Gladdyatahs claimed the Orange over-35s football premiership after a hand-fought extra-time win over Brighouse.
While Brighouse were making their sixth consecutive grand final appearance, the preparation for this year wasn’t ideal for the minor premiers. The washed-out semi-finals and the finals draw meant Brighouse hadn’t played for weeks before Saturday’s grand final.
Gladdies started the better when attacker Josh Gersbach was given too much space mid-way through the first half. A cracking shot from 30 metres out opened the scoring.
Soon after a penalty gave Gladdies the chance to extend their lead but the shot glanced off the top of the bar, and they went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
It was Brighouse’ turn early in the second term to be awarded a kick from the penalty spot. While the initial shot missed the mark, the ensuing goal-mouth scramble resulted in the ball crossing the line to level the score.
Brighouse started to lift as the half progressed, but shots from Glen Harpley and Andy Holmes were sent wide.
As tempers started to fray, red-cards saw Gladdies reduced to nine players.
Neither side could break the dead-lock and with the season’s biggest crowd of supporters on the sidelines, the game went to an extra-time nail-biter.
The breakthrough came in the second round of 10 minutes each way. A long, high cross beat the Brighouse keeper and Josh Gersbach was on the spot to put away his second. The Gladdies defence dug deep to see off the tiring Brighouse attack, grind out the 2-1 win and signal the start of celebrations .