After quite a bumpy start to their campaign, South Coast Flame registered their first win of the season courtesy of a 1-0 win over Western Rage. A Matthew Mazevski goal on 60 minutes is all it took to separate the sides despite Flame’s dominance for the best part of the match.
Flame came into this match coming off two heavy defeats over the last 7 days and it was important the team bounced back. Coach George Kulcsar handed a starting debut to Jordan Host this week and the youngster didn’t disappoint putting in a strong debut.
Flame started the match with attacking intent, knocking the ball around the park and controlling possession. It took 16 minutes though for Flame to muster their first real opportunity. Daniel Cooper looked lively and he won a free kick just on the edge of the box. Jack Balmforth got it over the wall but just couldn’t get it to dip in time.
Just two minutes later, Mazevski got up highest from a Balmforth corner but his header just didn’t get the purchase it needed to trouble Alessio Serdoz.
Flame were just starting to warm up and the possession and relentless attack had Rage on the back foot. On 22 minutes, Louis Connell managed to get the better of a defender before delivering a teasing cross across goal with Cooper desperately lunging for it to no avail.
On the half hour mark, Flame mustered a glorious opportunity with Connell again outpacing his opponent before sending a wicked cross to Mazevski who was perhaps guilty of being too cute with his finish from six yards out.
Flame again going close right on the stroke of half time with Smith skying an opportunity from inside the box.
It was a dominant first half for Flame but they had nothing to show for it despite their chances and possession. Whenever Rage looked to push forward, Flame’s back four or Lachlan Morgan, Kasey Kulcsar, Carlo Stella and Daniel Lucas snuffed them out. Nicholas Armand was all but a spectator for the first half and perhaps at risk of catching a cold.
Just three minutes after half time, Flame almost gifted Rage the lead. A mishit back pass was intercepted by Leonardo De Leo. He looked to draw Armand before squaring to Jared Md who from just five yards out should have scored if not for some brilliant goalkeeping from Armand who did ever so well to get across and smother the tap in. It was an incredible save given his lack of involvement in the game to this point.
Flame seemed bouyed by that near miss and they looked to resume where they left off in the first half. On 54 minutes, another Flame corner caused confusion for Rage and in the ensuing goal mouth scramble, the ball was cleared off the line. This was becoming a little frustrating for the home side.
On 60 minutes, Flame finally got their breakthrough. Rage failed to clear the lines with Cooper linking with Balmforth on the edge of the box before the latter sent in a pin point cross to the far post where Mazevski was on hand to head the ball home from six yards out much to the relief of the home fans.
Flame looked to change formation during the last 20 minutes and Rage were suddenly enjoying their best spell of the game. They were looking threatening on the edge of the Flame box on several occasions however their shots were either well wide or blocked by a resilient Flame defense.
As time ticked on, Flame looked content to sit on their lead whilst Rage were throwing players forward in search of an equaliser. In the fifth minute of stoppage time and with almost everyone forward, Jared Md’s snap shot from just inside the box slammed into the underside of the cross bar before bouncing back into play as Lucas cleared the danger. With that, the full time whistle blew and Flame secured the points in a match they perhaps made much harder for themselves than it should have been.
Coach Kulcsar was pleased with the result but once again lamented the side’s attacking woes.
Improved ball retention and team shape were key for what I believe was a deserved victory however a more clinical approach in our final third would have put the game to rest a lot earlier. Overall, I am very happy for the players who in most parts carried out their individual and team objectives”
Speaking with captain and goalscorer Mazevski, he believes the team is still yet to play to their full potential.
“Whilst we did enough tonight, we need to be more ruthless in front of goal (myself included), and we are yet to put in solid all round 90 minute performance so far. I trust the squad and when we do, we will thump our opposition on the night”.
17 April 2021 @ Ian McLennan Park
South Coast Flame – 1 (Mazevski 60′)
Western Rage – 0
SOUTH COAST FLAME | 1. ARMAND, Nicholas; 12. BALMFORTH, Jack; 9. CONNELL, Louis; 7. COOPER, Daniel; 37. HOST, Jordan; 15. KULSCAR, Kasey; 4. LUCAS, Daniel; 10. MAZEVSKI, Matthew; 3. MORGAN, Lachlan; 6. SMITH, Justin; 5. STELLA, Carlo.
Substitutes: 41. GAZIVODA, Matthew; 14. DOWLING, Joel; 17. RIDLEY, Preston, 31. BILAL, Omar
Referee: MERCHANT, Brodie
Assistants: FISHER, Harrison and BROWN, Tara
In the earlier fixture, it was a tight tussle throughout the first half although both teams were guilty of squandering good opportunities. The game kicked into life on 68 minutes when Anthony Pollicina gave Rage the lead after yet another defensive error.
To Flame’s credit though, the pushed hard and dominated the remainder of the game. On 81 minutes, Flame got their just reward when Baby James got on the end of a loose ball and thumped it into the goal from close range to equalise. Try as they might, Flame just couldn’t find that elusive winner as time beat them.
In the end, the team was forced to settle for a draw and claim their first points of the season. Positive signs ahead and a shout out to Under 18 goalkeeper Matthew Gazivoda who hardly put a foot wrong in his Under 20 debut.
NEXT MATCH DETAILS
Sunday 25 April @ Blacktown Sports Park | Vs Prospect United
Kick off 1.00pm and 3.00pm.