Northcote Park has ended a two-game losing streak after defeating Thomastown by 37 points at Main Street Recreation Reserve, keeping their Northern Football Netball League Division 2 finals chances alive.
A strong display of determination saw the Cougars defeat the Bears 14.14 (98) to 9.7 (61) as they kicked six goals to two in the final term to secure their seventh win of the season.
Northcote Park is still outside the top five on percentage, but importantly, now creates a six-point gap from seventh-placed Thomastown with four games remaining.
With a couple of essential names out for the Bears, the visitors were able to capitalise with 28 shots on goal, compared to 16 from their opponents.
Matthew D’Angelo led the way up forward with a season-high six majors. His presence in the forward half was hard to ignore and was constantly a threat to the Bears defenders.
Janus Waldron was also a key player for the visitors, making it difficult for the Bears to move the ball smoothly through the middle.
Reigning club best and fairest Daniel Tallariti had some terrific moments as did Jordan Perry.
Lawrence Lopiccolo was predictably powerful for Thomastown in the middle and with no Tyrone Lenoardis, he stood up as best he could in stoppages.
Daniel Chadwick was the host’s top goal scorer with three while at the other end, Daniel Caruso was prolific.
The highly anticipated contest began with an unlikely first goalkicker as Matthew Morison, who has been a key defender all season for Thomastown, popped up to draw first blood.
Northcote Park moved the ball well through the middle of the ground from the outset, with Alexander Boyse getting involved early.
The Cougars first major came from D’Angelo but the Bears responded courtesy of Daniel Chadwick, whose fourth major of the season gave the hosts a six-point quarter-time lead.
The second quarter was an arm wrestle with multiple lead changes and plenty of stoppages throughout the middle.
Northcote Park’s ball movement was a highlight for the quarter, with Janus Waldron and Matthew Perazzola standing out as dominant contributors for Stephen Saddington’s men.
A goal from D’Angelo put the visitors in front before a brilliant play from Lopiccolo and Todd Hughes saw the latter find the big sticks which again ensured Thomastown took the lead.
But it didn’t last long, with three further goals complimenting a boost of pressure from the away side, with their fluency in transition a key factor in wrestling back the advantage.
The third quarter began slowly, but after forcing a turnover inside their defensive half, Janus Waldron kicked truly to help Northcote Park extend their margin to 23 points.
The Bears got it back to within a couple of goals, but the momentum shifted towards the Cougars again when D’Angelo got going throughout the term, with his third and fourth goals of the match putting the visitors in complete control.
Thomastown’s answer to D’Angelo’s surge was Shannon Ball, who burst onto the scene to kick two quick goals, helping the Bears get back in the game and trail by just 10 points at three-quarter time.
But despite looking to reduce the deficit heading into the final term, Northcote Park had all the answers, just as they had all afternoon.
Breaking the contest open, the Cougars kicked six majors to Thomastown’s two in the last quarter to solidify the triumph.
Matthew D’Angelo made a statement, adding two more goals to take his afternoon tally to six, while Jonathan Naddaaf and Benjamin Reddick were also important contributors to the side’s final-term dominance.
THOMASTOWN: 2.1 3.2 7.6 9.7 (61)
GOALS: D. Chadwick 3, J. Rizzolio 2, S. Ball 2, M. Morison, J. Cugnetto.
BEST: D. Caruso, S. Ball, R. Hatzis, T. Barrow, D. Chadwick, M. Hayse.
NORTHCOTE PARK: 1.1 5.7 8.10 14.12 (96)
GOALS: M. D’Angelo 6, B. Reddick 2, J. Waldron 2, D. Taylor, J. Perry, A. Punshon, C. Allum.
BEST: D. Tallariti, J. Perry, C. Clark, M. D’Angelo, D. Taylor, J. Waldron.
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