Daylesford coach Marcus Goonan made an emotional farewell to the team after his last coaching stint on Saturday.
Goonan has finished as coach of Daylesford and was emotional after the game, particularly when his side was clapped from the field by Bulldogs supporters, who seemed to appreciate the gallant effort the side put up against victorious Buninyong.
“Momentum is everything in footy and sometimes you can get a bit tight when you’re in front and that’s what happened to us today,” Goonan, who also led the Bulldogs to a semi-final in 2016, said.
“I’m shattered. Absolutely I am. I stayed in the box for a bit longer … (there was) a bit of a tear.”
Buninyong looked set to become another finals victim of Daylesford on Saturday afternoon, but produced a stirring fightback to book a place in the Central Highlands Football League preliminary finals.
In the end, the Bombers scraped home by four points to set up a clash with Hepburn next weekend.
Buninyong looked the better team early in the game at Learmonth, but could only manage a lead of nine points at half-time.
Daylesford emerged full of energy after the break and cracked apart the contest with a flurry of five majors to hold a 20-point advantage at the final change.
But a defiant Buninyong, led by coach Jarrod Morgan in the last term, flew out of the blocks and had recaptured the lead after 12 minutes.
And, despite some nervous moments, the boys in red and black never let it go.
The siren eventually sounded with the scoreboard reading 9.15 (69) to 10.5 (65).
Forwards William Hughes and Luke Carland were dangerous in attack for Daylesford and kicked four and two goals respectively, while Seb Walsh, Zac Tisdale and Patrick Rowe played well.
The Bombers’ clash with Hepburn will be played next Sunday at Learmonth.