Helensburgh came from behind to secure finals football with a 2-1 victory against Shell Cove at Barrack Heights Sportsfield on Saturday afternoon. The hosts took the lead late in the first half when Joshua Young fired a well-struck effort into the bottom right-hand corner before Thistle winger Benjamin Watts equalised on the stroke of halftime. With ten minutes to play, Kade Kinsella scored the winning goal for the visitors tapping in from close range.
Helensburgh created the first opportunity of the game three minutes in as Hikaru Torigoe was played through face-to-face with Shell Cove custodian Vasko Petkucevski. Rounding the keeper and taking a stab at goal that was cleared off the line by Atanas Simonovski but only into the path of Benjamin Watts who also took aim at the still vacant net but another block from Simonovski prevented the visitors from taking the lead.
Shell Cove responded to this early pressure a minute later as they were awarded a freekick on the right-hand side just outside the box. Alexandar Najdoski took responsibility and curled an effort towards the top right-hand corner, but a diving save from Matthew Wardle denied him. In the 18th minute, Helensburgh conjured up another opportunity as Kade Kinsella received the ball inside the box presenting a chance for the forward to strike goalwards but, he failed to make a solid connection with the ball seeing it roll into the arms of Petkucevski.
The final ten minutes of the half saw a flurry of action which started in the 35th minute with Watts cutting inside from the right-hand side and taking aim from the edge of the box seeing his effort whistle over the bar. However, two minutes later, it was the hosts who took the lead. Joshua Young showing great determination to get into the box and power a left-footed shot into the bottom right-hand corner.
For the remainder of the half, the Thistle went in pursuit of an equalising goal and in first-half stoppage time, the side found this goal. A freekick on the left-hand side was lofted into the box with the ball eventually falling to Watts who converted from close range to restore parity in the match heading into the halftime break.
Shell Cove came out of the sheds firing, and four minutes into the half, the hosts pounced on a giveaway in the Thistle backline working the ball out to the right-hand side finding Najdoski in space. Taking the ball into the box, he leathered a shot goalwards which took a deflection requiring Wardle to make an important save tipping it over the bar.
Just after the hour mark, the home side continued their assault on the Helensburgh goal. The side worked the ball well on the right-hand side of the park with it falling at the feet of Young centrally who took on a shot from the edge of the box seeing it deflect narrowly wide of the goal. A minute later, the side carved another opening as a cross in from the right-hand side wasn’t dealt with by Wardle who had come to claim the ball presenting Lochlan Carrasco with a chance to head the ball into an empty net. However, the forward nodded the ball onto the crossbar.
Despite the plethora of chances for the hosts, the scored remained level and in the 69th minute, the visitors began a good spell of the pressure in the game. Watts delivering a ball in from the right-hand side finding Kinsella inside the box, but he failed to make effective contact the ball. A couple of minutes later, the Thistle pushed forwards again through Kinsella as a ball played into the left-hand channel found the side’s top scorer one-on-one with Petkucevski. Taking the shot on early, Kinsella prompted a vital save from the Shell Cove shot stopper.
Helensburgh’s pressure finally paid off in the 79th minute as Kinsella got his goal. The forward converting a cross in from the left-hand side side-footing a right-footed effort into the bottom right-hand corner. Two minutes later, Shell Cove’s task only got harder as Hristijan Trajkoski was sent off.
The visitors saw the game out ensuring a 4th place finish and finals football next week. This match also marked the debut of Thistle younger Beau Whitaker who came off the bench in the latter stages.
Shell Cove 1 (Joshua Young 37’)
Helensburgh Thistle 2 (Benjamin Watts 45’, Kade Kinsella 79’)
Shell Cove FC: 1. PETKUCEVSKI Vasko, 6. RUSIC Nikola, 2. SIMONOVSKI Atanas, 3. TRAJKOSKI Hristijan, 5. ANGELESKI Filip, 4. YOUNG Joshua, 8. TOSKOVSKI Daniel, 7. NIKOLOVSKI Goran, 10. SOPER Hayden, 11. NAJDOSKI Aleksandar, 9. CARRASCO Lochlan
Substitutes: 24. MARJANOVIC Stefan, 25. SZELIG Alexander, 16. SOPHER Nathan
Helensburgh Thistle: 23. WARDLE Matthew, 2. CHARMAN Blake, 3. BENHAM Jarrod, 4. CROCKER Dylan, 5. MAWBEY Scott, 6. VAN ZYL Eamon, 7. WATTS Benjamin, 8. GRINHAM Jordan, 9. KINSELLA Kade, 10. TORIGOE Hikaru, 11. MILLER Luke
Substitutes: 12. RODGERS Fynn, 13. STRUDWICK Bradley (KINSELLA), 14. ROWLEY Reggae (VAN ZYL), 15. TONKINSON Blake, 16. WHITAKER Beau (WATTS)
Date: 3 October 2020
Venue: Barrack Heights Sportsfield
Referee: Caleb Blanch
Assistant Referees: Jacob Zipparo and Warwick Davidson
Report by Timothy Gibson
Photo courtesy of JC Sports Photography