The Tumut Eagles secured their second Pascoe Cup victory of the season on Sunday afternoon, but the result wasn’t for the faint of heart.
Playing at Rawlings Park in round 9 of the competition, Tumut faced a tenacious South Wagga, who made the Black and Golds work for every part of their 2-1 victory.
The Eagles were under the pump early, with South Wagga piling on the pressure, but Tumut managed to take the lead after a pinpoint Reece Mastellotto free kick beat the keeper and had the visitors in front heading into the half time break.
In the second half, South Wagga scored against the run of play, before a stylish Isaiah Webb corner was whipped in and headed home by Jordy Sandbrook, securing the win with only eight minutes left on the clock.
Eagles coach Lachlan Anderson admitted the Warriors posed a big threat throughout the contest, with the coach praising the opposition for their style of play.
“South Wagga were definitely tough, physical, worked hard all game, and passed the ball well,” Anderson said.
“They had the best of us for the first 20 minutes of the game.”
The Eagles took control at times throughout the first half, with Mastellotto nailing yet another free kick at Rawlings Park.
“We slowly got into the game as the half went on, and we started to dominate the ball,” Anderson said.
“For whatever reason, Reece Mastellotto keeps scoring free kicks on that field, in that exact goal. I think that’s three in the last two years.
“That goal really helped us, just before half time too, as it gave us a bit of confidence for the second half.”
Anderson said his Eagles improved throughout the second stanza, and despite conceding a goal due to poor communication at the back, it was a good effort considering the amount of attacking raids and corners his side successfully defended.
“Our build up play definitely improved in the second half, we were holding the ball better and moving it well. Their goal was a free header off a corner, which was a little disappointing,” Anderson said.
“That’s just down to poor management from us, although later on in the game, we dealt with about 10 corners in the space of about 10 minutes, so at least we can say it was a one off.”
The Eagles coach was very happy to see two of the team’s newest additions in the form of Webb and Sandbrook combining for the winner, showcasing that the club is in good hands going forward.
“Our second goal was a really good goal. Isaiah put in an excellent corner to the front post, which found Jordy who put it away,” Anderson said.
“It was the only corner Jordan went into the box for all game, so he picked his moment well.”
After the win, Anderson praised a hard-working defence that weathered a South Wagga storm in the final stages.
“After our goal, it was all South Wagga, the ball was in our half for nearly the whole eight minutes,” Anderson said.
“Defensively we were solid all game, limiting them to only counter attacks in the second half, until we got our second goal.
“Cohan (Rowley) and Phi (Lu) put in great displays, doing what was asked of them when they were on. Marvin (Sing) and Jay (Casey) were excellent all game, as well as Murray (Barratt). who deservedly earned more best and fairest points.
“The boys were really happy with themselves after the game. We did what we had to do to get the win, and that’s all I can ask for.”
The victory has the Eagles in sixth position on the Pascoe Cup ladder, trailing the likes of Hanwood, Henwood Park, Young, Leeton and Lake Albert as they approach the halfway point of the competition.
Next week, the Eagles play the bottom-placed Tolland at home.
Unfortunately, Tumut’s third grade went down 6-nil to the high-flying South Wagga Gladiators in their Blake trophy fixture at home.
The Eagles held the Wagga side to 1-0 at the half time break, but conceded a handful in the second half.