Dramatic end to contest - Bendigo 2 - Moreland Zebras 2

 Story Coutesy of the Bendigo Advertiser Story by NATHAN DOLE

Playing at home for the first time, Bendigo led two-nil with just over 15 minutes to go before a parochial crowd at the Tom Flood Sports Centre.

The Zebras turned up the heat with a headed goal by Liam Brian in the 79th minute.

A few minutes later and Bendigo was down to 10 on the pitch.

Moreland kept on attacking and equalised in the 89th minute when Simon Tolli's strike went under a diving 'keeper Sebastian Mattei.

Until then Mattei and the FC Bendigo defence had teamed superbly to halt the Zebras charges to goal over the majority of the last 20 minutes of the third-round match.

Bendigo was first to score when a strike by Amarah Kromah deflected off an opponent into the net.

Play swung from end-to-end for most of a frenetic first half in which Bendigo stopped attacks or Zebras' shots on goal went astray.

Bendigo's spirits soared when captain Trent Waterson headed a corner-kick from Matt Breeze into the net in the 14th minute of the second half.

Waterson's somersault was just as impressive as the goal from Bendigo's first corner in the match.

For the next 20 minutes FC Bendigo worked hard to keep possession or halt the Zebras attacks.

Moreland kept on persisting and Brian's goal swung momentum in a big way.

Just over 20 minutes later and the final whistle blew on a 2-2 result.

FC Bendigo coach (and ex Zebras 2004 VPL championship winner) Steve Martin said to not take all three points was "bitterly disappointing" for the players, coaching staff and fans.

"To be one up, and then two up, was vastly different to our first two games of the season," Martin said.

"For once we were not chasing."

The coach said the team's work for most of the match was excellent.

"We worked extremely hard to be in a winning position, but then lost some composure as Moreland lifted its pressure.

Martin said there had been great progress in all three matches.

Bendigo's best were Waterson, who showed excellent leadership in attack and midfield; Amarah Kromah, and Alon Blumgart.

Moreland scored a 2-1victory in the under-20 match.


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