Dandenong Thunder - Report
|Dandenong Thunder||0||vs||0||Oakleigh Cannons|
Thunder crowned Minor Premiers
Dandenong Thunder was crowned 2012 Victorian Premier League Minor Premiers on Saturday night as it drew 0-0 with second-placed Oakleigh Cannons at George Andrews Reserve.
The game was a showcase of how a match can be entertaining without goals, with both sides hitting the framework on a number of occasions, and displaying end-to-end football throughout the 90 minutes.
Victorian Premier League leading goal scorer Luke Sherbon could have had a hat-trick by the interval, after failing to convert twice when one-on-one with Cannons keeper Lewis Italiano, and hitting the base of the post from six yards out during a goal mouth scramble.
Thunder’s Matthew Theodore and Liam Kearney would have felt equally unlucky as both hit the crossbar, with the former bringing out a superb save from Lewis Italiano in the process and the latter fooling the Oakleigh custodian from long range, with the ferocious winds probably being a factor.
In a positive for Dandenong, star striker Nate Foster played the last twenty minutes of the game, as the Canadian import returned from a minor hamstring injury.
Even though Australian football places greater significance on the winner of the Grand Final, rather than the league leaders, Thunder coach Chris Taylor was elated with the club’s accomplishment, but recognised that it was not a time for complacency.
“For me, it’s the ultimate thing to do,” Taylor said.
“We believe we’ve been the best side all year. [However] we’ve been in this position where we’ve won it comfortably and then we’ve failed in the grand final, so that’s in the back of everyone’s mind.”
Taylor was unfazed by the amount of chances his strikers squandered, instead focusing on his defensive display, which produced another clean sheet in what he labelled a “hell of an achievement.”
Former Melbourne Victory star and Oakleigh Cannons captain Ricky Diaco was positive about keeping the Minor Premiers scoreless at their home ground, and said that both sides would meet again soon.
“Dandenong are really good here (at George Andrews) and haven’t lost all year,” Diaco said.
“The good thing to come out of it was that we didn’t concede but unfortunately we didn’t score.
“I think we’re going to look to play Dandy in the finals, I mean, we will come up against them, that’s for sure, so I’m just looking forward to that.”
Dandenong Thunder Starting Line up: Stuart Webster, Andrew Mullett, Bryan Bran, Craig Elvin, Shane Rexehpi, Iqi Jawadi, Liam Kearney, Tim Mala, Mathew Theodore, Luke Sherbon, Sean McIlroy (Nate Foster 73')
Subs not used: Zaim Zaneli, Enes Sivic, Feston Azizi, Ross Thompson
Yellow Cards: Craig Elvin 63'