Hamersley Back in the Big Time
27 September 2011
Hamersley Rovers capped off a remarkable turn around in fortunes to record a fifth straight win in a row to send the club back to the Amateur Premier League. It was just 3 weeks ago that the first team sat in 11th place after losing to Fremantle United 5-1. Since then the team has put a winning run together, beating Gwelup Croatia, Kelmscott, BB United and North Lake and now Stirling Panthers, scoring 16 goals while conceding just 2 to gain maximum points to the end of the season. With a league restructure and a new Saturday division created, 5th place was enough to go up.
Hamersley faced Stirling Panthers in a straight shoot out for promotion. Rovers had their fate in their hands as they sat in 5th place in the league before kick-off. A loss and Stirling go above us and potentially two other clubs as well. A draw and it's leaving fate to results of other games. A win and promotion was secure.
The game kicked off with both teams looking a little nervous. The first half was very even with both teams struggling to find a decent tempo and chances at a premium. An injury to Glen Arkins forced an early change with Steve Kruit coming on up front and Daniel Scudder moving back to midfield. Mike Garcia had Rovers best chance when a smart turn put him through but his shot was saved. 0-0 at half time.
The second half was action packed and saw Stirling almost take the lead when a chance came off the post and straight into the arms of keeper Dave Metcalf. Another injury hit Rovers when defender Jon Lock was forced off an replaced by Ryan Geall, completing Hamersley's 3 substitutions after Paul Broom had come on for Dan Guggisberg at half-time.
Stirling then took the lead after 65 minutes. The Panthers winger looked to cross the ball from the by-line but it swirled in the air and into the net, over the despairing dive of Metcalf in the Hammers goal. This seemed to fire the Rovers into action. Ricky Andrews and Dave Howell were opening up Stirling down the left, while Jimmy Young and Dan Scudders were pulling them apart in midfield. Steve Kruit was also proving a handful up front.
Hamersley equalised after good work by down the right flank, a low ball came into the box for Jimmy Young and he made no mistake putting the ball in the net. 1-1. The tackles started flying in as passions ran high and the referee did his best to stay on top of things with plenty of bookings for both teams. Martin Ireland and Ben Ashton were standing firm at the back and winning everything in the air and on the ground.
Then with 15 minutes to go Hamersley scored the goal that would take us back to where we belong. Good work from Broom, Scudders and Young enabled Rovers to get behind the Panthers defense. A smart square ball found Steve Kruit unmarked and he put in the simplist of finishes but the most important of goals. 2-1.
Rovers had to endure the last ten minutes and with some nervy moments in the box as Stirling pressed for an equaliser but the defense cleared their lines and the whole team fought tooth and nail to finish off the game and the season.
The referee finally blew and Hamersley had done it. Back to the league where we have spent 18 of the past 20 seasons and won 3 times. Hamersley is a force once more in Amateur soccer in Western Australia. A huge thankyou and congratulations to coach Tel Stupple and all the players. The seasons objective achieved and great way to cap off a fantastic run home.
Team: Dave Metcalf, Jon Lock (Ryan Geall), Martin Ireland, Ben Ashton, Rickey Andrews, James Young, Dan Scudder, Dave Howell, Glen Arkins (Steve Kruit), Dan Guggisberg (Paul Broom), Mickey Garcia.
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