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West in thriller

Monday, 24th September, 2018

Johnny Bugeja walks over to claim the Player of the Match trophy. PICTURE: Myles Burt Johnny Bugeja walks over to claim the Player of the Match trophy. PICTURE: Myles Burt

By Myles Burt

Celtic and West battled in out on the field in the A Grade Grand Final on Saturday with West eventually breaking the deadlock in extra time, winning 2-1.

After Celtic’s Hamish Inglis and Kingsley McIntyre failed to land their volleys from a free kick in the first couple of minutes, young gun Anthony Berg set Celtic off in the right direction after sending the third rebound right past West’s goalkeeper.

But before Celtic could even savour having the upper hand, West’s Wade Gepp ploughed through Celtic’s defence and nailed a goal for the Panthers from a successful cross into the box.

Both teams over the first half maintained fierce competition with midfielders breaking down the wings and the ball constantly being battled for across the centre of the pitch.

West looked to score again after a free kick was given just outside the goal square with Johnny Bugeja lining up the shot. But Celtic managed to stop the ball before it could pose a serious threat in the box.

Stand outs in the first half were Celtic defender Dave Hassard and West midfielder Johnny Bugeja. 

Jordan Cox managed to pull off some of his usual sharp sprints for West, but was continually shut down by the Celtic back line.

The second half didn’t bring much luck for either side as both grew exhausted and weren’t able to land their shots against strong backlines and magnificent goalkeeping.

Wade Gepp proved to be one to watch as he continually managed to be in the right place for set up and crosses.

But even with great positioning and Johnny Bugeja doing an excellent job of bridging West’s backline and attackers, Celtic goalkeeper Sean Power held his ground incredibly well, diving, leaping and punching away West advances on the goals.

Striking trio Kingsley McIntyre, Anthony Berg and Hamish Inglis rushed the goal square multiple times but couldn’t land a goal through the West backline.

Celtic newcomer Callum Marshall showed tremendous drive in the second half, challenging the ball for those crucial crossovers for Celtic strikers.

As the game progressed both teams grew restless over the stagnant scoreboard, putting everything they had on the line.

Johnny Bujega, Shane Hayward and Lachlan Kaye received yellow cards during play.

Neither team gained the upper hand and the game went into extra time with players having to muster more strength to pull through for a win.

Jordan Cox’s fast dashes became more troublesome for the exhausted Celtic backline.

But it was West’s Johnny Bugeja that finally managed to sneak the ball just out of reach of goalkeeper Sean Power, breaking the drought for West.

As Celtic scrambled to push through for an equalising goal, rough play led Kingsley McIntyre and Dave Hassard to be issued yellow cards.

Towards the end of extra time, Celtic were given a redeeming moment as the referee gave away a free kick on the outside of the goal square.

But as Hamish Inglis lined up the goal, West’s defence line hammered out the ball as soon as they could before Celtic could turn back the tide, leading West to take home the 2018 A Grade Grand Final.

West’s Johnny Bugeja was awarded Best Player on Ground.

 

SCORES:

West 2 - Celtic 1

West goal scorers: Wade Gepp - 1, Johnny Bugeja - 1

Celtic goal scorers: Anthony Berg - 1

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