Millthorpe in form ahead of huge final

MASSIVE CLASH: Millthorpe's Nic Smith and Barnies' threat Sam Sutton jostle for the ball during Saturday's preliminary final. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
MASSIVE CLASH: Millthorpe's Nic Smith and Barnies' threat Sam Sutton jostle for the ball during Saturday's preliminary final. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

They’re back.

After suffering their first loss in eight weeks in last week’s major semi-final clash with Waratah Old Boys, Millthorpe has rocketed into the Orange District Football Association A grade grand final after a thumping 3-2 win over last year’s premiers, Barnstoneworth United.

Tigers skipper Nic Smith was pleased with his side’s return to form, which came with the bare minimum 11 players on the field and against a side full of confidence following a 4-1 win in week one of the semis against early-season pace setters Waratah FC.

The result is a dream ODFA A grade grand final, with the Tigers keen to get one back on Old Boys after a tough post season opener.

“Very pleased,” Smith fired early after his side’s victory.

“After last week (against Old Boys) we were a bit down. But we’d beaten Barnies before and we were confident we could do it again.”

Smith said after a brilliant opening goal from Mitch Christie – the Tigers gun launched a long-range shot that found the back of the net – Millthorpe lifted.

“We got our confidence back up after that,” he added.

Nathan Davis found his side’s second winner mid-way through the opening half to shoot the Tigers out to a two-goal lead before the defending champs kept their hopes of a grand final berth alive with a winner just shy of the break.

Jack Nixon

Jack Nixon

“We only had 11 players for the game, so we were a bit worried we might lose a bit of steam (in the second half), that did happen,” Smith said.

Barnies locked up the preliminary final at 2-all during the second stanza – but the mini-scare shot the Tigers back into action.

Nathan Davis’ strike ricocheted off the post, but the deflection went straight to Zac Van Valen who was presented with an empty goal mouth.

He slotted the winner and Millthorpe hung on over the final 10 minutes, despite Barnies’ best efforts, to secure the club’s second A grade grand final appearance in the last three years.

“Very confident,” Smith said ahead of the big game.

“In that major semi, we had plenty of chances, hit the post once, two goal-line saves. We can score goals against them, we just need to play the whole 90 minutes.”