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Southern & Ettalong 1 – 4 Terrigal

SEUFC headed to Pluim Park to take on Terrigal once again in a Finals Series coming off a busy week of recovery after their 120-minute battle with Killarney Vale as both sides looked to qualify for the 2023 MPL Grand Final.

The focus for Dale and the SEUFC coaching staff was to get the boys both physically and mentally up for Saturday night’s Final with fierce rivals Terrigal.

The first 10 minutes saw the Lions started strongly, and it was evident from early on that Terrigal were prepared to set their defensive lines deeper than usual to try and limit the space available for the Lions to exploit in attack.

The discipline shown early by Terrigal set the platform to transition their attacking quality on the Lion’s defence.

11 minutes into the contest, Terrigal after some swift ball movement found Daniel Bird with some space in the box who made no mistake with a quality finish to give Terrigal an early 1–0 lead.

From this point, Pete Edward’s side went up a gear and it wasn’t long before Terrigal would double their lead after a pinpoint delivery from Mark Partridge found the head of Stuart Adams who clinically finished to extend Terrigal’s lead.

It was Terrigal with all the momentum as the Lions struggled to hold possession and only created some half chances, Terrigal having the better of the half entered the sheds at halftime leading 2-0.

In the half time break the lads from Terrigal were buzzing from a brilliant first half performance but knew that Southern would come out in the second half with guns firing.

The second half break saw Dale Eggleton make three changes introducing Forsberg, Rousell and Steer into the game looking for some energy after a flat opening half performance and making a few tweaks to their structure.

The Lions started the second half looking more comfortable on the ball and started to maintain some possession and it wasn’t long before the Lions scored their goal to get back into the game after some sharp passing between Jacob Lepre and James Steer found Keith Gumbs at the far post to slot the goal away, getting the Lions back into the game at 2-1.

The next 10 minutes the Lions appeared to build some momentum to fight their way back into the game. However, it was Terrigal who turned the momentum back in their favour when an extraordinary Jai McNamara header found the top corner of the goal as the Terrigal captain reinforced his side’s two-goal lead.

Southern pushed players forward to try and get back into the match only to see Stuart Adams bust through the defensive line to create a one-on-one with the Lions keeper to clinically finish to secure his brace, sending the Terrigal crowd close by into raptures and ensuring the O’lads would cement their spot in their third straight Grand Final next week.

“Disappointing result for our boys today.” Voiced Dale Eggleton.

“We were far from our best today and it seems that the 120 minutes last week took more out of the boys than expected. Credit must go to Peter and his team tonight they put in a very good performance and were clearly the better team.”

Dale also spoke on the year and his squad as he coaches his final game for the Lions. “To my Lads despite struggling physically tonight as a whole, the season was an improvement on past years. We have some tremendous young and experienced players in the group and I’m certain if you stick together some silverware is only around the corner.”

“Best of luck to both Killarney and Terrigal next week.”

A delighted Pete Edwards expressed his happiness post-game. “I’m really proud of the boys and their work rate and belief in our game plan. We were so focused on our roles that it seemed the occasion of the finals didn’t affect us at all. We executed some of the best football I’ve seen the lads play in the 1st half and after a brief scare early in the second half, we continued to work hard and play some sublime football.”

“I feel for Southern and Dale, as they have been a real force this season and deserved to be right there at the end, but on the night I think we just got it tactically right. We managed to limit any chances on our goal to less than a handful and played with a feeling of desire and edge to our attack. I want to congratulate Dale and his team for a fantastic season. For us, it’s now all about planning for the Grand Final.”

“To have all three grades in the GF is a huge statement for Terrigal and the hard work we’ve all put in. As always we will set up with a clear plan and focus, as in any finals games the smallest details can be the difference on the day.”

Pete also added, “Killarney have been the benchmark of football on the Central Coast for many years now, but we’ve already proven to ourselves that we can compete against the best clubs in the league and I’m really looking forward to another great game this weekend.”

Match Official – Mark Roberts