Footscray have advanced to a VFL Preliminary Final after a stirring come-from-behind win over Essendon in the semi-final at North Port Oval in Port Melbourne. Trailing the Bombers by 18 points at the final change, the Bulldogs rallied, booting six goals to one in the final quarter to win 13.16.94 to 10.15.75.
The two sides met in the corresponding match last season with the Bombers getting the chocolates and it appeared he result would go the same way mid way through the third term. The Bombers scored four unanswered goals either side of half time and hit the front for the first time since just after the opening bounce early into the third thanks to a Sam Michael goal.
Wasted opportunities in front of goal however cost the Bombers in that quarter with only four goals from eleven scoring shots keeping the Bulldogs chances alive. Essendon had eliminated Geelong in week one of the finals after a nine goal last quarter and the Bulldogs would have been aware of their ability to run out the match.
Footscray dug deep in the final quarter. With the tenacity of their senior teammates in the AFL in Perth on the Thursday before they chased and tackled their way back into a winning position.
Lively wingman, Bailey Dale, got the Dogs going in the first half booting three goals while Mitch Hannan was the match winner in the last kicking three in the term while for the Bombers, Aaron Francis and Nick Kommer kicked two each.
The Bulldogs best included defenders Jordan Russell, Jedd Adcock and Fletcher Roberts who repelled many Essendon attacks throughout the match, Liam Nash who was in everything early and Mitch Honeychurch who continued his excellent form.
Some of the better players for Essendon included, Will Hams, James Polkinghorne, Kommer and Joshua Freezer. Footscray will now play Collingwood at North Port Oval on Saturday in what is sure to be a cracking contest for a right to play off in the Grand Final a week later at Etihad Stadium. The winner will play either Casey Scorpions or Williamstown who meet in the other Preliminary Final which is held at North Port Oval on Sunday.
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