THE MOAMA-ECHUCA Border Raiders’ season is over after the women’s side couldn’t hang with Shepparton United in a disappointing 4-0 preliminary final loss.
The side had made a brilliant run in the back half of the season and was within one game of the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League grand final, but were behind early and couldn’t find a way back into the contest.
United led within six minutes through Sophie Papalia, before Olivia Cornall made the advantage two goals on the quarter-hour mark.
The Raiders made a habit throughout the season of scoring early themselves, but faced with the difficult scenario couldn’t fight back.
They created chances of their own but couldn’t find the back of the net and Caitlin Georgiou scored a third to put the game beyond doubt 65 minutes in.
Cornall completed the rout five minutes from time with her side’s fourth, the result progressing the side to the grand final against Epsom.
Coach Daryl Brown said the loss didn’t take away from an amazing season.
‘‘We were happy that we’d progressed that far, the girls did extremely well to get there,’’ he said.
‘‘We kept going all season and on the day they did that again; the score didn’t matter. We produced a lot of chances, but Shepparton United’s defence was a bit too strong.
‘‘As I’d predicted their midfield made all the play, they never let us settle on the ball and it was a bit uncomfortable for us.’’
Brown said the United pressure meant his side couldn’t spend time on the ball like usual, meaning it never truly settled into the game.
‘‘We take nothing away from United, they were best on the day,’’ he said.
‘‘Our fast movement of the ball didn’t work like it usually does, they wouldn’t let us settle on the ball. United just ran all day and for everything.
‘‘The girls were pretty upbeat and happy afterwards. They were happy to make it that far and we know what to do for next season. That’s to control and pass the ball a bit better; if we can get that right, transition between defence and attack will be faster.’’
With the Deniliquin Wanderers having merged with the Border Raiders for the season, Brown said he was hopeful a similar arrangement for next season would keep some key players around.
‘‘We’ve still got to sit down with them and talk, but hopefully it will be, which is a good thing; Bella (Isabella Gow) and Baylee (McDonald) are both Deni girls and they became integral parts of our side,’’ he said.
Brown said he’d look back on the third-placed season with pride, after his side won 11 of the last 14 games.
He added the side was in good shape moving forward.
‘‘The season was great; I absolutely loved it,’’ Brown said.
‘‘We had a slow start but we became a team and once we did that we hit our straps. If we can keep the side together, half the work is already done.
If we start quicker, that always boosts confidence and can set you up for the entire season. If you add a couple of wins at the start of this season, we’d be right up there in second place with top spot not too far away.’’