Rovers snatch win in thriller

Hampton Rovers kept their season alive with a thrilling one-point win against AJAX at the Trevor Barker Oval on Saturday.


The match started in perfect conditions with only a slight breeze favouring the city end.  AJAX kicked the first goal after having much of the play in the opening minutes.  Rovers youngsters Mark Devereaux and Daniel Andersen responded with a goal each to give the green and gold the lead – something they did not get back until the dying minutes of the game.  At the first break AJAX led 3.6.24 to 2.2.14.


The second quarter started like the first with AJAX’s mid fielders continually driving the ball forward and they quickly scored two goals.  The Rovers defence was under enormous pressure, but a goal from Michael Flahive helped them back into the game. The Rovers had most of the play in the second quarter but were unable to capitalise.  At the main break they trailed by just one goal but the tide seemed to have turned their way.


AJAX was superb in the third quarter quickly kicking two goals and they could have had more if not for inaccurate kicking.  Gary Giasoumi playing his first senior game for the Rovers kicked a steadying goal, but the ?Jackas’ height and pace was clearly taking its toll.  Two more goals to AJAX and the Rovers were 17 points down at the final break.


The fourth quarter opened with two goals to the Rovers James Prantzos and Michael Davey.  Five points the difference and it was definitely game on!!  The ball sped up and down the ground as both sides fought for the ascendancy.  Both teams’ finals aspirations were on the line and the pressure was intense.  Michael Davey goaled again and the Rovers hit the front for the first time since the opening quarter.  But AJAX then lifted and kicked two more goals in time on. 


With a 9 point deficit and only minutes to go, the Rovers were staring into the abyss – defeat was imminent.  But it’s not in the make up of this team to give in and a strong mark and goal to Matt Lawrence put them within 3 points with less than two minutes to go. 


After the centre bounce, the ball was propelled forward and a pack of desperate and committed players converged on the ball in numbers.  It seemed like all 36 of them were involved as the relentless count down of the clock continued.  Someone had to do something special for the Rovers to snatch a much needed victory.  And it was Anthony Quon, just promoted from the Reserves and not long back on the ground, who grabbed the ball, snapped and goaled. Rovers three points up and it looked like the impossible victory was about to occur.  Quon was swamped by ecstatic team mates and the large Rovers crowd roared in delight.


But AJAX wasn?t done yet.  A quick centre clearance and full forward Kirzner marked strongly just 25 metres out.  As he lined up to take the kick and score the goal, which seemed a mere formality, some Rovers supporters couldn?t bear to look.  In the dying seconds of a fantastic game, as darkness descended on the ground, incredibly the shot went astray.  Rovers still ahead albeit with the narrowest of leads.


20 seconds later the siren sounded.  Rovers victorious 12.16.88 to AJAX 12.15.87. 


It was a stirring win and one that could well be season defining.  A win where there were heroes all over the ground.   More than 10 players took 20 possessions.  Also, 11 of the 22 players did not play for the Rovers when they defeated AJAX in round 1. 


Just one game out to the four, the Rovers take on fourth-placed Parkdale Vultures next Saturday at Boss James Reserve.  A win will put the green and gold back in the four.


Best players for the Rovers were Lawrence, Burggraaff, Prantzos, Hanlon, Davey and Duddy.


Goal kickers were Davey 3, Hanlon 2, Andersen, Devereaux, Flahive, Giasoumi, Lawrence, Prantzos and Quon with one each.


The Rovers Reserves bounced back after their loss last week and easily defeated top side Ajax.  They are now third on the ladder.  While the under 19s were defeated in their game.



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