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Footscray through to semi-final in a thriller

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 3: Tom Boyd of Footscray celebrates a goal during the 2017 VFL 2nd Elimination Final match between Essendon and Footscray at Fortburn Stadium on September 3, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Media)
Tom Boyd celebrates one of his four goals in Footscray's Elimination Final win over Essendon on Sunday.

Footscray has set-up a semi-final showdown with Port Melbourne, after prevailing by five points in a see-sawing elimination final against Essendon at Fortburn Stadium. 

Trailing by 24-points early in the third term, the ‘Scray kicked six of the remaining seven goals of the term to hold a slender three-quarter time lead, before holding off a fast-finishing Essendon kicking with the wind in the last term.

Tom Boyd was among the victors best, providing a strong presence inside forward 50m.

The 22-year-old kicked four goals for the game, including a clutch set shot from the boundary 45m out, to put his side 18-points ahead late in the final term.

"We felt we had a decent lead coming into three-quarter time, but you never know if it's going to be enough," Boyd told Channel Seven post-match.

"The boys all stood up in that last quarter to capitalise … it's just good to be back out playing footy."

Clay Smith was named Footscray’s best with a tough tackling, 19 disposal and two goal performance.

Veteran Matthew Boyd had a team high 24-disposals, while Will Hayes gathered 22 disposals.

Kicking with the wind in the opening term, it was the Dogs through Tom Boyd that hit the scoreboard first.

The big forward kicked two majors in the first 10 minutes of the game to give Footscray the early lead.

Essendon responded with two goals to even the score-line, but late goals to Matthew Boyd and Billy Gowers saw the Bulldogs head into the first change with a 13-point lead.

The Bombers emerged from the first change on a mission, and with the aid of the breeze kicking to the Williamstown Road end kicked six goals to Footscray’s one for the term.

Footscray had their fair share of the football however, having only three less inside 50 (12-15), but were unable to convert.

Essendon’s accuracy ensured it headed into half time with an 18-point lead.

While the Bombers kicked the first goal out of the main break to stretch their lead to a game high four goals, Footscray lifted their intensity around the contest in the third term to surge back into the game.

Nick Jamieson got the momentum started for the Dogs with an early goal that sparked a six goal to one run, and saw them edge in front by seven points at the final change.

Kicking into the wind in the final term, Lukas Webb and Tom Boyd scored crucial early goals to stretch the Dogs’ lead to 18-points.

Essendon didn’t yield, and with just ten minutes on the clock the Dons were able to kick three of the next four goals to reduce the margin to five points, but that would be as close as the Bombers would get.

Footscray will face Port Melbourne away at Fortburn Stadium next Sunday, with the first bounce scheduled for 2:40pm. Presale tickets will be available at from 10am Monday, 4 September.

Footscray   4.2 (26)   5.5 (35)     11.9 (75)    14.12 (96)    
Essendon   2.1 (13)    8.5 (53)    10.8 (68)    13.13 (91)

Best Players
C. Smith, T. Boyd, B. Gowers, L. Webb, N. De Steiger, F. Roberts
Essendon: M. Dea, S. Draper, C. Bird, S. McKernan, M. Redman, B. Howlett

Goal Kickers
Footscray: T. Boyd 4, C. Smith 2, B. Gowers 2, N. Jamieson 2, L. Webb, W. Hayes, M. Boyd, A. Tashevski-Beckwith
Essendon: S. McKernan 3, A. Boyse 2, D. Younan 2, B. Howlett, K. Mutch, N. O''Brien, A. Morgan, K. Langford, N. Hind

Footscray: M. Boyd 24, W. Hayes 22, C. Smith 19, L. Webb 18, B. Williams 18, J. Prudden 17, J. Russell 16
Essendon: N.O'Brien 25, B.Howlett 22, K.Mutch 21