Berkeley picked up their first victory in the Illawarra District League in almost a year as they came back from a goal down to defeat Helensburgh 2-1 at Rex Jackson Park on Thursday night. The Thistle took the lead a quarter-of-an-hour in when Hikaru Torigoe finished off a well-worked move for the hosts. Berkeley restored parity just after the hour mark when Joey Thomas tapped the ball into an empty net after a defensive mix-up. Thomas secured a brace and with that the winning goal five minutes later reacting fastest at the far post to stick the ball beyond Ben Roberts in the Thistle goal.

Berkeley started the game with great intensity and from the outset caused problems for the hosts. Goats’ fullback Jake Johns was a constant threat for the side and four minutes in produced a cross to the back post which was just headed away before reaching a Berkeley head. From that, the Thistle broke forwards down the right-hand side with Hikaru Torigoe playing a sensational pass into the right-hand channel for Ben Watts to the chase. The ball eventually found its way to Kade Kinsella centrally whose shot was deflected safely into the gloves of Tye White.

A minute later, the lively Johns drove at the left-hand side of the Thistle defence and taking on a player, saw the ball bounce back to him inside the box, but his shot was blocked. Four minutes later, the Goats’ continued their search for a goal. Joey Thomas picking up the ball on the right-hand side and driving inside to a central position where he produced a tame shot which was no issue for Helensburgh custodian Ben Roberts. Despite the Goats’ early pursuit of a goal, it was the home side who broke the deadlock 14 minutes in. A well-measured ball to Watts on the right-hand side allowed the winger to play the ball inside to Kade Kinsella who showed great awareness to dummy the ball for Hikaru Torigoe who slid the ball first-time under White.

Despite the concession of the first goal, the Goats’ were not disheartened streaming forwards in the hope of an equaliser. Midway through the first half, Kenny James took aim from outside the box with a powerful left-footed drive which was held onto well by Roberts. Ten minutes later, Johns produced another cross from the right-hand side which found the head of Dylan Evans who couldn’t get the direction on his header with the ball bouncing into the arms of Roberts. The visitors produced another chance a couple of minutes later when Kenny James shifted the ball inside from the right-hand side and dragged a shot narrowly wide of the near post.

In first-half stoppage time, the hosts were awarded a penalty and an opportunity to double their advantage in the game. Kade Kinsella produced a poor effort from the penalty spot which was saved by Tye White and would prove to be a decisive moment in the match.

At the break, the Thistle had a narrow advantage despite the Goats’ creating several opportunities in the game. Berkeley would need to produce something they hadn’t done since Round 1 last season, scoring two goals in a game if they were to get three points.

Helensburgh started the half well, creating two chances within the opening ten minutes. Three minutes in Watts showed great skill to wriggle past several defenders on the right-hand side before taking a left-footed shot which was well-saved by White who could only parry the ball into the path of substitute Josh Brady on the left-hand side who couldn’t find the target with his attempt.

Just after the hour mark, Berkeley drew level. Thomas was given a hopeful ball to chase into the left-hand channel which wasn’t dealt with by the Thistle backline seeing the ball fall back to Thomas who calmly passed the ball into the net. The Thistle responded to this equaliser creating an opportunity two minutes later. Reggae Rowley played through face-to-face with White who did exceptionally well to retrieve the ball from the midfielder who was attempting to round him. Four minutes after this, the Goats hit the front. The ball fell out to Johns on the right-hand side who rifled an effort goalwards which forced a saved from Roberts but only directly into the path of Thomas at the back post made no mistake tapping the ball in scoring what would prove to be the winning goal.

In the final 20 minutes of the game, the Thistle created several opportunities the first of these coming in two minutes after the goal with Watts again causing problems for the visitors. Twisting and turning on the left-hand side he eventually produced a shot which was acrobatically tipped over the bar by White who had produced several saves throughout the game to keep his side in the match. With five minutes to play, Helensburgh had a guilt-edge chance to equalise. Watts causing issues once again down the left-hand side and driving a cross across the top of six-yard box which just needed a strong enough touch from late substitute Brad Strudwick, but he was unable to get enough on the ball seeing the chance slip away.

Berkeley held on to secure their first victory in almost a year and have now earned more points in the league than they managed in the entirety of last season.

Helensburgh Thistle 1 (Hikaru Torigo 14’)

Berkeley Sports 2 (Joey Thomas 62’ 67’)


Helensburgh Thistle: 1. ROBERTS Ben, 2. CROKER Dylan, 3. BENHAM Jarrod, 4. RODGERS Fynn, 5. POTTER Michael, 6. VAN ZYL Eamon, 7. WATTS Ben, 8. ROWLEY Reggae, 9. KINSELLA Kade, 10. TORIGOE Hikaru, 11. MILLER Luke

Substitutes: 12. STRUDWICK Brad (RODGERS), 13. MAWBEY Scott (BENHAM), 14. BRADY Josh (MILLER), 23. WARDLE Matt


Berkeley Sports: 1. WHITE Tye, 2. CHESTER Jarrod, 3. TILL Hayden, 4. KING Jarryd, 5. JOHNS Jake, 6. MEARS Matthew, 7. BELTRAME James, 8. JAMES Kenny, 9. THOMAS Joey, 10. EVANS Dylan, 11. DUNN Matthew

Substitutes: 12. MOON Greg (BELTRAME), 13. VITUCCI Christopher (EVANS), 14. PIVOVARSKI Daniel (DUNN), 15. BUTCHER Corey, 16. LJUBVOIC Dragon


Date: 6 August 2020

Venue: Rex Jackson Park


Referee: Brendon Fotheringham

Assistant Referees: Steven Payne and Club Official


Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_

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