Lower Plenty came out on top in a thrilling contest against Diamond Creek at Montmorency Park South Oval in Round 4 of A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2.
The Bears led for most of the day but were challenged by a fast-finishing Diamond Creek in the final term. The Demons trailed by 18 points at three quarter time but kicked five goals to two in the final term to hit the front with only minutes remaining.
Just when it appeared the Demons would come away with an unlikely victory, the ball reached an unmarked Corey Sleep in the goal square, who put Lower Plenty back in front with a minute remaining.
The 14.12 (96) to 13.15 (93) win continued the Bears unbeaten start to the season, while Diamond Creek slipped a win and percentage outside the top-two.
Ben Paterson was the star up forward for Lower Plenty, kicking four majors, while Dale Nolan, Patrick Flynn and Matthew Duckworth had solid matches.
For the Demons, Jess Cosaitis. Ryan Pingree and Jacob Booth all ended the game with three goals, while Ty Franks, Oliver Parks and Josh Lorey were named in the beaten side’s best.
There was little space for players to lower their eyes in the opening term, which resulted in plenty of long kicks into the forward line. The style of play suited the Bears, who lined up with a tall forward line.
Clint Monger got the score rolling, booting the first goal within two minutes of the opening bounce. Thomas Blake and Corey Sleep added two more for the Bears, before Jess Cosiatis showed his talent by converting a goal from the boundary to register the Demons’ first.
The star of the opening term was Patrick Flynn, who was dominant in the ruck and pushed forward to be a threat in attack. Flynn showed his strength to push aside his opponent to kick the Bears fourth goal and give the home team a 17-point lead at quarter time.
Diamond Creek showed signs of improvement in the second term and hit the scoreboard first through Pingree. The Demons had plenty of the play but could not capitalise and kicked only 2.4 for the term.
Lower Plenty capitalised on the inaccuracy of Diamond Creek and increased its lead to 22 points at half time.
Lachlan Stagoll dribbled home the first goal of the third quarter, with the ball somehow evading the fingers of Diamond Creek defender Hugh Kavanagh.
The Demons continued to apply pressure on Lower Plenty but couldn’t hit the scoreboard. They finally kicked a goal via Pingree, which proved to be the first of five majors for the term for the visitors.
Paterson kicked the final two goals for Lower Plenty to give the home side an 18-point lead at the final break.
Diamond Creek coach Craig Hayes urged his forwards to increase their tackling pressure and wanted his side to “get their jets on” when it came to a loose ball contest. Hayes plea to his players worked, as the Demons looked the hungrier side in the final term.
After Paterson increased the Bears lead to over 20 points, Diamond Creek began to move the ball faster and find space around the ground. At times the Bears appeared too tall and too slow to stop the fast-finishing Demons.
Against the run of play, Ciaran Porter kicked a magnificent goal from the boundary to give the Bears a steadying goal. But the major didn’t stop the Demons onslaught.
Jacob Booth kicked two goals to drag Diamond Creek within two points, before Cosiatis kicked his third goal of the game to give the Demons the lead.
The Bears attacked at all cost but couldn’t find a way past the solid Diamond Creek defence. It looked like the Demons would hold on to an unlikely victory, until a long kick into attack found its way to Sleep, who gave the Bears the victory.
Final score: Lower Plenty 14.12 (96) def Diamond Creek 13.15 (93)