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Match of the Round

Kanwal 5 – 4 Woongarrah

This past Saturday night, Wadalba Sports Complex witnessed a match of the round fixture that lived up to all expectations as Kanwal clawed their way back into the contest multiple times and was able to deliver their healthy home crowd all three vital points over their local rivals.

As kick-off commenced, the rain set into Wadalba but that would not deter a massive turnout for the local derby of the Bulls and the Wildcats. 

The game started at a frantic pace as the visitors Woongarrah enjoyed more of the ball and a number of early corners that didn’t amount to anything of real promise. 

The best chance in the opening stages fell to Woongarrah who failed to convert a clear chance when they placed the shot wide.

Despite Woongarrah’s early success, it was Kanwal who nearly got the first goal with a Mason Lavery freekick which was pushed onto the bar and Kanwal couldn’t take advantage of the rebound.

It was Josh Rose who would eventually open the scoring on his debut for the club, a Woongarrah throw-in was flicked into his path as he made no mistake with his attempt on goal which riffled past the keeper to give Woongarrah a 1-0 lead.

Both teams had several chances over the next 20 minutes, the best falling to Woongarrah with a brilliant close-range save by Kanwal keeper Kurtis Mahon denying Woongarrah a second. 

To the delight of the home crowd, Kanwal was next on the scoresheet after a cross was not dealt with by the Woongarrah keeper as Noah Hucker was in the right spot to tuck the ball home and even the game at 1-1.

Woongarrah had the better chances over the last 10 minutes of the half. A Jacob Melling corning was cleared back to him, and his second delivery found the trusty head of Josh Rose who scored his second of the night to restore Woongarrah’s lead. 

With little time left in the opening half, a switch ball not dealt with by Kanwal fell to the feet of Ashley Henderson who hit a long-range effort over the back-peddling Kanwal keeper and found the back of the net to give Woongarrah a 3-1 half time lead.

As the second half started, Woongarrah anticipated a determined Kanwal side to start strong which they did and were rewarded for their efforts in the 55th minute when a corner was met by Rory Rizzi who headed home for the Bulls.

Riding the high of the last goal and the momentum of the crowd, Kanwal found their first equaliser of the night just a minute after scoring their second goal. Poor defending from the visitors and a well-worked passing build-up from their own half saw the play lead to Mason Lavery on the edge of the box who expertly curled his shot into the bottom corner to take the game level.

With momentum completely against them, Woongarrah dug deep and a fantastic ball from James Stiffle found Ashley Henderson in the box who beat the keeper to the ball and tapped home to restore Woongarrah’s lead with his second goal of the night.

Feeling like the whistle was going against them all night, Woongarrah was displeased with a free kick call which led to Kanwal’s finding their second equaliser of the night. 

A terrific ball into the box from Mason Lavery found Jason Cozens who rose above the pack to head the ball past the flat-footed Woongarrah keeper. 

Things then went from bad to worse for Woongarrah as their captain Dylan Holtz was shown his second yellow card of the night, resulting in his team having to finish the dying minutes with just 10 men. 

Kanwal continued to press and deep into extra time they were awarded a corner as Mason Lavery found himself free and headed home for the winner to send the Bulls crowd into dramatic celebrations.

Ryan Walker was ecstatic with the result and performance of his side. “As expected they have a good team on paper, but I think it was clear at the back end of the game we were the fitter team and the team who wanted it more.”

Luke Rogers commended his rivals on getting the job done. “Well done to Ryan and his boys on their never-die attitude and getting the result.”

“The constant penalty’s giving in our half against us played to their strengths making it a tough ninety minutes for my boys but credit to Kanwal that they took full advantage of it.”

“Two games now where we have been 3-1 up at the break and let it slip, we have to play a consistent 90 which we are yet to do, and we will address that through the week.”  

Match Official – Anthony Kabbout

Killarney 0 – 1 Terrigal

In a rematch of the 2023 Grand Final, both clubs entered Saturday’s night showdown with plenty to play for as Terrigal looked to continue their great start to the season while Killarney was looking to build off of their first win.

This fixture continues to provide a special rivalry between the two clubs, to go along with the first leg of the 2024 edition of the Ash Grant Cup, there was plenty to play for at Pluim Park.

