Boomers came within inches of stealing victory in the dying stages against Twin City Wanderers in the AWFA season opener at Glen Park on Sunday.
The last kick of the game was brilliantly saved by the Wanderers’ stand-in goalkeeper Daniel Grubica to keep it at 1-1 at full time.
Boomers veteran Andrew Grove found himself one-on-one with Grubica and look destined to break the deadlock, but an outstretched left hand denied him.
Tanner Browne put the hosts in front inside the opening 10 minutes in his first senior appearance for the club, before Matt Hasler responded for the Wanderers to square the game moments later.
Boomers coach Decha Saisanid admitted it was an extremely physical contest, but he was reasonably happy with the result.
“To be fair, I felt we probably could have pinched it at the end with the last kick of the game, but it was a good save by their goalkeeper,” Saisanid said.
“We’ll probably take a draw being round one and the (hot) conditions.
“Twin City will be thereabouts, so we’re pretty happy with the first hit-out.”
The usual suspects including Grove and defender Dustin Patten were again outstanding, but Saisanid was delighted to see the younger players stand up under pressure.
“Our leaders stood up well, but, for me, it was the young kids today that did an excellent job against a physical, well-seasoned senior team,” he said.
“It was Tanner Browne’s first start and first goal, which was well deserved.
“He’s done a full pre-season this summer and it showed today, he looked very sharp out there.”
For me, it was the young kids today that did an excellent job against a physical, well-seasoned senior team.
Saisanid said it has been tougher as a playing coach, but he has been happy with his side’s progress so far and is looking forward to facing Diamonds next weekend.
“We played Diamonds in a practice match a few weeks ago and they’ve got a good, young squad,” he said.
Wanderers coach Cayne Wilhelm said he couldn’t have asked for more from a first round match.
“Both teams worked hard, so a draw is probably deserved, but the last 15 minutes was just end to end,” Wilhelm said.
“It was exciting to watch.
“If you said a draw at the start, I would have taken it, but you play to win.
“It’s always a disappointment (to draw), but it’s not a loss.”
Wilhelm said Hasler and Grubica were the standouts and kept Twin City in the game.
Like Saisnid, Wilhelm is also in his first season as a playing coach.
“It’s not too bad. It’s hard at times, but it’s good experience,” Wilhelm said.
“You learn a lot when you’re a coach and hopefully I can put that into my play.
“We play Hotspurs away (next week), so hopefully we can walk away with three points there and start our season.”