Unanderra have come away as 2-0 winners over a persistent Thirroul side in this round eight fixture of the Illawarra District League at Thomas Gibson Park.
Both teams played their first game of the season last weekend. Thirroul went down to University, 3-1 whereas Unanderra triumphed as 4-0 winners over Picton.
A soft and boggy pitch welcomed the sides to Thomas Gibson Park, and it showed in the early stages of the match.
In the 5th minute, an error at the hands of Thunder goalkeeper Liam Harris almost gifted Hearts goal-getter Luke Picciolini the opener but a scrambling defence was able to clear.
Unanderra really should have taken a lead when a scuffed shot from Luke Debrot rolled into the post in the 10th minute.
Thunder’s best chance of the half came through the head of Robert Gyngell. The midfielder was left wide open at the back-post following a corner but couldn’t find the target.
Right before the half-time whistle, Harris made an incredible double save to keep it square at the break.
It was Liam Martin beating his man up the left before squaring it to Tatsuki Nagatsuki. His first time shot was saved by the outstretched arm of Harris before the shot-stopper quickly recovered to palm away the follow up from Picciolini to keep it goalless.
The game picked up its intensity in the second 45.
In the 60th minute, both sides had threatening chances on the opposing goal for the next 10 minutes.
First, a Picciolini free-kick was caught miraculously by a diving Harris before Valentino Merxhushi couldn’t get onto the end of a cross following a Thunder mistake.
Four minutes later, Thirroul went forward with an attack of their own when Todd Davidson sent his long-range attempt over the bar.
Then, Corey Haines-Grose was put through on goal before rounding the goalkeeper. However, he wasn’t able to finish as a retreating Jason Goldsmith blocked the shot.
The deadlock was broken just 12 minutes later when Merxhushi pounced on a rare Thirroul slip-up at the back, calmly squaring it to Nagatsuski to tap it into an open net.
The Thunder then pushed players forward and were punished on the counter as substitute Scott Bridge poked in the Hearts second, rounding out a 2-0 win.
Thirroul start their season with two losses in a row whereas Unanderra picked up their second win in as many matches.
Next week, Thirroul travel to Balgownie and Unanderra return home to face Oak Flats.
Unanderra 2 (Tatsuki Nagatsuki 80’, Scott Bridge 85’)
Thirroul: 1. HARRIS Liam, 2. BRINDLE Cooper, 3. ARTHUR Daniel, 4. HUTTON James, 5. GIBSON Christopher, 6. MOROSIN Dean, 7. BIDDULPH Zachary, 8. DAVIDSON Todd, 9. STRUDWICK Bradley, 10. GYNGELL Robert, 11. HAINES-GROSE Corey.
Substitutes: 12. DE LYALL Jonathan (BIDDULPH), 13. ADAMS Tyler (BRINDLE), 14. DARK Aaron, 15. POTTER Michael, 16. MUHAREM Ruben.
Unanderra: 20. COAD Blake, 2. KYRAKAUDIS Peter, 3. BELSITO Nathan, 4. GOLDSMITH Jason, 5. DEBROT Luke, 6. PRENTOSKI Aleksander, 7. PLAKIAS Christian, 10. NAGATSUKI Tatsuki, 11. MERXHUSHI Valentino, 13. PICCIOLINI Mark, 14. MARTIN Liam.
Substitutes: 1. SAWADA Kenji, 8. DELBANCO Robert (PRENTOSKI), 9. BRIDGE Scott (MARTIN), 12. SAVERINO Michael, 23. MOREIRA Bradley (TATSUKI).
Date: 15 April 2022
Venue: Thomas Gibson Park
Referee: Ethan Zvargulis
Assistant Referees: Steven Payne & Lachlan Davidson
Report by Nathan Turner
Photos courtesy of Graham Brown