Bellambi continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-2 draw against Wollongong Olympic at Elizabeth Park on Saturday.

The Rosellas came within seconds of a win thanks to two goals from former Olympic man Vaughan Patterson, however, a late Johnny Martinoski effort denied the newly-promoted side the chance to jump to the top of the league.

Bryce Daenell had a busy opening half with the Bellambi shot-stopper forced into a handful of key interventions including saves off Martinoski and Yu Hasegawa inside the opening dozen minutes.

In the 19th minute, Martinoski teed up Corey Haines-Grose but the former Woonona player knocked his shot across the face of goal while with five minutes left in the half, Dion Avouris had a hit from distance which required a diving save from Daenell.

The opener came from the penalty spot nine minutes into the second period after a flailing arm collected Ryan Hunter. Patterson took responsibility for the penalty, confidently sending Justin Pasfield the wrong way as he dinked the ball in.

The lead was short-lived with Olympic netting a minute later after Haines-Grose, in a crowded area, was able to get on the end of a cut back before curling the ball over Daenell from close range.

In the 58th minute, Cody Cuthbertson nearly scored a brilliant solo effort after a mazing dribble saw him go through on goal before his finish was acrobatically tipped wide by Pasfield.

The Rosellas went in front once more with five minutes left in the 90 with Patterson getting on the end of Nick Morgan’s corner before thumping a header past the former Wollongong Wolves number 1.

Olympic’s chances of a result were seemingly dashed a couple of minutes later when stand-in skipper David Hartas saw red, however, a minute into injury time Martinoski curled a free-kick into the area with the ball evading everyone before nestling into the left of the goal. 

The draw leaves Bellambi a point off frontrunners Wollongong United who will play their round seven tie against Bulli on Wednesday night due to Bert Bampton Cup final commitments.

The match was the first of a doubleheader weekend for Bellambi with the club taking on Woonona on Sunday.

Rosellas coach Andrew Paine admitted he was gutted to drop points but knows his side will be up for the Sharks contest.

“It’s probably two points lost, we’ve got to look at it that way,” Paine said. 

“In the second half we created a host of opportunities again and it’s happened to us twice now, Crini got us in the 88th minute I think so closing out games is something we have probably got to look at.

“It’s going to be difficult but we will aim up again tomorrow. Woonona is probably not the type of team you want to play on a back-to-back because they are so energetic but we’re the same so we’ll just have a fight tomorrow and what will be will be.”

As for Olympic, they remain in fourth with a three-point buffer from the sides outside the top five. 

Coach George Antoniou said he wanted more out of the match but he wasn’t prepared to rule out the reigning league champions chances of catching United.

“All in all it was a pretty frustrating game for both coaches and both teams,” he said.

“We probably had opportunities to win the game and I guess Bellambit felt they thought they would have won the game at the end but luckily enough we were good enough to snatch the draw.

“United is a quality team, we all know that, we’re just going to keep taking it game by game and we’ll see what happens at the end, it’s a short season.”

Bellambi 2 (Vaughan Patterson 54’ pen, 86’)

Wollongong Olympic 2 (Corey Haines-Gorse 55’, Johnny Martinoski 90+1)

Bellambi: 1. DAENELL Bryce, 2. POULTON Sean, 12. MUCCI Joel, 4. YOUNG Mitch, 3. HUNTER Ryan, 8. PATTERSON Vaughan, 5. TURNER Mitch, 13. MORGAN Nick, 11. CUTHBERTSON Cody, 17. UNICOMB Liam, 10. WATTS Brad

Substitutes: 7. ELLUL Ben (UNICOMB), 14. PASSLACK Matt (YOUNG), 9. WARWICK Damian, 16. CRANE Jazz

Wollongong Olympic: 1. PASFIELD Justin, 6. HARTAS David, 26. EVERY Mark, 8. LAVELLE Joey, 4. CARLI James, 22. MATIAS Keegan, 10. MARTINOSKI Johnny, 9. HASEGAWA Yu, 11. HAINES-GROSE Corey, 7. HORI Kojiro, 23. AVOURIS Dion

Substitutes: 14. MIYAMOTO Seiya, 24. KYRIAKOUDES Michael, 54. HAWKER Josh (HAINES-GROSE), 28. CHAPMAN Timothy (AVOURIS)

Date: 5 September 2020

Venue: Elizabeth Park

Referee: Greg Reid

Assistant Referees: Demi Goddard and Anna Phipps

Report by Dylan Arvela, on Twitter @dylanarvelaPhoto by Noel Wynn

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