Tuggeranong United got the point they needed to earn promotion back to the National Premier League only one season after being relegated as they drew 1-1 at Brindabella Blues to mathematically secure the League Championship.
In truth, it was a title that looked certain to be heading their way a few weeks back, but United have stumbled, rather than sprinted across the line, and yet they were deserved champions based on an exceptional season that saw they grab hold of the promotion chase and refuse to let go.
They had to settle for a share of the spoils here though as a tight first-half ended goalless with the deadlock finally broken some fourteen minutes into the second half as Dean Tomeski, a mid-season signing from Queanbeyan City, fired his first Tuggeranong goal to put his side ahead.
The Blues hit back as their leading scorer Curtis Schaeffer found the space to level the scores, a goal that may prove to be vital for Brindabella as they kept alive their hopes of a finals place, moving to within three points of Wagga City Wanderers who occupy that fourth position.
Blues had been beaten in midweek as White Eagles secured a 2-1 win with a match-winner from veteran Martin Deng three minutes into the second half of a game that Brindabella finished with ten men after Jamie Ward was sent off for a second yellow card offence with sixteen minutes remaining.
Earlier, James Menham had equalised for the visitors after Ohio Asikhia had put the Eagles ahead in a frantic start which included two goals inside the opening eleven minutes of the contest.
White Eagles week went from good to bad though as they followed their win over the Blues with a disappointing 0-2 loss to Queanbeyan City for whom Michael Mensah, who has been in blistering form in recent weeks, scoring both goals to remain in third place and give the Eagles work to do to reach the finals.
Mensah struck twice in the final quarter of the match, the first after 66 minutes and the second ten minutes from time to move onto nine goals for the campaign and keep the pressure on ANU FC above them with only two rounds of action remaining in the Capital Premier League.
ANU FC stayed one point ahead of Queanbeyan City as they defeated Wagga City Wanderers to record a seventh successive victory, a run of form that has suddenly propelled the University side into the conversation as potential Grand Finalists, and even potential winners of that trophy.
A last minute goal from Jan Wojna settled the contest in favour of ANU FC, a vital strike from the big defender, and a goal that will be widely celebrated by those chasing Wagga City Wanderers and fourth place. As it is, the Wanderers remain in that coveted spot, a point above Eagles and three above Brindabella.
Yoogali SC meanwhile won the battle of the bottom two as they defeated Weston-Molonglo FC 3-1 in Griffith to claim a fifth win of the season and increase the gap between themselves and the wooden spoonists to fourteen points.
The damage was all done in the opening forty-five minutes as the home team romped into a three-goal leas by the break. Mason Donadel opened the scoring for Yoogali with an in-form Andrew Vitucci making it two on the half-hour mark.
By the time William Piva increased the lead to three just two minutes before the half-time break, the destination of the points were certain. Alex Hollis nabbed a consolation for the Magpies in the second half.
Wednesday 25 August
White Eagles 2 (Asikhia 7’, Deng 48’) Brindabella Blues 1 (Menham 11’)
Saturday 27 August
Brindabella Blues 1 (Schaeffer 64’) Tuggeranong United 1 (Tomeski 59’)
White Eagles 0 Queanbeyan City 2 (Mensah 66’, 80’)
ANU FC 1 (Wojna 89’) Wagga City Wanderers 0
Sunday 28 August
Yoogali SC 3 (M. Donadel 12’, Vitucci 30’, Piva 43’) Weston-Molonglo FC 1 (Hollis 47’)
|1||Tuggeranong United (c)||19||14||2||3||+52||44|
|4||Wagga City Wanderers||19||9||1||9||-8||28|