2013 State Cup Winners

State Cup RaidersUrunga Raiders FC claimed the title of 2013 State Cup Winners this afternoon in a thrilling match against NBN State League side, Edgeworth FC.

Urunga started the match on the front foot when a free kick landed at the feet of Captain Grant Homes who took a shot on goal only watch as the ball sailed over the crossbar.

Seconds later, Emar Foran slotted a through ball to a waiting Jackson Lindsay on the outskirts of the 18 yard box who drilled the ball towards the goal. Edgeworth keeper Ben Smith dove the right way, but the ball sailed past Smith and into the back of the net.

With the underdogs ahead by one goal just two minutes into the match, favourites Edgeworth were forced to spring into attack and the shots were flying from all areas in an attempt to equalise.

Marko Di Bacarri had the first solid chance for Edgeworth and struck the ball from the right wing just centimetres from the goalline but Urunga keeper Blayze Ireland caught the attempt with ease.

Foran was again on the attack with a cross to Sam Jarrett whose subsequent attempt rolled along the ground into Smith’s hands.

Urunga’s defence remained solid as Edgeworth were threatening inside their box as the Eagles had a chance through a header which was cleared by defender and Semi Final goal scorer, Frank Laspada. The resulting corner was collected by Edgeworth’s Keanu Moore whose shot from the left went flying across the front of the goalmouth and past the right post.

Edgeworth’s chances continued, but Urunga’s defence cleared a free kick from Alex Johnson-Young before Bren Hammel’s later attempt deflected off the goalpost.

In the 27th minute an equaliser looked likely, however Johnson-Young’s free kick was fumbled in the air by Ireland, and in a heart stopping moment for the local fans, he grasped the ball before it could pass underneath the crossbar.

Ireland showed off his skills again on 31 minutes when Alex Palozzi lobbed the ball over the heads of Urunga’s defenders to set up an incoming teammate, but Ireland collected the ball before the chance could be taken.

Urunga took a one goal lead into the second half and were forced to maintain their strength in defence as Edgeworth surged forth in attack.

Palozzi sent a strike inside the box to one of his teammate’s whose shot was caught in the air by a leaping Ireland. Palozzi also took the free kick which was awarded following Di Bacarri being brought down just outside the box, but his powerful assault flew just over the crossbar.

Urunga finally broke back into Edgeworth’s box, however were unable to secure a second goal as Tanjil Everett’s pass to Homes was cleared dangerously across the front of the goal by an Edgeworth defender.

Back at the opposite end of the field, Di Bacarri attempted to cross to Palozzi but the ball was intercepted by Ireland. Palozzi continued on the attack, taking off with a runaway ball down the centre of the field towards goal but he was again halted by the in form Ireland.

After countless shots, Edgeworth were finally rewarded with a goal of their own 15 minutes into the second half when Palozzi chipped the ball on target toward the goal to which Brody Taylor responded with a glancing header into the back of the net.

Just minutes after the equaliser, Edgeworth’s Aaron McLoughlin crossed the ball into the box which was met by the head of another Edgeworth player with a header that looked likely to go in, but Ireland pulled off an incredible save with two hand taps to push the ball out of the goalmouth.

After losing the lead, Urunga stepped up their offensive efforts with Smith forced to save a shot off the foot of Harry Gale. Homes then sent a through ball towards the goalmouth as Jarrett went running in to touch the ball but Smith snatched it off the ground before Jarrett could capitalise on the opportunity.

Two minutes after his previous failed attempt, Jarrett took a runaway ball inside Edgeworth’s 18 yard box but found himself with no one to pass to when he was pressured by the Eagles’ defence.

Smith was lucky when he ran out to clear a shot from Everett, only to miss, which forced Edgeworth’s defence to get behind the keeper and kick the ball away.

Edgeworth created additional chances as the match drew to a close and the team breathed a sigh of relief when they were awarded two free kicks and a final chance to take the match. Alex Palozzi stepped up to take the kick from the sideline, but his attempt sailed over the crossbar.

Ireland was again forced to pull off yet another save when Palozzi took a second free kick from just outside the box which deflected off Uranga’s defensive line and toward the goal.

The match ended at 1-1 and was forced to penalties to determine the 2013 State Cup Winners.

With the penalties at four apiece after five players each took their shots, the penalties went to sudden death. A sixth was taken which both players missed, before two more that were converted. Two additional penalties from each side were again missed and two more converted before the 13th penalty proved the decider, with Edgeworth failing to convert after Urunga scored.

In an epic battle after 13 penalties from each side, Urunga emerged victorious 9-8 to the joy of both Coach Paul Pomroy and goalkeeper Blayze Ireland.
Paul Pomroy wasn’t expecting to take an early goal but was pleased the side did, and his sentiments to the side before the match was based on their performance and not the final score.

“I said to the boys just play so you don’t regret it and give it everything you’ve got and at least when it finishes you will be proud of how you played.”

Ireland was thankful for the practice from Urunga’s Quarter Final shootout against Dudley Redhead yesterday and praised his opposition for the match which ended in a memorable moment for all involved.

“I was a bit fortunate because we won the shootout yesterday, so that helped with a bit of the nerves. But being a keeper you’re put in those situations all the times, so nerves don’t really play the bigger part of it, it’s more so just keeping focused and trying to stay psyched,” Ireland said.

“Edgeworth are a quality side, we said to ourselves before the game if they get a goal, let’s try not to get beaten by a big score margin, but then we scored first and it was ‘hold on, we’ve got a chance in this’ and it came down the best penalty shootout I’ve been in in my life.”

2013 sees the State Cup awarded to a team in the North of NSW for the first time in the competition’s history. For a full wrap of the game click here.

Match Details:
Urunga Raiders FC 1 (Jackson Lindsay 2′) def. Edgeworth FC 1 (Brody Taylor 49′). Urunga 9-8 on penalties.