Port Kembla and Woonona shared the points in their round 12 clash as a windy, wet and muddy Wetherall Park

Failing to capitalise on their early dominance, Port Kembla allowed Woonona to score against the run of play in the 27th minute.

However, Woonona failed to take their unlikely lead into the break, bringing down Jordan Nikolovski in the box seconds before half time allowing him to equalise from the spot.

The second half was a more even contest with few chances opening for either side before the full-time whistle was blown.

Following last week’s win over South Coast United, Port were quick out of the blocks, creating an excellent opportunity to take the lead within two minutes when Jordan Nikolovski ran onto a lobbed long ball that bypassed Woonona’s stagnant defence.

One-on-one, Nikolovski opted for placement over power but his inside foot effort rolled wide of the uprights. 

In the 7th minute, a well-worked set-piece had Port threatening Woonona’s goal again.

After the initial free-kick was quickly played out to the left wing, Peter Richardson met the following cross from out wide with a sweet left-footed volley only to be denied by the right hand of Brandon Groom in Woonona’s goal. 

Fifteen minutes later, another quick free-kick forced Groom into action again as he palmed a cross into the path of Port’s Peter Prandalos situated inside the penalty area.

However, Prandalos failed to hit the target, blazing his half volley over the bar. 

Port were left to rue their early misses whenm in the 27th minute, a high ball that swirled in the wind causing confusion among the Port defence which resulted in a mistimed header that became a perfect pass for Woonona’s Damien Grew.

Grew burst into the penalty area and passed the ball past Bryce Daenell in goals to give the Sharks the lead with their first shot of the match.

Following the goal, the game became a much tighter tussle as Woonona became more proactive in their approach as they looked to take their lead into the break.

However, Jordan Nikolovski had other plans as he picked up the ball and made a storming run into the box where he was brought down on the 45th-minute mark.

Calm under pressure, Nikolovski tucked the ball into the bottom right corner from the spot to level the scores at the break.

As conditions continued to deteriorate the second half descended into a scrappy box-to-box contest with neither side troubling the opposing goalkeeper.

This was until the 73rd minute when Jordan Nikolovski dribbled through Woonona’s defence to find himself one on one with Groom for the second time in the afternoon, with once again Groom coming out on top, this time blocking Nikolovski’s effort. 

Ten minutes later, Groom kept the scores level yet again when Port substitute Oli Carrasco played Elessio Chiodi on goal, whose shot Groom expertly tipped over the crossbar for a corner.

Woonona’s best chance to score a late winner came in the 85th minute when Brendan Pattman’s tricky footwork helped him win a free kick on the edge of the penalty area.

Corey Haines-Grose stepped up but hit the ball over the bar which summed up both teams’ level of execution in front of goal during the match.

Four minutes of stoppage time followed the ninety but neither team were able to muster a winner before the end of proceedings. 

After taking away a point apiece, Port and Woonona remain in sixth and seventh respectively.

They both face two of the form teams in the competition next week with Port facing Albion Park and the Sharks hosting Coniston.

Port Kembla: 1 (Jordan Nikolovski 45+1’)

Woonona: 1 (Damien Grew 27’)

Port Kembla: 1. DAENELL Bryce, 2. DI PIETRO Mitch, 3. MOBBS William, 4. RICHARDSON Peter, 5. PRANDALOS Peter, 6. NIKOLOVSKI Jayden, 7 . MATIAS Keegan, 8. PATTERSON Vaughan, 9. CHIODI Elisseo, 10. NIKOLOVSKI Jordan, 11. CARELLA Daniel.

Substitutes: 12. CARRASCO Oli (CARELLA), 13. GRAHAM Casey (DI PIETRO), 14. BALL Nathan (CHIODI), 21. MATIAS Harrison. 

Woonona: 1. GROOM Brandon, 23. HAINES-GROSE Corey, 22. BESGROVE Cameron, 25. BURKE Thomas, 35. ISHII Tomohiro, 6. TOOHEY Luke, 7. GREW Damien, 8. BROMHAM-FULLER Tyler, 9. FRENCH Jesse, 10. PATTMAN Brendan, 11. WEBSTER Jake. 

Substitutes: 33. GAUDIOSI Robbie (FRENCH), 15. ASHTON Max, 36. LEE Richard, 30. CHURCHWARD Jack, 17. MAKEN-WALSH Seamus

Date: 19th June 2021 

Venue: Wetherall Park

Referee: Reece Edwards

Assistant Referees: Steven Payne and Maysen Griffith

Report by Nic Wilson, on Twitter @_nicwilson

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