Roos survive shoot-out
TWEED Heads goalkeeper Luke Godfrey emerged as the hero for the second consecutive week as his in-goal efforts against Pottsville on Saturday cemented the Kangaroos a berth in the Football Far North Coast (FFNC) First Division grand final.
After steering the Kangaroos to an impressive penalty shoot-out win over Lismore Thistles in the opening round of the finals last week, Godfrey produced a similar performance at Pottsville on Saturday.
The Kangaroos, third after the regular season, downed the minor premiers 3-1 in the penalty shoot-out with Godfrey again impressing between the posts.
The scores had been locked at 1-all at full-time and remained so at the end of 20 minutes of extra-time.
But while Godfrey's efforts during the shoot-out attracted plenty of praise, Kangaroos coach Roger Hoy said the triumph had been a team effort.
"It has been a real group effort for us to make the final," he said.
"I think we have had more than 40 players in our squad and every single one of them has contributed to us getting there." Pottsville, already assured a place in the top-flight Premier League in 2008, will host Thistles, 1-0 winners over Alstonville on Saturday, in a sudden-death encounter on Sunday.
"We beat Alstonville 4-2 a couple of weeks ago and they only just beat them," Pottsville coach Ron Taylor said.
"Going by that we should win but that is all on paper."
The winner of Sunday's clash will meet Tweed Heads in the season decider at Lismore on September 15.
Hoy said the decision to stage the final at Lismore would not be a disadvantage for the Kangaroos.
"We are looking forward to playing at Oakes Oval," he said.
"It has been a happy hunting ground for us, we won the Anzac Cup there earlier in the year. "We know what it feels like to have a victory beer in those change rooms after the game." While happy to celebrate their success at the weekend, the Kangaroos will need to up the ante in the grand final after being made to work hard by Pottsville.
The Panthers opened the scoring early in the first half when striker Adam found the back of the net to put the minor premiers ahead 1-0.
The home side held that slender advantage for much of the match only to let it slip in the dying minutes.
Aaron Maingay scored the equaliser in the 86th minute after running onto a slick Blake Broadfoot pass.
Maingay's late goal ensured a thrilling period of extra-time before Godfrey stood tall during the shoot-out.
Pottsville started the game with just 11 players and were unable to make substitutes throughout, a factor that Taylor believes took its toll in the closing stages of the match.
"It was a very, very good game both sides performed really well," Taylor said.
"We were in front with three minutes to go and they snuck one in on us."