TIGERS SNATCH POINT AT THE DEATH
Both sides were forced to share the points at Rom Dine Oval on Saturday night. Louis Connell put South Coast Flame ahead as early as the fourth minute however the home side were awarded a controversial penalty with effectively the last kick of the match. Andrew Head stepped up and calmly converted to ensure there was no winner.
South Coast Flame were keen to put last week’s disappointment behind them and they started well mustering up a half chance inside the opening 20 seconds. A minute later, Connell gets in behind his opponent and with just the goalkeeper to beat, he slams the ball into the side netting.
Just a couple of minutes later, Flame’s positive start was rewarded with Jack Balmforth bringing the ball down well in midfield before playing Connell through. Connell’s first touch was sublime as he cushioned the ball before taking a touch to compose himself and neatly slide the ball past the oncoming Matthew Johnston.
South Coast Flame were in the ascendancy for the first 15 minutes and a couple more half chances went begging as they searched for a second.
It took 18 minutes for Camden to muster their first opportunity. Mitchell Hall turned his defender before striking the ball across goal leaving Armand scrambling as the ball narrowly went wide.
Halfway through the first half, Tigers’ Dean Mugridge forced Armand into a fine save following his 25-yard free-kick effort.
Camden were having their best spell of the match at this point however Flame looked comfortable dealing with the Tigers attack.
Just a couple of minutes from half time, a cross from Preston Ridley found Matthew Mazevski whose snapshot from the edge of the box forced Johnston into a fine save down to his right.
Right on the stroke of half time, Flame produced a swift counterattack that was foiled by a last-ditch tackle by Matthew Lynch. From the resulting corner, a goalmouth scramble ensued with Flame adamant the ball had crossed the goal-line however it was half cleared to Mazevski who half-volleyed over the bar from ten yards out. That was the last play before the break.
Camden were determined to get themselves back into the match and the early stages of the second half saw the Tigers with ample possession as Flame gave up some careless turnovers.
For all their possession, the Tigers were misfiring in the final third with the last pass simply ineffective.
On 67 minutes, the game started to open up as the Tigers grew desperate. Hall’s header from six yards out went straight to Armand. He released the ball quickly and Flame went on a counter attack with Connell bursting down the sideline crossing a dangerous ball across and some desperate defending prevented a second.
Just two minutes later, Balmforth’s shot from just outside the box ricocheted off the post and onto Johnston before rolling across the goal line. How this managed to stay out is anyone’s guess.
On 76 minutes Flame dodged a bullet when Armand was adjudged to have handled a backpass just six yards out however Camden were unable to capitalize. Just four minutes later, Bailey Simpson eluded a Carlo Stella tackle and found himself one on one with Armand however he chose for power over accuracy and pulled his shot into the side netting.
With Camden pushing forward and the clock ticking over well into stoppage time, there was one last twist to this game. Stella appeared to kick the ball just ahead of his opponent right on the edge of the box however the referee felt otherwise and gave a freekick and after consulting with his Assistant Referee, a penalty was awarded. It brought great protest from the Flame players who felt all their hard work was about to be undone.
Andrew Head stepped up for the Tigers and calmly slotted it low and left of Armand to level the scores. This was effectively the last kick of the game.
Coach George Kulcsar was disappointed by the result but not disheartened. He was left to rue Flame’s second-half performance which ultimately invited Camden back into the match. “A greater level of football smarts in terms of keeping possession when under pressure in the second half was ultimately the difference between leaving Camden with the three points or conceding a late equaliser”.
In the earlier match (under 20), the game was marred by a serious injury to a Camden player who suffered a broken leg in the first half. The Tigers capitalized on two defensive errors to run out 2-0 winners. It was an encouraging performance and Flame were not without their chances despite being reduced to 10 players after a second yellow midway through the second half.
Camden Tigers v South Coast Flame
Saturday 13 March 2021 | Kick Off 7.00pm
Camden Tigers – 1 (Head 93+1)
South Coast Flame – 1 (Connell 4’)
FLAME LINE UP:
1. Nicholas ARMAND, 12. Jack BALMFORTH, 11. Gerard BRUSCINO, 9. Louis CONNELL, 15. Kasey KULCSAR, 4. Daniel LUCAS, 10. Matthew MAZEVSKI, 3. Lachlan MORGAN, 17. Preston RIDLEY, 6. Justin SMITH, 5. Carlo STELLA
Substitutes: 32. Eugene ARKU, 14. Joel DOWLING, 2. Darren JONES, 41. Deakin SOUTHERN