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At the third time of asking Unanderra and Helensburgh played out a 2-2 draw in a rescheduled round one District League match at Ian McLennan Park on Tuesday night.

The Hearts opened the scoring through Stephan Adattini midway through the first stanza, before Kade Kinsella equalised before half time.

It was an interesting second half for Blake Currey as the Helensburgh defender netted an own goal before securing a point via a late penalty.

Helensburgh looked bright early and had several chances inside the opening 15 minutes.

The most notable of these came in the 12th minute when a determined Brad Watts won the ball back in the Unanderra defensive third before driving towards goal and picking out Kinsella who saw his shot blocked.

Luke Miller’s follow-up was deflected out for a corner, from which an unmarked Blake Hewson was found with the midfielder’s attempted volley easily cleared away.

Despite a purposeful opening quarter-of-an-hour from the Thistle, it would be Unanderra who struck first in the 26th minute.

A deep cross was only cleared as far as Adattini, who thundered the ball into the far-right corner of the goal from just inside the box.

With Helensburgh in search of an equaliser, the side created a great chance in the 32nd minute with Miller involved again. 

A marauding run from the right saw the winger make his way into the box and drive a shot wide of the near post only to find the side netting.

However, four minutes later, the Thistle restored parity.

A cross from Miller eventually found Kinsella who, from close range and via a deflection, managed to scramble to ball over the line.

The teams went into the sheds level ahead of a big second half in the context of the league title race.

In the 51st minute, Unanderra goal-ace Mark Picciolini nearly restored his side’s lead with a close-range freekick that went just over the bar.

However, seven minutes later, the Hearts got their second when Currey failed to deal with a ball into the area, inadvertently turning it into his own net.

Helensburgh were once again chasing the match, but with five minutes to play, they were chucked a lifeline with the awarding of a penalty.

It would be Currey to take the responsibility, confidently dispatching an effort high into the left side of the net.

The sides would be left to share the points in what was only the second time either side had dropped points this season. 

Unanderra coach Rod Williams praised the performance of his side especially considering the calibre of their opponents.

“You’ve got to be happy with a point to Helensburgh,” he said.

“They are a good footballing side, they’re coached very well. I thought the lads dug deep, we played some really good football.

“I think we are only going to get better. I think after tonight we’ve proven to people we can sort of match it with the best.”

This result ensures the Hearts remain at the top of the league, four points ahead of second-placed Shell Cove.

Unanderra will face Picton on Saturday at Unanderra Oval with the Rangers going down 2-0 to Helensburgh last weekend.

Helensburgh coach Andrew Paine didn’t feel it was the best game, however, believed the result kept his side alive. 

“[The game] wasn’t great, it was a bit scrappy, to be honest,” he said.

“I thought we shaded the chances. In the end, we conceded an own goal. 

“[The result] keeps us alive but it also leaves us with work to do now.”

Helensburgh remain in third, four points below Unanderra.

The Thistle will look to get back to winning ways this Saturday hosting Kiama at Rex Jackson Park.

Unanderra Hearts 2 (Stephan Adattini 26’)

Helensburgh Thistle 2 (Kade Kinsella 36’, Blake Currey OWN GOAL 58’ PENALTY 85’)

Unanderra Hearts: 20. COAD Blake, 4. KALMANIDID Jonah, 5. ADATTINI Stephan, 11. STRUDWICK Bradley, 2. JORGE Daniel, 23. MOREIRA Brad, 6. BRESLIN Aiden, 10. CHANG Sunny, 16. TAKAHASHI Shin, 9. SAVERINO Daniel, 13. PICCIOLINI Mark

Substitutes: 3. PERINICH Michael (BRESLIN), 8. LIDDLE Jonathon, 12. PRENOTSKI Aleksandar (SAVERINO), 1. D’ALESSIO Claude

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

Substitutes: 12. HOPE Ryan (BENHAM), 13. UNICOMB Liam (JOHNSTON), 14. TURRALL Peter (WATSON), 15. O’BRIEN Derren, 86. BROWN Connor

Date: 25 May 2021

Venue: Ian McLennan Park

Referee: Andrew Naylor

Assistant Referees: Steven Payne and Stuart Bell

Report and photo by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @timg123_

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