Balgownie opened up their 2021 District League account with a hard-fought 2-1 win over a determined Kiama outfit, who would be disappointed they didn’t come away with a point at Ian McLennan Park on Friday night. 

Both sides were looking to start the season with a bang, and it was Balgownie doing just that, with youngster Christopher Hollingshead on target inside 10 minutes. 

A dinked ball into the backfield by Jimmy Yousef found the run of Hollingshead storming towards goal. 

Hollingshead, with still plenty of work to do, headed it past his defender and sent a delicate chip over Volkan Guden into the Quarriers goal, giving the Rangers the perfect start to the contest.

Kiama’s first real attempt of the game came from Matt Hiriart in the 16th minute when the defenders powerful shot from range almost swerved into the back of the net if it wasn’t for the hand of Joshua Sebben in goal. 

This seemed to be the turning point that the Quarriers needed as they went on to equalise just minutes later.

It was a goal Pep Guardiola would have been proud of himself with a nice passing move setting up Hiriart on the right wing. 

His cross back beyond the defenders found the feet of Conor Edenden and with his first touch, he squared it back to Kosta Sapardanov who placed it in the far bottom corner, giving the side the momentum they needed. 

The momentum did seem to carry over for Kiama who controlled the ball for the rest of the half.

Edenden forced a fingertip save out of Sebben following his header off a free kick and Oliver Dale really should have found the target when he was found wide open in the box in the 34th minute.

Kiama would then come to rue their missed chances as Hollingshead made them pay just two minutes later.

After a delightful touch to beat his marker, the striker then used his pace to get to the ball first on the edge of the box, one-on-one with Guden.

He fired his effort into the back of the net, giving the Rangers their lead back against the run of play. 

In the 37th minute, Balgownie’s Lukas McDonald teed up Tomas Spargo just inside the box but the winger sent the ball flying over with a goal gone begging. 

Right on half-time, it was Sebben denying Edenden yet again, tipping the wingers free-kick out for a corner, sending his side into the break up 2-1. 

Kiama’s half-time team talk seemed to be an inspiring one, as they came out of the sheds firing. 

In the 47th minute, Dale’s cleanly hit volley from the penalty spot was saved by the body of Sebben and bounced inches wide of the post.

Then, off the corner, a poor Rangers clearance almost gifted Simon Bussoletti a goal from close range but his scuffed shot trickled across the goal line and Balgownie were able to clear. 

The Rangers weren’t out of trouble yet as Hiriart charged forward from fullback.

It was a pearler of a cross picking out Edenden at the far post but the striker couldn’t get enough power behind his volley and Sebben was able to palm away. 

If that wasn’t enough for the Rangers, they became their own worst enemy in the 54th minute as Spargo should have put his side up by two but a poor attempt from close range saw Guden save comfortably. 

Kiama continued their dominance throughout the second half and repeatedly attacked up the right side.

Hiriart, with another curler into the box, picked out Edenden again at the back post.

It was a frustrated reaction for the defender as he watched his striker blast it over the bar. 

Despite all the efforts Kiama threw at Balgownie, nothing seemed to go right for them.

Tired bodies dropped like flies for both sides as the intense and high flowing game continued into the final 10 minutes. 

With just three minutes to play, Hiriart again caused havoc up the right, beating two players to set up the shot with his left foot.

Sebben could only palm it away straight to the open Ben Petersen on the penalty spot.

It looked to be harder to miss for the youngster and his first-time attempt was miraculously saved by the outstretched arm of a scrambling Sebben to keep the Rangers in the lead. 

Sebben turned hero again as he tipped wide a thunderous long-range effort by Peterson 25 yards out in stoppage time, securing the three points for his side. 

As the full-time whistle sounded, players fell to the floor, as the first round of the season took its toll on both sides.

Balgownie held off the onslaught of attacks that Kiama threw at them in the second half and secured their first three points of the season. 

Both sides have a seven-day turnaround, playing on Good Friday next weekend.

Balgownie head north to take on Helensburgh at Rex Jackson Park and as for Kiama, they return to the Quarry for their first match at home against Warilla. 

Balgownie: 2 (Chris Hollingshead 8’ 36’)

Kiama: 1 (Sapardanov 20’)

Balgownie: 1. SEBBEN Joshua, 2. BELLINATO Nathan, 3. MCREARY Jonathan, 4. GIGLIOTTI Anthony, 5. ALLAN Max, 6. MORTIMER Jarryd, 7. SPARGO Tomas, 8. VENEY Lachlan, 9. HOLLINGSHEAD Christopher, 10. YOUSEF Jimmy, 11. MCDONALD Luke

Substitutes: 12. VARDAREFF Daniel, 13. BUBB Matthew (MCDONALD), 14. CONNELLY Mathew (YOUSEF), 19. LEWIS Brandon (MORTIMER)

Kiama: 1. GUDEN Volkan, 2. HIRIART Matt, 3. BUSSOLETTI Simon, 4. GILLESPIE Dan, 5. PHILIPS James, 6. MARSH Lachlan, 7. SNOW Tom, 8. DALE Oliver, 9. EDENDEN Conor, 10. PETERSON Ben, 11. SAPARDANOV Kosta

Substitutes: 12. BRADDISH Gregan, 13. STOJAKOVIC Jovan, 14. BLANCH JACOB (BUSSOLETTI)

Date: 26 March 2021

Venue: Ian McLennan Park 

Referee: Brendan Fotheringham

Assistant Referees: Tim Gibson and Warwick Davidson 

Report by Nathan Turner, on Twitter @nathanturner23_ 

Photo by Graham Brown

Notice board

OFFICE HOURS: Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm

Searching for Clubs?

Find clubs, club contacts, field locations and more in our clubs directory. 


Get social

Upcoming Events