At the end of
a tough-fought ninety minutes the Sacred Heart team were
definitely a happier-looking bunch than Premier League title
contenders, Mount Albert Grammar School.
In atrocious conditions at Alberton Avenue, MAGS got off to a perfect start when a Karlo Pavic shot took a wicked deflection past the Sacred Heart goalkeeper Peter Jones in the 13th minute. As the rain tumbled down on an already sodden surface, it was obvious that good football would have to be surrendered for a more practical way of winning a football match. MAGS appeared to have the formula as they dominated early possession and territory.
Not surprisingly, they went 2-0 ahead when, incredibly, another deflected goal sailed past a dumb-founded Peter Jones in the Sacred Heart goal from a high Jordan Vale cross in the 27th minute.
It looked like the game was in the bag with few threatening attacks from the visitors.
Then, just before half time, the ball was lost in midfield,quickly crossed into the MAGS penalty area for Tom Doyle to score with a looping header over Patrick George in the MAGS goal. There were confident appeals from the MAGS defenders for offside, but referee Graham Whitford, after consultation with his assistant, awarded the goal.
Half time MAGS 2 Sacred Heart 1
If the MAGS
team were shocked before half time, then there was worse to
come, when, straight from the kick off, Sacred Heart took
advantage of referee Graham Whitford penalising MAGS skipper
Matt Rowland for a headed challenge on the edge of the MAGS
Tom Doyle's first attempt was blocked by Nikko Boxall, but the rebound dropped to Doyle and he made no mistake with a swerving follow up that went over the MAGS wall and beyond goalkeeper Patrick George to make the score 2-2.
From this point Sacred Heart gained more confidence and started to believe that just maybe they could do even better and gain an historic win over the MAGS eleven. They did get that opportunity late in the game when Tim Payne sped past Matt Rowland on the half way line cut into the box but his shot was well saved by a brave Patrick George in the MAGS goal.
There were more chances at the other end, two of them fell to big MAGS striker Faitalia Hamilton but he volleyed both over the bar from six yards out. Two more involved central defender Sam Redwood one a header he could have connected with from a dangerous Jordan Vale corner, the other a fierce 35 yard shot that the Sacred Heart goalkeeper did well to hold.
When referee Whitford blew the final whistle, it was a dejected looking MAGS team that trudged from the field.
MAGS coach Kevin Fallon praised the efforts of the visitors but also added, "We should have never surrendered a two-goal lead on our home pitch. It will be an uphill battle from here now we are in the hands of the Gods."
Danny Hay the Sacred Heart coach said, "We had nothing to lose and less at stake than MAGS, but if our boys put in a shift like that every week we would be top of the league."
Final result MAGS 2 Sacred Heart 2
Team: George, Kiddell, Rowland (c), Redwood, Alemann, Hand, Boxall, Vale, Hamilton, Pavic K, Sem.
Atherton for Hand 70 minute
Stoton for Sem 75 minute
Lynch for Pavic K 80 minute.
OG 13 minute
OG 27 minute
Man of the Match: Matt Alemann