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Eagles take long route to soccer glory

Player of the Year runner up Reece Mastellotto in action for the Eagles earlier this year.

THE Tumut Eagles were left ruing lost opportunities after their 3-2 loss to Cootamundra in the Pascoe Plate qualifiying final at Rawlings Park in Wagga Wagga on Sunday.

The Eagles finished sixth in the regular competition and Cootamundra fifth, so they play for the second-tier Pascoe Plate.

Cootamundra advance to the grand final, while Tumut play in the elimination final against South Wagga at the Bull Paddock this Sunday.

As the score suggests, Sunday’s match could have gone either way.

“It was a disappointing loss,” coach Matt Lopez said. The Eagles led 2-0 early on and went to the break 2-1 up, but Cootamundra clawed back the advantage in the second.

“They hit us on the counterattack for their second goal, and their third goal came when we had been putting a lot of pressure on them and their keeper kicked it 60 metres to their one striker who scored,” Lopez said.

“The last 20 minutes was mainly us trying to get the equalizer. James Goode made some good attempts and a Reece Mastellotto attempt hit the post.”

For Tumut, the game was a big improvement over the first time the sides met this year, a 7-0 victory for Cootamundra.

Tumut prevailed 3-2 in the next game. In better news for Tumut, James Goode and Reece Mastellotto have made the Football Wagga Team of the Year.

Mastellotto finished runner up for Player of the Year. “This has been a reflection of our season,” Lopez said.