Colombian striker Gustavo Giron-Marulanda’s goal late in the second period of extra time has put Bayswater City into the NPL WA Grand Final against Perth SC.
Marulanda’s strike sealed a thrilling 3-2 win at Frank Drago Reserve against a Balcatta side who had twice led.
The striker, who has been hampered by injury for most of the season, gave credit to his side for their resilience.
“We always fight out games and have a mentality of not giving up and today was a classic example,” he said.
“We knew if we could find an equaliser we would win the game, that’s the sort of character we have in our side and for me to score the winner was great. We now look forward to next week’s final against Perth and we head there looking to reverse last week’s result against them.”
Perth thumped Bayswater 5-0 in a semi-final encounter just over a week ago.
But there was to be no repeat against Balcatta, who were just moments away from reaching their first ever Grand Final with a 2-1 lead that was wiped out by substitute Chris Saldaris’ header.
Alex Canigila had given Balcatta the lead early before Andy Reale levelled before the break. It looked like Benny Kouakou had won it for Ramon Falzon’s side but Bayswater kept pressing and got their rewards.
Bayswater Coach Chris Coyne was proud of his players’ commitment and character to fight back to set up a showdown against Perth.
“Going behind twice to two sloppy goals was frustrating but we showed good resolve and we ran the game out well,” he said.
“The boys have been magnificent since I’ve been here. They have given me everything they have. In retrospect, the lads were tired last week. It was a tough two weeks - four games in that period is a lot of football for semi-professional players… it just caught up with them.”
The season decider will be played at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday.
Image courtesy of Peter Simcox