Helensburgh ace Brad Watts put on a second-half show to help his side down Fernhill 3-0 at Rex Jackson Oval on Saturday afternoon. 

The Thistle were aiming to bounce back from a shock defeat to Warilla in round three, but it wasn’t until a red card early in the second half and some brilliance from their front line that they were able to secure the result against the steely Foxes.

Fernhill had the better of the chances in the first half with the first coming 18 minutes in for Daniel Djukic.

The young striker was played through on goal by Trent Worthington before he kicked the ground as he went to shot. 

Nelson Mcleod flew in to strike to loose ball but his effort was blocked by the Helensburgh defence.

In the 34th minute, Mitch Turner finished off a fantastic dribble by playing a cross into Kurt Foulger who, from close range, couldn’t direct the ball towards the net with it glancing across the face of the goal.

Fernhill’s Mitch Turner trying to get past Helensburgh’s Ryan Hunter.

A red card was brandished in the 44th minute with referee Brendon Fotheringham dismissing Helensburgh coach Andrew Paine from the dugout.

With only a few seconds remaining in the half, the Thistle nearly snuck a goal when Watts picked out Kade Kinsella at the far post but the striker headed the ball against the base of the left post.

The second half started poorly for the Foxes with veteran midfielder Scott Muilwyk sent from the field after picking up his second yellow of the match.

Helensburgh didn’t take long to capitalise on the numerical advantage when, in the 52nd minute, Watts dribbled into the right of the box before cutting the ball back to Kinsella who made no mistake with his finish.

Kinsella had a couple of opportunities to score again in the following 10 minutes, however, he wasn’t able to get the better of Fernhill goalkeeper Jack Dugan.

The second home goal eventually came in the 72nd minute after some shifty feet from Watts. 

The wideman went through on goal before standing up the goalkeeper with a jink and finishing into an empty goal.

Helensburgh were reduced to 10 players in the 84th minute when captain Robbie Watson, formerly of Fernhill has an altercation with Elias Ayoub. 

Fernhill utility Elias Ayoub making an improvised clearance.

Any chance of the Foxes mounting a late comeback was dashed in the 88th minute when Watts bagged his brace.

The winger broke down the right of the pitch which led to a foot race between him and Lachlan Calder. 

The Fernhill defender looked to have won the dual, however, the onrushing Dugan collided with his teammate which allowed Watts to tap the ball into an empty net for the second time in 16 minutes.

Helensburgh now have six points with a game in hand and Paine said it was a hard-earned victory after last week’s blip.

“We deserved to lose last week, that’s the bottom line,” Paine said.

“I am really happy because we challenged [the players] this week and talked to them about the mentality we need to take into games and that you can’t just wait there and expect things to happen.

“Fernhill is a very strong side, especially physically, and our guys did a great job fronting up to that today.”

It was also the first meeting between Andrew Paine and Dale White as coaches with the two exchanging a brief chuckle before the match.

Paine said he relished going up against his former teammate, who he also coached at Bellambi in 2019.

“It’s fun – Dale is a gentleman,” Paine said. 

“We’ve been texting each other non-stop all week and he’s a good friend of mine. Hopefully, we will be coaching against each other for many years to come and hopefully in the Premier League.

“He’s shown he can establish a very good side and they played some very good football today so it was a huge three points for us.”

Helensburgh were supposed to face Unanderra in a catch-up match midweek, however, the Hearts’ FFA Cup commitments has pushed that clash back further meaning the Thistle’s next match will be away to Oak Flats. 

As for Fernhill, they will look to bounce back from their first league loss of the season when they host Unanderra next Saturday.

Helensburgh: 3 (Kade Kinsella 52’, Brad Watts 72’ 88’)

Fernhill: 0

Helensburgh: 23. PAULL Jordan, 2. BENHAM Jarrod, 3. HUNTER Ryan, 4. WATSON Robbie, 5. MAWBEY Scott, 6. CURREY Blake, 7. TURRALL Peter, 8. MUCCI Joel, 9. KINSELLA Kade, 10. WATTS Brad, 11. JOHNSTON Adam

Substitutes: 12. O’BRIEN Deren (KINSELLA), 13. UNICOMB Liam (MUCCI), 14. HEWSON Blake (TURRALL), 86. BROWN Connor

Fernhill: 1. DUGAN Jack, 2. AYOUB Elias, 3. CALDER Lachlan, 4. FOULGER Kurt, 5. OLIVER Anthony, 6. WORTHINGTON Trent, 7. HUGHES Jordan, 8. MUILWYK Scott, 9. DJUKIC Daniel, 10. TURNER Mitch, 11. MCLEOD Nelson


Date: 17 April 2021

Venue: Rex Jackson Oval

Referee: Brendon Fotheringham

Assistant Referees: Joel Nees and club

Report and photos by Dylan Arvela, on Twitter @dylanarvela

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