Balgownie Rangers youth grade bowed out of the Illawarra District League finals series after a 4-2 defeat on Saturday afternoon at Tarrawanna Oval.
It was a bad start for Balgownie, as captain and stalwart defender Riley Jarrett was forced off with an injury, which made the game much harder, according to Rangers’ winger Xavier Fiumara.
The Rangers were subjected to a first-half onslaught from the Breakers, who went into the sheds with a three-goal advantage courtesy of Lucas Zerafa’s brace as Elijah Dabelstein also scored before Lucas Zerafa notched his hat-trick in the 64th minute.
“It was tricky because he’s our captain, and he’s been one of our best players all year,” Fiumara said.
“Having a centre-back that’s been a staple at the back of our defence all year go down with an injury at the start of a game changes a lot.
“We can’t say it’s why we conceded four goals, but it really hurt not having a player of the capacity of Riley, and we just wish him a speedy recovery.”
With 15 minutes to play, it seemed the Rangers’ season was over, as the Breakers looked like they were cruising through to the next stage.
However, midfielder Thomas Cusack scored in the 75th minute, allowing momentum to pick up for Balgownie, and then Fiumara added a second goal five minutes later, maintaining pressure on the Breakers.
Midfielder Luke Pearce explained a comeback could have been on the cards with 10 minutes left in the game.
“We scored two back-to-back and there was a moment where I thought maybe it was possible, Pearce said.
“Last week, we went 1-0 down, and we came back and won 2-1 so I thought maybe.
“But it didn’t go our way, and that’s a bit unfortunate.”
It wasn’t to be, though, as Gerringong progressed to the preliminary final facing Fernhill FC, who lost 2-1 to league champions and grand-final bound Thirroul Thunder.