In what was a rematch of last year’s grand final, Panorama Red overcame last year’s premiers CSU White on Sunday in a five-goal thriller, for the former to earn a place in the Bathurst District Football Men’s Premier League grand final.
CSU, who finished the regular season in fifth, had a 2-0 lead at the half-time break against the minor premiers.
But two second-half goals from Panorama forward Jaiden Culbert took the game to extra-time, before Goats’ Jeremy Judge slotted home a penalty to confirm a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind qualifying final win.
Captain-coach Brent Osborne was stoked with the result.
“It feels relieving, a lot of relief, but ecstatic to get the win,” she said.
“The week off did us no favours. We came in a bit cold and bit off the pace at the start but a good team learns to win when they’re not having their best day.
“The character of the boys were bloody fantastic.”
Osborne said CSU didn’t make it easy for his side.
“They really pushed us, made it physical, moved the ball well and took their chances,” he said.
“They should be really proud of their effort day. From where they were three weeks ago, they were a completely different side.”
The open minutes started rough and physical, with one of the first fouls of the game resulting in a yellow card to CSU’s Kale Teece.
But the first ten minutes of the game was about asserting authority in the match and it was Panorama who were creating the better opportunities.
CSU goalkeeper Ryan Burgoyne was quick to react to several Panorama efforts inside the opening 20 minutes.
Panorama failed to convert another chance on the 25 minute mark, with Paul Long’s header being saved, after he received an excellent cross from one of his teammates.
These missed opportunities came back to haunt the Goats, when CSU’s Toby Baker was taken down in the box.
Felix Croshaw stepped up and while his penalty wasn’t the best, it went through the hands of Ryan Ellis and CSU led 1-0, 10 minutes out from the half-time break.
And the Stags were in dreamland when Andrew Smith scored his side’s second of the day, to give CSU a 2-0 lead heading into the break.
Osborne said he was shocked by his side deficit at half-time but knew his side was capable of a comeback.
“It was a relief to get to half-time. I think there was a lot of anxiety built up, a lot of panic and pressure on the boys’ shoulders,” he said.
“We’ve got some amazing players and there’s a lot of expectation that comes with that. They’re a young playing group but it’s not always easy to shoulder that. It was good to get to half-time and calm the nerves.”
“We always had a feeling that if we could get one we were going to comeback and win it.”
And comeback and win it Panorama did.
Jaiden Culbert stepped up to the penalty spot and scored to give the Goats hope and with 20 minutes left on the clock, before Culbert scored his second to take the game to extra-time.
In the first half of extra-time, Panorama were awarded the third penalty of the match and this time Jeremy Judge stood up and scored the winner.
Panorama will now take on Mudgee Wolves in the decider next Sunday, after the Wolves held on to a 1-0 scoreline against Abercrombie Navy.
Osborne is mindful of the challenge Wolves present.
“Last time we played them we beat them 4-0, so we should be confident going into the game,” he said.
“They play a pretty physical game and they’re a difficult side to face because they have some big boys, they play hard and they have some good footballers in amongst that.
“We’ll have to be better then what we were today if we want to win the GF.”