Edgeworth players celebrate a goal against Weston earlier this month. Picture Jonathan Carroll FIVE years after winning a premiership as a player for Edgeworth, Damian Zane has an opportunity to win one in his first season as coach.
The Eagles survived two late scares to hold on for a scoreless draw against Broadmeadow Magic in the second leg of their Northern NSW National Premier League semi-final at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Saturday.
Both sides finished with 10 men in the stalemate, which followed a 3-3 draw in the opening leg at Magic Park.
Edgeworth progressed to the grand final on the away-goals rule.
Zane had the quick reflexes of keeper Jim Fogarty to thank for sealing a place in the decider.
Magic were awarded a free-kick in injury time and Peter Haynes curled a superb effort which was headed for the top corner of the goal.
But Fogarty moved quickly and got enough on the ball to turn it around the post.
‘‘I aged about 10 years in five minutes,’’ Zane said. ‘‘All I know is it was pretty close.’’
Edgeworth also survived a call for handball against Josh Evans in the penalty area in the 90th minute.
Magic co-coach Bobby Naumov said it was a blatant handball.
‘‘At the end of the day, congratulations to Edgeworth,’’ Naumov said. ‘‘There’s no sour grapes. Human error is part of the game.’’
But he felt yellow cards were dished out too freely for fouls earlier in the match.
Aaron Pritchard will miss the grand final on suspension after copping a second yellow card late in the game. Magic also finished with 10 men after Jon Griffiths picked up a second yellow card midway through the second half.
Naumov said officials should use commonsense in games of high emotion when a grand final place was on the line.
Zane scored in the Eagles’ 4-2 win over Weston in the 2010 grand final, Edgeworth’s last premiership, and he was thrilled to be part of another decider.
‘‘I won’t say I didn’t have expectations at the start of the year,’’ Zane said.
‘‘To make the grand final, and having won the minor premiership and pushing Melbourne City in the FFA Cup … it has been an unbelievable season. Our under22s and under19s are also through to the grand final, which is another amazing effort.’’
Zane had special praise for the Eagles’ commitment, especially in defence.
‘‘Magic only know one way, and that is to go at you,’’ Zane said. ‘‘We are built fairly strong defensively. But obviously we knew a clean sheet would get us through to the grand final.
‘‘Our stoppers, Pat Wheeler, Ayden Brice and Josh Evans, were good against the best strike force in the league.’’
SUNDAY, MAGIC PARK
FIRST GRADE (3pm)
Edgeworth (1) v Olympic (3)
UNDER 22s (1pm)
Edgeworth (1) v Emerging Jets U18s (2)
UNDER 19s (11am)
Magic (2) v Edgeworth (4)