A goal deep in stoppage-time has seen Heidelberg United advance to the last four of the Australian NPL Finals after a gripping win over Devonport Strikers on Saturday night.
With scores locked at 2-2 and extra-time looming at Valley Road, Jack Petrie pounced to break the home side’s heart and snatch a remarkable win in Tassie.
In a thrilling start the 2018 Finals Series, momentum swung numerous times but it was the Victorian NPL powerhouses that struck when it countered.
Heidelberg dominated the early stages but found themselves behind against the run of play just before the half-hour mark.
A Strikers counter-attack ended with a Heidelberg defender turning the ball into his own net.
But the visitors struck twice in a minute before half-time to take a lead to the break.
Star winger Sean Ellis drew the side’s level with a well-taken goal, before Alex Schiavo struck just a few seconds later to turn the game on its head as the teams went to the sheds.
Devonport improved after the break and thought they had forced extra-time when Kieran Mulraney equalised three minutes before full-time.
But there was still more drama to come.
Late in injury-time, the Strikers failed to clear a dangerous free-kick, with Petrie finding space inside Nathan Pitchford’s back post to put a dagger through the Strikers’ NPL finals hopes.
“It was disappointing with the finish of the game, I have never seen us play a second half like that and we had them in the corner,” Devonport coach Chris Gallo said.
“I probably thought we deserved the win, but great teams pop up at the last second to win the game and that is what they did today.”