Cooks Hill United 2 (Lee Ashton 16’, Nick Russell 70’ (P) def. by Belmont-Swansea United 3 (Ty Goldsmith 19’ 67’, Mark Finlayson 54’)
Sunday 8 September, 3:00 pm, Jack McLaughlan Oval
Belmont-Swansea United FC has claimed a historic 2019 Grand Final win with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Cooks Hill United in a decider for the ages.
The awe-inspiring result is Belswans’ second on the bounce, adding to their 2018 championship crown to again be king of the mountain and lift the trophy.
The home of the Edgeworth Eagles, Jack McLaughlan Oval, produced a fantastic ground for Grand Final day and the two teams put on a tremendous show.
Cooks Hill began the faster of the two outfits with Marty Raines proving a handful for the Belswans defenders in the opening exchanges, creating a variety of chances.
The Number 9 hit the post with an effort after a clever ball from Nick Russell found him unmarked in the box.
The Cookers soon hit the lead in emphatic style as Raines found some space into the box and then the ball fell right into the path of Lee Ashton who buried his first chance past Will Reeves to make it 1-0 to the Premiers.
Belswans weren’t going to lie down and they provided a swift reply as Reece Newton found some space on the edge of the box and hit a cracking drive that cannoned off the post to only come out as far as Ty Goldsmith who pounced on his chance to put the ball into the top corner to level the scores.
After a frantic opening spell of the game, the two sides settled into the game but battled hard for possession with a number of yellow cards handed out including one to Belswans captain, Corey Wilson.
The scores would remain at 1-1 at the break, with a hugely significant second half to come.
The Cookers again hit the ground running after half time as Lee Ashton had a half chance but put his strike over the bar after clever work to tee off a shot.
Belswans were awarded a free kick in dangerous territory which was well in Chris Gazzard’s range and the deal ball specialist whipped in a delicious free kick which was met by Mark Finlayson who nodded home Belswans’ second on the day and handed the yellow and green the all-important lead.
The Belswans boys continued to ramp up the pressure with their high pressing game, winning the ball back in dangerous areas while Newton won a free kick in a very deadly area.
Tempers began to flare with so much history on the line and the match nearing the pointy end.
Up stepped first-half goalscorer, Goldsmith, and the talisman produced a sensational strike which curled past Jake Hamilton in goals to notch his second of the day with a spectacular Grand Final day goal.
Similar to the first half, the match had sprung into action and the Cookers also hit back quickly with Nick Russell firing off a shot which Wilson was adjudged to have handballed it in the box.
Wilson received his second yellow and a red card, leaving Belswans with ten men for the twenty minutes left in the game.
Russell stepped up to the plate and put away the penalty to bring the scores back to 3-2, and set up an edge-of-your-seat finale.
Belswans played smartly, finding great field possession and pinning Cooks Hill into their own end.
Cameron Lodge hit a stunning volley towards goal and was met by an equally impressive save from Hamilton to keep it at 3-2.
The black and white threw the kitchen sink at the Beslwans defence with plenty of long balls into the box.
However, the boys from Blacksmiths would hold firm to repel the Cookers attack and claim a monumental title victory, while playing a large portion of the second half with ten-men.
The Belswans players, coaching staff and supporters were sent into euphoria as the final whistle sounded on a truly extraordinary Grand Final day.
The final game of the season certainly lived up to the expectation as Beslwans claimed the glory and brought another trophy back to Blacksmiths Oval.
Everyone involved with Cooks Hill were deflated with the result, but the Cookers continually show their high class and have been the benchmark all season in the NEWFM Northern League One.
Belmont-Swansea coach Mick Stafford won his first title with the result in his first season in the top job and said there is no better feeling than winning a Grand Final.
“We are all over the moon to go back to back for the first time,” Stafford said.
“In the history of the club, (it) is a huge achievement and something the boys and everyone around the club will remember for a long time. As a coach, I couldn’t be prouder of the boys and the massive effort they put in.
“When we went down to 10 there was no need for a message, the boys knew what they had to do, rolled their sleeves up and got in the grind, we are the best in the league at that. We showed we are mentally and physically stronger than them, massive performance to come from behind to do that, hold on for 20 mins with 10 men, which makes it even more memorable.”
“The match (that was) played is testament to the quality of our league.
“We got the tactics right, out smarted them, out muscled them and played some really good football. We dominated the midfield all game and our class up top and at the back showed”
“It means the world to us to win that game and go back to back , we had double the amount of supporters then them, they played a huge part in getting us home and deserve to soak up the feeling, everyone that is involved in our club played a part and their passion and commitment shone through in the players today. We will be celebrating for a while, why not, we have created history and gone back to back.”
Congratulations to Belmont-Swansea United on winning the title and too both teams on a terrific Grand Final day to conclude a truly memorable NEWFM Northern League One season.