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‘Scray fall short in Windy Hill thriller

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 18: Tom Boyd of the Bulldogs in action during the 2017 AFL round 13 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Melbourne Demons at Etihad Stadium on June 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Tom Boyd made an encouraging return in the VFL.

Footscray has gone down by five points to Essendon in a nail biter at Windy Hill on Saturday afternoon.

It was a tightly fought contest, Essendon held the upper hand for most of the contest and led at every change.

The ‘Scray did the lead mid-way through the final term but unfortunately Steve Grace’s side couldn’t maintain the advanatge.

Tom Boyd made his return to football and was valuable up forward for the Dogs, kicking three goals.

First year Bulldog Patrick Lipinski was the main ball winner for the day with 32 disposals, including 18 kicks and 7 marks.

Lukas Webb and Matthew Boyd were also strong contributors for the Dogs with 30 and 27 disposals respectively.

The Dogs got off to the perfect start, winning the ball straight out of the centre, the kick landing in the hands of Tom Campbell, who delivered a thumping goal from 50 metres out.

This was closely followed by a set shot goal from Mitch Honeychurch, to see Footscray jump to an early 12 point.

Essendon putting a stop to the Scray’s run, finding a loose man out the back, resulting in their first goal of the day.

The Dons built on this momentum, using their run in some quick transitions from their backline, catching the Dogs off guard to secure a further two majors to see them head into the first break with a 15-point advantage.

The start of the second quarter saw some opportunities present for the Dogs, controlling most of the ball in their forward 50 but not able to convert the dominance on the scoreboard.

Tom Boyd kicked a much-needed set shot goal from 50 metres out, but once again the Dons responded with two consecutive goals, extending the margin back out.

Some quick ball movement from the Scray’ resulted in a timely goal from Billy Gowers just before the siren for the main break. Lessening the margin to 10 points and setting both sides up for a tight second half. 

Footscray kicked off the third term with an early goal from Mitch Honeychurch, but Essendons strong forward pressure saw them go on to kick the next three goals.

In a strong patch of football the Dogs went on to kick four of the last five goals of the third quarter, thanks to Lukas Webb, Mitch Honeychurch and Tom Boyd, to help get them back within a goal heading into the final change. 

The Dons opened the final term with a goal, Footscray’s Nick Jamieson and Jacob Smith responding with goals of their own to see the Dogs hit the lead midway through the closing quarter.

Essendon didn’t let Footscray keep their lead for long, kicking the next two goals.

Footscray’s Billy Gowers kicked a critical goal to put the dogs back within 5 points, but there was just not enough time left on the clock for the Dogs.

In the last round of the VFL fixture Footscray will head home to VU Whitten Oval for a critical clash with ladder leading Williamstown at 12pm on Saturday.

Footscray Bulldogs             2.2 (14)                  4.7. (31)                  9.9 (63)           12.11(83)

Essendon                            4.5 (29)                     6.5 (41)                 10.8 (68)            13.10 (88)

Goalkickers: T. Boyd 3, M. Honeychurch 3, B. Gowers 2, L. Webb, T. Campbell, J. Smith, N. Jamieson

Disposals: P. Lipinski 32, L. Webb 30, M. Boyd 27, C. Smith 25, W. Hayes 23, N. Jamieson 23, D. Hamilton 21

Best Players: T. Campbell, P. Lipinski, L. Webb, B. Gowers, T. Boyd, M. Honeychurch