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Stocky's Scribbles: Last Minute Miracle

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

“Stockies Scribbles” is back and this time Craig Stockdale is reporting from Coffs Harbour as The Football Sack's adopted team takes on the rest of the country at the Westfield National Youth Championships running from July 9 to July 13 2012.

Once again, we are following the same group of young 14 year old girls who earlier in the year won the first Victorian Women’s National Futsal Title in Canberra and then headed to Dallas USA for the International Girls Cup 2012.  Eight (8) members of the Dallas Brighton Jets Team are playing in the Victorian State Team with very big expectations at the tournament and the opportunity to impress the National selectors.

Day One of the Championships saw the sun shining over as Victoria came up against a spirited ACT team in the U15 Girls A Group. Right from the first whistle the ACT side were aggressive on the ball and applied continuous pressure on the midfield with penetrating passes up forward and many players unmarked. The Victorian defense was being tested and had difficulty dealing with the pace and number of passes made to the top of the box from the ACT forwards.

Eventually an unfortunate own goal from Victoria saw ACT take the lead 25 minutes into the half. Within minutes and with their tails up, ACT pushed forward once again and through a pin point cross from the corner found an open forward who drove home the advantage to take a 2-0 lead. With the momentum clearly favouring the ACT team, the Victorians pushed back and defended valiantly to restrict the score to only a two goals deficit at half time which at least allow them some respite from the constant onslaught by the ACT team.

The Victorian coaching staff made wholesale changes to the lineup for the second half knowing that in order to get back into the match, it would require a more determined and wholehearted effort by all the girls in roles they may not regularly play.

Whatever was discussed in the rooms at half time had an immediate impact with many of the Victorian girls responding to the challenge and harbouring a new level of intensity with increased drive from the midfield and fresh legs up forward.

With precision passing into open spaces and our forwards running onto the ball, it was only 10 minutes into the half until Amy Silver scored the first goal for Victoria with a very well placed kick crashing into the back of the net past the outstretched hands of the ‘keeper. The crowd lifted along with the spirits of the Victorian girls as they now had shed the shackles of ‘getting on the score board’ in the tournament. The focus was suddenly squarely on trying to close the gap to at even up the game and provide the hope of a win.

The Victorians had gained confidence and started to string together some nice passages of play from midfield up to the running forwards. ACT sensed the shift in momentum and flooded the defense trying to maintain their lead and hold off the surging Victorian team.

With the football bumping around the Victorian offensive half like a pinball, somehow Daniela Gudelj was able to pierce the defense of ACT with her powerful right foot, landing the ball in the back of the net – two goals each!

The crowd was going crazy, breaking into dance and screaming – Go VICs! The change in the game all over the ground was significant as Victoria could sense the chance to steal the game from their opposition and continued to push forward with many entrances into the offensive half.

With the clock against them and literally seconds remaining, the final ball was sent inbound to a crowded box where the boot of defender Zoe Stamatopoulos collected the ball and sent it sailing past the keeper into the net. This was clearly the last play of the game as the whistle sounded three seconds later and the game was over; Victoria victors over ACT 3 goals to 2.

If this is any indication of what is to come, several parents may not make the final day. What an amazing comeback to snatch a win after being completely outplayed in the first half and turn the entire game around in the second half.

Hats off to the entire Victorian team who responded to the challenge laid down from the Victorian coaching staff and really dug deep to highlight the old adage – Never Say Die!!!

Tomorrow the Victorian Girls play Queensland at 9am which is sure to be a cracking game.

Stockies Scribbles reporting from the Coffs Harbour.

Read all of Stocky's Scribbles here.