Corrimal’s Illawarra Premier League title defence came to an end on Friday night with a 1-0 defeat away to Cringila. 

Todd Sparks was the lone goalscorer with his first-half strike enough to see Paul Michlmayr claim back-to-back wins in his first two games in charge.

The Lions came close to taking an early lead when Toby Norval rattled the bar with a freekick eight minutes in while Sam Matthews had a couple of chances soon after at the other end, however, neither effort managed to test goalkeeper Nikola Ristevski. 

In the 40th minute, Dylan Perlowski lined up a freekick 20 metres from goal with the young Corrimal defender’s thunderous shot just fading past the right post.

With halftime looming, Cringila grabbed the lead through Sparks with the stalwart picking the ball up on the edge of the area before finding the top left corner of Kaydin Harrison’s net.

Sparks nearly set up Cringila’s second early in the second half when he cut the ball back for Norval who dragged his effort across the goal, so much so that it went out for a throw-in.

Corrimal had a string of half-chances in the midst of the second period with the first coming after a scurry from Jason Zufic to the edge of the area before his strike went straight to Ristevski. 

In the 57th minute, Tim Wylie whipped in a low cross which deflected off Cringila defender James Ralston before the ball just spun wide of the goal and 10 minutes later Paul Guido played in Takao Teramoto who fluffed his lines. 

Cringila showed promise on the break and had three golden opportunities to double their advantage late on. 

The first came from the pace of Nick High who skinned Perlowski down the right flank before going through on goal. High had two teammates clear to his left, however, he opted to go himself with the young forward scuffing his finish to the right.

Norval missed the other two chances with the first, in the 80th minute, being a brave stop from Harrison and the second, two minutes later, a fine block from the retreating Dean Pender.

The three points moves Cringila ahead of Corrimal into eighth and after the match Michlmayr said the results had been coming. 

“The win last week really gave us some confidence,” Michlmayr explained. 

“The things we were doing, we were doing alright even though they weren’t producing results all year, so we’ve just sort of stuck to what we’ve known and it’s starting to pay dividends now.

“We have a slightly different structure, we are a bit tighter to break down and we always know we have a couple of goals in us.

“[Sparks] had his chance, he killed [the ball] and put it in the top corner and he’s got that in his locker. He just doesn’t get forward enough at times and back himself in those situations but he took that one tonight beautifully.”

The Lions are away to Port Kembla in the final round and while a top-five finish has long been off the cards, Michlmayr said another win would be a great way to end the season. 

“[Three wins in a row] would be an excellent result for the club, the team and the players,” he said.

“We’ve got a bit of momentum and confidence in the group and we’re looking to finish the season on a real high next week.”

The result sees Corrimal drop to ninth with the Rangers hosting finals aspirants Bellambi on the last day of the season.

Cringila 1 (Todd Sparks 45’)

Corrimal 0

Cringila: 1. RISTEVSKI Nikola, 7. BRBEVSKI Alexander, 5. RALSTON James, 2. BROOKS Jackson, 20. MOBBS Williams, 17. PRENTOSKI Aleksander, 19. NORVAL Tobias, 15. WEBSTER Jake, 18. HIGH Nick, 10. MOJSOSKI Alex, 8. SPARKS Todd


Corrimal: 1. HARRISON Kaydin, 2. ZUFIC Jason, 3. PENDER Dean, 4. GUIDO Paul, 5. PERLOWSKI Dylan, 6. STERGIOU Lukas, 7. GALANTI Matt, 9. MATTHEWS Sam, 11. WYLIE Tim, 12. GROZDANOV Nicholas, 13. TERAMOTO Takao

Substitutes: 14. TYSON Zack (GALANTI), 15. VILLELLA Daniel, 16. NORRIS Dwight (WYLIE), SAFFIOTI Christian (PERLOWSKI), 99. ZUFIC David

Date: 25 September 2020

Venue: Crehan Park

Referee: Bobby Mazevski

Assistant Referees: Reece Edwards and Gareth Jenkins

Report by Dylan Arvela, on Twitter @dylanarvela

Photo by Pedro Garcia

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