South Coast Flame have won three of their last four matches courtesy of a 2-1 win over Fraser Park at the Furnace on Saturday night. All the goals coming in the first half.
It was one of the most drama filled opening minutes you’ll see at any League First Grade match all year. Flame started on the front foot and came out firing with two early half chances in the opening two minutes.
Just seconds later though, Fraser Park were awarded a free kick out wide. Christopher Babaian floated the ball into the box however it appeared to deceive everyone including Flame keeper Luke Morgan as it flew over his head and into the net however this was ruled out at the free kick was indirect.
Whilst the Fraser Park players were still baffled by the decision, Flame moved the ball quickly through the middle and then out wide to Jack Balmforth who snuck in behind the defence and crossed perfectly to Zander Alston who made no mistake from five yards out to put Flame in front on three minutes.
Just as spectators were catching their breath, Fraser Park almost caught Morgan napping as directly from the kick off the ball sailed over his head and missed the goal by a foot or two.
It was soon business as usual for Flame as they started dominating the midfield and their quick ball movement had Fraser Park scrambling. Chances to Cody Waller and Alex Gailbraith went begging.
On 21 minutes though, Matt Mazevski’s long switch pass was on point as it found Zander Alston’s feet as he ran through and in behind the Fraser Park defence. Alston unselfishly squared the ball across goal for Waller who headed virtually into an empty goal.
On 34 minutes, Fraser Park’s Lorenzo Fattori went on a dazzling run before he was abruptly brought down just outside the penalty area. From the ensuing free kick, the ball struck the wall however the referee judged that Flame had handled the ball and a penalty kick was awarded. Shu Torihara stepped up and sent Morgan the wrong way to give the visitors a life line.
Right on the stroke of half time, another well worked Flame phase of play saw Gailbraith smash a shot destined for the roof of the net from 10 yards out incredibly saved by Patrick Ferrara with the shot-stopper keeping his team in the match.
The game fired up early in the second half with some wild tackles as the referee was throwing out cards like a blackjack dealer. It was inevitable someone was not going to finish the game. On 54 minutes, Fraser Park’s chances of getting something from the game diminished as Samuel Jackson received his second caution of the match as the visitors were reduced to 10.
Flame continued to probe and when youngster Antonio Sansone debuted, Fraser Park were reaching for the antihistamine as they were turned inside out several times by his blistering pace and technical ability as he regularly whipped in dangerous balls into the box.
On 73 minutes though, an errant pass from the backline was intercepted and Fattori found himself through on goal however Morgan smothered well to preserve Flame’s lead.
Moments later, Balmforth weaved his way through the defence however his shot was well saved by Ferrara. Not long after that, Waller was guilty of missing a good chance as his open header on the far post flew well wide.
Flame held possession well and were picking and choosing the opportunities to attack. It was rather amazing that Fraser Park held on throughout the second half however to be fair, apart from that one chance, Flame were in control of the game as they saw out the win.
After a rather slow start to the season, Flame have now started climbing the ladder and come second round, they have set a launch pad to push themselves even higher.
In the Under 20 fixture, we saw a good battle with both sides looking for maximum points. Both sides enjoyed good opportunities however there was no score in the opening half.
Things got hot pretty quickly and the game fired up. Fraser Park had a golden opportunity early to hit the lead however an amazing smothering save from Flame goalkeeper Riley Nicholl saved the day as the defence cleared the ball to safety.
Not long after, Fraser Park were awarded a penalty which was perhaps a little harsh however Nicholl stepped up to the plate and produced another save, this time with his legs although to be fair, it was not a great strike.
Fraser Park were dominating the first 25 minutes of play of the second half and Flame were battling hard to repel the visitors.
Flame gradually started to shift the momentum towards the backend of the game, and this was a telling factor as Hasan Ayoub danced his way through the defence and tucked the ball away on 79 minutes to give Flame the lead.
Just 5 minutes later, Flame looked to have sealed it when Sam Alston, grabbed an open opportunity to push the ball into an unguarded net and effectively seal a wonderful result for Stan Pappas on his team.
Flame travel to Nepean next week in another tough contest for both grades.