BALMAIN INFLICT MORE MISERY ON FLAME
South Coast Flame suffered their third-straight loss after going down to Balmain Tigers on Sunday afternoon. Manuel Angelopolous gave Balmain the lead in the 28th minute before Miki Bisceglia doubled the Tigers’ lead in the 85th minute. Jayden Smileski scored deep into stoppage time, but the Flame went down 2-1.
The match had significant influence in the battle for semi-finals positions in the FNSW State League, as South Coast and Balmain are vying for finals football – in a competition which is currently very tight. South Coast have dropped to 5th, and Balmain are now just one point behind the Flame in 6th.
Balmain looked to pressure the Flame from the start, and looked to grab an early goal.
Following this, both teams created several half chances – however none were converted.
Wade Wilton and Hiroaki Ushijima combined in the 25th minute and created a dangerous chance for the Flame. Wilton was able to find Ushijima after a fantastic direct pass, before Ushijima was allowed to turn and shoot on goal. James Conaghan was able to deal with the shot.
Angelopolous gave Balmain the lead 3 minutes later, after he was able to beat several Flame defenders and shoot. His shot eventually found the back of the net, and gave Balmain the lead.
Louis Connell was able to pounce on a wayward ball and shoot, following a defensive scramble in the 39th minute – but his shot narrowly missed the left post.
Connell combined with Ushijima in the 40th minute, as he was able to attack down the left wing and find Ushijima – but the shot that followed narrowly missed the left post.
South Coast struggled to maintain possession, however it seemed that Balmain lacked the fluency needed to counter-attack.
Debutant Alex Galbraith injected positive ball movement into the Flame’s midfield as soon as he entered the game. Along with Galbraith, Toru Suzuki and Terrance Jah made their first grade debuts.
In the 72nd minute, Yuki Mandai – who was South Coast’s man of the match – was able to advance into the Balmain defensive third after a positive run with the ball. Mandai’s shot that followed missed the left post.
Balmain had their second goal of the match in the 85th minute, after a Balmain free-kick wasn’t dealt with by the Flame’s defence. This lead to a cross from the right wing, which found Bisceglia near the far post – who made no mistake in finishing.
Jayden Smileski was able to pull a goal back for the Flame deep into injury time. Smileski was able to unleash a dangerous shot from the edge of Balmain’s penalty box, which Conaghan couldn’t stop.
Unfortunately, it was a case of ‘too little, too late’ for the Flame – as they ran out of time to search for an equalising goal.
Our U/20’s continued their positive form in the earlier match, defeating 4th-placed Balmain 4-0. Goals to Johnny Vicoroski, Abdalla Okla, Toru Suzuki and Sekou Bayo rounded out an important victory for the Flame, as they look to jump ahead of Prospect United after their match next week. Special mention for Sekou Bayo – who scored a wonder-goal, which may make him a sure thing to take out the Puskas award!
Our U/18’s crushed Balmain Tigers 10-2 in the earliest match in what was the squad’s biggest win of the season. South Coast will look to back up this dominant performance against Prospect United next weekend.
South Coast Flame will return to Ian McLennan Park to host Prospect United next Saturday. U/18’s kick off at 3pm, U/20’s kick off at 5pm and First Grade kick off at 7pm. We invite all of our junior squads to attend, as the Flame only have a handful of home games left in this season.
Report by Jarrod Pollard.