HAMILTON Raiders have stunned Jetty Flat Rangers to record a memorable Warrnambool District Soccer League triumph.
The Raiders claimed a 4-2 victory at Warrnambool’s Harris Street Reserve to vanquish the demons of last season, when they exited finals in straight sets.
Jubilant coach Josh Franks described the win as “a sweet victory”, with his men coming from second after the regular season to take the top honour.
“Because it’s been such a tight competition between us this year, it was great to get them at the right time,” he said.
“We got them in the first game (in round four) but they were more dominant for the rest of the year.”
Franks said Hamilton showed more fight and desire to win possession than in its previous matches against Jetty Flat.
“It was one of those games where we made a decision to fight for the ball from the start, it was a conscious thing,” he said.
“One of the reasons we’ve started on the back foot sometimes is we’ve taken a while to lock it down and play our own game.”
Hamilton got off to the worst possible start when defender Jim Taylor handled an Ellen Wines shot in the box after five minutes, conceding a penalty. Tom Southall converted the spot kick to put Jetty Flat 1-0 up, with Taylor lucky to only receive a yellow card.
“He flew down from Sydney that morning to make it to the game and could’ve done all that for five minutes of play,” Franks said.
“He was very, very lucky to get away with what he did.”
The good fortune sparked Hamilton into action and it was level 10 minutes later when Tristan Pickering scored after a run down the right wing.
Taylor then put the Raiders 2-1 up from another penalty shortly before half-time and Henry Walker made the score 3-1 after the interval.
Harrison Hall sealed the result by finding the net after a clever solo run, before Jason Sutton pulled one back 15 minutes from full-time for Jetty Flat.
Jetty Flat captain Ellen Wines won the Johnny Mac Medal for best afield.
In the WDSL under 15 decider, Merri Stingrays beat Hamilton Raiders 3-2.