Murdoch University Melville have produced a stunning fightback to overcome Gosnells City and reach the State League Inter-Divisional Promotion Play-off Final.
Trailing 3-1 from last Saturday’s semi-final, first leg and with the scoreline at 0-0 with only 17 minutes remaining of Wednesday night’s return, MUM were on their way out.
But three goals in five minutes saw the visitors turn the tie on its head at Walter Padbury Reserve. First Ryan Tucker’s goal gave Gavin Brown’s side a lifeline. Then Christian Long and Declan Tanna struck in quick succession to secure an incredible 3-0 win and 4-3 aggregate success.
The result means MUM have set up a two-leg final against Swan United, with the prize of Division One football at stake.
“A lot of people wrote us off tonight, but I thought we showed great believe and character and we got our rewards,” MUM coach Brown said.
“To be fair, I thought our performance in the first leg was really pleasing, especially the second half, and we carried on with that tonight.
“We created a number of good chances in the first half but didn’t take them, and we knew we need something to go our way after half time and it did.
“I’ve been at this club for a long time and we’ve tried to bring in young players and develop them and it bodes well for the future.
“But we’ve not achieved anything yet, we spoke about promotion this season, that was our goal, and we’ve got two games to go to reach that, so we will prepare well and give it our best.”
The home side went into the match holding all the aces but it was the visitors who were on the front foot early. They had a goal disallowed in the opening three minutes for handball, before Sasa Slavujevic’s curling free kick whistled just wide of the upright.
Then on 15 minutes Adrian Ciampini raced down the right and cut inside the penalty area, but his shot from the angle was superbly kept out by the alert Tom Allan.
Gosnells hit back and Feisal Zaw tested Alec Radonich, before the MUM keeper got down well to deny Wade Farmer moments later.
It was the visitors who ended the half the better, however, and they had a strong penalty claim for handball but referee Tom Robinson was well placed to wave away their protests.
MUM went close again in the shadows of half time. Tanna’s cross wasn’t cleared and Tom Pellizzari’s shot from the edge of the penalty area flew inches over the top.
Yet the hosts should have wrapped up the tie on the hour. Farmer was sent clear one-on-one with Radonich but the keeper stood tall to produce a fingertip save.
With time ticking away MUM throw caution to the wind and they were rewarded with a goal on 73 minutes. They won a free kick 18 meters from goal and Tucker lifted it over the wall and into the net to give them a glimmer of hope.
Two minutes later and they were in again. Tanna found space on the left and his cross into the box reached Long. With the Gosnells defenders looking for an offside flag that never came, Long brought the ball down and finished well.
That made it 3-3 on aggregate but the visitors had the momentum and it was no surprise when they added a third three minutes later. A ball into the penalty area picked out Tanna, who was given far too much room, and he curled the ball into the bottom corner of the net to set off wild celebrations on and off the park.
Gosnells pressed late but the visitors, led superbly by skipper Mark Lucas, were not going to let their advantage slip.
Star player: Mark Lucas (Murdoch University Melville)
Gosnells City 0 Murdoch University Melville 3 (Tucker 73min, Long 75, Tanna 78) Murdoch University Melville win 4-3 on aggregate
Walter Padbury Reserve Wednesday, September 25, 2019 Kick-off: 7pm Referee: Tom Robinson Assistant referees: Alex Wright, Amit Hosany Fourth official: Alex Best
Gosnells City: GK Tom ALLAN, 3 Ben HOWE (11 Sean TAYLOR 90), 4 Adam BLEWETT, 5 Scott PEREIRA (12 Lee CONNELL 68), 6 Rudnei NOGUIERA, 7 Wade FARMER, 8 Dean ARMSTRONG, 9 Edward WYNNE-WILLSON, 10 Hanafi GHAZALI (15 Ali AZAMI 73), 14 Joshua WADE, 13 Feisal ZAW Substitutes not used: RGK Adriano D’ALO, 2 Jett SHAW, Yellow cards: Armstrong 72, Azami 87, Wade 88 Red cards: Nil
Murdoch University Melville: GK Alec RADONICH, 2 Beau ABDUL RAHIM (14 Christian LONG 72), 3 Tom PELLIZZARI, 5 Ryan TUCKER, 6 Broden BROWN, 7 Adrian CIAMPINI, 8 Mark LUCAS, 9 Kai JONES (19 Josip VUJICA 63), 10 Sasa SLAVUJEVIC (13 Grant MOWATT 55), 11 Declan TANNA, 12 Callum MELLOWSHIP Substitutes not used: RGK Joe GAN, 15 Godfrey ASIMWE Yellow cards: Slavujevic 39 Red cards: Nil