SOUTH COAST PUNISH LACKLUSTRE MINOTAURS
After playing the bye last round, South Coast Flame have claimed a 2-0 win at Ilinden Sports Centre over the Hurstville City Minotaurs. South Coast were able to capitalise on a lethargic start from the Minotaurs through goals from Matthew Mazevski and Yuki Mandai, which was enough for the Flame to extend their unbeaten run to three games.
South Coast thought they had the opener of the match as early as the 4th minute through Mazevski, however he was ruled offside.
The match began to settle following the disallowed goal, with Hurstville looking to play directly towards their wingers and force a cross into the Flame penalty area.
South Coast would have the majority of the early chances and were rewarded for their persistence in the 22nd minute when Hiroaki Ushijima was brought down in the penalty area after a dangerous run with the ball. Mazevski followed this by calmly slotting the ball into the top-right corner.
The Flame doubled their lead in the 33rd minute after Ushijima was able to link up with Louis Connell and fire a dangerous shot on goal – after a brilliant long ball from Daniel Lucas. Ushijima’s shot was able to ricochet off the Minotaurs’ goalkeeper into the path of Mandai – who made no mistake in burying the ball into the goal.
Juan Botero began to threaten the Flame’s defence down Hurstville’s left-wing, however the Minotaurs were unable to create any decent chances in the opening period.
South Coast looked to assert their dominance through the high defensive pressure lead by Mandai and Connell, but Hurstville was able to control more ball towards the end of the first half and ensured that the scoreline remained 2-0 going into half-time.
South Coast started the second half strong and almost immediately managed to score. Justin Smith was able to venomously strike the ball towards the Hurstville goal after a neat build up, which forced a fantastic save from the Minotaurs’ goalkeeper.
Ushijima was able to pounce on a cheap turnover of possession by Hurstville in the 53rd minute, but his shot that followed sailed over the bar.
Botero continued to threaten for the Minotaurs, and nearly orchestrated a goal in the 61st minute. Botero was able to find Matheus Pontes on Hurstville’s left-wing, before Pontes was able to cut the ball onto his right foot and shoot on goal. The shot was destined for the bottom-right corner however Matthew White was able to brilliantly save the Flame from conceding.
The Minotaurs’ were experiencing their best period of the match as Botero, Pontes and Seyfullah Eser were able to dangerously attack the Flame backline – but the Minotaurs were lacking composure in front of goal.
South Coast should’ve put the game to bed in the 69th minute, as Mazevski and Connell were able to easily beat the Hursvtille defence. Mazevski had an open goal to finish but decided to pass the ball to an unexpecting Connell. The ball missed everybody and went out for a goal-kick.
Hurstville continued to create several half-chances in front of the Flame goal, however White was able to easily deal with the shots that followed.
The Minotaurs had a penalty shout in the 86th minute after Botero was taken down in the box, but the referee deemed the tackle to be legal and play continued.
Caleb Grace instantly looked dangerous as soon as he entered the game, and nearly created a Flame goal in the 91st minute. Grace was able to quickly attack down the left-wing and strike a dangerous cross towards Ushijima – but the Japanese attacker couldn’t connect with the ball well enough. This would be the last chance of the match, as the Flame left Rockdale with all 3 points.
It was a disappointing evening for our U/20’s side who suffered their 4th-straight loss after going down 5-2 to a witty Minotaurs outfit. Goals to Johnny Vicoroski and Jayden Nikolovski were the highlights of a disappointing performance from the Flame.
Our U/18’s were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw in the earliest game. It was a physical encounter in the earliest game, with loads of tension and drama – however no goals were scored, and both sides left with a point and a clean sheet.
South Coast are back home at Ian McLennan Park next weekend on Saturday the 18th of May as they take on University of NSW. First Grade kick off is 7pm, which is precluded by the U/20’s at 5pm and U/18’s at 3pm.
Report by Jarrod Pollard