MIDWEEK WRAP | VS BANKSTOWN CITY LIONS
The boys played midweek games at Bankstown City and walked away with 4 wins and a draw.
13 BOYS (WON 2-0)
A short turnaround from our game on Sunday against Dunbar, saw us travel to Bankstown City FC for a Tuesday night game. Looking to continue our red-hot form, the boys started the game with such great intensity. We managed to win the ball off the opposition from kick off, with some combination play down the left wing and find Kyan Hawke in space to play the ball into Willem Robaard, who moved the ball onto his left foot and bury it into the net from 20 yards out and all in the first 26 seconds.
The boys never took their foot off the gas, and were relentless with their approach to the game, creating chance after chance with some of their best football played all season. The shot tally grew and grew but unfortunately the second goal didn’t come before half time. The approach to the second half was to shore up defensively to not be exposed to the opposition’s long ball approach and counterattack, while moving the ball quicker to create and convert our chances. We knew we had to be the next team to score.
As the second half wore on, Bankstown still felt they were in the game and could grab a goal. But our boys held firm at the back, and they stuck to our principles of how we play. Time ticked on and Bankstown threw everything they had at us, but never once did we stop moving the ball and sit back on our one goal lead. We continued to push and within the last moments of the game, with an overload in the middle of the park, Zeke Frino received the ball beyond the Bankstown’s midfield and beat his first defender before expertly slipping Jake Ueda in on goal, who blasted the ball into the roof on the net. A commanding performance and a deserving win, total domination from the first whistle to the last.
Player of the Week: Jake Ueda
Forever a threat down the left-wing creating chances for his teammates, grows in confidence each week. A great finish with his weaker foot to cap off a great game for the team
14 BOYS (WON 2 – 1)
A rare night game, and mid-week travel saw the team head to Bankstown on Thursday night. Not a great start as within the first 90 seconds a loose pass at the back was pounced on by the Bankstown striker who pushed it passed our keeper. To the boy’s credit, they responded with calmness and control to play some of their best football of the season. Dominating possession creating numerous chances, we were extremely unlucky not to go in level at halftime, after a dubious offside call from the assistant referee disallowed an equaliser, after a well-executed through ball from Cooper Schofield allowed Jackson Beniuk to finish well. We went into the break 1-0 down.
The second half, like the first, saw the flame continue to move the ball well, holding possession with several attacking opportunities. A good piece of combination play provided an opportunity for Thomas Dimeski and he deftly chipped the keeper from a tight angle, after a neat pass from Tristan Nikolovski. Despite the positive play, it was looking like yet another game where the winner would elude them, but to the team’s credit they didn’t panic and continued to follow the game plan. With less than 2 minutes on the clock, patience was rewarded with arguably the best team goal of the year. Starting from the back, a sequence of 9 well timed and perfectly executed passes saw a final through ball from Luca Radice-Jones to Blake Pearson in the box, where a neat cut back, allowed him to create an open shot on target. It was a well-earned reward for a pleasing performance, where the lads showed real character to win 2:1 for the Flame.
Player of the Week: Blake Pearson
For showing the self-belief and confidence to score the winner after missing a chance early in the match, and always striving to improve at training.
15 BOYS (DREW 0-0)
As we travelled up to Bankstown on Thursday night the boys were looking to bounce back after a couple of testing weeks.
The boys had identified in a video review of our opponents earlier in the week that it was definitely going to be a very tough game and a team that would appear to be hard to break down.
The review of our opponents would seem to be right with Bankstown coming out with a very defensively minded game plan then look to counterattack and play direct long balls at every opportunity.
This style of play seemed to cause us some problems at times, but our boys were up to the challenge.
As halftime was near the boys were dominating possession and constantly looking to unlock this very defensive Bankstown structure with both teams creating only a handful of chances.
The second half was very much the same with boys controlling the tempo of the game and the only threat to us would be those long balls over the top. Our best chance of the night would come from Zac Birch who’s shot was cleared off the line from a determined and desperate Bankstown defender.
All in all, we would probably look at it as 2 dropped points but 1 point is better than none especially travelling away from home on a Thursday night. All boys put in a solid performance and collectively never stopped working hard for each other.
Our focus now would move to our long trip to Bathurst on Saturday.
Player of the week: Nick Hailstone
Faultless performance and continued improvement at training.
16 BOYS (WON 3-0)
The Flame 16’s travelled to Jensen Park to face off against Bankstown City FC in a mid-week game having come off a loss only two days earlier. The expectation was for a highly competitive game especially given the Flame were without 3 regular players through injury and suspension.
Bankstown City kicked off and immediately pressed forward in a pre-rehearsed play leading to a shot on target in the opening seconds. It was well saved by Keeper Gazivoda, but Bankstown City’s intention was clear.
The Flame weathered the opening storm and remained composed. A combination of quick switches in attack and successful challenges in the midfield saw the momentum swing Flame’s way when a set piece by Merola found the head of 15’s stand in player Bussoletti in the box who expertly guided the ball into the net. Flame takes a 1-0 lead.
The Flame’s positive play was again rewarded with another set piece in the 35th minute. Merola’s cross was parried upwards by the Keeper but failed to clear. It landed in the field of play and a smart response by Striker Vozza saw him slot it in from close range. Flame leads 2-0 at HT.
Much of the second half was about the Flame slowing down the game and maintaining possession whilst Bankstown City’s desperation to score required a quick transition and long balls to their front line. The Flame’s back 4 were called on many times to spoil and clear, which they did very effectively.
In the 75th minute the Bankstown Keeper is quick to advance the play but in doing so, his pass is intercepted by right flanker De Freitas who takes a skilful course towards goal evading two defenders. His pass is well weighted to Vasquez in the box who makes no mistake with a powerful finish to the right of the Keeper. The Flame leads 3-0, which becomes the final score.
It was a very pleasing all round team effort by the Flame and a great response to the Dunbar result. A special thank you to the 15s players who assisted and made a terrific contribution to the win.
The Flame are League leaders, but other teams have games in hand. We look forward to the long journey to Bathurst to take on Western NSW.
Player of the week: Julian De Freitas
Outstanding performance. Asking questions of the opposition that they had no answers for.
18 BOYS (WON 4-1)
Match report unavailable