FLAME SUCCUMB TO LATE STUDENT CHARGE
The new season brings new ambitions, expectations and opportunities. South Coast Flame travelled to Heffron Park to take on UNSW FC in the season opener and after a scoreless first half, youngster Jonathan Mushaba opened the scoring for Flame shortly after the resumption. This was short-lived as the hosts hit back with two quick fire goals to Kevin Lopes before Naruyki Kato iced the game for UNSW with a late third.
Flame was without star forward Sandy Lowcock and right back Alex Boardman who were both injured and ill respectively for their round one clash. This forced a slight reshuffle in the starting line up with 18-year old Jonathan Mushaba charged with the responsibility to lead Flame’s attacking lines.
Things almost started perfectly for Flame as Louis Connell was put through on goal as early as the fourth minute. His left drive was brilliantly kept out by UNSW shot stopper Conor Winn.
On ten minutes, Uni’s Naruyuki Kato was in on the action as his fancy footwork allowed him to get a shot away from just outside the box which was well caught to Matt White’s left. Just three minutes later, a great cross was met with a solid volley from Jacub Buris however White was again up to the task as he managed to parry it to safety.
Apart from Connell’s early opportunity, it was UNSW who did most of the attacking in the first 30 minutes. Flame looked to have dodged a bullet when Buris again forced a save from White only for Kato to put the rebound away. Fortunately for the visitors, the Assistant flagged for offside.
This let off seemed to spark Flame. Just a couple of minutes later, Flame forced a midfield turnover and Justin Smith almost made the most of it with his thundering strike from 25 yards had Winn scrambling.
Flame suddenly had some ascendency and Matt Mazevski combined well with Andrew Christie who put in a perfect cross for Connell who perhaps from seven yards out should have done better.
It was UNSW who was perhaps happiest to hear the half time whistle with a few more half chances from Flame going begging. There was no score in the first half and at this point, it started to look like one goal from either side was going to be enough.
Just ten minutes into the second half and Flame got the scoreboard ticking. Carlo Stella found Mazevski who weaved his way past a couple of defenders before laying off to Mushaba whose first touch was on point and he managed to slip it past the advancing Winn to put Flame ahead. It was reward for Flame’s strong spell either side of the break.
On 61 minutes, UNSW cleared their box with a long ball. It fell nicely to Kevin Lopes who turned his defender and ran almost 20 yards as the defence retreated before unleashing with a cracking shot that found the bottom left of the Flame net. One would argue that this was a well-deserved equalizer although in truth, Flame would perhaps be very disappointed in how that was defended.
The goal seemed to lift the home side as they were back in the ascendancy. Kato striking the cross bar on 74 minutes from a well-placed free kick.
It was Lopes again who broke through and put UNSW in front for the first time on 78 minutes. His forward run had the defence on the back foot. He danced his way past two defenders before sending White the opposite way. In truth, it was a terrific individual effort.
Just a few minutes later, Mazevski went close when he got good purchase on a shot that shaved the left post.
With five minutes left, Kato iced the game after Lopes sliced the Flame defence with a ball that found the Japanese player. Through on goal, he made no mistake tucking past White and giving his side a two-goal lead.
Whilst Flame could not recover from the late charge, they will take some positives from the match including some resolute early defending and a nice goal to youth player Mushaba. Flame host Parramatta Eagles next week. The Eagles coming off a solid win over Western NSW.
Round 1 | KO 3.00pm | 8 March 2020 | Heffron Park, Maroubra
UNSW – 3
(Lopes 61’, 78’), (Kato 85’)
SOUTH COAST FLAME – 1
In the earlier grades, we went behind inside two minutes in the Under 20 after an unfortunate own goal. Despite waves of attack and the bulk of chances, we were unable to break through. The own goal proving decisive as we went down 1-0 to UNSW FC.
Two first half goals to Ned Glasgow paved the way to a stunning 2-0 win for the Under 18’s. An amazing and weaving run from Venus Mutaka allowed his to put the ball on a plate for Glasgow before he was on hand again to put away a parried save from the UNSW keeper.
Our senior teams are back in action next week (14 March @ Ian McLennan Park ) vs Parramatta Eagles.