After three washed out weeks, the Illawarra District League finally kicked off on Sunday afternoon as Balgownie stole a point against a dominant University side at Ian McLennan Park.
University were left to rue their missed chances as Balgownie equalised late on through Tom Spargo as both teams start their season with a point.
The opening stanza saw the home side, University create majority of the chances and in the 6th minute, Matheus Scapin’s shot on the turn took a wicked deflection in the box before a stray arm of Balgownie shot-stopper Hugh Bahnert denied an early goal.
The Rangers slowly crept their way back into the game and had a chance of their own in the 20th minute when Brendan Waeger showed some skill on the wing, he teed up Jacob Miller for a shot but it flew wide of the post.
Bahnert was then called into action several times in the next 10 minutes. First, rushing out to block a shot from Oskar Pruks before parrying away a deep free-kick from Scapin just minutes later.
The away side were still creating chances and in the 25th minute really should have been ahead when Lachlan Veney sent his header wide after he was left unmarked off a free-kick.
The best chance of the half came from University captain, Ryan Sinclair as he sent a long-range effort goal-wards but a slight touch from Bahnert pushed it onto the crossbar.
In the 41st minute, University finally broke the deadlock as Scapin placed his free-kick from 20 yards into the side netting, giving the side the lead heading into the break.
It was the woodwork again denying the Students early in the second half when Cameron Hanson’s long range attempt battered away off the post.
Then, in the 58th minute, the Rangers had the bar to thank again as Scapin’s shot on the break slammed into the crossbar, keeping the home sides lead to one.
Going forward, the Rangers continued to look towards their spark on the wing as Waeger looked dangerous going forward.
A series of long shots by Miller and Brendan Wyatt didn’t seem to trouble Jordan Kipp in the University goal as the game went into the final 15.
Bahnert then started to prove himself as a man-of-the-match contender, remarkably saving Scapin’s shot at close range following a cross from the left.
Then, in the 85th minute, Balgownie scored through substitute, Tom Spargo when he popped up at the back post to volley home the equaliser following Waeger’s neat footwork on the right.
The game wasn’t done with yet. Hanson had one last chance to win it for the Students after he dispossessed the Rangers backline and ran through on goal. But again, it was the leg of Bahnert stopping the striker from scoring the winner.
An entertaining way to start the IDL season as both teams finished with a point a-piece.
University 1 (Scapin 41’)
Balgownie 1 (Spargo 85’)
University: 1. KIPP Jordan, 2. MORGAN Lachlan, 4. FLINT-PETERSON Eamon, 5. FRKOVIC Brooklan, 6. MARTIN Joshua, 9. PRUKS Oskar, 12. HANSON Cameron, 23. SINCLAIR Ryan, 27. KELLY Angus, 30. INGLIS Luke, 33. SCAPIN Matheus.
Substitutes: 3. HAWKES Ashley, 8. SIMMS Jordan (FRKOVIC), 17. WILSON Nicholas (PRUKS), 19. COETZER Alex (SCAPIN), 31. JOYCE Ben.
Balgownie: 1. BAHNERT Hugh, 2. BELLINATO Nathan, 3. STEFANELLI Anthony, 4. VENEY Lachlan, 5. MCCOY Matthew, 6. WYATT Brendan, 7. WAEGER Brendan, 8. DUMMETT Jackson, 9. HOLLINSHEAD Chris, 10. MILLER Jacob, 11. MCCREARY Jonathon.
Substitutes: 12. SPARGO Matthew (VENEY), 13. SHANNON Tom, 14. SPARGO Tom (MCCREARY), 15. SAPONJA Tom, 16. DALLAS Sebastian (BELLINATO).
Date: 13 March 2022
Venue: Ian McLennan Park
Referee: Reece Edwards
Assistant Referees: Bobby Mazevski & Tony Roder
Report by Nathan Turner, on Twitter @nathanturner23_
Photo courtesy of Graham Brown