The magic of the FFA Cup was on show at Ian McLennan Park as South Coast Flame pulled off a memorable cup win, defeating Fernhill Foxes 2-1. A first-half penalty for the Foxes was neatly converted by Matthew Donnelly, after they survived an early Flame onslaught. South Coast grabbed two stoppage-time goals through a Matthew Mazevski penalty and a Fernhill own-goal to seal a memorable win.
South Coast were out to avenge their defeat from the weekend, and came out of the blocks firing. Flame nearly had a goal from the kick-off after Yuki Mandai hit a thunderous shot from outside the box, which brushed past the left post. South Coast were out to prove a point, and were positive from the start.
Mandai would nearly become the provider in the 8th minute when his free-kick found the head of Daniel Lucas. Lucas’ header hit the left post, as he was agonisingly close to his maiden goal in the top grade.
South Coast persisted with their positive play, however they just lacked the final touch. The majority of crosses from the Flame were met by either a Fernhill defender, or nobody at all.
Fernhill held firm despite the onslaught from the Flame. The Foxes were able to capitalise on several cheap turnovers of possession from South Coast, and very nearly punished those mistakes.
The Foxes’ defensive resilience paid off in the 35th minute when Jordan Hughes was fouled in the penalty area by Alex Boardman. Matthew Donnelly calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner to make it 1-0.
Fernhill began to attack down their left edge, utilising the pace of Hughes – who was becoming a handful for the Flame’s defence. Despite this, South Coast avoided going another goal down.
South Coast’s best chance of the half came in the 43rd minute, where some wonderful attacking combinations nearly drew the Flame level. Matthew Mazevski who was shifted into the midfield was able to feed Seiya Oba a wonderful through ball down the right edge, however the cross that followed was inches away from being turned in at the far post.
Flame were able to retain the ball, which found its way to Justin Smith on the edge of the box. Smith’s powerful shot narrowly fizzed past the left post, and the Flame went into the sheds one goal down.
As the second half began, Fernhill were able to create a few chances which answered a few questions of the Flame’s back line. In the 49th minute, Jordan Hughes received the ball on the left wing before cutting the ball onto his right foot for a shot. The shot that was destined for the bottom-left corner but was well saved by White.
South Coast’s frustration grew during the second half, as Fernhill were stubborn defensively – which the Flame found difficult penetrate. In the 64th minute, an overlapping run from Boardman precluded a powerful cross into the penalty area – which again whizzed past the player on the far post.
South Coast looked to throw everything at the Foxes’ defence. In the 74th minute, a cheeky pass off a free-kick by Mazevski found Hiroaki Ushijima – but his cross was far too strong and high to threaten.
Tension was building around Ian McLennan Park, as South Coast struggled to find a goal they looked to deserve.
South Coast Flame’s prayers were answered in the 91st minute, when Ushijima was adjudged to have been brought down in the penalty box. As all fell silent, Mazevski converted the penalty with a thunderous shot into the top-corner – and the game suddenly came to life.
In what can only be described as the “magic of the cup”, incredibly, Flame took the lead less than a minute later. Mazevski executed a perfect first time through ball for Caleb Grace, however just as Grace lined up for the shot, Fernhill defender Ben Riach got a toe to the ball which was unfortunately for Fernhill lobbed over the head over Bryce Daenell who was caught stranded.
The home crowd erupted, and the horror of the last week was put to bed for South Coast.
The final whistle blew, and a sense of relief filtered through Ian McLennan park as South Coast Flame picked up their first win at their new home ground.
Flame captain Matthew White spoke after the match, and was pleased with a much improved performance. “It’s good to come back and get the win after a disappointing result on the weekend. We got together on Monday night at training and had a chat, and we all knew what we had to do tonight. The boys knew we were in the game and all we had to do was not give up, and it showed tonight.
I guess that’s just the magic of the cup!”
South Coast now progress through to Round 4 and await the draw for the next round of the FFA Cup.
Flame are on the road this weekend, taking on FC Gazy Auburn at Progress Park. U/18 kicks off at 11am, U/20 at 1pm and First Grade at 3pm.
Report by Jarrod Pollard