BELLAMBI GRIND OUT WIN OVER WHITE EAGLES
A sole goal mid-way through the first half sees Bellambi grind out a 1-0 victory over the Albion Park White Eagles in the Illawarra Mercury IPL.
With the rain finally subsiding this week, the men returned to a dry pitch at Terry Reserve on Saturday afternoon, with Bellambi eager to remain atop the competition ladder and the White Eagles looking to advance up it.
Just the one goal from Bellambi’s attacking midfielder, Nick Morgan, separated the two sides in a fast-paced engagement.
Both sides showed off their defensive prowess with very little of the game being played inside either 18-yard box as fashioning good goal scoring opportunities was both difficult and rare throughout the match.
The White Eagles took to the field with energy and enthusiasm, dominating possession and field position with an impressive passing percentage.
Although they were starved of possession, Bellambi kept their box tight and after entering enemy territory in the 17th minute they netted their first and only goal.
It was Bellambi’s attacking midfielder, Nick Morgan, who took possession of the ball in heavy traffic, steadied himself, and found the far corner of the net from the corner of the 18-yard box.
Bellambi gained momentum from this as the battle began to level out, with Bellambi making defensive interceptions and their speed men pushing the pace.
In the 27th minute Bellambi looked certain to make further impressions on the scoreboard, as the speed duo of Cody Cuthbertson and Brad Watt made their way into the box, only for Watt’s shot to be deflected by a defender.
Just three minutes later, Watt intercepted a regulation pass from a White Eagles defender and skied a decent opportunity from the edge of the box.
The final ten minutes of the half followed this trend, as the speed of Cuthbertson and Watt causing all sorts of problems for the White Eagles defence.
Watt and Cuthbertson each had a goal scoring opportunity in this time but were foiled by the scramble of White Eagle defence, holding the score to 1-0 at the half.
Bellambi came out with the same energy in the second stanza, as the slippery Brad Watt slid into the box just a minute after the break, with his attempted chip shot landing on the top of the net.
Both sides seemed to have issues finding the mark up front, with numerous shots either sent way over the crossbar or straight down the keeper’s throat.
Bellambi had an injury scare in 59th minute of the match, as Watt left the field after being legally cut down by White Eagles keeper, Blake Coad, who impressively dived at the feet of Watt to thwart what may have been a certain goal.
Thus began the card frenzy, with four players receiving yellows in the final 15 minutes of the game, to be credited to either fatigue or desperation, nevertheless not surprising considering the intensity and pace of the game.
This list of perpetrators included Mitch Young, Jacob Martin, Jordan Nikolovski and Cody Waller.
Finally, the game showed the potential for another goal one last time, as the man who seemed to have his fingerprints on everything, Brad Watt, burned his defender off the dribble in another great show of pace.
Deep into the box, Watt’s finishing once again couldn’t match the glove-work of White Eagles keeper, Blake Coad.
After an enthralling 90 minutes the score-line read 1-0 to the visitors, whose early goal proved the difference in securing the competition points as the White Eagles were unable to make an impression on the scoreboard.
The second win on the trot for Bellambi sees them remain atop the competition ladder along with Bulli, as the only teams to have won their first two fixtures.
Bellambi will set off for another away match next weekend, heading to Crehan park to take on the middle-fairing Cringila.
Meanwhile, the White Eagles will hope to post their first win of the season against the also winless South Coast United at Ian McLennan on Saturday night.
Saturday 1st of August at Terry Reserve
The Illawarra Mercury Premier league (FG) – Round 2
Albion Park White Eagles: 0
Bellambi: 1 (MORGAN 17’)
Albion Park White Eagles: Blake COAD, Araki NAOMICHI, Jacob MARTIN, Kohei SUZAKI, Kyle SENIOR, Brendan FORDHAM, Cody WEHMEYER, Valentino MERXHUSHI, Cameron MORGAN, Jordan NIKOLOVSKI, Joel BEATTIE, Jake LEIGHTON, Cody WALLER, Dane VRANKOVIC, Harry BYRNES, Chris GOMEZ
Bellambi: Bryce DAENELL, Sean POULTON, Grant ZANNI, Mitch YOUNG, Ryan HUNTER, Vaughn PATERSON, Mitch TURNER, Nick MORGAN, Brad WATT, Liam UNICOMB, Cody CUTHBERTSON, Todd SIMPSON, Blake FRIEDRICH, Joel MUCCI, Jazz CRANE
Referee: Peter ILCEVSKI
Assistant Referees: Stewart BELL, Annalise PHIPPS
Match Report by Fletcher Winning
Photo courtesy of Kiah Hufton