Despite putting in a spirited performance, we sadly ended the 2022 AFL D-League tournament with a defeat in what was an entertaining game.
The early signs were good and after just 7 minutes we took the lead through a goal scored by one of recent signings, Jordan Deans who calmly picked his spot with a curling left footed shot from the edge of the box. We almost doubled our lead five minutes later when Jordan swung in a corner from our right which was headed against the cross bar by a Predators defender.
After their earlier let off, Predators came back into the game and made matters all square in the 17th minute courtesy of a strike at the near post by Kern Cadette. Despite this setback, we regrouped very quickly and took the lead for a second time just moments later when Jauron Gayle was found with a long through ball, Jauron controlled the ball well and shot high into the roof of the net which gave the Predators goalkeeper no chance of saving!
In the 25th minute only some great defending by Tre Gumbs denied the Predators from equalizing for a second time. Sadly, this was Tre's last involvement in the game as a minute later he had to leave the field due to an injury and was replaced by Denny Derrick. Almost immediately after the substitution there were strong Uprising appeals for a penalty when Jauron Gayle seemed to be fouled in the box, but the referee deemed the challenge to be a fair one. Ten minutes later, Jordan delivered a delicious looking cross into the Predators box, but Jauron could not direct his header on target. Jauron again went close shortly after when he was denied a goal by a superb save from the Predators goalkeeper.
This was an encouraging first 45 minutes from the lads and as the referee blew his whistle for half time the scored remained at 2-1 in our favour.
After a scrappy opening ten minutes of the second period, Predators got back on level terms when a scramble on our goal line resulted in the ball finally being prodded into the net. Minutes later, some let’s say unique goalkeeping by our stand in custodian, Rachad Thomas who was deputising for the unavailable Darian Carty, prevented Predators from taking the lead. Sadly, Rachad received an injury following his efforts and later had to leave the field of play. Before he was taken off, he was unable to prevent Predators from taking the lead when they converted a penalty following a foul by Matthew Brown.
Credit must go to our lads after falling behind as we battled back and forced an equalizer on 76 minutes through a goal scored by Denny Derrick. Denny was hand to tap the ball into an empty net after a shot from Jauron was initially saved.
Sadly, there would be no fairy-tale ending to the game for the boys as the Predators regained the lead on 82 minutes and the scores were to remain at 4-3 in their favour when the referee blew his whistle for full time.