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Match of the Round

Budgewoi 2 – 5 Southern & Ettalong

Southern & Ettalong hand the newly promoted Budgewoi their first defeat since their return to MPL, marking their second straight win of 2024 as the Lions leap into the top four thanks to their round 6 match of the round victory.

It was a very entertaining game on a pristine pitch at Pluim Park. From the outset, the game was played at a high pace with plenty of ball movement from both sides.

Early on, Southern were content to sit in a little deeper and let Budgewoi move the ball around in front of them, whilst staying compact and looking to play when they had broken up the passing movements from the ‘home’ side.

Budgewoi were implementing their game plan well in those early parts, forcing some good saves out of the Southern GK and obtaining some corner kicks from which they looked dangerous.

It was Southern however who took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, after some neat interchange down the right-hand side allowed Preston Daniel to drive into the box and earn his side a penalty when brought down by the defence.

Jacob Lepre stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the corner for a 1-0 lead.

Not to be deterred, Budgewoi hit back shortly after when Ty Warby outmuscled his opponent and hit a low 25-yard drive which could only be parried by Southern GK Alex Wardle into the path of the oncoming Jose Atayde, who tapped home from 6 yards for the equaliser.

Budgewoi would’ve felt this was just reward for their strong start to the match.

Southern though we’re starting to find their feet more in the game by now, and felt they had another strong penalty claim when Jack Elwood dribbled into the Budgewoi box and appeared to draw contact, but these claims were waived away by the officials.

This call seemed to spur the boys in blue on, and after more than a few good attacking raids by Charlie Polson down the right-hand side, Polson found a nice squaring pass to Lepre, who smashed the ball high into the net from 12 yards for the go-ahead goal.

Lepre, who was dangerous from both free play and set pieces, sent a fizzing ball across the face of the goal from a wide free kick just before the break, but no Lion was able to get on the end of it, thus going to the break with a 2-1 lead.

The second half started just as quick as the first, though Southern were having more of the ball than they did in the opening stanza. The two sides went back and forth, Budgewoi looking for another equaliser, and the Lions trying to get some breathing space on the scoreboard.

Both sides were creating some good half chances, and despite Lepre hitting the woodwork from another wide free kick, and a good-headed chance for Ellwood after a pinpoint cross from Preston Daniel, it was the Budgies who got what they were chasing first when Jay Swadling drove towards goal and went down just inside the left-hand side of the box.

Despite protests from the Southern defence, a penalty was awarded to Budgewoi. Ty Warby had no trouble dispatching, and parity was restored again.

It was at this point, players from both sides were starting to fatigue from the fast nature of the game and both sides looked to their bench for reinforcements. Southern brought on Nathan Baker, debutant Alfie Martin and player-coach Matt Page to push for the lead once again.

Some 10-odd minutes after this, after an attacking raid down the left, a looping ball hovered above the Budgewoi penalty area. Desperate to get there first, Jack Elwood launched himself into the air and laced a scissor kick into the net from 7 yards, then wheeling away to celebrate with the Lion’s supporters behind the goal.

From the kick-off, Budgewoi threw numbers forward to try and get their third equaliser, but it was Southern who was next to score when substitute Martin drove into the Budgewoi 18-yard box and was fouled and another penalty was awarded to Southern.

Lepre again withstood the pressure and cooly tucked away the chance to complete his hattrick and make the job even tougher for the boys from up north.

Two minutes later, Lion’s Swedish midfielder Isak Johansson clipped a delightful cross in from the left and player-coach Page was on hand to nod home the final goal of the day, settling the result and probably doing a bit of injustice to Budgewoi after what was a pulsating contest.

“After starting a touch on the slow side, we got better as the match wore on, and it was very pleasing to see my guys play out the full 90 minutes against a very good Budgewoi side,” voiced Matt Page.

Page also added, “Haydn has got them playing a good brand of football, they are dynamic and move the ball well. Even though I felt we deserved the win, the final scoreline didn’t indicate just how tough the game was, and I’m sure it won’t be the last quality game between the two sides this season. All the best to H and the boys until we meet again.”

Haydn Appo also vocalised his delight at the effort of his squad whilst commending the opposition. “Very proud of the efforts of all three squads today. Another great win for our 21’s. Additionally, another tough win for our Res who scored in the 90th minute with 10 men on the park, and a gutsy display by first grade who definitely looked tired towards the end of the match.”

“We will lick our wounds as we look forward to next weekend’s round at home to Kanwal. 21 days without a run is tough going, and our boys felt it today. Congrats to Pagey and the boys.”

