RELATED: Blues defeat Demons in thriller
SALE City consolidated top spot on the North Gippsland football ladder with a come from behind victory over Traralgon-Tyers United.
In a dogged performance, Sale City held its nerve at the crucial stages of Saturday’s encounter to pip the Bombers at the post, 8.18 (66) to 8.8 (56).
In a gritty arm-wrestle, the visitors held on during time-on in the final quarter and scored the two goals to claim victory.
Bulldogs assistant coach Matt Lutze said the players had been working a lot on their game plan.
“Tackling is an important part of that and (senior coach) David Piasente has really instilled that kind of toughness into all of our players,” he said.
“We’ve really tried to concentrate on getting the one per centers right.
“It was really pleasing to see the way our midfielders moved the ball quickly.”
In the first quarter, neither team was able to gain the ascendancy. Fierce tackling and good solid defensive structures at both ends of the ground kept both teams locked in a gruelling stalemate. Both sides had chances and blazed away at the big sticks, but most efforts were hampered by inaccurate kicking into a swirly breeze.
TTU tried to play a possessive brand of football, rather than going directly to its forwards, which probably cost the Bombers three goals.
It wasn’t until after the siren the first goal was scored, when TTU’s Chase Saunders kicked truly from 30 metres out on a 45 degree angle, giving the Bombers a three-point buffer going into the first huddle.
Three minutes into the second term, Saunders goaled again and when Dalton Tripodi slotted another at the 10-minute mark, the Bombers had skipped to a 16-point break.
At the 15-minute mark, Jake Milham kicked Sale City’s first goal, reducing the margin to within two straight kicks.
Lincoln Albenese countered with a strong grab at the 25-minute mark and when he went back and put TTU’s fourth goal on the board, the Bombers looked to have all the answers.
Late goals from Tom Wilson and Jacob Schuback eroded the Bombers’ lead, but a third goal to Saunders saw the Bombers hang on to an eight-point lead at the main break.
The third quarter was a tight struggle and when Beau Bennett nailed a goal early, the Bulldogs were within a kick. The scoreboard pressure spurred City on and it began to lift its work rate.
The Bulldogs kept peppering the big sticks, but an unyielding TTU defence forced them wide and unable to consolidate their forward momentum.
At the other end it was a different story. Saunders kicked his fourth goal at the 15-minute mark.
A minute later however, a questionable free kick was awarded to Schuback for holding, 15 metres out directly in front, and when he converted, the Bulldogs led by two points.
Sale City went into the three-quarter-time huddle leading by a point.
After a tight beginning to the final term, Saunders marked and kicked his fifth goal for the game in stunning fashion. When Tom Bowman was penalised for overstepping the mark, TTU managed to string a couple together and take an 11-point lead.
When Sanders marked and was awarded a 50 metre penalty after a Bulldogs player back-chatted the umpire, he was within range and looked set to kick his sixth and take TTU to a match-winning 17 point lead. However, the kick skewed behind the stick in the swirly breeze.
A second goal to Milham at the 25-minute mark reduced TTU’s lead to two points.
In a nail-biting finish, Sale City managed to kick the final two goals of the game in time-on, securing the Bulldogs victory.