On a beautiful sunny day at the home of football Cookbundoon provided the stage for what could only be described as unbelievable. The match saw minor premiers Crookwell Griffin’s take on the grand finalist from the previous two seasons Goulburn Workers FC for the chance to progress straight through to the big dance.
Workers were coming off a win against Crookwell Red, which was only secured in the last five minutes thanks to a Kyle Wilcox header, whilst the Griffins enjoyed a week’s rest.
Workers were keen to set the tempo from the get go and missed a few early chances but maintained the majority of the possession. With the quick counter attack from Crookwell, Workers had to be on top of their game all over the pitch.
In the 35th minute a Workers player was fouled in the box and a penalty was awarded, Tom Dunwoodie stepped up to take the spotty and despite the Crookwell keeper going the right way it was well drilled and there was no stopping it. One - nil to Workers and they were intent on keeping the lead with some desperate cover defence from the little angry Irishman Murray.
At half time the talk was around doing the simple things right and not giving up, along with some words of wisdom from team manager Billy Baird about using the space and making sure we are marking up tight.
The second half started with the Griffins lifting their intensity pressing for the equaliser, which was soon found through a well worked sequences of passes to make it one goal eachl. Not long after Louis McIntosh cut through the Workers FC defence and despite the ball taking a typical Cookbundoon bounce he managed to finish it in the bottom corner, with the score now at 2-1 Crookwell was in command. That was soon followed by a penalty that was awarded to the Griffins, Louis McIntosh stepped up to take it and again despite the keeper guessing the right way the ball found its way into the back of the net. The score now at 3-1 Workers were down on one knee and Crookwell were looking for the killer blow.
Crookwell were awarded a second penalty which McIntosh stepped up to take again but this time Josh Buck was up to the challenge and saved it to the roar of the crowd.
Workers FC hopes of progressing to a third consecutive grand final looked dashed when Robert Scott Snr was taken out by a Crookwell player, who was shown his second yellow card and sent off, Senior was taken to hospital for scans.
That seemed to fire Workers up, but they couldn’t manage to find the back of the net despite Wilcox running after everything. With three minutes remaining things looked bleak for the blue and golds but out of nowhere a toe poke from Ryan Scott found the back of the net. For the remainder of the game Workers were going to try their luck and with one minute remaining Workers were awarded a corner. Rob Scott Jnr stepped up in the pressure situation to take it, and cheekily sent it directly in the back of the net from the corner with no time to celebrate Workers ran back to get in position.
Crookwell looked shocked that Workers had levelled the score and with 30 seconds remaining the game looked set to head to extra time.
That was until Workers pressed hard from the kick off and the ball made its way into the Crookwell six yards box. With a failed clearance falling at the feet of the Workers defender Josh Tull, who is not a noted goal scorer with his feet, made sure he was the hero finding the back of the net with two seconds to spare.
The celebrations were crazy with the enormity of what was just achieved by the team sinking in. It sealed what will go down as the most remarkable win in the clubs history and showed the true fighting spirit the team has.
This was the second time the team has come from two goals down in as many weeks to secure victory and the grand final spot.
Workers will have a chance to rest up this weekend and watch Crookwell Griffins play Crookwell Red at the Goulburn Workers Arena on Saturday Night at 7pm in what promises to be a spiteful clash with no love lost between the two teams from Crookwell.