Terrigal started slow, allowing Killarney to press higher up the pitch. With few chances created by either side, the best chance of the game arrived at the 20-minute mark when a long ball and a flick-on found Ryan Gibson who could only push his shot wide as the score remained locked at 0-0.

The game was tense and a real midfield battle until the 30th minute when Terrigal’s Aidan Bastick set off on a run to pressure the goalkeeper and fouled him, earning himself a yellow and putting some spice into the game. 

Halftime arrived and Terrigal were happy with how things were going, Coach Ryan Pearce encouraged his boys to keep working and pressing and their chance would come.

A few near chances for Killarney went amiss as both coaches turned to their bench, hoping some fresh legs would bring the spark needed to earn a result.

It was Terrigal’s super substitute Mahkye Brownlie who scored just two minutes after coming on, after some excellent work from Haydn Harris down the right flank, Harris delivered into the box, putting it on a plate for the striker to finish well into the bottom corner and give his side a crucial 1-0 lead.

A determined Killarney pushed bodies forward looking for an equaliser as it was game on. As the Terriers attacked with contempt, the game opened up as both teams squandered chances on goal.

A moment of madness saw Aidan Bastick earn a second yellow and subsequent red card for kicking the ball away which gave Killarney hope as Terrigal was forced to finish the match with just 10 men.

Another half chance to the Killarney striker went just wide with 15 minutes left to play as Terrigal continued to hold on to their precious one-goal advantage. 

The game produced multiple yellow cards for both teams which allowed free kicks in dangerous positions, but Terrigal skipper Max Vegter was strong clearing his lines each time as a clean sheet seemed imminent.

In the end, the O’lads held firm right to the end for a deserved 1-0 win and improving their perfect winning start to the season.

“Killarney were fit, fast and up for the fight,” stated Ryan Pearce. “It was a really tough game for us to find our feet in the first half. Akers will definitely feel as though they deserved more from that performance.”

Chris Ackerley also gave his opinion post-match. “It was a game where we didn’t take our chances and Terrigal took advantage of a lapse in concentration to score the winner. Pleased with the performance of the side, not the scoreline.”

“A hard game to come next week against Avoca, hopefully, some of the chances we are creating we can convert.”  

Match Official – Hugo Fonseca

Southern & Ettalong 3 – 0 Avoca

Despite the weekend’s weather predictions, James Browne Oval withstood the rain, allowing a good playing surface for these two athletic teams to entertain their crowds with a high-tempo game that saw attacking raids on each opponent’s goal for the whole 90+ minutes.

Southern claimed their inaugural victory of the year, defeating Avoca 3-0 in a scoreline that the Sharks feel didn’t reflect the match. 

Avoca started the contest well, moving the ball quickly and sharply getting into decent positions but were unable to convert these opportunities into shots on goal. Wayward finishing would be their downfall on the day as Southern were critical of taking their chances at the other end of the pitch.

The Lions got their first of the day against the run of play when Jacob Lepre dinked a quality ball in behind the Avoca defensive line to find Jack Wilson who provided a classy left-footed finish to give the Lions an early lead just six minutes in. 

Both teams continued to challenge the respective defensive lines with both Keepers making important saves to head to the sheds at halftime with the Lions holding onto a 1–0 lead.

The second half started with the Lions knowing it would take more than one goal to get the points over a determined Sharkies lineup. 

SEU Coaches Matt Page & Augusto Terra looking for additional goals to try and close the game out introduced Charlie Polson into the attacking line who had an immediate impact.

Polson used his speed in the front line, catching out the Avoca defensive line which saw him steal the ball and find Jameson Flynn free in the box who made no mistake with a well-placed finish to give the Lions a 2–0 lead in the 67th minute.

The Lions, with momentum on their side, dealt a crucial blow to Avoca’s chances of getting back into the game only two minutes later when a quick free kick taken by Jacob Lepre found Nathan Baker out wide on the right flank who played a delicate pass in behind Avoca’s defensive line to find a hard running Jack Ellwood who showed his strength to fire the ball into the back of the net taking a 3–0 lead in the 69th minute.

The final 20 minutes of the game saw Avoca continue to work hard and push for their opening goal with the Lions’ defence repelling several attacking raids to secure their first win and clean sheet of their campaign. 

“Today was a good all-round performance from our lads. We were dangerous in attack and with a little bit of luck could have even scored a few more goals and more importantly a clean sheet was the focus today,” reflected Matt Page. 

