Sport

Ibises are living the dream

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March 06, 2018

Another chapter of Tatura’s magical FFA Cup run was written on Saturday with a thrilling come-from-behind, extra time win against West Preston.

But the Ibises will face their toughest test yet in this weekend’s round three clash, drawing a difficult trip to State League One side Manningham United.

Down 2-1 and on the ropes with mere minutes left in normal time, Ibis Thomas Leech bobbed up to score an equaliser to send the round two fixture to extra time.

It was there the Ibises’ supreme fitness paid off, running rings around their opposition with a massive amount of chances, of which they took two to seal a memorable 4-2 win.

Tatura playing coach Sean Grant was proud his side had fought on through a tough day to keep its cup dream alive.

‘‘There’s a really good feeling, we didn’t play our best brand, but the boys showed fight and the camaraderie I’ve been talking about,’’ he said.

‘‘They’re willing to fight and if we’re not playing our best, we’ll still dig deep.’’

After West Preston took an early lead, Grant levelled the score from a penalty after winning the spot-kick himself.

In a fiery contest, both teams went down to 10 men after push and shove brought out the red card twice, and the visitors again rallied to find a lead.

‘‘The last 15 or 20 minutes we felt we definitely deserved a goal, we created more chances and were better with the ball,’’ Grant said.

‘‘We managed to find a goal, and it was probably the goal of the game.’’

After Leech had secured the goal a long time coming, the Ibises controlled the extra 30 minutes and scored early in the period through substitute Jordan Leocata, belting home from close range.

Staying ahead took one of the best saves Grant has ever seen, with Daniel Scaffidi tipping the ball into the bar from a thunderbolt, 18m strike.

And not content with his defensive work, Scaffidi’s distribution released Grant for the sealer, ensuring a long trip home for West Preston.

On a sour note, Lewis Coyle tweaked his hamstring in the first half and will likely miss the difficult clash with Manningham.

Of that clash, Grant knew his side would be up against it, but said the same fight displayed at the weekend would hold it in good stead.

‘‘It will be really tough, we’ll have to prepare well and bring the same game plan and fight,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s the magic of the cup, anything can happen.

‘‘I believe in the ability of our side to compete with any team, it’s just about taking our chances.’’

Tatura is just one win away from the National Premier League teams entering the competition, which could bring about a mouth-watering clash between the Ibises and the Goulburn Valley Suns.

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