IT WAS starting to look like a bleak situation for the Warrnambool Rangers senior men’s side in the Ballarat and District Soccer Association grand final against Sebastopol Vikings.
Rob Andrews’ side trailed 2-0 deep in the second half as snow and rain pelted the Morshead Stadium Pitch and he knew he needed to tweak something to change the destiny of the game.
In the space of five minutes the game was flipped on its head thanks to a tactical shift by Andrews and momentum falling the way of the Rangers.
Andrews brought on Darcy Johnstone, who usually lines up on a right wing, into a striking position and switched the Rangers’ normal formation of 4-2-3-1 to a 3-5-2 to try and get his side back into the contest.
Within minutes of Johnstone hitting the pitch, he was fed a through ball from league golden boot winner Clinton Demartin and was fouled as he tried to shoot, earning a penalty.
Ryan Bail slotted the resulting spot kick and narrowed the margin. Demartin added another soon after the restart before Josh Bourke put the Rangers in front in the 81st minute.
Again Andrews made a tactical change as he changed to a five-man defence and placed two holding midfielders as the Rangers loaded up to defend the final 14 minutes to a 3-2 victory.
The departing manager said he felt the pressure release as the final whistle sounded.
“We worked extremely hard since March and losing the league by three points made winning the final a reward for the work,” he said.
“I felt relieved when the final whistle went. The last 14 minutes felt like it went on for an hour.”
Andrews, who coached the Rangers for just one season before having to move back to Perth, said the club was in a good position with its development as the younger side of his team was the key driver in the come-from-behind victory.
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