Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash between Tenterfield and Ballandean was destined to be another tight match that had both teams vying for the third round and minor premiers trophies.
As predicted, the fast-paced and physical contest saw many attacking opportunities in the first half.
The Thunder started strong with a scoring chance in the early minutes of the game when Alana Condrick broke through the opposition’s defence only to slice a shot wide off her left foot.
Another close range shot by Condrick bounced off the crossbar and Murraya Horan was unlucky with a deflection that just shaved the upright post.
At the other end, Ballandean’s Sarah Day put a couple of long range shots over the goals whilst Anika Spiller kept the Thunder’s defence busy with her pressing attacks.
Half-time saw a 0-0 scoreline.
The second half saw a better start from the visitors with greater time in possession and better positional play.
The Tenterfield Ladies seemed to have lost some of their forward momentum and were trapped in their own half. They continued to battle hard for the ball and found a couple of chances through Sam Gower.
With only 10 minutes remaining, Ballandean’s midfield managed to get a good ball to Spiller who had a powerful strike on target.
Tenterfield’s keeper, Ellen Counter was able to get her hands onto the ball but unable to grasp it and it slipped into the back of the net.
An aggressive tackle on Amy Condrick in the last seven minutes saw her taken off the field with concussion, reducing the Thunder to 10 players.
A determined effort was not enough to get Tenterfield the victory on the day. Ballandean 1 - Tenterfield 0.
A home major-semi this Saturday at Federation Oval will see a rematch between these two teams, with the winner advancing into the Grand Final.
Junior Colts lost their game to Ballandean 12-0. There was no Senior Colts game as they had a bye.
The Men’s team won its match 1-0 and is off to play the final series this Sunday after a gutsy performance against second placed Ballandean.
The Stanthorpe Football records would indicate that the Tenterfield Men have not made the semi-finals in over 10 years. The combination of youth and experience this season has resulted in the team finding their way into the top four.
Saturday's game was a must win for the Thunder who were sitting in fifth position. Ballandean always play a physical game and it wasn't long until this was apparent.
Tenterfield's goalkeeper, Andrew Stuart, had to leave the field with a mouth injury after a heavy collision with the opposition’s striker. Luckily debutant keeper, Danny Potter, stepped up and took the job of wearing the green jersey.
Ballandean dominated most of the first half and had plenty of corners to score from but the Tenterfield's defence remained solid. At halftime the scoreline was 0-0.
Tenterfield, knowing that they only had 45 minutes to possibly continue their season, started strong. The Thunder pressed forward in the first 20 minutes and after some good combinations up front and shots on target, Tenterfield were awarded a corner.
With optimal wind conditions and sun glaring into the keeper's eyes, Tenterfield's Tom Newman curled a pinpoint floater which avoided all players and found the back netting.
The team has been in front in quite a few matches this season and have let the opposition back into it. Fortunately, today saw the Tenterfield Men hold their composure and defend their goal line with plenty of determination. The final score Tenterfield 1 - Ballandean 0.
While the Ladies play in the Major Semi final, Senior Colts and A Grade play in the Minor Semi on Sunday at CF White in Stanthorpe.
Please come down and enjoy a big full day of soccer at Federation Oval for the major semi finals, and cheer on the Thunders Ladies.
Game times are as follows:
Fillies - 10 am
Junior Colts - 11.30 am
Senior Colts -1pm
Ladies – 2.45 pm
A grade – 4.20 pm
Game times for grades following the Fillies are subject to extra time.
The Ladies will hopefully be on a roll after being named 1st round winners at the Football Stanthorpe awards night.
Other awardees were:
Jacob Chawner – Rep Player of the Year;
Josh Gower – Men’s Best Emerging Talent;
Amy Condrick – Ladies Player of the Year; and
Grant Newman – Volunteer of the Year.
Congratulations to all the award winners, and good luck to those teams contesting the finals series.