Shell Cove went to Unanderra looking to put one foot in the finals with a positive result but walked away with a thumping defeat instead. In a tense match that threatened to boil over on numerous occasions, Unanderra took an early upper hand with a third minute goal before putting Shell Cove to the sword in second half, finishing as 6-0 victors.
Unanderra started proceedings on the front foot as their right fullback, Daniel Jorge, drove towards the by line before cutting the ball back to Luke Picciolini whose shot from the top of the box was tipped over the crossbar. Luke Picciolini took the resulting corner which found the head of his brother Mark, who expertly put the ball into the back of the net in only the third minute of the match.
The next clear chance of the match arrived in the 26th minute as the Heart’s Joel Perry was played through on goal. Closed down by Shell Cove goalkeeper, Vasko Petkucevski, Perry was forced to shoot into Petkucevski’s hands. Fortuitously for Perry, Petkucevski’s save rebounded straight into his knee and bobbled away across the goal-line to double Unanderra’s lead.
In the 38th minute, Jorge’s movement down the right flank threatened Shell Cove once more, this time picking out Mark Picciolini with his cross, who connected with the ball sweetly. The upright though came to the rescue and the score remained 2-0 going into the break.
Six minutes into the second half, Shell Cove had a great opportunity to draw a goal back when Aleksandar Najdoski curled a free kick in behind Unanderra’s defence. Atanas Simonovski unmarked at the back post ran onto the freekick but missed the opportunity to score, side footing his shot straight into the chest of goalkeeper Brandon Groom.
The missed opportunity would be the last time Shell Cove had any chance of taking home any points as Unanderra went on a goal-scoring rampage.
In the 62nd minute, Perry scored his second of the afternoon after driving at the Shell Cove defence and curling the ball into the side netting from the top of the box. While a minute later Luke Picciolini got himself on the score sheet when his shot from the left-hand side of the box was met by a weak Petkucevski palm and squeezed into the bottom right corner.
David Bescos’ dismissal in the 66th minute having received his second yellow card compounded Shell Cove’s defensive problems, and his absence at centre-half was notable in the lead up to Unanderra’s fifth goal when a through ball played towards Luke Picciolini led to miscommunication, causing Petkucevski to mistime his run out for the ball. This allowed Luke Picciolini to round the keeper with ease and literally stroll over the line with ball at his feet.
With five minutes to go, Shell Cove’s significant lack of resources were highlighted as substitute Kristofer Stefanovski limped off clutching hamstring, unable to be replaced as his side had only named two reserves thus leaving his side with nine men. The Heart’s capitalised on their now two-man advantage with a thumping finish by left back Michael Perinich in the 87th minute, who drilled his shot from inside the penalty area first time into the bottom left corner to cap off an emphatic Unanderra win.
With their impressive victory, Unanderra go into the last round of the regular season a mere one point behind league leader, Oak Flats. They face Fernhill next week, with the possibility of clinching the league title with a win or a draw depending on Oak Flats’ performance against Thirroul.
Meanwhile, Shell Cove’s defeat places them in a precarious situation heading into the final week of the season. A win next week will secure them a place in the top five when they face fourth place Helensburgh who only sit above the Shell Cove on goal difference. However, a draw or a loss next week could see them miss out on the finals depending on the results of fellow finals contenders, University and Fernhill.
Unanderra: 6 (M. Picciolini 3’, Perry 26’ 62’, L. Picciolini 63’ 81’, Perinich 87’)
Shell Cove: 0
Unanderra: 1. GROOM Brandon, 2. JORGE Daniel, 6. MOREIRA Brad, 12. NANOS Andrew, 8. SAVERINO Michael, 10. PICCIOLINI Luke, 17. MAGILL Dominic, 16. PERRY Joel, 13. PICCIOLINI Mark, 7. PLAKIAS Christian, 3. PERINICH Michael.
Substitutes: 9. SAVERINO Daniel (M. Picciolini), 37. OSBORNE Lachlan, 41. TRENESKI Save (Perry), 50. BUSSOLETTI Luke.
Shell Cove: 1. PETKUCEVSKI Vasko, 2. SIMONOVSKI Atanas, 5. ANGELESKI Filip, 4. BESCOS David, 3. HAMILTON Jack, 6. TRAJKOSKI Hristijan, 8. YOUNG Josh, 11. NIKOLOVSKI Goran, 10. TOSKOVSKI Daniel, 9. NAJDOSKI Aleksander, 7. STEUART Mason.
Substitutes: 26. STEFANOVSKI Kristofer (Nikolovski), 24. MARJANOVIC Stefan (Hamilton).
Date: 27th September 2020
Venue: Unanderra Oval.
Referee: Mick Agim
Assistant Referees: Bryce Dreghorn and Casey Fleming.
Report by Nic Wilson, on Twitter @_nicwilson