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Elimination Final: South Coast Flame v Hurstville FC; Saturday 24th August, 5pm @ Ian McLennan Park

There’s no second chance for both South Coast Flame and Hurstville FC this weekend as they play out this week’s elimination final.

Well they left it late, in fact the latest you can possibly leave it, but South Coast Flame come into the finals series as one of the form sides of the competition. A win against this week’s opposition in the last round was the latest of three victories in their past four appearances. With the other two wins coming over UNSW FC and Hurstville City Minotaurs. When all was said and done, they finished in fourth position with a total of 29 points, however their achilles heel of the season has been their results against the sides above them so they’ll have to raise their game from this point forward.

This week, the Flame will see the return of one of their best in midfielder Matthew Mazevski after serving a week’s suspension. The young squad are captained by goalkeeper by Matthew White. Whilst they lack the experience of other squads, they make for it in enthusiasm and raw talent. In a promising sign, it was Julio Mushaba and Yuki Mandai who stole the show last weekend which will only grow the team’s confidence for their sudden death final. In terms of goal scoring threats, we look to young striker Louis Connell and the fitness of Hiroaki Ushijima who is in doubt for this weekend’s clash. It’s the biggest game in the club’s short history and we can’t wait to see what they can do on the big stage.

In contrast to their opposition, Hurstville FC finished the season in truly disappointing fashion and were honestly lucky to cling on to fifth position. They lost their last three games of the regular season, going down two goals to nil in each of them. But perhaps the most disappointing of the lot was last weekend against their opposition this week. Quite simply they didn’t turn up, letting the Flame control the transition moments. If they do want to look for inspiration though, they only have look to the two games beforehand. Yes, they lost those, but they went down fighting and perhaps unlucky not to take points away from either Nepean FC or Central Coast United.

So, who do we look out for in this Hurstville outfit? Well on his day, the simple answer is Paul Gagro. The Hurstville captain can simply change games, and generally anything that’s good for the Hurstville side comes through him. Yeah but Justin, football is a team game? You’re correct and this week’s visitors will want performances from midfielder Pedro Almeida, Jesse Gagro up front and goalkeeper Matthew Massarotto. If they do get such performances, they might just stand a chance of causing the upset this week.

Previous meetings:

R11: South Coast Flame 2-1 Hurstville FC

R22: Hurstville FC 0-2 South Coast Flame

Last Words and Prediction:

South Coast Flame have the advantage coming into this one. A combination of home ground advantage and winning both previous meetings this season leads us to believe they’ll be hard to beat.

By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin) – Football NSW Reporter


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