Bunbury Steal Thrilling Victory

Bunbury have stormed home to defeat the Collie Eagles at the Collie Recreation Ground on Sunday afternoon by one point, in a great contest before a healthy crowd, in the final game of round thirteen of the South West Football League.

Going into the match, Collie Eagles and Bunbury would sit second and third on the ladder, with a game and percentage separating the two teams.  At the end of the match, percentage only separates them, with the race now to the Qualifying Final and the home final.

The Eagles started the contest well, with Joel Houghton kicking truly to open the scoring, but Bunbury immediately replied.  Ryan Davis of Bunbury hobbled off midway through the first quarter as Collie, kicking with a blustery breeze kicked two further goals to lead by nine points at quarter time.

Bunbury started to take control of the match in the second quarter, kicking four goals to nil, with Aidan Clarke, Patrick Farrant and Harry Creasey all proving a handful for the Collie defence.  At the opposite end, Collie missed three set shots, with Houghton missing from long range, while Jayce Fontana kicked one out on the full from 20 metres out, directly in front, and then missed moments later after taking a great mark low down at the top of the goal square.  Bunbury would turn the ten point deficit into a 13 point advantage at the main break.

The momentum swung back in the favour of the home team in the third term, with Fontana kicking accurately to narrow the margin to seven points.  A further goal to Collie had scores level as the game tightened up, played almost exclusively in Collie’s half of the field.  An incident at the midway point of the third quarter saw to players reported, with Travis Justins of Bunbury and Rhys Chappell of Collie sent from the field.   The incident sparked a melee and also the Eagles, who goaled from a free kick, before Blair Malatesta kicked one of the goals of the season, snapping the ball over his head on the behind line, with the ball floating inside the far goal post to give the home team a two goal buffer.  Joel Houghton then sunk a customary long range goal to give the home side a seventeen point advantage at the final change.

Bunbury’s task was made harder, when ten minutes of rain fell during the break and during the opening minutes of the final term.  Bunbury scored a quick goal, but that was immediately counteracted by Collie, but it was apparent that Bunbury were not done with, as the Eagles defence was under constant pressure.  A kicking in danger free kick fifteen metres out, put Bunbury within ten points, and at the 18 minute mark a further goal narrowed the margin to less than a kick, with Bunbury hitting the front with one minute left.  With only two goals kicked at the town end for the match, it was going to be an uphill task for the home team, an so it proved, with Bunbury winning by one point.

Bunbury will now take plenty of confidence into this Sunday’s clash with top of the table Harvey Brunswick Leschenault at PC Payne Park, while Collie Eagles will look to rebound when they take on Eaton Boomers at Glen Huon Reserve.

Match Centre

Bunbury  1.3.9  5.4.34  5.5.35  9.6.60
Collie Eagles 3.1.19  3.3.21  8.4.52  9.5.59

Goals: Bunbury – A Clarke 2, P Farrant 2, H Creasey 2, B Frazer 1, B Peake 1, J Falco 1.  Collie Eagles – B Malatesta 4, J Houghton 2, B Kent 1, J Fontana, M Williams.
Best: Bunbury – J Falco, C Walker, K Bumann, B Della Franca, P Farrant, H Creasy.  Collie Eagles – K Shanahan, T Cleggett, Corey Griggs, B Malatesta, J Houghton, P Rinder
Umpires: Shane Millar, Glenn Omodei
Reports: Bunbury – T Justins reported by Field Umpire S Millar for striking B Malatesta.  Collie Eagles – R Chappell reported by Field Umpire S Millar for striking T Justins.
Ground: Collie Recreation Ground, Collie