The end of an extremely trying week came too late. Had the siren sounded ten minutes earlier, Old Xaverians would have entered the winners' circle for the first time this season. but had they taken full advantage of the chances they created in the previous ten minutes, they would have arrived there anyway.
The Red 'n' Blacks totally dominated the middle of the final term. They did enough to reclaim the lead, but they failed to seal the deal, and when the desperate Tonners came late, the Claret and Stout failed to stop them. The narrow lead, which should have been more comfortable, evaporated with three late goals to the home team.
The Xavs, fired up and ready to go, had the better first half. They were more effective around the sticks in the first term. In the second stanza, They took over completely at the defensive end. Almost every Brighton entry was repelled, providing many opportunities for the Xavs to display their wares upfield.
The stats on the white board indicated a healthy ascendancy, but this didn't translate to the scoreboard. While OB did not capitalise on errors, the Red 'n' Blacks punished themselves with busted plays caused through some poor disposal. Some of these were forced by pressure in the clinches. Others came from poor choices that put receivers under the pump, while the remainder were unforced.
A teenager can drive a car fast, but cannot have the same confidence as a more seasoned driver who realises that control is key. That comes from knowing when to put the pedal to the floor, when to ease off and when to brake.
Resuming with the wind in the third term, Old Brighton struck back hard, erasing the deficit and bolting away from the Xavs, who appeared out of synch and flat-footed. Slapped hard, the X Men finally hit back themselves, recapturing some rhythm and doing enough to put themselves in a winnable position at the lemons.
That the Xavs couldn't win their first was a bitter disappointment for the players, who again gave their all. With the same application, they will surely salute soon. Chip that first single wide of cover point and you're on your way.
Matt Margin was a brilliant focal point at CHF, Dan "Inspector Gadget' Stanford was in everything and topped his game with a long goal in the last. Alex Trigar again showed maturity beyond his years and more than the occasional flash of brilliance.
Several others played their best game of the year and with the up and down nature of Premier football in 2018, there is still plenty of time for this team to make its mark.
Old Brighton 2.6-18 3.7-25 10.10-70 14.10-94
Old Xaverians 3.2-20 6.3-39 9.4-58 12.8-80
Goal Kickers: B. Goss 3, M. Margin 3, M. Handley 3, D. Symeopoulos, D. Stanford, C. Lane
Best Players: M. Margin, D. Stanford, A. Trigar, S. Ralph, D. Symeopoulos, T. Johnston