United clinch Grand Final with first-half raid
Belconnen United 2 (Dustin Wells 31', Nick Dahl 45+') def. Canberra Olympic 1 (Jordan Tsekenis 90+')
By Matt Nicoletti
Belconnen United clinched the 2017 PlayStation4 NPL Grand Final infront of over 1000 people at McKellar Park on Saturday, with a 2-1 win over Canberra Olympic.
Olympic came out of the blocks well and looked strong, but United had the first clear cut chance of the occasion. Jason Ugrinic got in behind the Olympic defence to latch onto a through ball but could only put his effort wide.
Dustin Wells had a good chance as well shortly after as he threatened with a header, but Olympic held out and the match remained goalless. Daniel Fabrizio was brought down by Adrian Macor just after the 20-minute mark and the hosts were awarded a penalty, but Angelo Konstantinou did brilliantly to save Ugrinic’s spot kick with one hand.
United took the lead just past the half hour mark though as they made good on their consistent pressure. Ugrinic made headway down the left wing as he tormented his defender, before cutting the ball back to Wells who calmly fired home to put his side up a goal.
And in first half stoppage time Dean Ugrinic’s side delivered a sucker punch to double their advantage on the stroke of the break. A high ball in from the wing had Konstantinou rush off his line to clear, and Nick Dahl headed over the ‘keeper and into a vacant net as United took a strangle hold on the match.
Both sides traded possession early in the second half and United appeared happier to sit back as Olympic pushed to get back into the match. Periods of sustained pressure saw them create chances, but nothing clear-cut enough to seriously threaten Finn Jurak in goals.
Stephen Domenici was still causing trouble for the home defence as the half wore on but couldn’t make his pressure count. Olympic were thrown a lifeline in stoppage time though, as substitute Jordan Tsekenis powered home a strike from close range as the ball bounced around in the 18-yard area.
A few nervous moments ensued as the ball hung around near United’s goal in the dying stages, but persistent defending saw them to the final whistle as McKellar Park erupted at the conclusion.