The Braidwood Bullants u/16s team played an exciting game against Workers East in the elimination semi final playoff with the winner to meet Crookwell in the grand final next week. An even contest saw both teams show some determined defensive efforts throughout the entire game. The Bullants have been improving each week and it wasn’t long before our forwards Tyran Murphy and Brad Prazeres were putting considerable pressure on the Workers goalkeeper. The Bullants hit the lead after 15 minutes when Tyran Murphy smacked the ball into the back of the net after a great through ball from Zach Collins. The Bullants were looking for a second goal before halftime and almost scored twice before the break but the Workers defence scrambled well to deny the Bullants persistent attack and an excellent half of football saw the Bullants lead 1-0 at the break. The team seemed to be in a nice rhythm defending well with some brilliant linking play from the midfield to provide plenty of shooting opportunities. The second half settled into a bit of an arm wrestle until Brad Prazeres slotted in a neat goal over the keepers head and the Bullants were up 2-0 with around 20 minutes to play. One thing we can expect from Workers though is they never give up and the pace of the game picked up considerably as the Workers season was slipping away. A defensive error from a great long ball into our goal box saw the Workers get on the scoresheet after it deflected off one of our defenders and wrong footed our keeper for an own goal, the score now 2-1 with 15 minutes to go. The Workers got a massive lift from this and before we knew it we had conceded another goal this time a legitimate goal from a great cross. The score is now 2-2 with only 8 minutes to go. The Bullants then regrouped from the shock of 2 quick goals against them and put massive pressure on the Workers goal. We were denied a penalty when Ty was brought down from behind in the goal box but it resulted in a corner which lead to another breakaway from our forwards after Workers cleared the ball and a free kick was given from around 30 metres out after Ty was sandwiched in a rough tackle. With only 5 minutes to go Matilda Corby stepped up to take the direct free kick and with the confidence and precision of a seasoned professional slammed the ball into the top right hand corner of the goal to give the Bullants the lead again. Workers threw everything at the Bullants in the final minutes but we held on for a much deserved win and we now take on Crookwell in the Grand Final. Some absolutely fantastic performances from the Bullants with Keely Howard, Brooke Clarke, Forbes Corby and Kristie Kuhn playing with patience in defence, James Carey, Matilda Corby, Courtney Doyle, Carly Tahana and Zach Collins playing with poise and determination in the midfield. Tyran Murphy, Brad Prazeres and Thomas Roberts chased down the ball and harassed the Workers defence in attack and the ever reliable Maccie Whittick pulling off some great saves in goal.
So the rivalry continues with Crookwell and hopefully the result will be the same as the Association Cup final early in the season when we upset the tournament favourites to take the Cup! Congratulations kids on making the Grand Final and regardless of the result this coming weekend you are all winners in my eyes.
With such a great result in the u/16 game for the Bullants the All Age Men’s team didn’t want to miss out on the party next week as a fully rostered team took on the Wollondilly Soldiers in what was guaranteed to be a close game. The Bullants plan was to play a committed game, take our chances and play some great passing football against the ex first division team of last season. Our relatively young squad started the game to the master plan, creating some nice play from the midfield giving ‘twinkle toes’ Johnny Milner and Ned Bott some good opportunities on goal but some solid last ditch defence foiled our attempts to get to an early lead. The Bullants had plenty of speed in the backs with Jai Gulia, Dan Ison and Rhys Faichney frustrating the Soldiers attack with their anticipation and composure under pressure. The Bullants headed to the halftime break with a slight advantage as we finished the half stronger creating excellent chances on goal for Troy Clark and Zac Faichney but without the finishing required to give us the lead. A positive halftime chat saw the Bullants jump out of the blocks early in the second half and with the wind increasing Jai Gulia took a speculative shot from 35 metres out from the left side of the field and an indecisive Soldiers keeper misread the trajectory of the ball as it took a wicked bounce over the 6 foot 4inch keepers head and into the net to break the deadlock and give the Bullants the lead. An excited Bullants team had another 40 minutes of regular time to keep the Soldiers from scoring and snatch the victory. What ensued was a hard but fairly fought game that thrilled the ever increasing crowd with both teams show casing some quality football worthy of a much higher level than the second division. Soldiers came at the Bullants with wave after wave of attacks on our goal with several free kicks coming within the range of a scoring strike however the steely resolve of the Bullants defence frustrated the Soldiers into submission. Andrew Crisp pulled off some great saves in goal and Keith Acheson played with the stamina of the Duracell Bunny to pop up in the face of the Soldiers attacking midfielders with monotonous regularity. Chris Lang played some delicate balls in midfield to give the Bullants forwards some great opportunities on goal and Karuna Bajracharya, Zac Faichney, Troy Clark and Pat Martin ran all day in midfield to keep the Soldiers on their toes. The Bullants held on in the end and earned the right to play the Wanderers in next week’s Grand Final. If we play with the same determination as we did in this game we are sure to give the young Wanderers team a footballing lesson which will be sweet revenge for them knocking the Bullants out of the Finals race last season. Should be a classic game to watch!
Game times for those that are interested in coming down to Goulburn to cheer on the Bullants in the final games of the year are u/16s kick off at 10 am and All age kick off at 1pm. Play hard but fair and go the mighty Bullants!!