SALE United’s Gippsland Soccer League season came to a heart-wrenching end as Fortuna advanced to the grand final with a 3-2 semi-final win in Morwell on Saturday night.
Fortuna opened the scoring early when George Fikaris took the ball and turned pushing the ball passed keeper Chris Richardson.
Sale scored with a memorable goal from Raymond Allred. Soon after, Allred scored again, this time with a smashing header direct from a corner kick as the Swans head into the break leading 2-1.
Fikaris scored again for Fortuna to level the scores.
The crowd was vocal and the loud army of Sale supporters could be heard as they cheered and willed their team on.
Sale continued to attack constantly and had around 60 to 70 per cent of play. Players worked hard but the mistakes in front of goal kept coming that had an effect on the end result.
Sale attackers missed one-on-one and even an open goal chance but first time nerves put too much pressure on the young strikers.
The more physical and definitely older and more experienced Fortuna side utilised the unmarked Andres Nilo, and against the run of play, he put the final goal into the net.
Not to be deterred, and as it had done all season, Sale quickly took the kick-off in order to win the goal back, but time eluded it as the referee blew the whistle, and a spot in the final was gone.
The entire Sale team was deeply disappointed at losing a game it should have won but will continue to develop and mature further.
The Swans were gutted but they walked off the pitch with their heads held high. They put what they had on the pitch and gave their all.The supporters were immensely proud of them, having been the best Swans team for many years.
Ending third on the GSL ladder with 31 points shows what a great season they have had.
IN the grand final this Sunday at Latrobe City Sports Stadium in Morwell, Fortuna will meet Churchill United, who won its semi-final 3-1 on penalties after scores were level 2-2 at full-time and after extra time.
GRAND FINAL DRAW:
Sunday at Latrobe City Sports Stadium, Morwell:
Seniors: Churchill United v Fortuna, 4pm; youth: Churchill United v Traralgon City, 2pm; women’s: Churchill United v Tyers, noon; reserves: Trafalgar Victory v Fortuna, 10am; second division: Morwell Pegasus v Traralgon City, 10am (pitch two).
MEANWHILE, Sale United midfielder Tommy Nguyen was named the GSL players’ player of the year during the league presentation night on Friday.
Nguyen was also runner-up in the best-and-fairest award, finishing one vote behind Churchill’s Nathan Osborne.
For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.