Match Official – Miles Allen-Scott

Kanwal 3 – 1 Avoca

The Bulls leap into second place, securing their third win in four games as Avoca record their fourth straight defeat after going down 3-1 away from home this past Sunday. 

Both teams started the contest strong as the opening 10 minutes saw Kanwal and Avoca enjoy a number of chances on goal but neither team could produce a clinical finish to put them ahead. 

Kanwal’s best chance came in the first few minutes with Rory Rizzi dribbling through the Avoca defence only to have the ball played out for a corner before he could get his shot away. 

The ensuing corner saw Mason Lavery find space inside the box as his headed effort rattled the post and the Avoca defence let off a sigh of relief.

It took 20 minutes for Kanwal to take the lead after some nice build-up play saw the ball played out wide to Mason Lavery whose pinpoint cross was tapped in by last year’s Golden Boot winner Logan Moore. 

Determined to double their lead, Kanwal would create several other good chances during the half but were unable to convert as the Bulls went into the half-time break with a slender 1-0 lead.

Kanwal began the second half in a similar fashion to the first, but this time were able to capitalise on their early chances. 

Firstly, another break down the line saw Logan Moore on the spot again to covert from another pinpoint cross this time from a Zac Johnson.

A few minutes later a powerful shot from Mason Lavery gave the Avoca keeper no chance as Kanwal furthered their advantage early in the second half to 3-0.

Enjoying a three-goal lead, Kanwal seemed to ease off a bit which allowed Avoca to take advantage and get a goal back of their own.

Ryan Martz picked up the ball in midfield and did well to beat his defender, Martz found an open teammate out wide who took one touch and played a well-driven pass along the face of Kanwal’s goal as Mitchell Moody was on hand to tuck the ball away into an open goal.

Determined to keep fighting, Avoca enjoyed a large share of possession, but Kanwal’s defence remained solid as the Sharks had trouble breaking them down again.

Although there were a number of half chances for both teams, neither team were able to add to the score sheet and Kanwal ran out 3-1 winners.

Kanwal Coach Ryan Walker was pleased with the result but wants his team to be more clinical in front of goal. 

“We are playing well at the moment but there are always opportunities to improve, and I want us to improve in the front third. It was another good day for the Club winning all three grades.”

Match Official – Hugo Fonseca

East Gosford 2 – 5 Killarney

East Gosford recorded their second 5-2 defeat of the season as the reigning premiers and league champions Killarney showed their experience and quality to secure their biggest win of the year so far. 

Rejoicing at the fact of playing on their home ground, East Gosford started the game well which paid dividends just 16 minutes into the contest as Matias Paz struck a well-taken shot that found the back of the net and gave the Rams a 1-0 advantage.

Killarney hit back 10 minutes later when Ryan Gibson finished a good move by chipping the keeper first time from outside the box after a great ball from Braith Hedley who was making his first-grade debut for the Terriers.

With half-time looming, a free kick in a promising area saw Lachy Wallace rattle the crossbar with his attempt on goal but neither side was able to find the upper hand as the score remained locked at 1-1 after the opening period. 

Unlike the first half, East Gosford started the second half poorly and within five minutes of the restart Killarney found their go-ahead goal. 

A well-taken corner from Tim Knight saw Ryan Gibson make a great diagonal run as he was able to meet the ball with his head and flick home from an impossible angle for his second of the day. 

Going down 2-1, it went all downhill from there for the Rams who struggled to complete passes and constantly turned over possession in a cheap manner as they were punished by a clinical Killarney. 

Substitute Cameron Brown chased down an East Gosford back pass to dispossess the opposition goalkeeper and increase Killarney’s advantage to 3-1.

East Gosford were awarded a lifeline just moments later when the official awarded the Rams a penalty and Oliver Vanderslot expertly converted for his team.

But it was not to be for the home side as Cameron Brown ran onto the end of a tremendous through ball and slotted past the keeper for his second goal of the evening, restoring Killarney’s two-goal lead. 

Another Terriers substitute found himself on the scoresheet as Nathan Baxter scored the game’s seventh and final goal, finishing nicely to cement Killarney’s victory over the Rams.

Please with the victory, Chris Ackerley now turns his attention to next week’s blockbuster against the competition favourites. 

“Great result for the boys considering all the disruptions due to the rain, hopefully we can get a full week of training in before we play Berkeley next week, which will be an extremely tough game.”

Troy Ward voiced his dismay as he hopes his side can learn from the match and bounce back in their next fixture. “We weren’t great today but take nothing away from Killarney. They were good and forced us into the mistakes we made.” 

