Central hold tight over BITS in Men's Division 1 grand final
SOCCER: Central has capped off an undefeated season with victory over BITS Sharks in the Gladstone Division 1 Men's competition with a gritty 2-1 win at the weekend.
Central had one draw and 18 wins prior to Saturday night's Sun Valley Oval decider and displayed that type of form during the first half of the grand final.
The minor premiers caught BITS napping during the opening 30 minutes with goals to Ben Turner after 16 minutes and captain Garth Lawrie in the 28th minute.
BITS regrouped in the second half and were rewarded when Dominic Stockdale headed home from a corner at the hour mark. The Sharks had Central rattled and began to pile on the pressure, almost equalising through Klaas Banga who headed over the crossbar from inside the penalty box.
However, Central held its nerve and saw out the contest to claim the 2017 Division 1 title to the relief of coach Joel Maudsley.
"They came at us really hard in the second half,” Maudsley said.
"They played a tough, physical game and it got a little hairy there at the end but thankfully the boys got the job done.”
Leading 2-0 at half-time, the message from Maudsley was simple, although not everything went to plan during the second half.
"We were looking to push on and focussed on scoring first, but unfortunately we know they're dangerous off set pieces and they were able to get that header in which made us work after that,” he said.
Maudsley credited his midfield and defender Joel Frost, who was solid as a rock.
For BITS coach Paul Blomfield, it was a case of what might have been had his side started the contest more brightly.
"You can't play like that for 30 minutes against the best team in the league and expect to get a result,” he said.
"We made it too hard for ourselves by not starting with the intensity we needed to and credit to them putting two good goals in.
"We probably had the best of the next hour of the game but they're top of the table for a reason.”
"They got numbers back and defended well.”
Central 2 (Ben Turner 16', Garth Lawrie 28') def. BITS Sharks 1 (Dominic Stockdale 60').