Heathcote 106 d Horsham 101
A PERFECT day for football yielded an imperfect result for the Horsham District Football Netball League in Saturday's interleague showdown with Heathcote District at Horsham City Oval.
The two leagues put on a show that lived up to its big billing in every way, with Heathcote's Brad Perry pinching a thrilling five-point victory for his side with a goal in the dying seconds.
It was Horsham that had the better of the play in the first quarter, dominating forward 50 entries but failing to convert on the scoreboard.
The green and gold kicked a wasteful 3.7, while Heathcote scored 3.1 to stay right in the match.
The two Scotts Carey and Heath and Jason Kerr applied pressure in the middle of the ground and Aaron Chavasse helped marshall Horsham's backline and repel Heathcote's forward entries.
Horsham coach Geoff Burdett urged his side to keep pressing at the first change, but it was Heathcote that started to dominate in the second term.
The midfield started hitting its straps, with former Perth WAFL player Jye Keath and Koe Ngawati standing out.
Kahl Oliver finished off their good work and made Horsham pay.
The key forward proved too quick and strong for initial opponent Tim Friend, whose still-healing hamstring didn't appear to be up to the task.
A series of Horsham defenders could not quell Oliver's influence, as he booted three for the term and seven for the match.
Horsham fought back in the third, with Tim Wade and captain Brent Forsyth prominent in the middle of the ground.
Sam Weddell was a late inclusion and made the most of his opportunity with four goals three in the third term running hard forward and outworking his opponent.
Horsham had all the momentum, but a 50-metre penalty in red time gave Heathcote a goal, which broke a run of three straight for Horsham and gave them a three-point lead.
It was anyone's game in the final quarter, as the match seesawed precariously.
Heathcote's Linton Jacobs put his side up by eight, before a brilliant running goal from Callum Hobbs drew Horsham within a kick.
The visitors again pushed the margin out, but Shannon Argall replied after a great pass from Wade.
Argall's second consecutive goal after out-muscling his opponent in a one-on-one marking contest drew cheers from the crowd and gave the home side a one-point lead at the 23-minute mark.
Horsham had the ball on the wing in the final seconds, but started chipping in backwards in an effort to chew up time.
A turnover at half back put the ball in the hands of Heathcote's Oliver, who found Perry directly in front for the game winner.
Elusive forward Deek Roberts, two goals, was named Horsham's best performer on the day, while Heathcote's Oliver picked up the other Victorian Country Football League medal.
Horsham coach Geoff Burdett was extremely proud of the efforts of each of his players.
"It was a great game, a good hard contest, and our tackling was excellent for most of the day," he said.
"As their player was lining up for goal at the end, I thought if he kicked a point, it would be a draw and that might have been a fitting result."
Burdett said it was unfair to second-guess the team for chipping the ball around in the back half rather than kick it long down the line.
"If you're chipping it around, you've got to keep posession of it and the safest option is down the line," he said.
"But that's just football and no one incident costs you a game."
Heathcote coach Murray Collins said his side was lucky enough to be in front when the final siren went.