Match Reports

In the battle of the coasts, both Flame and the Pirates shared the points in a see-sawing battle that finished 2-2. Both sides had the lead at some stage, but neither could finish the job.

It was a hot day in Wollongong with an afternoon kick off and possession was key. Central Coast looked to start the game promisingly with some good early possession however it was the Flame who struck first.

On eight minutes and with perhaps their first attacking raid of the match, Namito Tsuchiya picked up the ball down the left side and with some neat footwork was able to beat the defender and square the ball across goal for Genki Iwata to bury it from close range and put Flame ahead.

On 16 minutes, the Pirates managed to equalise. A ball in behind the defense saw Zac Pezzutto latch onto it and with goalkeeper Jordan Bruce well off is line, Pezutto lobbed him into an empty net.

Both teams continued to probe however a couple of long throws into dangerous areas from Jai Mcnamara needed Flame’s full defensive attention.

The referee held a drinks break midway through the half and Central Coast caught Flame napping immediately from the restart.

Some neat ball movement from the Pirates through the middle saw them send it wide to Matthew Ingham whose teasing ball across goal was dispatched by Pezzutto on the far post to put the visitors ahead.

On the half hour mark, a neat ball through the defensive line saw Tsuchiya through on goal however Pirates keeper Zayd Husain did well to smother his effort.

A minute later and Jacob Gjorsevski found himself free on the penalty spot however his first touch around the advancing Husain was a little too strong as the chance went begging.

Flame was knocking on the door and on 37 minutes, Iwata saw his shot from an acute angle cleared off the line, but it went only as far as Gjorsevski who powerful goal bound shot was well blocked.

For all their efforts, Flame were unable to break the Pirates defence and for the remainder of the half, it was the Pirates who mustered two good opportunities themselves having weathered the Flame storm.

Firstly, Ingham’s volley from just outside the box just went over the bar and a minute later, Pezzutto’s turn from 15 yards out saw him snap a shot that was well handled by Bruce.

The opening 20 minutes of the second half saw Flame dominate possession with Central Coast doing everything they can to take the air out of the game and disrupt Flame’s momentum.

That tactic seemed to be working as time seemed to pass quickly and it wasn’t till the 68th minute before we saw some real goalmouth action.

A long switch from Pezzutto found an unmarked Ben Flakus who charged into the box however his effort was well smothered by Bruce. A golden chance for the visitors went begging there.

The Pirates were made to pay as Flame played through the midfield and Iwata sent a ball over the top for substitute Jyden Harb to run onto it and neatly tuck it past the keeper to square it up.

Both sides gave it their all in last ten minutes with the Pirates having a spade of corners whilst for Flame, some neat link up play on 88 minutes saw Iwata chip the ball across goal, it took a bit of a deflection as it bounced off the far post and away in what was essentially the last big moment of the match.

Flame coach Andrew Paine and his team have set high standards this year and were left a frustrated following the draw.

We weren’t at our best and collectively, we are all disappointed with our performance. We need to be winning these games, and had the chances to do so, but on the balance of the game, a draw was certainly a fair result.

Saturday 30 March 2024 | Ian McLennan Park | Round 8

South Coast Flame – 2 (Iwata 9’, Harb 76’)

Central Coast United – 2 (Pezzutto 16’, 26’)

Match Stats

In the Under 20’s, South Coast Flame came away with a huge 2-1 win over the league leaders.

Matthew Clapps ran onto a long ball in the first half and tucked it away to give Flame the lead.

Both sides battled hard in the hot, suppressive conditions and a little against the run of play, another neat chip over the defence on 67 minutes saw Ryan Chard head one uncontested over the goalkeeper from the edge of the box doubling Flame’s lead.

Not long after, the Pirates fired back after Xavier Williams turned and shot inside the goal area to pull one back.

Flame held on and recorded a wonderful win that puts them top of the league.


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