GISBORNE maintained its unbeaten start to the BFNL season with a gutsy seven-point win over arch-rival Golden Square on Friday.
Gisborne rallied from a 10-point deficit at the final change to win by seven points, 11.17 (83) to 11.10 (76).
The home side kicked the first three goals of the final term to lead Square by 13 points entering time-on.
However, quick goals to Hamish Morcom and Jacob Greenwood cut Gisborne’s lead to one point with just under a minute to play.
Gisborne swept the ball forward where Ben Sonogan marked 50m out.
The final siren sounded as he lined up for goal. His kick floated through for a goal to give Gisborne a seven-point win.
Gisborne’s win was built on its pressure around the contest and coach Rod Sharp was elated with the performance of his young side.
“We had 79 tackles today which is the most we’ve had all year,’’ Sharp said.
“We’d only been averaging 55 to 60 tackles per game which isn’t good enough.
“We had a lot of run-down tackles today and that shows that we just weren’t going to give up.”
With six of its 10 best players missing through injury, Gisborne’s young players stepped up.
“I know Golden Square had a lot out as well, but for our young guys to get us over the line for the second-straight week was fantastic,’’ Sharp said.
“We had six under-18 players in the seniors today. It just shows the club is in good shape.”
Isaac Trickey, Josh and Hamish Govan, Shannon Greetham and Pat McKenna all made crucial contributions to Gisborne’s win.
When it mattered most in the final quarter it was the experienced heads of Ollie Messaoudi, Tom Waters and Sonogan that stood up.
Sonogan was solid at centre half-back in the first half, before his move to centre half-forward in the second half proved to be a match winner, with the acting captain kicking three goals.
It was Golden Square’s third-straight close game and the reigning premier wouldn’t have lost any admirers with Friday’s efforts.
Clayton Anderson, Jack Geary, Jack Daley and Dale Lowry did their best to get Square over the line.
Geary was best on ground by a mile in the first half before being quietened by Greetham in the second half.
Daley and Lowry won plenty of the ball through the middle, while Anderson was his normal courageous self down back.