North and Geelong win and will meet in the final

Action from the Geelong Rangers versus North Geelong game

North Geelong and Geelong win City of Greater Geelong Cup matches

By Roy Hay

North Geelong had a tougher than expected struggle to beat Geelong Rangers by two goals to one, and Geelong thrashed Bell Park four-nil in the City of Greater Geelong Cup on Friday night at Stead Park.

North coach Vinko Buljubasic shuffled his troops once again bringing back Andrew Ingham, Andrew McLean and Reardo Luka among others.

Rangers were without James Blackburn, so their attack was deprived of its focal point.

It took 15 minutes for North to break down the Rangers’ defence and the goal came from an Ingham corner kick on the left which Michael Patti deflected past young Shaun Finn.

Rangers equalized on the half-hour when the adventurous Tom Dunn was caught well off his line as the ball bounced over his outstretched hands and Darren McCallum belted the gift into the goal from a narrow angle.

It remained one-all till the break and Rangers were unlucky not to take the lead when Marcus van der Chys’ shot just curled wide of the goal with substitute keeper Daniel Zilic beaten.

North had another fine chance when Dominic Versace set up Ingham who lifted the ball over keeper Finn, but just over the crossbar as well.

The winning goal came after 53 minutes when Connor Reardon, playing against his old club, released Ingham who ran on and finished neatly.

The game became scrappy in the last ten minutes and finished with no further score.

In the second match, Geelong got a gift goal after only six minutes when Joe Agius beat the offside trap and ran through unchallenged to beat Angelo di Mauro.

Six minutes later Michael Trigger got to the bye-line and pulled the ball back for Agius to get his second goal of this match and his seventh in the competition.

That completed the first half scoring and Bell Park nearly got a goal back early in the second half, but Peter Mileto’s well-struck shot was saved by Joe Agius who replaced Romeo Purlija in the Geelong goal.

In the 52nd minute Bell Park had the ball in its own backline and unfortunately Damian Hagebols coughed it up and Jasko Ikanovic had only the keeper to beat which he did.

In the last minute, Geelong broke swiftly again and Vincenzo Ierardo finished the move with his side’s fourth goal.

That ensures Geelong of a place in the final against North Geelong, while the matches on Wednesday next will decide which teams contest the play-off for third place.

Corio takes on Bell Park at 7 pm followed by Surfcoast against Geelong at 8.20 pm.

The play-off and the grand final will take place on Friday 4 March at 7 pm and 8.30 pm respectively.

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