SOCCER | BOB Cup
TEN-man Morwell Pegasus prevailed in a dramatic penalty shootout to eliminate Newborough Yallourn-United to kick off the Battle of Britain Cup with a huge upset last Wednesday night at Latrobe City Sports Stadium.
A controversial second yellow card to Shayne Cassar late in regular time left the Horsemen in a tough spot, but they hung on to force a shootout and triumphed 4-2 from the spot.
Pegs’ reserves also stood tall with a 6-0 win in the Shopwell Trophy.
Coach Mark Tanti said increased squad depth and a host of new faces had transformed the club into an unknown quantity.
“We’ve got a great reserves side too, we’ve got some depth; no first 11 from that team (on Wednesday) played for Pegs last year,” Tanti said.
“No-one knows how to take us because no-one knows what we’ve got. I know what (other sides) are like, the unfortunate thing for them is they don’t know what we’re like.
“This is not the Pegs of old… this is not a new team, it’s a whole new club.”
The Horsemen were off to a flyer when Daryn Cummings found the back of the Newborough net within the first minute of the match.
With an experienced midfield, comprised of Ben Cassar, Robbie Holmes and Josh Tanti, containing the threat of Marc Mchallam the Combine had to find another avenue to goal.
NYU found its equaliser through the dangerous Brandon Scott to level 1-1 ahead of half-time.
Pegasus’ older brigade began to fatigue as the match wore on but had to find another burst of energy to cover Shayne Cassar’s dismissal about 10 minutes from full-time, with all three substitutes already used.
The Morwell men stoically held NYU out to force extra-time where they were again forced to absorb relentless pressure from a pressing Combine.
Newborough’s attacking raids twice left it open to counter-attacks and twice Jayden Scott had opportunities to score against the run of play, with one shot missing the target from a tight angle and another well-saved.
Brother Brandon Scott had an opportunity to seal the game with a brace at the death but an athletic one-on-one save from Andy Heyden kept the game alive and sent it to a shootout.
Pegasus netted their first three penalties and when Newborough skied its third effort the door was ajar for an upset.
Alex Bowman kept the Horsemen’s perfect record by netting his side’s fourth consecutive dot shot and when Heyden saved the next shot it was party time for Pegasus.
“We fought it out and were praying for penalties because then everyone’s back on level pegging,” Tanti said.
“All in all I think we held our nerve really well.”
Despite two wins from its opening two matches, over Tyers and now NYU, Tanti was not getting ahead of himself just yet.
“We’re not going to go out there, create miracles and win every game… it ain’t going to get any easier but all-in-all very happy (so far),” he said.
Last week’s other Cup ties resulted in a 3-1 win for Olympians over Churchill and Trafalgar advanced after East Gippsland United forfeited.
Traralgon City is drawn to play Monash and Fortuna will play Tyers to complete round one on 24 March.
Defending champion Falcons received a first round bye, as did Sale United and Moe United.
Battle of Britain Cup
Olympians d Churchill 3-1; Pegasus d NYUSC 1-1 (4-2 pen); Trafalgar d EGUFC (forfeit)
Olympians d Churchill 2-1; Pegasus d NYSUC 6-0