LEAGUE champions Wodonga Diamonds were forced into extra time before qualifying for Sunday’s cup final.
Scores were tied 1-1 with last year’s cup runners-up Melrose after 90 minutes before Dylan Gavel found the back of the net eight minutes into extra time.
Diamonds coach Jimmy Bell admitted it got them out of jail.
“Melrose outplayed us today and we will have to lift for next week against Myrtleford,” he said.
“We were flat and struggled to play our game on a ground that didn’t suit our passing and ball possession style of play.
“But in the end we took our chances and that is the positive.
“I’ve coached for seven years now and made six grand finals and what I have found is in one of the cup games, the quarters, semi or final you will have an ordinary game and I think, hope, that was ours today.”
Melrose keeper Josh Fluss felt like it was the game that got away.
“We dominated the second half but probably should have done more with it,” he said.
“Then we scored to go 1-0 inside the last 10 minutes and then let them come down the other end and level up the scores immediately.
“In the end, in extra time, we just started to run out of legs.
“But we should be proud.
“We played the best in the league and took it to extra time.
“It’s just a shame we couldn’t get to the cup final again and go one better than we did last year.”