Eaglehawk progressed to the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League grand final after a dramatic extra-time victory over Shepparton United at Truscott Reserve on Sunday.
With the sides locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes, Eaglehawk striker Andre Latt’s close-range finish put the championship winners in front on the 101-minute mark.
Shepparton United’s Mohammed Al Hilfi was shown a straight red car for abusing referee Elias Andrews shortly after, leaving the visitors to play the remainder of the game with nine men.
United’s Mohammed Almussawi was sent off during normal time for elbowing an opponent.
Eaglehawk coach Greg Thomas sealed the victory for the Borough, slotting past United keeper Mohammed Al-Hindawi in the second half of extra time.
The victory for Eaglehawk was pleasing for coach Thomas as a number of his players carried injuries into the game and they were without star midfielder Nathan Hamblin.
“We just asked for one big last effort from the boys,” Thomas said.
The Borough will face in-form Shepparton South, who beat Eaglehawk 3-1 in the semi-final earlier this month.
Both teams played out a hard-fought 1-1 during the last round of the regular season – a result which ultimately helped Eaglehawk secure its second championship in two years.
“They (Shepparton South) are a good side, we've got a lot of respect for them,” Thomas said.
“They're going to be tough to beat.”
In the reserves preliminary final, Shepparton United overcame Eaglehawk in equally-dramatic fashion.
Trailing 2-1 in the dying minutes of normal time, Eaglehawk’s Kallum Schepers scored to take the tie into extra time.
The evenly-matched sides, who finished equal on points during the regular season, played out a tense 30 minutes of extra time before Ahmet Savran scored the winner for the visitors – his third for the match.
United progress to play championship winners Strathdale, who won the recent semi-final between the sides, in the grand final at Epsom Recreation Reserve on Sunday, October 8.
In the women’s final series, Shepparton United completed a successful day for the club by beating Moama-Echuca 4-0.
They will face Epsom in the grand final.
Strathdale will face Epsom in the youth grand final following its upset 2-1 victory over Shepparton South in the preliminary final.
All grand finals will be played at Epsom Recreation Reserve on October 8.