Joseph Ogilvie (@jogilvie17)
Toowong will meet New Farm next week in the Capital 3 League Grand Final after beating Acacia Ridge 2 – 1 in their elimination final today.
The game will be remembered for a stunning Pedro Gondim goal and desperate Toowong defence.
The match that was originally scheduled to be New Farm vs Toowong changed earlier this week after it was revealed the winners of last week’s major semi final, Acacia Ridge, had fielded an ineligible player.
It was difficult to know how Ridge were likely to respond as they would have spent the start of the week mentally preparing for next weekends Capital 3 Grand Final.
For Toowong it meant a trip south to Ron Proud Field in a repeat of a match that saw them narrowly miss promotion for the 3rd year in a row.
The last match between the sides was a tight affair in which both sides dominated for large periods with Ridge prevailing 1 – 0.
This game proved to be different, as neither side was able to gain ascendency and turned into an end-to-end affair.
The biggest team news for the sides was Acacia Ridge’s Juan Jaimes, the league’s leading goal scorer, who was absent for the entire first half.
One of the best chances of the first half came in the 7th minute after a Pedro Gondim dink to Joseph Crockett, who chipped the keeper seeing the ball go just over the cross bar.
Off the very next play there was a great chance to Ridge’s Luka Ilic that was saved by Joshua Dennis in goal.
The end-to-end stuff continued with another chance to Ilic in the 12th minute and a chance to Toowong’s top scorer, Robert Tewksbury, in the 17th minute.
It looked like Toowong had broken the deadlock in the 20th minute after Tewksbury put through a lovely through ball to Cail Turp who’s shot went just wide.
In the 40th minute it looked like Tewksbury was in on goal until a crucial tackle by Frank Phiri cleared the danger for Ridge.
The last chance of the half went to Ilic who broke off a long ball only to send his shot just wide.
The teams went to the sheds 0 – 0 at half time and despite the score line it was a highly entertaining half.
Jaimes was put onto the field in the second half having an immediate impact for the home side providing them with a boost of energy and hitting the cross bar in the 47th minute.
It was all Ridge in the first 15 minutes of the second half with two golden chances falling to them in the 56th and 59th minute, the only thing that stopped them was Dennis in goal for Toowong who made two of the best saves you will see.
Then, against the run of play, Gondim got the ball on half way, beat two players and slotted the ball right into the top left corner giving Toowong a 1 – 0 lead in the 60th minute.
Toowong broke though again in the 67th minute after a ball into the box saw Tewksbury and the Ridge keeper in a contest that resulted in it spitting out to Michael Eggleton who finished clinically, giving the Phoenix a 2 goal advantage.
Ridge continued to push despite the deficit and created plenty of chances.
They finally struck back in the 88th minute after Dennis came out of his area to head away a long ball; it fell to Jaimes who lobbed him to score.
There was a number of nervous moments for Toowong, none more so than 3 minutes into injury time when a miscommunication saw the defender head the ball over his own keeper, it looked set to be an own goal until another Toowong defender cleared the ball centimetres from the line.
Off the resulting corner there was a dubious challenge on Jaimes in the box but no penalty was called.
Gondim was a standout for Toowong, proving a menace in the midfielder whenever he touched the ball.
Despite not finding the net Tewksbury worked hard for the full 90 minutes constantly threatening the Ridge defensive line.
It was an absolutely thrilling game, Ridge will rue not completing their team sheet correctly last week and Toowong will be left to wonder what could have been had they have beaten Ridge in the regular season.
Toowong will travel to Annerley’s Elder Oval next Saturday afternoon at 5pm for the Grand Final against New Farm.
Acacia Ridge 1 (Jaimes 87′) v Toowong 2 (Gondim 60’, Eggleton 67’)