The 2018 Champions title for the NPL2 rightfully headed to St George FC after a pulsating Grand Final at Seven Hills on Saturday evening.
It may have taken a penalty shootout to claim the victory, as it did last week in the semi, but a courageous effort by every player, from keeper Anthony Costa, who pulled off two superb saves in the shootout, through to striker Jason Romero, who scored all three goals during the match itself, saw the Champions tag head to St George for the second time in six seasons.
A brace from Romero, the first in the 40th minute, and the second from the spot in the 60th, looked to have St George on the way to a comfortable victory. To that point, the Saints were well in control with Mounties rarely threatening at any stage. Costa was probably the least involved player on the park for that first hour.
But a penalty decision with twenty minutes to go fell the Mounties’ way, and Raul Beneit Romero duly scored to put the Mounties back in the game. They rallied, and within another five minutes, had drawn level, as unlikely as that had looked only minutes earlier. Noah Chianese headed home from close range to make it game on.
With no change during normal time, the extra thirty saw Mounties take the lead for the first time in the match. Chianese again scored, just before the end of the first period, putting Mounties in the box seat with just over a quarter of an hour to go.
But the strength of character of the Saints shone through, and with barely five minutes to go, an enticing cross from Nicholas Paras met the head of Romero who equalised for 3-3.
On to penalties, and again the Saints had to come from behind…but with cool heads, they prevailed, with Matias da Silva Santos scoring the clincher for 4-3 penalty shoot out victory.
Full credit to the Saints, led on the park by Tarik Ercan, and off it by coach Wally Savor, and his assistant Spiro Hantzis.
It was a superb display, which showed plenty of skill, grit and determination, and their never say die attitude brought home the just reward.
ST GEORGE FC – CHAMPIONS FOR 2018