Sport

South bites dust and United lives to fight another day

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September 26, 2017

Shepparton United has a second chance at a spot in the women's grand final, while Shepparton South is lamenting a lost opportunity to progress after last week's defeat to Moama-Echuca.

Neither Shepparton United and Shepparton South could win in the first week of the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League finals.

While United will live to see another week after securing a second chance by finishing top, South’s season came to a close on Sunday.

The Uwe Paffrath-coached side was defeated by Moama-Echuca 4-2 in the elimination final.

The Border Raiders gained an early jump on South that the Shepparton-based side was not able to claw back, despite beginning the second half positively

Moama-Echuca found the net three times in the first half, while an own goal had South trailing by four goals at half-time.

Having regrouped at the break Jasmine Furphy and Chloe Bryant gave their side some hope by goaling.

But Paffrath said while chances were forthcoming, the young side was hampered by the pressure of playing in a final.

‘‘The nerves just got them and sucked a bit of their energy, but there was plenty of opportunity,’’ Paffrath said.

‘‘We didn’t have much control with the wind and due to the nerves they rushed plays a bit and that didn’t help.

‘‘We just couldn’t convert and Moama got the chance to continue in the finals series.’’

But Paffrath was proud of the way the side tried to turn the match around in the second half.

‘‘We did quite well once we settled down a bit and went back to basics, but once again we had plenty of shots but couldn’t convert,’’ he said.

Paffrath said there was plenty to build on following his first year in charge.

‘‘We’ve got a good scope to work on for next year and I’ve learnt a lot as a new coach with a new team.’’

Paffrath credited Elizabeth Morris, Isabella Serafini and Leilani McGregor as the most improved members in the group.

Shepparton United will still fly the flag for the region despite going down to Epsom 2-1.

Gabrielle Dwyer had United’s hopes peaking with a goal in the second minute, but United was unable to hold on to the lead.

Having conceded just six goals for the regular season, the wind in Bendigo carried an Epsom strike over Lucy Ciancio’s head and into the back of the net.

Coach Rocky Papalia said his side still produced another solid defensive game.

‘‘They had three chances and got two and we had about 50 and got one,’’ he said.

‘‘We had a good 80 minutes of the ball over the 90, but it was just one of those things that we couldn’t finish it.

‘‘I can’t complain about the effort, I can’t complain about the way they were playing.’’

Megan McFarland and Olivia Cornall persisted throughout the whole match, as the team was disappointed not to progress straight to the grand final.

But having earned the second chance, United will meet Echuca-Moama in this weekend’s semi-final.

‘‘Naturally the girls were hurting after yesterday’s game, but we’ve got the second semi so we’ll go and try and topple Echuca-Moama so we can face Epsom,’’ Papalia said.

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