CENTRAL COAST COME FROM BEHIND TO DEFEAT FLAME
South Coast Flame surrendered a one-goal lead as they were defeated by Central Coast United at Pluim Park on Saturday night – with the score finishing 2-1 in favour of the home side. Louis Connell gave South Coast the lead early in the second-half after scoring a contender for goal-of-the-season, before two goals from Central Coast ensured that they maintained their lead at the top of the table.
South Coast have dropped to 5th on the table, and are only two points ahead of Nepean FC in 6th.
Central Coast looked to maintain possession of the ball in the early stages of the match, as they looked to settle into a rhythm.
United had a chance in the 18th minute through Daniel McFarlane, as the captain was able to pick up a loose ball on the edge of South Coast’s penalty area and shoot – but his shot sailed over the bar.
Just one minute later, Nathan Cowell was able to cross the ball from the left wing into the path of McFarlane – however McFarlane’s shot that followed was saved by Matthew White.
South Coast had the best chance of the match in the 24th minute, after Hiroaki Ushijima was able to pounce on a loose ball from Central Coast’s defence. Ushijima only had goalkeeper Jack O’Malley to beat, but his shot that followed somehow missed the target and brushed past the left-post.
Alex Arbelo was able to feed the ball into the path of Adam Woodbine in the 37th minute, before Woodbine unleashed a shot on goal – which was dealt with by the Flame defence.
Connell looked to produce the spectacular in the 41st minute, after a cross from Alex Boardman found Connell in the box. Connell nearly produced a Jamie-Vardy-like flick shot on goal, but he was denied by a brilliant save from O’Malley.
The Flame took the lead in the 54th minute after a spectacular strike from Connell. Julio Mushaba was able to find Connell’s feet on the right-wing, before Connell hit a thunderous half-volley into the back of the net.
South Coast looked to pressure from the front following this, but Central Coast held firm.
Central Coast found an equaliser in the 62nd minute through Scott McGinley, who was able to head the ball into the net off a Woodbine free-kick.
McFarlane, Arbelo and Woodbine looked dangerous in attack for Central Coast – and tested White on numerous occasions following their opening goal.
Central Coast took the lead in the 71st minute after they were awarded a penalty. A cheap turnover of possession in midfield lead to Jack Ragen crossing the ball into South Coast’s penalty area from the right-wing, before White was deemed to have fouled Woodbine in the box.
McFarlane was able to convert his penalty after striking the ball towards the middle of the goal and finding the back of the net.
Central Coast found a new lease of life in the following 10 minutes as they looked to add to their goal-tally.
Following this, South Coast looked to pressure the Central Coast goal – and a sense of nervousness was felt around the home fans. To their credit, United held firm until the end and came away with the three points.
Our U/20’s put on a courageous performance to draw 1-1 with the ladder-leaders in Central Coast. Jakeb Brownlow gave the hosts the lead after neatly finishing his shot into the bottom-left corner, before South Coast’s debutant in Alex Galbraith restored parity for the Flame just minutes later. Both teams fought hard, with some intriguing battles on show across all positions – but neither side could break the deadlock.
Our U/18’s were simply outclassed by a quality Central Coast outfit in the earliest game, with the hosts running out 3-0 winners. South Coast will look to bounce back in the following weeks, after a couple of disappointing losses.
South Coast return to Ilinden Sports Centre next Sunday as they take on Balmain Tigers. Kick off times are earlier than usual due to other fixtures taking place at the ground – with First Grade kicking off at 1pm, U/20’s kicking off at 11am, and U/18’s kicking off bright and early at 9am.
Report by Jarrod Pollard.