Heffernan the hero again - September 4 2012
Heffernan the hero again
September 4 2012
Danny Heffernan was at it again on Sunday, as Shepparton stunned premiership favourite Shepparton United 2-0 to book a place in the inaugural Regional Premier League grand final.
One week after bagging the winner in the Reds’ qualifying final win against Cobram, Heffernan scored both goals in the semi-final against the Blues.
The English import’s ruthlessness in front of goal proved the difference between the sides, as United failed to fire in its first post-season appearance.
Shepparton coach Tom Radevski was delighted to have got one back on an old rival.
‘‘After losing 8-1 earlier in the season and then losing a close one the boys were pretty keen to win,’’ Radevski said.
‘‘They had a lot of the ball in the back third and in the middle, but they weren’t that threatening on goal.
‘‘I wouldn’t say we weren’t necessarily the better side, it was relatively even, but our defence was really strong and Heff takes his chances very well.’’
Blues playing coach Aaron Westervelt was serving a one-match ban, while Shepparton was without injured midfielder Shaun Kane.
Westervelt said Shepparton’s performance offered few surprises, but his side ‘‘didn’t take enough shots to win the game’’.
‘‘We didn’t play that badly, but to Shepparton’s credit they run hard for each other and play the same way week in, week out,’’ Westervelt said.
‘‘Good teams bounce back and if we want to be considered the best team in the league that’s what we have to do.’’
United will now meet Cobram Victory for the other spot in the final, after the Victory sent Cobram spiralling out of the competition in straight sets.
In a bizarre first half, the Tigers had David McGurk sent off for a last man foul, but still took a 2-0 lead into the break, with goals to cousins Michael and Sean Ellis — the latter from the penalty spot.
However, the Victory took control in the second half, with a Josh Zito brace hauling them level, before two goals to playing coach Craig Carley sealed a 4-2 win.
Carley said ‘‘a few stern words at half-time’’ went a long way.
‘‘The first 20 minutes were really good . . . but once they went down to 10 men, we just stopped, it was like they had the extra man,’’ Carley said.
‘‘The boys came out with some fire in their belly and Cobram didn’t really test our keeper in the second half.’’
The Victory lost creative midfielder Matt Gray to a knee injury, while Adam Gatcum sustained a broken nose.
Cobram coach Luke Slater was absent with work commitments and said it was a disappointing way to end what had been a positive season.