Weston keeper the hero as Bears grab point against Magic

WESTON keeper Tim Pratt made a magnificent last-second save to seal a point against Broadmeadow Magic at Wanderers Oval yesterday, but it may not be enough to revive the Bears’ Northern NSW State League finals hopes.

The scores were locked at 1-all when Magic midfielder Scott Pettit appeared certain to snatch a winner for the home side with the last kick of the game when played in by John Bennis on the edge of the six-yard box.

Pettit, who had earlier produced a dipping shot from 15metres to equalise after Mick Ryan had put the Bears ahead, attempted to slide his shot inside the far post.

But Pratt dived full-stretch to his right and got enough on the ball with his finger tips to push it onto the post.

‘‘That was a great save,’’ Bears coach Darren Elkin said. ‘‘He saved us on a few occasions today.’’

The Bears also had chances to grab all three points in a frenetic final 30minutes that was in contrast to the events of the opening hour.

The point was Weston’s first against Magic since 2010 – the year the Bears last won the minor premiership – and moved them to 14points but they remain eight points adrift of fifth-placed South Cardiff, who have a game in hand.

‘‘A one-all draw was probably a fair result,’’ Elkin said.

‘‘But gee I would have loved to have got the three points. One point doesn’t help us much.

‘‘We needed that three points to give us a kick start.’’

Weston has the better of the first half against a Magic side who were decidedly flat after a playing a midweek friendly against the Newcastle Jets.

‘‘I thought we were very average in the first half,’’ Magic coach Damien Smith said.

‘‘They won all the 50-50 balls, our fullbacks didn’t get forward and we turned over too much cheap possession.

‘‘They got in behind a few times. We weren’t tracking runners and it was only that they were offside a few times that we didn’t go into half-time down.’’

Mick Ryan finally put the Bears ahead in the 55th minute after the Magic defence failed to clear a ball on the edge of the penalty area. Ryan swooped and stroked a left-foot shot inside the right post.

A minute later Pettit equalised, hitting an angled shot with the outside of his right foot which dipped under the bar.

‘‘We were much better in the second half,’’ Smith said. ‘‘We changed our shape, put another body in midfield and did all right. We had enough chances to put it away, especially Scotty’s right at the end.’’

The point took Magic to 28 points, but they were overtaken at the top by the Jets youth team, who smashed Lake Macquarie 8-2 on Saturday.

Elsewhere yesterday, Ben Koina scored a double – taking his tally to nine goals in seven games – to lead Hamilton Olympic to an emphatic 5-2 victory over West Wallsend at Johnston Park.

Edgeworth scored a 1-0 triumph over South Cardiff at Jack McLaughlan Oval and Charlestown City beat Valentine Phoenix 3-1 at Cahill Oval.

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