Match Reports

Flame have made a strong start to their 2024 season campaign after brushing past a determined Parramatta Eagles side 3-1 at McLennan Park on Saturday Night.

Two early goals ignited the Flame, and this set the platform for a second consecutive win at home despite the Eagles really pushing hard in the second half.

Parramatta enjoyed some good early possession however Flame struck with their first real attack. After a neat combination of passes, the ball was played into Genki Iwata on the edge of the box. He took a touch to compose himself before sliding it past Thomas Sutton.

Just three minutes later, Sutton looked to clear a backpass which was charged down by Michael Trajkovski. The ball nearly bouncing in. Trajkovski recovered the loose ball and squared it to Sam Alston for an easy tap to give Flame the perfect start.

With the game settling down, it took 20 minutes for the Eagles to muster their first real effort. The ball was not cleared high enough by the Flame defence with the ball falling to Nathan Raynor on the edge of the box. His shot went through a crowd of players and a desperate lunging goal line clearance by Sam Alston denied the Eagles.

On 35 minutes, Matt Mazevski found Sam Alston with a delightful long pass. In one motion, Alston brought the ball down and beat a defender. He ran towards goal before seeing his shot narrowly missed the bottom corner.

For the second consecutive week, the Eagles found themselves with a mountain of work to do in the second half. They managed to turn it around last week and they started with much greater purpose in the second half looking to take the game to Flame.

The prolific Marco Sama found some space inside the box on the hour mark however, his shot went straight to Jordan Bruce who managed to parry it to safety.

Sustained Eagles pressure saw them rewarded with a free kick 25 yards out on 65 minutes. Former Socceroo Tarek Elrich stepped up and showed his class with an outstanding shot that went over the wall and into the top corner to pull a goal back for the Eagles.

The Eagles were flying at this point and Flame found themselves scrambling to defend their lead.

Just a few minutes later, Sama got himself into a good position, but his shot just did not have the punch to beat Bruce in goal.

As the game wore on and headed inside the last ten minutes, it really started to open-up with the Eagles launching players forward hoping to get something from the game. This of course led to some opportunities for Flame with substitutes Namito Tsuchiya and Jacob Gjorsevski wasting a couple of half chances.

On 85 minutes, a deflected ball saw Rayner through on goal however Sam Alston raced back to deny the attacker with some amazing defensive work. It proved decisive as Flame held the Eagles at bay.

Deep into injury time, Flame secured the points to the delight of the home crowd. Tsuchiya found open space on the left and his low cross was parried straight into the path of Gjorsevski by Sutton. The Flame substitute made no mistake from ten yards out to seal the win.

Despite the win, coach Andrew Paine was a little disappointed the team didn’t quite put in a complete performance but was quick to praise their character.

“It was a tough game against good opposition. We started brightly and played some good football, but really didn’t impose our style of football in the second half. We had to defend a lot of direct play however, in the end, I am proud of the boys’ character to see it out”.

Flame must now dust themselves off as they travel to Peakhurst Park on Tuesday night to face Hurstville FC.

 

Round 2 | Saturday 25 February 2024 @ Ian McLennan Park

South Coast Flame – 3 (Iwata 6’, S. Alston 9’, Gjorsevski 90+6’)
Parramatta Eagles – 1 (Elrich 66’)

Match Stats

In the earlier match, Flame also made it two from two after a 3-1 win over the Eagles.

Flame took the lead on 17 minutes after Jyden Harb put in a delightful ball into the box that saw Jay De Gouveia header the ball back into the corner of the goal.

On 25 minutes, Edin Budimlic nearly drew the Eagles level after his shot forced Rocco Zinnato into a fine save on his near post.

Just ten minutes later, Flame doubled their lead after Antonio Sansone found himself in open space from a deflection. His crossed to Ryan Chard who netted from close range to make it 2-0.

Flame were in control for much of this match and Chayden Vasquez scored a cracking individual effort on 65 minutes to virtually put the game to bed.

The Eagles pulled a goal back a minute later from a strong free kick by Adam Al Hafith but it only proved a consolation.

Flame had one last big opportunity on 82 minutes when they got a penalty after Chard was upended in the box. Harb stepped up however his effort was well saved by the goalkeeper.

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