Coniston secured back-to-back wins to start the Illawarra Premier League season after downing South Coast United 2-1 away on Saturday evening.

South Coast’s late goal wasn’t enough with Tomohito Fujieda’s penalty the difference between the two sides.

It was a pretty even tussle in the early stages, but it was Coniston who had the first chance when Lukas Stergiou fed a switch ball to Anthony Krsteski whose shot went straight into the hands of Jason Bleakley.

Stergiou had a solid effort on goal 25 minutes into the first half, hitting a power shot from outside the box but it couldn’t get past a composed Bleakley.

South Coast began to find their rhythm with Nick Anagnostiadis arrowing a shot at goal from a free-kick.

However, in the 38th minute, it was Jake Morlando who gave Coniston the lead after he made a threatening run down the line before breaking through the defence and finishing the move with a well-placed strike.

With three minutes to go in the first half, Alexander Regan also came close to getting his name on the scoresheet for the visitors when he sent a shot just beyond the crossbar.

Coniston’s resilient defence was evident throughout the first half of the match as South Coast were held to very minimal chances with the home side trailing by a goal at the break.

Coniston continued to pile on the pressure in the second half and came close to scoring the opener in the 50th minute with Morlando sending a shot just wide of the post.

The lead was doubled just before the hour mark after Fujieda was bundled over in the box before the Japanese stepped up to the penalty mark and confidently placed the ball past the United goalkeeper.

United weren’t deterred and fought their way back into the contest less than 10 minutes later when Anagnostiadis picked out Tony Musumeci’s in space; the new South Coast midfielder controlled the ball before calmly tucking his shot past Kaydin Harrison.

Coniston substitute Steven Ugrinovski became a threat in the 84th minute when he sped past three South Coast players before his shot went just wide of the mark.

United came close to a late equaliser when substitute Jordan Warren found Anagnostiadis in the middle of the park who quickly played the ball into Musumeci’s feet but the midfielder’s shot was well-taken by Harrison.

The match would ultimately finish 2-1, but not before a jaw-dropping miss from Alexander Duckinoski who sent the ball over an open goal in the fifth minute of added-on time.

After the match, Coniston coach Rob Jonovski said his side came up against a well-organised outfit, but he was impressed with how his players stuck to their task.

“I thought it was a very good performance from my team tonight,” Jonovski said.

“When we play like this, I believe that everyone in the team is a standout for me.

“Two-nil is always a dangerous scoreline, but I was very happy with the boy’s intensity, I think it was a major improvement from last weekend’s match against Corrimal.”

Coniston are now on six points heading into round three where they will take on last year’s league champions Woonona at JJ Kelly Park while South Coast United meet Corrimal who are also without a point through two rounds of the new season.

Coniston: 2 (Jake Morlando 38’, Tomohito Fujieda 58’)

South Coast United: 1 (Tony Musumeci 68’)

Coniston: 1. HARRISON Kaydin, 3. KAYANO Takayuki, 4. GROZDANOV Nicholas, 5. PERLOWSKI Dylan, 6. STERGIOU Lukas, 7. FUJIEDA Tomohito, 8. O’NEILL Connor, 9. TSCHENTSCHER Matthew, 10. REGAN Zander, 11. MORLANDO Jake, 18. KRSTESKI Anthony

Substitutes: 2. MATTHEWS Samuel (O’NEILL), 12. ZUFIC David, 15. KYRIAKOUDES Peter, 19. UGRINOVSKI Steven (TSCHENTSCHER) 50. DUCKINOSKI Aleksander (KRSTESKI)

South Coast United: 1. BLEAKLEY Jason, 4. VALIC Greg, 6. POLLARD Jarrod, 8. ANAGNOSTIADIS Nick, 14. MUSUMECI Tony, 15. MONHEM Simon, 16. BOVA Andrew, 17. HMDA Kolan, 18. ROUFOGALIS Nick, 23. BRODNIK Kieran, 40. LONCAR Lucas

Substitutes: 12. WARREN Jordan (BRODNIK), 5. STOJIC Denis, 27. BRODNIK James, 9. WAKELING Jamie (ROUFOGALIS)

Date: 3 April 2021

Venue: Ian McLennan Park

Referee: Brendon Fotheringham

Assistant Referees: Damien Dennelly and Tim Gibson

Report by Alison Dinh, on Twitter @alisondinh_

Photos by Pedro Garcia

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