There were goals aplenty at Wetherall Park on Sunday afternoon as Albion Park White Eagles defeated Bulli FC 3-2 in the Illawarra Premier League Elimination Final. Albion Park took the lead early in the contest before Bulli clawed a goal back through Luke Van Zyl, but Albion Park were able to restore their lead soon afterwards and never lost their ascendancy on the scoreboard for the remainder of the match.
Young Albion Park midfielder Cody Wehmeyer, stole the show in the 5th minute after striking a venomous shot that nestled into the bottom right corner of the Bulli net.
The White Eagles nearly doubled their lead in the 17th minute after Cameron Morgan and Joel Beattie combined to be through on goal, but Beattie’s shot was misplaced and sailed past the right post.
Bulli equalised in the 20th minute after Van Zyl broke through the Albion Park defence and calmly worked his way past Nic Armand, before tucking the ball away into the back of the net.
Kyle Senior restored the Albion Park lead in the 43rd minute after the defender was able to flick a Kohei Suzaki cross into the back of the Bulli net.
Both Armand and Brendan Fordham denied Bulli a chance to equalise just before the break, after the duo scrambled well to keep a Van Zyl strike and follow-through out of the White Eagles’ net.
Jordan Nikolovski nearly gave Albion Park their third goal of the contest in the 49th minute after receiving a pass from Jake Leighton up their right wing and firing the ball across the Bulli goalmouth, narrowly missing the far left corner.
Ben McDonald came so close to equalising for Bulli in the 60th minute after a Luke Foster cross found McDonald’s head, but the striker’s header collided with the right post.
Morgan was able to dispossess the Bulli defence in the 66th minute, but his shot that followed was brilliantly saved by Bulli goalkeeper Ben McGinnes.
The White Eagles found their third goal in the 80th minute, after Beattie superbly connected with the ball on the half-volley which nestled into the bottom right corner of the Bulli net.
Bulli immediately responded in the 81st minute through defender Jack Harris, after Harris was able to head home a header following a cross from the left wing.
Both teams continue to engage in a physical finals football battle, but it was Albion Park who survived the elimination final and booked their ticket into next week’s Preliminary Final.
Albion Park will now face Woonona Sharks for a spot in the Illawarra Premier League grand final after the Sharks went down 1-0 to Wollongong United in the other semi-final. The winner of next weeks clash will face United in the grand final on 1 November.
Albion Park White Eagles: 3 (Wehmeyer 5’, Senior 43’, Beattie 80’)
Bulli FC: 2 (Van Zyl 20’, Harris 81’)
Albion Park White Eagles: 1. ARMAND Nic, 3. SENIOR Kyle, 4. SUZAKI Kohei, 5. LEIGHTON Jake, 6. WEHMEYER Cody, 7. MORGAN Cameron, 8. NIKOLOVSKI Jordan, 10. BEATTIE Joel, 11. MARTIN Jacob, 13. NATHANIEL Chris, 21. FORDHAM Brendan
Substitutes: 12. WILSON Zane, 14. SEADON Riley, 15. MITROVSKI Brendan, 16 WALLER Cody, 31. COAD Blake
Bulli FC: 1. MCGINNES Ben, 2. JACKSON Kyle, 3. HARRIS Jack, 5. FOSTER Luke, 6. DAVIES Sam, 7. VAN ZYL Luke, 9. MCDONALD Ben, 14. LEWIS Dylan, 26. TSUJIMURA Takumi, 27. CLARINO Ian, 30. KAMBAYASHI Seiya
Substitutes: 8. HEWSON Blake, 11. ENGLISH Edward, 16. FARINA Daniel, 17. ASHTON Max, 31. EMERTON Ryan
Date: 18 October 2020
Venue: Wetherall Park, Primbee
Referee: Andrew Naylor
Assistant Referees: Greg Reid and Anna Phipps
Report by Jarrod Pollard
Photos courtesy of Kiah Hufton