Tarrawanna secured finals football with a 2-1 win against last season’s league champions Wollongong Olympic. The hosts took the lead in first-half stoppage time as Matthew Naylor powered his penalty into the bottom right-hand corner. The visitors restored parity early in the second half with Joshua Hawker scoring a curling finish into the right-hand side of the net. The Blueys scored the winning goal with ten minutes to play as Tyson Black headed home from close range.
It was Olympic who created two opportunities within the opening ten minutes. The first of which came just three minutes in when a ball lobbed into the box allowed Yu Hasegawa to flick it on to the right-hand side for Matthew Floro. Floro had to take the shot on early but was unable to beat the onrushing Adam Rodriguez in the Blueys’ goal. Three minutes later, the side pushed forwards with Floro involved again this time on the left-hand side cutting the ball back from inside the box to Keegan Matias on the edge of the box. Matias took a stab at goal which was tame and allowed Rodriguez to save with ease.
Not long after this, there was a long stoppage in play as Tarrawanna player Mitchell Ferraro went down with a serious knee injury requiring Zachary Mazevski to replace him. Mazevski was involved almost straight away as in the 18th minute Olympic keeper Justin Pasfield was unable to hold onto the ball eventually see it fall at the feet of Mazevski who powered the ball into the wrong side of the side-netting.
In the 32nd minute, Olympic recaptured their early positive play in the match and carved another opening once again through Floro with the winger latching onto a ball played into the left-hand channel and shifting the ball inside – lashing a right-footed effort over the bar. Four minutes later, the visitors came forwards once more this time being awarded a corner on the right-hand side. From the corner, Keegan Matias elected to play it short finding David Hartas on the right-hand corner of the box. Hartas curled an effort towards the top left-hand corner but saw his effort whistle past the apex of the post.
From the resulting goal kick, the Blueys played a ball over the top finding Mazevski who went one-on-one with Pasfield. Mazevski attempted to side foot an effort under Pasfield, but the former Wollongong Wolves’ shot-stopper stood strong and made a vital save preventing the Blueys from taking the lead. However, five minutes later, the hosts were awarded a penalty. There was another significant delay as Tarrawanna were dealt another injury blow as Mazevski left the field of play. Matthew Naylor stepped up and converted with excellence side-footing a right-footed effort into the bottom right-hand corner to send the Blueys into the lead heading into the break.
The visitors came out the sheds firing and restored parity four minutes after the restart. Joshua Hawker picking up the ball on the left-hand side and embarking on a mazy run eventually cutting inside onto his right foot and curling an exquisite strike into the far corner. Just after the hour mark, Olympic had a great chance to go into the lead. Yu Hasegawa picking up the ball on the left-hand side and whipping in a left-footed delivery finding Matias unmarked in the box, but the youngster headed the ball wide.
In the 76th minute, Tarrawanna responded to Olympic’s chances as Omezikam Uchendu picked up the ball centrally inside the box and hit a left-footed shot goalwards but Pasfield was equal to it. Five minutes later, the hosts retook the lead. Nicolas Tomasiello receiving the ball inside the box on the left-hand side and standing a ball up to Tyson Black who headed it ball into an empty net from the middle of the six-yard box. The Blueys nearly added a third moments later as Fumoto Kamada was played clean through on goal but a spectacular reaction save from Pasfield prevented the hosts’ advantage from being doubled.
The visitors nearly equalised creating two chances deep into stoppage time with Hasegawa involved in both. The Japanese firstly made a marauding run into the box and blazed a right-footed effort over the bar. Two minutes later, he picked the ball up on the edge of the box and dragged an effort wide of the left-hand upright. The Blueys played out the remaining seconds seeing the side to finals football in 2020.
Tarrawanna Blueys 2 (Matthew Naylor 45+2’, Tyson Black 80’)
Wollongong Olympic 1 (Joshua Hawker 49’)
Tarrawanna Blueys: 1. RODRIGUEZ Adam, 2. NAYLOR Matthew, 3. STONE Darren, 4. CHAPMAN Daniel, 5. GIBSON Christopher, 14. FERRARO Mitchell, 7. PAGE Brody, 8. KIRKLAND Kyle, 9. TOMASIELLO Nicolas, 10. LEARMONTH Ben, 11. BLACK Tyson
Substitutes: 12. MAZEVSKI Zachary (FERRARO), 13. UCHENDU OMEZIKAM (MAZEVSKI), 6. KAMADA Fumoto (UCHENDU), 15. 15. ARAI Shuhei
Wollongong Olympic: 1. PASFIELD Justin, 4. CARLI James, 26. EVERY Mark, 18. BALDACCHINHO, 16. AVOURIS Dionisios, 6. HARTAS David, 14. MATIAS Keegan, 9. HASEGAWA Yu, 5. KEATING Jack, 7. FLORO Matthew, 17. HORI Kojiro
Substitutes: 11. HAINES-GROSE Corey (KEATING), 12. HAWKER Joshua (CARLI), 8. CARRASCO Oliver (AVOURIS), 24. CHAPMAN Timothy, 22. MIYAMOTO Seiya
Date: 4 October 2020
Venue: Tarrawanna Oval
Referee: Andrew Naylor
Assistant Referees: Stuart Derbridge and Andrew Muirhead
Report by Timothy Gibson
Photo courtesy of Graham Brown