GISBORNE locked in a 2014 finals double chance with an eight-point win over Golden Square, its major challenger for third spot, on Saturday.
In a cracker of a contest at MyJet Oval, the Gardiner Reserve Dogs fought back from a 25-point deficit at the last change to boot five, unanswered final quarter goals and snatch a thriller.
Midfielders Isaac Trickey, Tom May and Shaun Comerford didn’t stop running for the entire game and kicked five goals between them in the 14.12 (96) to 13.10 (88) win.
Golden Square had fine contributors up forward in Corey Jones (four goals) and Clayton Anderson (three) as the home side dominated the last part of the third quarter, adding seven goals to three for the term.
But their dominance ebbed away as the last term unfolded.
Early on Gisborne bounced out to a great start, nailing four goals to two in the opening term.
Michael Thornton and Comerford drilled majors early on with Comerford’s a beauty off the side of the boot from the bowling green pocket, Wade Street end.
Golden Square finally got on the board at the 10-minute mark when Dale Lowry - and soon after, Phil Ryan - banged home majors.
Ryan had collected a precision handball from Clayton Anderson who fired out the pass as he lay flat on his back on the deck.
Anderson electrified the crowd early in the second term when he fired home a barrel torpedo after bouncing off a Gisborne opponent.
Trickey was behind Gisborne’s next two goals, booting the ball forward for Ben Sonogan to drill a major and then hammering home a goal of his own from the pool flank.
But when Jones and Anderson replied for the home side, suddenly the margin was just three points in Gisborne’s favour at half-time.
The latter part of the third term belonged to the Square. Although the lead had changed hands five times by the 20-minute mark of the quarter Golden Square drove home the last four goals of the stanza.
Jones contributed two of these with Jack Daley and Tim Letcher adding the others. The seven-goal third term handed the home side its 25-point three-quarter time lead.
Then the Square supporters started to lose their voice. Gisborne added 5.5 to two behinds in the final term with the Graveyard Dogs chipping away at the deficit as each minute passed.
However three, consecutive Gisborne points early on just added to the tension. Finally Trent Crosbie landed a much-needed goal and when Patrick McKenna was on target and then Tim Walsh’s long bomb rocketed home the Square lead was suddenly back to just five points.
Walsh’s shot was the goal-of-the-day. Josh Govan had marked on the 50m line. He turned around with a handball to the Gisborne defender behind him and Walsh’s bomb off a couple of steps sailed home.
Comerford’s goal from the swimming pool flank eventually handed Gisborne a one-point lead with very little time left.
With nine seconds left on the clock, Jarrad Lynch iced the win.
Golden Square coach Nick Carter said he was happy with his side’s third quarter and felt that the game had been brought back to their terms.
“But to Gisborne’s credit they just kept pushing the ball forward in the last while we couldn’t get past half-forward,’’ Carter said.
“They played the way we wanted to - to finish the game off (in the last quarter), but we just weren’t able to do that.”
Carter said Rick Ladson had copped a knock on the knee and couldn’t see the match out.
Michelsen Medallist Scott Walsh was a late withdrawal for Gisborne.
Gisborne coach Rod Sharp was unavailable for comment.