TARRAWANNA v ALBION PARK WHITE EAGLES | IPL ELIMINATION FINAL | MATCH REPORT
Albion Park have lived to fight another day after overcoming Tarrawanna in a penalty shootout on a warm Sunday afternoon at JJ Kelly Park.
Both sides were reluctant to throw caution to the wind during the opening stages of the match, until the 22nd minute when Brody Page headed in the opener for Tarrawanna.
Albion Park equalised in the 69th minute through Joel Beattie which sent the game to extra time.
The two sides couldn’t be split after 120 minutes of play and went to penalties where both sides converted 15 penalties without a miss before Nick Armand brilliantly saved Ben Learmonth’s penalty sending the White Eagles into a tough semi-final matchup against Bulli next Sunday.
Both sides began slowly, attempting to put their stamp on the game, aside from Page’s 22nd-minute goal, the first half was rather uneventful as both sides weren’t willing to take the big risks in such a high-stakes game.
With their season on the line, Albion Park came out of the half-time break flying with a flurry of attacks and forcing Tarrawanna into conceding five consecutive corners in the opening period of the second half, they were incredibly unlucky to not have an equaliser with multiple defensive clearances from the Blueys defence.
The momentum of the match shifted on the hour mark when Dan Champan’s close-range shot forced Armand into a world-class save to keep the deficit to one.
Albion Park turned defence into attack from this save and sent Chris Nathaniel down the line all the way to the opposing box, he played the ball across the goalmouth and forced Adam Rodriguez to palm it away, but the ball landed perfectly for Beattie to slot home a 69th-minute equaliser.
With the minutes ticking down in regular time, the White Eagles had a golden opportunity through Nathaniel who again found space on the wing and made his way to goal eventually sending the ball across the goal line again forcing Rodriguez into another spectacular stop, his save again fell to another opposing player this time it was Cameron Morgan with a near open goal, his shot was narrowly saved off the line by Chris Gibson keeping Tarrawanna’s season alive for the time being.
The two side couldn’t be separated in the 90 minutes and were forced to go for another half hour in extra time.
Both sides were feeling the effects of the heat as fatigue became a huge factor of the extra 30 minutes.
Albion Park had a couple of decent chances to nab a winner, however, Rodriguez was up to the task with the Tarrawanna goalkeeper making a great save off a Brendan Fordham header late on.
The sides couldn’t be split with the match forced to penalties where the White Eagles elected to shoot first.
The goalkeepers came close on a number of occasions, however, the near-perfect pace and placement of the shots saw 15 consecutive efforts before Armand made the breakthrough by blocking Learmonth’s strike low to his right to send his side through.
Both sides came close to missing with both keepers getting hands on a couple of shots but were not able to deny them of a goal. After fourteen consecutive goals, Armand finally made the breakthrough for his side saving Ben Learmonth’s shot sending the White Eagles through.
Albion Park now find themselves two wins away from a grand final appearance but will have to do it the hard way going against two of the top three if they are to qualify for the big dance.
Tarrawanna Blueys 1 (7) (Page 22’)
Albion Park White Eagles 1 (8) (Beattie 69’)
Tarrawanna Blueys: 1. RODRIGUEZ Adam, 2. NAYLOR Matt, 3. STONE Darren, 4. CHAPMAN Dan, 5. GIBSON Chris, 6. LEARMONTH Ben, 7. PAGE Brody, 8. KIRKLAND Kyle, 9. BLACK Tyson, 10. TOMASIELLO Nicolas, 11. FUMOTO Kamada.
Substitutes: 12. ARAI Shuhei, 13. DRAIN Toby, 14. SIMPSON Bowen, 15. CHICARO David, 21. NICHOLL Riley.
Albion Park White Eagles: 1. ARMAND Nick, 13. NATHANIEL Chris, 4. SUZAKI Kohei, 5. SENIOR Kyle, 21. FORDHAM Brendon, 3. LEIGHTON Jake, 6. WEHMEYER Jake, 8. NICKOLOVSKI Jordan, 7. MORGAN Cameron, 10 BEATTIE Joel, 11. MARTIN Jacob.
Substitutes: 15. MITROVSKI Brendan, 12. WILSON Zane, 14. VRANKOVIC Dane, 16. SEADON Riley.
Date: 11th October 2020
Venue: JJ Kelly Park
Referee: Bobby Mazevski
Assistant Referees: Caleb Blanch and Brendan Fotheringham
Fourth Official: John Ruscica
Report by Dominic Criniti, on Twitter @DCriniti
Photo by Graham Brown