WEEKEND WRAP | VS WESTERN NSW (ROUND 8)
It is one of the club’s longest road trips but that didn’t deter the boys as they won all four games at Proctor Park.
13 BOYS (WON 4-0)
In what was our third game within a week, we made the long trip to Bathurst, to play Western NSW, who we met early in our pre-season during the Bathurst Cup. There was only one outcome on our minds, leaving Bathurst with all 3 points.
It was a touch challenge ahead of us, repeating the same performance from Tuesday night against a stronger team. The boys were determined to go one better. Once again, off the oppositions kick off we pressed to win the ball and look to score early on, winning the game’s first corner. Still only in the first minute, during a penalty area scrap, the ball fell to the left foot of Jake Ueda who hit the ball low and hard, to put the Flame a goal up.
Lead by our vocal captain at the back, Harry Allman, the team pressed harder at every opportunity to win and keep the ball. Like Tuesday, the football being played, the combinations, the overlaps, and underlaps, were a joy to see. Again, chances were created and if they weren’t rattled by our early goal, they surely were in the 3rd minute when William Bain pounced on a loose ball and his thunderous effort struck the cross bar. An excellent individual run from Zac Vliestra at right full back, saw him disorganise the Western defence and with their half clearance, allowed the ball to fall at the feet of Euan Williams, striking the ball low and hard, putting the flame 2 up in 10 minutes. The Flame had a third 5 minutes later, when the clearance from GK Bailey Trunzo found its way through to Willem Robaard, who shrugged off the defence before slipping the ball past the Western GK. A commanding lead at HT
Although the second half was patchy at times, the boys continued to take control of the game. Midway through the second half, we were able to grab our 4th goal, with same lovely passing from the right side out to the left, where Jake Ueda’s cross found the free Jimmy Skarvelis who tapped home into an open net. Another great win and most importantly, quality football played. Bailey Trunzo making some fine saves throughout the game to keep another clean sheet.
Player of the Week: Euan Williams + William Bain
This week, it has to be a co-player of the week with both boys putting in a dominant performance and playing to the team tasks, their development continues to shine. It was the Bain and Williams show in the middle of the park against Western.
14 BOYS (WON 2 – 1)
With only a day to recover the boys then headed West to our longest away game of the season in Bathurst v. Western NSW FC. Greeted with cold and slippery conditions, the boys picked up where they left off on Thursday with quality ball movement, and this time more composure in scoring situations. An early goal to Ale Calmasini off a well-executed corner from Ben Cornford created the perfect start. 1:0 to the flame. To their credit Western NSW responded after some lacklustre Flame defending allowed their striker to turn and play in a free midfielder who finished well. 1:1. Positive ball movement continued, and with a few minutes left in the first half, some excellent pressure from our high press and a tackle from Lachlan Flood, allowed Thomas Dimevski enough space to push one to the left of the Western NSW keeper. 2:1 Flame at half time.
Hit the repeat button for the second half. With both teams looking to play positive football; mid-way through the second half some nice lead up work by Jackson Beniuk, allowed Cassidy Mar the chance to take a composed shot in the box, pushing it passed the keeper to make it 3:1. 3 became 4 soon after with a well taken finish from Cooper Schofield after a neat ball by Luca Radice-Jones finding the back of the net as well. A lapse in concentration defending a throw in allowed a brilliant strike from Western NSW to bring it back to 4:2, however that’s how it stayed at FT.
Another great performance for the boys, continuing recent form.
Player of the Week: Lachlan Groves
For continuing to work hard to improve, executing the game plan and having an excellent game.
15 BOYS (WON 3-2)
As we made the long trip to Bathurst to face the top of the ladder Western FC the boys were determined to reverse the scores from our last encounter at the Bathurst cup back in February. The boys knew it was going to take a massive collective effort to overcome a very classy Western FC outfit.
The boys came out firing right from the start with our high press causing Western problems playing out. In the 26th minute we would get our rewards when a fast and high press would result in a great dispossession of the Western GK by Zac Birch who calmly slotted the ball in to open the score.
As first half came to an end both teams were asking plenty of questions of each other.
With the second half underway both teams resumed where they left off with end to end football being played. It was in the 44th minute Birch would get his second for the day after some brilliant build up play and a great run down the left from Kyron Guevara whose pass across the goal would find a perfectly timed run from Birch.
With the score 2-0 the tide would turn quickly with a determined Western scoring in the 51st minute and then in the 54th to draw level. With still plenty of time left to play and to the boy’s credit they regrouped, didn’t panic, and continued on looking for that game winning goal.
With less than a minute left on the clock and a corner in our favour a well-timed volley from Bowen Spencer just inside the box would thunder bolt into the Western goal to give us a 3-2 lead with seconds remaining.
As the final whistle blew and a 3-2 win against the ladder leaders, it would be bittersweet for the boys and just rewards for a tireless collective effort especially backing up after a hard game on Thursday night. What a great result.
Well done and congratulations to everyone involved.
Player of the week: Bowen Spencer
Excellent performance and match winning goal.
16 BOYS (WON 5-2)
Cold and wet conditions greeted the Flame as we arrived in Bathurst. The team was looking to build some consistency in their play against a struggling Western NSW side.
The Flame looked to advance early and gain the advantage, however, the players did not count on the playing surface behaving the way it did. Although it presented well and true, there was little traction and boys found keeping upright a challenge. It meant that our passes were not finding feet as much as we would have liked, resulting in a lot of transitional moments that put us under early pressure.
The conditions played a part in the first goal. A WNSW pass forward in the 7 th minute was contested at the right back. The Flame player slipped and the WNSW flanker was left unopposed as he progressed goalward. Our Keeper advanced and a lobbed shot found the net. WNSW 1-0.
Typical of the Flame side, the early setback had a measured and composed response. The rain had stopped, and Flame worked themselves into the game. A promising run by Vozza down the left flank was crossed to Merola in the 20 th minute. The shot on goal was only kept out by a great save. A further 3 shots by the Flame followed within the next 5 minutes. All sailed wide of the mark but the tide had turned.
In the 37 th minute, a busy Vozza won the ball on the left flank and crossed to De Freitas who positioned himself well at the 18-yard line. A first touch shot on his left foot curled and evaded their Keeper to even the scores.
Only 2 minutes later WNSW mounted a counterattack leading to a dangerous cross. It is cleared by the Flame and falls to the feet of Merola. He surges forward on a long run and crosses to Vozza in the box who attempts to help it on, but it sails skywards forcing the Keeper to leap high. Flame players pressure the Keeper and he spills the ball into the back of Markowski and it rebounds into the goal. Flame took a 2-1 lead into Half Time.
The Flame started well in the second half. An early intercept by Mezedi was passed onto Vozza who turned and shot wide to the right. Another attacking move by Vozza in the
50 th minute this time results in a penalty being awarded as he is taken down. Makowski steps up and calmly slots it in as the Flame moves to 3-1.
The Flame are dominating possession and a positive run by Vozza into the box and subsequent shot deflects off a defender and finds the net in the 56 th minute. Flame extended their lead to 4-1.
Further attacking raids follow as the Flame players smell blood. A nice transition from the back in the 72nd minute finds Makowski in the midfield. As the defenders collapse on him, he manages a well disguised pass to a surging Chard whose first touch from the 18 yard-line is a shot to the bottom left. The Flame have a commanding 5-1 lead.
A consolation goal to Western NSW in the 75h minute sounded off the scoring. Flame 5-2.
It was a solid performance by the Flame who will have to find another gear when they take on the unbeaten Jets next week.
Player of the week: Daniel Merola
Strong all-round performance.