LATE WINNER FROM UNSW BREAKS FLAME HEARTS
University of NSW have defeated South Coast Flame in dramatic circumstances, after a late penalty in stoppage time gave the students a 2-1 victory away from home. Aaron Richmond gave University the lead in the 20th minute before Louis Connell equalised for South Coast before half-time. A late penalty for University was converted by Nima Beik in the 92nd minute, which ended the Flame’s 3 game unbeaten run.
South Coast remain in 4th position on the ladder, but UNSW are just 5 points behind the Flame in 9th position.
The Flame began to threaten in the 15th minute when Caleb Grace was able to feed the ball out right to Connell – whose shot narrowly missed the target and hit the side-netting.
Justin Smith was able to penetrate University’s defence in the 19th minute with a fantastic through ball to Yuki Mandai, but Mandai was unable to connect well with the ball when shooting and missed the target.
University opened the scoring in the 20th minute through the tricky Aaron Richmond. Richmond was able to control the ball on University’s right-wing and shoot on goal. South Coast’s Matthew White was barely able to get a hand on the ball as Richmond’s shot was struck with power into the back of the net.
Mandai was fouled outside the UNSW penalty box in the 33rd minute as the Flame looked for an equaliser. Matthew Mazevski’s free kick that followed just missed the target and travelled over the bar.
Grace and Connell looked to lead the Flame’s defence through high-pressure when not in possession, as UNSW looked to sit back and attack the Flame on the counter-attack.
Connell equalised for the Flame in the first minute of stoppage time before half-time. Smith’s free kick bounced over UNSW’s defensive wall and found the head of Connell in front of goal. Connell made no mistake in finishing the ball into the net.
South Coast looked to threaten the UNSW goal after half-time. Hiroaki Ushijima, Mandai and Mazevski combined in the 62nd minute in front of the University goal – leading to Mazevski shooting on goal. The shot destined for the bottom-left corner was brilliantly saved by Nic Nelson
Matthew Villazon looked to orchestrate University’s attacks through the middle of the park, and nearly created a goal in the 69th minute as he flicked the ball into the path of Beik – but the attack was dealt with by the Flame’s defence.
Villazon thought he gave UNSW the lead in the 75th minute after Benjamin Sunderland hit a venomous shot towards the Flame goal – which was magnificently stopped by White. Villazon was able to put the loose ball into the back of the net after White’s save, but he was flagged offside.
Connell was lightning quick down South Coast’s right-wing in the 78th minute, after he beat several UNSW defenders and delivered a wicked cross into the box. Substitute Seiya Oba wasn’t able to connect cleanly with the cross as the ball sailed over the bar.
There were a lot of nervous faces from both sides in the final 10 minutes as both sides looked for a winner. Both sides frantically attacked each other in search for 3 points.
It was heartbreak for South Coast as UNSW were awarded a penalty in the 2nd minute of stoppage time after a foul in the penalty area. Beik calmly converted the penalty as UNSW earnt 3 crucial points as they continue to revive their season which started so poorly.
It was heartbreak of a similar fashion for our U/20’s as a late UNSW penalty sealed a 2-2 draw, after South Coast took the lead twice during the match through Jayden Nikolovski and Johnny Vicoroski. It was a cruel blow for the Flame who are still seeking their second win of the season.
UNSW left it late to defeat South Coast 2-1 in the U/18’s match. The match was stopped for an extended period of time after a head injury to a UNSW player. We wish that player all the best and hope he recovers safely from his injury.
South Coast are on the road next weekend as they take on Club Championship contenders in Fraser Park on Saturday the 25th of May. U/18’s kick off at 3pm, U/20’s kick off at 5pm and First Grade kicks off at 7pm.
Report by Jarrod Pollard