating Fernhill 3-2 in Round 15, so fans were expecting a close game where either side could win on the day.
The final started off with both sides getting early shots off at the opposing goal, with Thirroul having a free kick from Bradley Strudwick sent over in the opening sixty seconds, while Fernhill’s Matt Richardson would fire off a shot straight down the throat of Thunder keeper Chris Wearing just three minutes later.
But it was the Thunder who would strike first in the 21st minute, with a fantastically placed corner from Strudwick finding the head of Scott Woods, who expertly netted the ball to give the Thunder the opening blow in the Grand Final.
Just three minutes later Thirroul found themselves a second goal ahead, with an attack forming from a great pass by Oscar Pruks to find Bradley Strudwick. It was Strudwick who again found the perfect pass, setting up Jonathon De Lyall to have a simple shot on goal. De Lyall managed to sneak his shot past Fernhill’s Brad Hunter and send the Thunder up by two goals after just 24 minutes of play.
Fernhill FC – 1 (Breslin 82’)
Thirroul Thunder FC – 2 (Woods 21’, De Lyall 24’)
Saturday the 23rd of September 2017 at Wetherall Park.
Fernhill FC – Brad Hunter, Luke McDonald, Brett Kear, Joel Sims, Nathan Thompson, Lee White, Dean Morosin, Damien Warwick, Andrew Breslin, Toby Napper, Matt Richardson
Subs – Kevin McDonald (on for Morosin), Hiroki Makita (on for White), Christian Armour (on for Sims), Michael Stephenson, Yacoub Hadaya
Thirroul Thunder FC – Chris Wearing, Jonathon Tobin, James Townson, Ryan Hunter, Tom Goodier, Scott Woods, Jonathon De Lyall, Aaron Buzinki, Oscar Pruks, Bradley Strudwick, Robert Gyngell
Subs – Nathan Orvad (on for Woods), Jordan Simms (on for Townson), Marcus Rusbourne (on for De Lyall), Tyler Snelgrove (on for Buzinki), Liam Harris
Referee – Ryan O’Sullivan
Assistant Referees – Keelum Harrison, Darcy Jordan
Report by Cal Behrendt, on Twitter @CalBehrendt