FLAME LEFT TO RUE MISSED CHANCES
South Coast Flame were left to wonder what could’ve been as they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Prospect United. Matthew Mazevski gave the Flame an early lead whilst Andrew Christie also put his name on the score-sheet in the first half. Thomas Kasunic converted an early second-half penalty before Kasunic levelled the game in the 63rd minute. Both sides fought tooth and nail in the remaining half-an-hour, but neither side found a winner.
South Coast’s U/18’s kicked-off the day in clinical fashion with a good 4-0 win, but our U/20’s suffered a 2-1 loss – in a game which could’ve been very different had South Coast been more clinical in front of goal.
Mazevski gave the Flame an early lead in just the fourth minute after a magnificent strike from 25 yards – and it seemed that the Flame were in the ascendancy.
South Coast continued to pressure Prospect down their right side. In the 10th minute, Alex Boardman was able to feed the ball to Seiya Oba, before Oba cut the ball onto his left foot and struck the ball towards goal. The shot destined for the bottom-right corner was saved by Mario Farias.
Several cheap turnovers of possession by the Flame gave Prospect a chance to advance, however United couldn’t capitalise.
South Coast moved the ball swiftly in the first-half and could’ve had more goals.
Flame doubled their lead in the 28th minute when Christie was able to connect with the ball at the near-post, after an Oba corner.
South Coast were in control and looked to pressurise Prospect through swift movement of the ball, however they couldn’t capitalise on their territorial dominance.
Prospect were able to create a chance in the 38th minute, when Nicholas Valjak was able to cross the ball from the left-wing into Kasunic. Kasunic’s header that followed struck the left post.
Valjak was able to move towards goal in the 45th minute after bypassing the Flame defence. The shot that followed was magnificently saved by Matthew White, as the first-half concluded.
Prospect came out of the sheds with intent and began the second half with a lot more intensity than the first.
United were awarded a penalty in the 53rd minute after an unfortunate handball in the Flame’s penalty box. Kasunic rose the occasion and calmly converted the penalty.
South Coast looked to settle the game in the 56th minute, when Yuki Mandai pushed the ball into the path of Hiroaki Ushijima. Ushijima’s cross travelled across the face of goal and was not met by an oncoming attacker.
Prospect levelled the game in the 63rd minute, when Joel Bayubahe crossed the ball from the right-wing towards Kasunic – and the header that followed was judged to have crossed the goal-line despite a desperate save from Matt White.
The Flame were under pressure from United and needed to hold firm in order to prevent another Prospect goal.
The match turned into a physical encounter – especially in midfield – and Prospect seemed to be winning the battle.
South Coast thought they had their third goal of the match in the 69th minute, when a Justin Smith header found the back of the net – however he was unfortunately ruled offside.
Louis Connell made an immediate impact off the bench for the Flame and looked to be South Coast’s main threat in front of goal. He was able to latch onto the ball in front of goal in the 75th minute, however his powerful shot that followed narrowly missed the left post.
Connell was at it again in the 84th minute, when he attacked down the right-wing and executed a low cross across goal – but there was nobody to meet the ball.
Prospect were pushing for their third goal in the dying stages of the match, and nearly had a winner in the 90th minute. Vukovic was able to easily beat the Flame defence and get a shot on goal, however White pulled off a brilliant save. The ball very nearly bounced into the net however it was contained.
The full-time whistle blew, and South Coast were wondering what could’ve been had they’d taken advantage of their first-half dominance.
Captain White believes that the Flame need to take their chances in front of goal.
“We really need to be ruthless in front of goal. We had a lot of chances tonight and – as I said – we should’ve put the game to bed in the first half” White said.
“Moving forward, we need to work on playing for the full 90 minutes and taking our chances as they come.”
Our U/20’s suffered their third-straight loss after going down 2-1 in the earlier game. South Coast were made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal, as Prospect were able to pinch two goals against the run of play.
The U/18’s made light work of Prospect in a 4-0 win. A double from Deakin Brownlee along with goals from Reagan Strong and Ryan Chard sealed a comfortable win.
South Coast will have a week off next weekend as they have a bye round. This will be the Flame’s first of two byes this season. South Coast’s next match will be against the Hurstville City Minotaurs on the 12th of May at Ilinden Sports Centre. U/18’s kick off at 3pm, U/20’s kick off at 5pm and First Grade kick off at 7pm.
Report by Jarrod Pollard