Bellambi have booked their spot in the 2019 PeopleCare District League Grand Final with 4-1 win over Oak Flats after extra-time. The game ended one-all with a Scott Muliwyk goal being cancelled out by Daniel Munilla early in the first half. The game then went onto extra-time where the Rosellas scored three times thanks to the inclusion of their four substitutes.
It was Bellambi’s first game since their 5-0 drubbing from Helensburgh in round 22 as they enjoyed the week off. For Oak Flats, they defeated Helensburgh at PCYC last weekend. The two previous fixtures ended in two-all draw in round six and a 2-1 Bellambi win in round 17.
The game started the way of the Rosellas, with the home-side asserting their dominance early on. Their control of the game would pay off too, with Matt Richardson delivering a looping cross towards the back post to Scott Muliwyk who jumped the highest to head it home, giving them the start they wanted in just the eighth minute.
Bellambi continued to look dangerous in the air as Richardson found the head of Matt Passlack off a free-kick but the ball rose over the bar.
The Falcons slowly started to find their feet and almost had their equaliser when Hayato Sadamori got the ball at his feet at the back post. His low power shot aiming to the goalkeeper’s right was saved by the body of Nick Morgan.
But Oak Flats’ pressure then paid off as Daniel Munilla scored one of the easiest goals anyone would see in the 28th minute. A deep free-kick was sent into the box and looked to be dealt with Grant Zanni, only for the fullback to scuff his clearance back onto his own post and into the path of Munilla for a simple tap in. A stroke of luck for the Falcons that brought them back into the game.
There weren’t too many opportunities on either teams’ goals in the half as the next best chance fell to Oak Flats when Kyle Hazebroek channelled his inner Trent Alexander-Arnold with a quick free-kick close to the corner flag to find the head of Bojan Caric in the box. With the striker the only one aware of his teammates smart tactics, he sent a header goal-wards, only for Val Rizvanni to pull off a miraculous reflex save to keep the game level.
There was no further action of the half.
Oak Flats came out of the sheds firing. Controlling the ball and the game, they were able to minimise their opponents’ chances on their goal for majority of the half. Munilla sent a curled effort towards goal in the 53rd minute but it just skimmed the crossbar.
In the 60th minute, Brenton Lloyds’ long ball into the box from halfway was a pearler and should have deserved a goal but an unbalanced Caric had too much work to do as he sent his volley wide. Then, just three minutes later, Lee Gilroy got the better of his defender up the left as he touched it passed to set up a shot but was denied by the foot of Rizvanni.
The game then took a wicked turn once it hit the 73rd minute, with Socceroos legend, Scott Chipperfield coming on to try and create something.
He was on for not even five minute before the ball popped up for him with his back turned to goal as he tried the spectacular bicycle kick that got the crowd on their feet. Unfortunately for the Rosellas, it was blocked and cleared.
With just under five minutes to play, Bellambi thought they snatched it late on when Ben Ellul ran onto a Richardson cross into the box. The ball was played perfectly between Ellul and Ryan Franks in goal as the winger sent a touch onto goal looking for the bottom left, only for the onrushing Franks coming out to save.
Going into stoppage time, both sides came agonisingly close to grabbing the winner. First it was the Falcons when a corner was whipped in towards the back post found an unmarked Hazebroek just two yards out. However, the midfielder was unaware the ball would come to him as it ricocheted off his body and into the arms of Rizvanni. The chance to the Rosellas fell for Zanni when his header just bounced wide of the far-post following a free-kick.
The game couldn’t be settled in the normal 90 minutes as the teams then battled it out in extra-time. In the sixth minute of this period, a deep free-kick from David Kotrc was sent into the box, bouncing just before Rizvanni. The ball popped up quicker than the goalkeeper anticipated as it bounced onto the crossbar and out for a goal-kick.
Oak Flats would then be rueing the missed chance as the Rosellas went down the other end almost immediately and grabbed their second. It was the nice chest down from Elull that set it up for Chipperfield. He took one touch before unleashing a powerful volley onto goal. The shot looked to be saved, however, a slight swerve in direction ensured it would touch the hand of Franks and bounce in, sending the fans into a frenzy.
Bellambi wouldn’t stop there either as they continued to push forward and punish the patchy Falcons backline, where they grabbed their third in the 115th minute. It was a nice play up the left that sent substitute, Chris Cevinini towards the bi-line. The winger cut it back to fellow substitute, Tim O’Brien who’s shot at the near post could only be parried as far as Matt Passlack who had the simple task of heading it into the net, giving Bellambi a two-goal cushion going into the extra-time break.
With the game ever so beyond reach, Oak Flats still pushed for another goal. In the 115th, Justin Potter’s inclusion in the game almost paid off as he was sent through onto goal. Although, his team may have been asking too much from the striker as his shot on the turn was saved at the near post and Bellambi were able to clear.
But even with the game virtually over, Bellambi added more salt to the wounds as two substitutes combined to score their fourth. Tim O’Brien kept the ball up the bi-line, drawing in several players close to goal. The midfielder was unselfish as he squared it to an open Ilija Prenzovski, allowing him to score his first goal since round three, also capping off an impressive extra-time performance.
Bellambi’s win now sees them advance straight to the Grand-Final in two weeks’ time, earning another rest weekend. Oak Flats are still in it as they take on Thirroul next week who just knocked out Helensburgh with a 2-1 win.
Saturday 7 September at Elizabeth Park.
Bellambi FC: 4 (MULIWYK 7’, CHIPPERFIELD 98’, PASSLACK 105’, PRENZOVSKI 116’)
Oak Flats Falcons: 1 (MUNILLA 28’)
Bellambi FC: Val RIZVANNI, Sean POULTON, Nath THOMPSON, Dale WHITE, Grant ZANNI, Nick MORGAN, Matt PASSLACK, Scott MULIWYK, Ben ELLUL, Matt RICHARDSON, Todd SIMPSON.
Subs: Scott CHIPPERFIELD (SIMPSON 73’), Chris CEVININI (RICHARDSON 86’), Ilija PRENZOVSKI (ELLUL 110’), Tim O’BRIEN (MORGAN 102’), Jack DUGAN.
Oak Flats Falcons: Ryan FRANKS, David KOTRC, Jamie STEVENSON, Ross GRAHAM, Brenton LLOYD, Christian CAPPETTA, Kyle HAZEBROEK, Lee GILROY, Daniel MUNILLA, Hayato SADAMORI, Bojan CARIC.
Subs: Chris JARMAN, Justin POTTER (KOTRC 111’), Rhys BLANCH (CAPPETTA 111’), Chad FERNANDEZ, John TILDEN.
Referee: Bobby MAZEVSKI.
Assistant Referees: Liam WEBB and Blake HERBERT.
Sideline Referee: Nick RYAN.
Report by Nathan Turner, on Twitter @nathanturner23_
Photo courtesy of Noel Wynn.