Coast's run sunk by late goals
A PRECIOUS pair of extra time strikes to Aaron Duffy and Nick Barker spoilt the party for Cap Coast and careered Clinton into their third consecutive Cap league grand final as they ran out 5-3 winners in Saturday’s major semi.
Cap Coast fought back from a 3-1 half-time deficit to force a 3-3 full-time score line, but defending premier Clinton’s superior fitness came to their rescue in extra time according to coach Derek Horton.
“We’ve proven it time and again that when games go into extra time or go deep into the end of the game we’ll come out on top because of our fitness,” he said.
“We were all over them in extra time; we didn’t give them a look in it and it was just a matter of when we were going to score and how many we were going to get.”
Clinton’s extra time experience was also an asset in ascertaining victory.
“We’ve been in the last three grand finals and the last three semis have all gone to extra time, so we’re sort of used to it now,” Horton said.
Ryan Bellert, Liam Jones and Aaron Duffy set up the 3-1 half-time lead for the visitors, but a disputed goal early in the second half swung the momentum Cap Coast’s way.
Clinton’s keeper was ruled to have carried the ball over the line after making a save due to a collision with a Cap Coast player which set the tone for the second half.
“We could very easily have lost it in the second half because they were on a roll, they had a lot of possession and their confidence was up, coming from 3-1 up we would have lost some confidence but we hung on,” Horton said.
Cap Coast will now face Bluebirds in the preliminary final after they defeated Nerimbera 1-0 in the minor semi.
The week off will allow several of Clinton’s players time to overcome niggling injuries, meaning they will most likely be at full strength on grand final day.
Clinton demolished Bluebirds 7-1 in last year’s decider, but Horton said he had no preference as to who they come up against in two week’s time.