Old Eltham's Ben Cox. PHOTO: Nathan William Media/NFNL

Old Eltham Collegians held their nerve in an entertaining contest with Laurimar at Eltham College, winning by seven points to boost their Northern Football Netball League Division 3 finals aspirations.

Three unanswered goals on either side of three-quarter time by the hosts were crucial in the 9.4 (58) to 6.15 (51) victory.

In a game of momentum swings, the Turtles were able to make better use of their chances and, despite not scoring at all in the second term, did enough to get over the line.

“The win keeps us in the hunt for the finals,” Old Eltham Collegians coach Matt Sleeman said.

“We look forward to the challenge of being the first side to win at Kinglake next week.”

Sleeman praised the work of Sebastian Francis-Perkins for his ability to hit targets as well as Matthew Williamson up forward and Timothy Ellis in defence.

Named best on the ground, Ellis noted the work rate of the Turtles being good, particularly late in the game, and that shutting down the Laurimar talls had a major say in the contest.

Nathan Byatt and Daniel Hallett continued their good work in the back half for the hosts.

Noah Mooney was influential for the Power and scored the first two goals of the match before the Turtles even troubled the scorers. But a highlights reel snap from the home team’s Francis-Perkins sparked his side into action.

In a high-scoring term, Old Eltham Collegians secured a handy lead of nine points at the quarter-time break. A feature of the term was the booming kick-ins of Turtles defender Liam Rushton-McCoach which often turned into forward fifty entries for his side.

Laurimar then lifted and gained control of general play for much of the middle stages of the contest without converting their advantages on the scoreboard, as from quarter time until late in the third term, the Power scored 1.6.

They looked likely to head to the final break with a small lead as well as having a slight wind advantage in the final term. But the Turtles lifted towards the three-quarter time siren, with Sebastian Francis-Perkins taking a fine contested mark and kicking truly to regain the lead.

Benjamin Cox had been busy on the wing and found Matthew Williamson who goaled on the siren. Every teammate rushed to him after the kick, as it sent the home side into the break with great momentum and an eight-point buffer.

Goals were at a premium and the fans had to wait until midway through the final term to see Williamson mark and convert for his fourth of the afternoon.

The Power then needed three majors to clinch the win and eventually found the big sticks courtesy of Josh Leather. But it proved too little too late, as Laurimar lost the game as well as the top spot on the ladder.

“We just didn’t make the most of our opportunities,” Laurimar coach Jimmy Atkins said.

The Power coach liked the work of Aidan Clarke in the ruck as well as young star Noah Mooney.

Ethan Bateman was a rock in defence for the Power, while Mitch Thompson pleased his coach with his inside work. William Jacovou was a solid contributor, while Ethan Frawley produced outstanding clearance work.

After the result, the hunt for the double chance and fourth spot is full of interest.

Laurimar will need to win their remaining three games to have a crack at a top-two finish while Old Eltham Collegians are level pegging with Heidelberg West and will play finals if they win their three remaining games, but they will need to rely on the Hawks dropping a game against at least one of the top three teams in the run home.

OLD ELTHAM COLLEGIANS:   5.1   5.1   8.2    9.4 (58)
GOALS: M. Williamson 4, S. Francis-Perkins 2, N. Milne, L. Bower, B. Cox.
BEST: S. Francis-Perkins, T. Ellis, M. Williamson, N. Milne, B. Cox, N. Byatt.

LAURIMAR:   3.4   4.6    5.12    6.15 (51)
GOALS: N. Mooney 2, J. Leather, N. Andrews, J. Cecil, L. Wilson.
BEST: A. Clarke, N. Mooney, W. Jacovou, M. Thompson, E. Frawley, E. Bateman.

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