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A stoppage-time Jordan Nikolovski penalty saw Port Kembla prevail in a seven-goal action-packed thriller against South Coast United at Ian McLennan Park on Saturday night.

The hosts opened the scoring within the first ten minutes through Marco Pennisi before Harrison Anagnostopoulos restored parity for Port Kembla in the 29th minute.

A minute later, Jamie Wakeling put United back in front, however, six minutes later, Jayden Nikolovski drew Port Kembla level once more.

Daniel Carella sent Port into the break with the lead scoring with six minutes to play in the first half.

The away side was reduced to 10 men just after the hour mark when Oli Carrasco was sent off following a second yellow card.

In the 69th minute, Kieren Brodnik scored an equaliser for South Coast, but a 92nd-minute penalty from Jordan Nikolovski stole the points for Port.

United’s Pennisi was shown a second yellow card in the final seconds and consequently sent from the field of play.

Port Kembla started the match brightly moving the ball forward with purpose and in the eighth minute, Mitch Di Pietro found himself in free space on the right.

The fullback cut the ball back to the centre of the box for Anagnostopoulos who forced United captain Jason Bleakley into a save.

From this, South Coast went down the other end finding Pennisi on the left who arced a right-footed effort into the opposite corner to give the home side the lead.

In the 29th minute, Carella played the ball across to Anagnostopoulos centrally from the right who passed a shot into the right-hand side of the net to put Port level.

Merely seconds later though South Coast went back into the lead with Wakeling sending a right-footed effort from the right of the box into the far corner.

However, two quickfire goals from Port Kembla before halftime put the visitors in front.

Anagnostopoulos’ pinpoint freekick from a wide angle on the right was headed home by Jayden Nikolovski in the 36th minute.

Three minutes later, Carella sent a right-footed driven shot from the left of the box into the bottom left-hand corner.

Despite trailing twice in the first half, Port Kembla went into the break with the lead looking to pick up a win in their first match of the season.

Seven minutes into the second half, United could have been level with Pennisi’s cross on the left finding Brodnik at the back post who struck the left upright from a tight angle.

Around the hour mark, the away side began to step up their pursuit of a fourth goal with Jordan Nikolovski bursting through the South Coast defence seeing his shot saved by Bleakley.

Three minutes later, Carella saw a lobbed effort saved as well.

There was a turning point in the 63rd minute when Port Kembla’s Oli Carrasco received two yellow cards in the space of four minutes seeing himself sent off.

The hosts wasted no time in drawing level as Brodnik ran through one-on-one with Luke Genua six minutes after the red card and poked the ball home.

South Coast took the ascendancy in the match and looked to push on for a winner with Tony Musumeci and Ricky Bertakis both striking efforts from range in the last quarter of the match.

Despite United’s ambitions for a late winner, Port Kembla was awarded a penalty in the 92nd minute.

Jordan Nikolovski took responsibility and blasted a well-struck shot into the left side of the net to steal the points for the visitors.

In the dying embers of the game, South Coast goalscorer Pennisi was also shown a second yellow card and sent off.

Despite going behind twice in the match and going down to 10 men for the final half an hour, Stuart Beedie’s team came away with all three points.

Coach Beedie was pleased with the character shown by his side, especially after Port’s 6-2 defeat in the Australia Cup last Sunday.

“It [the performance] shows there is a lot of fighting spirit in that young side there,” he said.

“This [Ian McLennan Park] is a difficult place to come and get a result.

“They [South Coast United] always make it very very hard for anyone coming here.”

Beedie also praised the display of young player Anagnostopoulos who scored the side’s first goal on the night epitomising the youth-based nature of the team this year.

“That’s [his performance] what Harry can do,” he said.

“That’s why he’s in the team; to score a goal and he hit the freekick in for the second equaliser. So, he’ll develop, and we’re really pleased to have players like him.

“Young Luca Papalia is another one who plays at the back there and Luca Danzo. They’re both 18.

“I think it says a lot about their character that we come through there in the end and got the result.”

With wet weather still causing major scheduling problems for matches, Port Kembla are due to travel to Cringila next Friday night.

For South Coast United this was by far the closest scoreline they’ve had this season although the side has now conceded 12 goals in only three matches.

Coach Greg Valic was pleased with the application of his players despite a third successive defeat to start the season.

“I’m happy to an extent that we were able to execute the tactical plan we set out before the game, so for the first 15 minutes, I thought we were doing it quite well,” he said.

“We lost our way a little bit as the half progressed and we allowed them back into it with a few errors here and there.

“It’s just a shame we couldn’t get a result.”

For South Coast, it doesn’t get any easier facing up to Coniston next Saturday at JJ Kelly Park.


South Coast United 3 (Marco Pennisi 9’, Jamie Wakeling 30’, Kieren Brodnik 69’)

Port Kembla 4 (Harrison Anagnostopoulos 29’, Jayden Nikolovski 36’, Daniel Carella 39’, Jordan Nikolovski 90+2’)

South Coast United: 1. BLEAKLEY Jason, 8. LUCAS Ben, 9. WAKELING Jamie, 10. PENNISI Marco, 14. BRODNIK James, 15. HAYASHI Kodai, 16. ANIC Antoni, 17. HMDA Kolan, 18. NAKASONE Tatsuma, 23. BRODNIK Kieren, 24. MACKAY Andrew

Substitutes: 7. MUSUMECI Tony (NAKASONE 71’), 11. BERTAKIS Ricky (WAKELING 62’), 6. LONCAR Lucas (MACKAY 71’), 27. AWABERY Abdul, 31. BYRNES Harry

Port Kembla: 1. GENUA Luke, 2. DI PIETRO Mitch, 3. MOBBS Will, 4. PAPALIA Luca, 5. CHICHARO Daniel, 6. DANZO Luca, 7. NIKOLOVSKI Jayden, 8. CARRASCO Oli, 9. ANAGNOSTOPOULOS Harrison, 10. NIKOLOVSKI Jordan, 11. CARELLA Daniel

Substitutes: 12. LAVALLE Rocky (ANAGNOSTOPOULOS 73’), 13. SAFFIOTI Christian (CARELLA 82’), 14. ANAGNOSTOPOULOS James, 21. DAENELL Bryce, 15. BALL Nathan (DANZO 90+4’)

Date: 19 March 2022

Venue: Ian McLennan Park

Referee: Greg Reid

Assistant Referees: Nathan Alterator and Casey Flemming

Report by Timothy Gibson 

Photo: Edmund Esterbauer


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