“Picking a team each week is very difficult as we have many players throughout the grades playing some great football. We are looking for consistent performances over the coming weeks to hopefully secure further competition points.”

Page also added, “Whilst Avoca didn’t get the points today, they are a difficult team to play, as they have a number of attacking threats and are a very athletic team that makes you work for the full 90+ minutes. Whilst the score showed a 3–0 win, the game was a much tighter affair.”

Joel Cangy commented on his team’s performance after the defeat. “A few learnings to take away. After a sluggish first half, I’m happy with our response in the second.”

“We played fantastic footy… On another day, we take our chances, and the game opens up. Credit to SEU for taking theirs, and congrats on the win.”

Match Official – Preston Lorusso

East Gosford 2 – 0 Woy Woy

Two teams with a significant history against each other in recent years battled it out last Sunday for another instalment of the Rams versus the Roosters as East Gosford prevailed and claimed their inaugural victory in 2024. 

A fixture that was originally set to be played at the Rams’ home ground, Hylton Moore Oval failed to overcome the wet weather as the game was moved to the reliable dry field of Pat Morley. 

Unsure of the conditions and playing state of the ground, East Gosford found the pitch smaller and less flat than what they are used to at their home field. 

The game started well with East Gosford enjoying a good amount of early possession against the opposition. The Rams almost took the lead just seven minutes in after Lucas Dominello found himself one-on-one with the Woy Woy keeper who made a great save down low to his right. 

East Gosford continued to push Woy Woy and looked to win the ball in good areas. This allowed them to threaten the Woy Woy goal on several occasions with some quick forward passes and some wonderful dribbling around the box, causing issues for the Woy Woy defence. 

East Gosford forced Woy Woy into a sitting defence, Woy Woy looking to counter when the opportunity arose. Woy Woy struggled to maintain any meaningful possession with the positive play that made them competitive over the last three rounds eluded them.

30 minutes into the contest, East Gosford were awarded a corner and this time the ball found its way through to Matias Paz who made no mistake with a first-time strike burying the ball into the back of the net from inside the penalty area to give the game its first goal.  

Looking to double their lead, East Gosford continued to apply pressure and again in the 35th minute the ball fell to Lachlan Gunn just outside the penalty area after Woy Woy failed to clear the ball, Gunn took a well-taken strike only to be denied by another great fingertip save pushing the ball over the crossbar. 

Enjoying a 1-0 lead, the second half started much the same way with East Gosford controlling much of the early possession again as they searched for a second goal. 

Woy Woy kept them out until the 60th minute when a good ball through the middle found Ollie Vanderslot with a bit of space. He was able to take a touch, turn, select his target and fire a low driven shot from outside the box, finding the inside edge of the post as the ball ricocheted in for East Gosford’s second goal. 

Looking to salvage something from the game, Woy Woy lifted and enjoyed some good attacking opportunities themselves only to be denied by a few widely placed attempts and some good saves from the East Gosford goalie. 

East Gosford had to find another gear and lift to keep Woy Woy out which they did all the way until the final whistle as the game finished 2-0 to East Gosford. 

“It was a good, polished performance from my boys which was good to see them back it back up from last week’s good performance against Budgewoi,” voiced a proud Troy Ward. 

“The boys are starting to see their capabilities and seeing they can take it to any opponent when we play to our potential. 

Ward also added, “Woy Woy are a different side this year under the guidance of Shaun and he’s doing some good things down there.” 

“They’ve taken games to Killarney, Terrigal and Avoca lately and they’ve shown they can be a dangerous side so to have this kind of performance and keep a clean sheet was very pleasing. I wish Shaun and his team all the best in their games ahead.”

“It was a frustrating fixture for us,” voiced Shaun Macey.

“Our intensity on and off the ball today was not at the level expected for the squad. That’s not taking away from East Gosford’s win, they were tenacious in defence and never allowed us to grab control of the game at any point. We will work hard and refocus on our expectations of play and look forward to the returning fixture.”

Match Official – Miles Allen-Scott

Golden Boot Standings –

3Jack Elwood (Southern), Ashley Henderson (Woongarrah), Mason Lavery (Kanwal)

Points Table –

Club Championship –

Division 1

Round 4 Results –

Points Table –

Club Championship –