Spirit soars into NSL finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Spirit soars into NSL finals

By Glenn Cullen 08/03/2003 05:35:49 AM Comments (0)

Northern Spirit has confirmed a national soccer league finals spot for the first time in four seasons after a sketchy 2-1 win over Marconi at North Sydney Oval.

The Spirit, all but dead and buried after sitting last on the NSL ladder in round 17, has racked up eight wins in its last 10 games and will finish the season in the six regardless of final round results.

Spirit coach Lawrie McKinna admitted his side was lucky but said it was difficult to play at peak level for such a long period of time.

"We felt the pressure tonight," he said.

"But it was a big night for the club and personally I'm just delighted that we've made it through."

Marconi coach Rale Rasic said his side did enough to win but paid tribute to the Spirit, calling its comeback to make the finals the NSL "story of the year".

Friday night's match proved the Spirit has a long way to go if it wants to be competitive in the finals, with the last-placed Stallions outgunning the Spirit everywhere except on the scoreboard.

After a flat first half by the home side, substitute Adam Kwasnik turned the match in the Spirit's favour with an inspired final 25 minutes.

Barely warmed up, he gave a lovely ball to Andy McDermott on the right flank, the midfielder comfortably passing Stallions keeper Michael Turnbull to make the score 1-0 after 66 minutes.

The home side barely had time to think the goal had broken the opposition's back when boom Stallions striker Alex Brosque laid off nicely for Grant Last on the left to make it 1-1 four minutes later.

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