September 2, 2013
By Martin Stern
Football South Burnett
The Evolution Solar South Burnett Football competition came to a colourful conclusion on Saturday with Nanango’s Fred Kassulke Oval awash in a sea of blue and white along with plenty of red, black, purple, gold, maroon and white streamers.
It was the first time that Nanango has hosted the grand finals at the rugby league grounds. Driving into Nanango, it was amazing to see blue and white balloons everywhere as well as banners of support.
Last year Nanango took out all three grand finals, but Barambah spoiled the triple treat this year for the home crowd, downing the Panthers in 2nd Division.
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The long-awaited 1st Division Grand Final was a meeting between Nanango and Gunners.
Nanango, the Minor Premiers, qualified after beating Gunners in a tough Semi-Final where they won 2-0 in extra time with two late goals from Kieran Mangan. Gunners qualified by beating Wests 3-1 in the Preliminary Final.
Gunners took the field with many of their regular 1st Division players injured or carrying injuries. Nanango also had Justin Mangan and Nick Krauksts out with injuries.
Nanango hit the lead early through Thomas Mangan who scored from a deft pass from Kieran Mangan in the 7th minute of the game.
Nanango were playing with more structure than Gunners and their defence was their foundation.
In the 16th minute, Chris Walters chanced his hand only to see his long-distance shot sail over the crossbar.
Gunners had a real chance when a goal bound shot from 20ms out by Sam Murray took a deflection and went out for a corner.
Gunner’s game picked up and they had plenty of possession.
In the 28th minute a Zac Strauss thunderbolt was tipped over the crossbar by the Nanango keeper, Karl Pichlis.
With three minutes remaining, Chris Walters took advantage of a fumble by the Gunners’ keeper to give his side a 2-0 lead going in at half-time.
Gunners took the field for the second half with a change of goal keeper.
Peter Collins substituted for Reise Braund who was carrying an injury.
In the 53rd minute, Torren Anderton gave Gunners some hope scoring from a nice strike.
The goal lifted Gunners and they could sense the game might turn in their favour, however Nanango were awarded a penalty after a player was fouled in the penalty box.
Kieran Mangan stepped up to take the shot which found the back of the net, however the kick had to be retaken as Nanango players were deemed to have encroached the penalty box.
The kick was retaken and Kieran Mangan made no mistake giving his side a 3-1 lead.
In the 76th minute, Gunners’ Ike Sililat had a real chance but the shot was saved.
A minute later Chris Walters put the icing on the cake with his second goal from a beautiful inside pass from Kieran Mangan.
One minute into injury time Gunners were awarded a penalty. Reuben Vandenberg-Dodt took the shot and then scored from the rebound off the keeper, giving them a well-earned consolation goal.
The final score a 4-2 win to the reigning champions Nanango.
Gunners can be very proud of their effort and they made Nanango earn their win.
Chris Walters, Kieran Mangan and Jeff Frohloff had outstanding games for Nanango while Torren Anderton, Luke Vandenberg-Dodt and Sam Murray were Gunners’ best.
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The second match of the afternoon was the Women’s Grand Final between Nanango and Wests.
Nanango qualified by beating Wests 1-0 in the Qualification Semi Final, they also finished Minor Premiers. After losing to Nanango in the Semi-Finals, Wests beat Barambah 2-0 in the Preliminary Final.
Nanango started the game on the attack and it did not take long for them to get onto the scoreboard.
In the 5th minute, Nanango striker Courtney Thompson pounced onto a goal-keeping error by Wests to give her side a handy lead.
Two minutes later the Nanango goalkeeper Sue Steinhardt went off the field, injured after a collision … not the best way to end her 20-year career with the club.
She was replaced by Karyn Cullen.
In the 10th minute, Jacqui Downie increased Nanango’s lead beating the Wests’ defence on the left-hand side with a perfect finish.
Nanango continued wave after wave of attacking football and West’s sweeper Danielle Maudsley had her work cut out for her.
In the 26th minute, a goalmouth scuffle saw Nanango go further in front after a Wests’ own goal.
Nanango went to the break with a handy 3-0 lead.
The Panthers continued where they left off in the first half but Wests seemed to have picked up their game and had some possession, however there was no strike power up front without their perennial goal scorer Jacqui Trace.
In the 48th minute, Kerri Thompson scored from a Nanango corner kick to make it 4-0.
With a minute to go Karrie Ashby blasted a spectacular shot that sailed over the keepers’ head into the back of the net, giving her side a comprehensive 5-0 victory.
Every Nanango player played their part well but best on the day were Jacqui Downey and Cassie Kelly while for Wests, Danielle Maudsley and Mel Hall both had strong games.
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The first match of the day was the 2nd Division Grand Final between last year’s Premiers Nanango and the ever-improving Barambah United.
Nanango finished Minor Premiers and qualified by beating Gunners 3-1 in the Semi-Finals.
Barambah finished in third place and qualified by beating Wests 5-0 in the Elimination Semi-Final and beating Gunners in a penalty shoot out in the Preliminary Final.
From the kick-off, Barambah showed they had turned up to play and took control of the game.
They ventured into Nanango’s half on countless occasions and in the 23rd minute it was veteran Brendan Kelly that struck first with an individual run on the right hand side of the penalty box, beating Nanango’s defenders.
They took their 1-0 lead to the half-time break.
In the second half Barambah kept their foot on the accelerator, while Nanango had a few chances on the counter attack.
In the 53rd minute British import Chris Tookey extended Barambah’s lead, scoring in the bottom left hand corner.
Nanango went searching desperately for a goal but came up empty-handed.
In the 71st minute, it was Chris Tookey again with a powerful run diagonally across the penalty area that gave the Nanango keeper no chance.
The final score was 3-0 and a memorable win for Barambah.
It was hard picking a standout player for Barambah but Ashley Burns in defence and Chris Tookey, who controlled the midfield, were their best on the day.
For Nanango, Nathan Ballinger and Ayden Connolly were among their best.
The last time a Barambah men’s team had made a Grand Final was in 2008 in 1st Division where they lost to Gunners in extra time.
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Nanango’s grand final wins in 1st Division and Women’s were their second in a row; and you would not bet against them being in this position next year.
Congratulations to all our South Burnett, players, coaches, managers, match officials and fans, without you and the efforts of countless volunteers we would have nothing.
As one of the smaller competitions in Queensland, Football South Burnett put on a Grand Final Day that would put many larger associations to shame.
Congratulations to all that made the day a success, in particular Nanango Soccer Club, whose professionalism could not be faulted on the day.
Special mention must go to Lola McNamara, Steve Mangan and Alan Downie for the huge effort they put in to make the day such a success.
Thank you also to the Nanango Stags Rugby League Club for making their ground available and to Mick North, as Senior Standing Committee President, who worked tirelessly all season.
We look forward to another exciting competition next year but as you know there is no “off season”.
Kingaroy will be running their 7–A-Side competition in October followed by the South Burnett 7s Carnival.
2014 is also a World Cup Year and, of course, there will be no shortage of football with the A-League and EPL in the game that never sleeps.
In conjunction with southburnett.com.au I have enjoyed reporting on Senior Football and look forward to continuing in the future.
– Martin Stern
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NB. The Women’s Gold Boot Trophy was won by Jacqui Trace (Wests) with 19 goals