SMS reach third consecutive Grand Final
SMS reached their third consecutive Grand Final after a thrilling finish which saw three goals scored in a frantic final three minutes. SMS had gained the early initiative after Bobby Mehta grabbed the lead in the opening few minutes, only for the Traffic Cones to hit back shortly after. Mandeep Singh, making a cautious return after being ruled out with a hip injury last week, restored the lead with a confident finish, but the Traffic Cones were not behind for long after poor defending from SMS allowed their opponents to restore parity once again. It was an evenly matched, and friendly, encounter between two teams that had a mutual respect for each other, acknowledging the others right to be contesting a place in the final after a long 15 weeks of qualifying group matches. SMS and the Traffic Cones had finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in their league and the match was predictably close whilst fairly, yet fiercely, contested. Tim John calmly scored the third for SMS shortly before half time, giving his team a slender lead heading in to the second period. The second half started with the Traffic Cones pushing for, and scoring, a deserved equaliser before a foul resulted in a free kick for SMS, Mehta curling a low shot to the keeper's left to reinstate the lead for SMS. Any hopes that the Traffic Cones would concede defeat were dashed once again as their tenacious play, once again, brought them level at 4-4. A change of goalkeeper allowed Toby Ford to exert further pressure from the back, a move which paid off as Singh scored his second of the night with a typically cool finish to give SMS a 5-4 lead. Ford was again involved shortly after as a bizarre effort from well within their own half allowed the Traffic Cones to squeeze the ball past the blindsided keeper. With just under two minutes remaining and the score locked at 5-5, thoughts turned to a potential golden goal extra time finish. However, SMS had other ideas, and with time running out Mehta tried another speculative long shot which curled around the keeper and found its way into the back of the net. The match was put to bed seconds later when a free kick, following some fantastic play by Leo Cartwright, was once again struck home by Mehta to seal a close 7-5 win for SMS and finally extinguish the challenge of their tireless opponents. The Froths await SMS in the Grand Final next week, a difficult proposition against the overwhelming favourites, and one which will require SMS to be at their absolute best if they are to finally to win the cup at their third attempt.