We had an early start on Sunday, the first match of the day was ours, at 8:30am. Seeing it was in Orange meant an even earlier start as we were an hour away. The game was against, who we thought (at the time) were the hardest team we'd faced or seen so far, called FAJ's. It was a gritty game, which we won 2-0. I was really happy, keeping a clean sheet.
Our next game was against a team who had been crushed in their first two games, called 'Bite Me', so we were quite confident of a win. I let in a real easy one, but we still won 3-1. We were looking good at this point, on top of the ladder with 3 wins from 3 games.
Sundays draw was really against us, more so than the other teams. We had the first game at 8.30, but we also only had the one game the night before, meaning we had to play 4 this day. After the first two, we were really starting to feel sore and tired, and it showed in our third game. The team we played, called The Alcos, were quite tough and physical, inflicting a few injuries to our players. I even got a yellow card (which is a 2 minute sin bin) for frustratingly swearing on field. We fought hard at the end, but went down 1-2. We felt a bit stung after that match, one we felt we could have at least salvaged a draw (their first goal was a result of me being sent off).
Tired and exhausted, we started our fourth match of the day and our final round match, against the team we played in the warm up (see last post), Strength and Honour. They had a few extra players than they head for the warm up, so were a lot tougher, especially seeing they had only played one match so far that day (and we had played 3 and started so early). By mid way through the 2nd half, we were down 1-3, I wasn't able to keep up with all the shots our defenders were letting through, I was trying my best though, stuffed as I was (and starting to feel sick again). However, in the last 5 minutes, we pegged back a goal and started to really attack and finish strongly. The clock beat us however, as well as some really good saves from their keeper, and we lost 2-3. While we were very disappointed with the loss, it left us in 1st place with one competition match to go (2nd v 3rd at the time) which was the first match the next day. We had made the finals, just which one we were unsure of.
While we were travelling to Orange for the last day of the competition, 2nd played 3rd in the last game of the rounds. It was a draw, which meant that we finished 3rd overall, being overtaken by the team we played last the night before and the team we beat 2-0 early Sunday morning (FAJs). This meant we played the team we played last on Sunday, Strength and Honour, in the 2nd Semi final. The first Semi final was between 1st, FAJ's and 4th, The Alcos, which incidently was the same teams that played that first game of the morning, but this time The Alcos won convincingly 5-3. The winner of us and S&H would meet them in the final.
We scored first in our semi final, through a great penalty kick that snuck through the wall. Then I let through a sitter in the 2nd half to let them tie up the game. It was still 1-1 at full time, so that meant it went to sudden death extra time. No more substitutions, 3 minute periods. After 3 minutes both teams lost a player until it was 2 on 2. In a surprise move, our team captain, Greg, decided to rest me. It paid off, 1 minute into the first extra time period, Greg scored with a rocket into the corner of the goal. We were into the final!
As the Mixed competition was tied with the Mens competition, there was starting to get a bit of a crowd around for the final (at least 100 people), so the atmosphere for the final was pretty cool. I was really really nervous, but I knew from the Grandfinal of our last local competition, these sorts of matches bring the best out of me, so I tried to ignore the nerves.
The game against the Alcos was an absolute corker. Really reall fast, tense and physical - not violent, but both teams put their bodies on the line. It was the final after all. It was 0-0 at half time, and both myself and the other keeper were pulling off great saves to keep their teams in the game. The second half followed pretty much the same script, until with 6 minutes to go, Matt Tree put one in for us. 1-0 to Eglinton! But it wasn't over yet. Then my worst nightmare happened. One of our defenders stepped in the goal area (a little zone in front of the goal where only the keeper may be) which results in a penalty spot kick. My track record with spots is attrocious, I hadn't saved one to date. This time, I just concentrated on the ball and tried to follow were it went and hope to get in the way of it. However, the fact that it is only 3-4 metres away and the kicker usually belts it with such force it's hard to do so. The next few moments were the most tense of the game. The best chance for The Alcos to tie the game and possibly get in front with 4 minutes to go. Luckily, he nailed straight at me, I punched it away into the path of an Alcos player jumping on the rebound. His shot got passed me, but rebounded off the post to another Alcos player, but they skied the ball into the roof net which gave us a free kick. I'd saved us. I just had to keep them out for 2 more minutes, and I did. We won 1-0! Who'd have thought we'd take it out. Not us for sure. To cap it off, I was awarded 'Best Goal Keeper' of the competition jointly with the keeper from the Alcos.
Couldn't believe it. Best. Weekend. EVAR!