Cringila, after more than a month of waiting, started their season with a bang, coming away with a 3-0 victory in the third game of the Fraternity Club Illawarra Premier League Super Saturday at Ian McLennan Park.

Three goals in the final 15 minutes of the first half ultimately killed off the Rosellas and sent the three points back with Icko Atanasoski’s side.

Bellambi had the first chance of the contest when centre-half, Steven Hristovski leapt the highest off a corner but a strong hand from Kurtis Tolnay in the Lions’ goal kept it out. 

Cringila slowly started to gain control of the game as an Andre Dias cross found Steven Ugrinovski open in the box. The midfielder’s first touch was good but he blasted his shot over the bar. 

In the 23rd minute, Bellambi were lucky to not fall behind following a scramble in the box, deflecting off several legs from both sides before the Rosellas were able to clear

Then, the game blew wide open in the final 15 minutes of the half.

On the half-hour mark, Ben Zucco sent a powerful shot from distance towards goal, forcing a save out of Bellambi shot-stopper Nathan Cupitt. From the set-piece, Zucco stepped up and curled his attempt into the net directly off the corner. 

Four minutes later, the Lions doubled their advantage. 

It was a smash and grab counterattack as Michael Mendes used his pace up the right. An accurate low cross into the box picked out Anthony Krsteski who finished at the back post. 

Right on the half-time whistle, Cringila made it three when Mendes used some tidy footwork to beat his defender up the left. He sent his cross into the box and with a bit of fortune, snuck into the near post off Cupitt’s hand. 

Bellambi came into the second half with a bit more intensity than they finished the first. 

In the 50th minute, shots from Luke Boersma and Reo Hirose were blocked before a shot on the turn by Brett Wilson just lashed wide of the post just minutes later. 

Cringila continued to look dangerous in attack and really should have added a fourth but Ugrinovski blasted his attempt from eight yards over the crossbar.

The Rosellas found a spark off the bench when Abdul Lawal popped up and forced a save out of Tolnay from distance in the 65th minute. 

As the game entered the final 15, both teams started to feel the pain of the first game back.

Sean Molloy hobbled to a shot inside the box after a cross from the right. The winger brought it down with his left before a shot on his right looked to find the back of the net if it weren’t for a diving save from Tolnay. 

A slow end to the 90 minutes saw the game end with the same scoreline as half-time as Cringila opened their 2022 season with a win. 

Bellambi 0

Cringila 3 (Ben Zucco 30’, Anthony Krsteski 34’, Michael Mendes 45’)

Bellambi: 1. CUPITT Nathan, 3. KOTEVSKI Kayne, 4. HRISTOVSKI Steven, 5. FRIEDRICH Blake, 6. BOERSMA Luke, 7. DO PAO Alex, 8. HIROSE Reo, 9. WILSON Brett, 10. NAGASAMA Shuhie, 11. MOLLOY Sean, 17. HAJITTOFI Angalo. 

Substitutes: 12. LAWAL Abdul (NAGASAMA), 13. BEATTIE Ryan (DO PAO), 14. KOLIOPOULOS Daniel (FRIEDRICH), 2. FALZON Sam, FRIEDRICH Ben. 

Cringila: 20. K. TOLNAY, 2. CARLI James, 3. DIAS Andre, 22. KALMANIDIS Jonah, 5. RALSTON James, 16. ZUCCO Ben, 47. KRSTESKI Anthony, 21. LEVY Jake, 28. SAKASHITA Mitsuru, 10. URGRINOVSKI Steven, 7. MENDES Michael. 

Substitutes: 1. RISTEVSKI Nikola, 9. CORNISH Ben (UGRINOVSKI), 8. MATIAS Keegan, 36. MITROVSKI Brendan, 18. HIGH Nick (SAKASHITA). 

Date: 2 April 2022

Venue: Ian McLennan Park

Referee: Brendan Fotheringham

Assistant Referees: John Ruscica and Warwick Davidson

Report by Nathan Turner, on Twitter @nathanturner23_

Photo by Pedro Garcia

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