Lyall’s extra time stunner seals incredible Magpies double
WHO else but Michael Lyall.
Cometh the moment, cometh Magpies’ man mountain.
Written off by many this season as his body threatened to force him from the pitch, Magpies’ goalscoring magician made magic happen when his team needed it most on Saturday night.
His 98th minute strike in the first half of extra time lifted Magpies to a 2-1 Mackay Premier League grand final victory over his former club Magpies Crusaders.
Not five minutes earlier, Lyall found himself one-on-one with MCU ‘keeper Jayden Tower, only to be denied by the young shotstopper’s outstretched boot.
But Tower’s world class save was ultimately for naught, when Lyall latched onto a ball at the top of the area and, with a trademark cross-body swing of the left leg, found the back of the net.
For 20 more extra time minutes Magpies clung to their lead, in the face of a dogged Magpies Crusaders front. But experience won the day over youth. Experience, and “a bit of heart”.
“Heart and hard work, to be honest,” Magpies midfielder Liam Shipton said.
“It takes 11 players to win. It probably took us a little more tonight.”
Shipton’s surety from the penalty spot drew first blood for Magpies just past the half-hour mark, though his goal was cancelled out by MCU’s Masi Benjamin soon after.
Against MCU’s young gun midfield – one he used to lead only last year – Shipton proved his superior form and fitness on Mackay football’s biggest stage.
The Manchester City Academy product was named best afield against his former club.
It was poignant that Shipton and Lyall, the two figureheads of Magpies Crusaders’ fledgling state league seasons, were the men to put a stopper on the premiers’ near-perfect campaign.
And though Shipton got the medal, the midfielder was quick to shift praise to Magpies’ player-coach.
“First of all – what a save. The young boy Jayden Tower pulled off a worldie save,” he began.
“But then Lyall … a lot of people wrote him off all year. He struggled with knees. The boy has two kids; other priorities. But at the end of the day, when you’ve got big players who have scored nearly 40 goals in the NPL, you don’t turn into a bad player overnight.
“We started the journey seven years ago. When I first came here Maggies had never won the grand final. A lot of these boys, we’ve been together for years.
“Me and Lyall, we’ve been together for six, seven years. We’re always on the same wavelength.
“When you win it with mates it’s always that little bit better.”