GAZY LEAVE IT LATE TO SNATCH A DRAW FROM FLAME
South Coast Flame and FC Gazy Auburn played out a 1-1 draw at a wet Ian McLennan Park on Sunday evening, in a very tense and fiery fixture. Justin Smith gave the Flame the lead in the 76th minute, before Haydar Al-Ameri scored an equalising goal deep into stoppage time to snatch a point.
South Coast still remain in third, with Gazy Auburn just two points behind in 4th.
The match was scheduled to be played earlier in the day at Auburn, however the inclement weather meant that the fixture was altered, with the match being played at Ian McLennan Park.
South Coast had a defensive scare in the 6th minute, as Ali Al Waeli was able to win the ball and counter inside the Flame’s half – but Matthew White was able to save the hurried shot that followed.
South Coast held a lot of possession in their defensive third, however struggled to progress into the middle third with the ball. Gazy were able to pounce on South Coast’s mistakes on the ball and looked dangerous on the counter.
Dominic Esoghume had a chance to give Gazy the lead in the 27th minute after he was able to control a cross from Davide Gritti, but his shot that followed was saved by White.
Smith was able to feed the ball into the path of Johnny Vicoroski in the 30th minute, however Vicoroski’s shot hit the side netting.
The game was an arm-wrestle in midfield, as both sides looked to adapt to the adverse conditions going into half-time.
Both sides were lacking creativity in front of goal, and went into half-time with no goals.
Edoardo Panizzari threatened the Flame goal in the 49th minute as he unleashed a venomous strike on-goal. The ball deflected off the Flame defence, but White was able to pull out a brilliant reflex save.
South Coast nearly had a goal just a minute later – off an Alex Boardman free-kick, which found Wade Wilton on the edge of the box. Wilton was able to unleash a wicked shot towards the Auburn goal, which narrowly brushed past the left post.
Gazy were looking to create their chances through their big striker – Esoghume. Javier Diaz was able to execute a cross from the right-wing towards Esoghume in the 68th minute, and Esoghume’s header that followed just missed the left post.
Esoghume threatened again in the 76th minute as he was able to shoot on the edge of the Flame’s penalty box, but his shot just missed the top-left corner.
The Flame opened the scoring in the 78th minute, after a beautiful ball from Jayden Smileski was able to beat Auburn’s defence and into the path of Smith – who made no mistake in burying the ball into the net.
Tense times followed, as the Flame continued to hold off an endless barrage of Auburn attacks.
Al-Ameri was able to equalise for Auburn in the 4th minute of stoppage time, after the ball bypassed the Flame’s defence into the path of the dangerous attacker – who equalised for Gazy and ensured that they would leave South Coast with a point.
Following the match, White admitted that this was a tough result to take but insists that the squad is looking forward to the next few games – where the side plays Nepean FC and Central Coast United.
“The rain made it tough to play our normal football style. I would be lying if I said it didn’t have some effect on how we played last night, though as footballers we need to adapt to things like this”.
“For them to score in the last minute of injury time was a hard pill to swallow, it was one of those draws that felt like a loss”.
“We believe that we are amongst the top teams in the competition now, so we are going into these games (against Nepean and Central Coast) confident.” White added.
“We have a point to prove”, White concluded.
Due to the inclement weather and ground availability, our U/18’s and U/20’s were unable to play their fixture against Auburn – and will play their respective matches at a later date.
South Coast travel to Cook Park next Saturday to take on Nepean FC. First Grade kicks off at 7pm with U/20’s at 5pm and U/18’s at 3pm.
Report by Jarrod Pollard