“They are a well-oiled machine is Killarney and if you don’t compete and match it with them for the 90mins they can put you to the sword like they did today. Hopefully, a lesson learnt for my boys, and we pick ourselves back up and move on towards next week against Avoca.”

Match Official – Luke Dunkerley

Berkeley Vale 1 – 1 Terrigal

League Leaders Terrigal maintain their position on top of the MPL Ladder, sharing the points in a 1-1 draw with competition favourites Berkeley Vale as these two teams remain the only undefeated sides at this stage of the season.

A fixture that was originally set for Mingara Oval, additional wet weather left Berkeley’s home ground unplayable which saw the two teams meet at a neutral venue of Hamlyn Terrace as both teams looked to keep unblemished records intact in a game that promised plenty.

It was a cagey start to the top-of-the-table clash with Berkeley coming out rapid, looking to use their pace down the flanks to get dangerous crosses into the box. However, O’lad captain Max Vegter expertly defused the opposition time and time again.

Dean Heffernan almost opened the scoring 20 minutes into the contest when he lashed a sweet left foot from long range that had Berkeley goalkeeper Steven Grimmitt worried, only for the effort to just fly over the bar. 

The half-time mark approached both sides quickly as the game produced very limited clear chances inside the opening 45 minutes. Both keepers were happy that their gloves stayed clean as the important second half loomed. 

Terrigal found the opener 10 minutes into the second period after some brilliant build-up play, Kai Forshaw found himself unmarked on the edge of the box and finished impressively to give Terrigal the lead. 

As the game got to the pointy end, Berkeley pressed hard in search of an equalizer. With only minutes left on the clock, left winger Ashton Hurley found just enough space to rip a low cross into a dangerous area.

The slightest of touches was all that was needed from Scott McGinley who guided the ball into the bottom corner, levelling the game at 1-1 heading into injury time.

Berkeley almost stole it at the very end, in the last minute the Wombats won a corner as Paul McGinley hit the crossbar which rattled the post and the nerves of Terrigal but it wasn’t to be as the contest finished 1-1.

Match Official – Anthony Kabbout

Woy Woy 1 – 2 Woongarrah

Woongarrah finds a late winner and breathes a sigh of relief as Luke Rogers and his Wildcats finally secure their inaugural win of the 2024 season against a stern Woy Woy side who record their fourth loss of the year. 

As has been the case with their other fixtures this season, Woongarrah started the contest against Woy Woy in a dominant fashion. 

Enjoying a large percentage of the possession, it was one-way traffic in the opening stages of this game which paid off after 20 minutes.

Ashley Henderson, who has been in tremendous goal-scoring form this season, opened the scoring after beating the opposition goalkeeper with his shot from just outside the 18-yard box to record his fourth goal of the season.

Woongarrah would continue to pressure the Woy Woy goalkeeper as the home side struggled to get their first attempt on the visitor’s goal until the 35th minute of play.

Moments before the halftime whistle sounded, Henderson thought he had a brace only for his shot hit to rattle the crossbar and was unable to double his side’s lead as the score remained 1-0 at the break.

The second period would mirror the opening half, only this time Woongarrah would create a lot of clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities only for some poor finishing and good saves by the Woy Woy goalkeeper to keep the contest locked at 1-0. 

With 10 minutes to go, Woy Woy would be awarded the lifeline they worked tirelessly for when they received a penalty in the box for handball.

Ty Daniel stepped up from the spot as he has done so already this season and although the keeper would get a glove to it, Daniel levelled the score for his side which set up an intense finish to the game. 

Both teams would push for the winning goal with the game becoming a very open affair. 

However, it was Woongarrah who came out on top as a ball into the box would find Alex Govorcin unmarked who expertly took his chance and delivered Woongarrah their first three pointsc crowning them winners on the day.

Luke Rogers commended his side on showing character to stay in the contest for the whole match as well as showing respect for the opposition who fought hard until the final whistle.  

“I would have been disappointed if we had left with a 1-1 draw considering how we controlled the game but if you don’t take your chances then they can come back to haunt you. Great to see the boys defend well as a team and play for the entirety of the match. Credit to Woy Woy for their never give up attitude”

Match Official – Trent Dickeson

Golden Boot Standings –

5Jacob Lepre (Southern & Ettalong)
4Jack Elwood (Southern & Ettalong), Ashley Henderson (Woongarrah), Mason Lavery (Kanwal), Logan Moore (Kanwal)

Points Table –

Club Championship –

Division 1

Round 6 Results –

Points Table –

Club Championship –