Port Kembla secured a 3-2 victory at Ocean Park on Saturday afternoon against a struggling Woonona Sharks side who entered the game on a two game losing streak.
The away side dominated the first hour, with multiple big chances. However, Woonona fought back creating an intense final 30 minutes.
An impressive birthday hat-trick from the Port striker, Jordan Nikolovski scored his third with a coolly slotted penalty to put his side over the line after 90 minutes.
His first goal came in just the seventh minute, where he controlled the ball after a poor touch off a defender and then sliced his shot across goal into the bottom corner to open the scoring.
Five minutes later, Oliver Carrasco received the ball on the edge of the area, turned and had a shot but the Sharks keeper Brandon Groom parried it out.
Woonona’s first notable chance came in the 26th minute when Hassan Abudareb trapped the ball, twisted his body to face goal and had a crack from the 18-yard box which went soaring over the bar.
In the space of five minutes, Port Kembla had two great chances to double their lead but failed to capitalise.
Carrasco attempted a long-range rocket from 10 yards out of the box which flew past the top corner.
The second chance was a speedy run from Nikolovski who skipped past two defenders, but his attempt just missed the far post as it was a tight angle from the right-hand side.
Just before half time, Port had one more chance to make the score 2-0. Daniel Carella put his shot just wide of the post after a defensive mistake granted him a one-on-one opportunity with the keeper.
With the second half underway, Port Kembla were looking to extend their one goal lead.
Four minutes after the interval, James Anagnostopoulos was sprinting down the right wing with the ball seemingly attached to his feet.
He then whipped in an accurate cross to an on-running Nikolovski who lasered the ball into the bottom left corner.
Port Kembla were awarded a penalty in the 59th minute as Carrasco was tripped up.
Nikolovski stepped up and placed the spot kick down the middle to seal his hat-trick and put his side up 3-0.
Woonona became more threatening in the final third, creating quality chances in the closing half hour.
19 minutes before full time, Max Ashton had his shot saved by Bryce Daenell after a powerful low cross was put in by Luke Paull.
With the remaining 15 minutes, the intensity increased dramatically as Woonona were pushing forward for a goal.
A failed clearance let Sharks forward, Robbie Gaudiosi get a strong header on target. The keeper made an initial save, but it made an awkward bounce over the line for a goal.
Only eight minutes before the full-time whistle, Woonona scored again after Port Kembla made a scrappy clearance.
The ball landed by the feet of Gaudiosi who struck it into the back of the net from the right-hand side to give his team hope for a comeback.
Port Kembla held onto the win as they kept clearing the ball away from the Sharks to stop them from equalising.
After three straight losses, the Sharks will play Bulli who sit one spot in front. On the other hand, Port Kembla will play Wollongong United next Saturday at home.
Woonona Sharks – 2
Port Kembla FC – 3
Woonona Sharks: 1. GROOME Brandon, 2. WILTON Wade, 6. TOOHEY Luke, 7. FRENCH Jesse, 10. PATTMAN Brendan, 12. ABUDAREB Hassan, 13. RICHMOND Thomas, 16. JENKINS Henry, 24. TAKAHASHI Shin, 33. GAUDIOSI Robbie, 34. PAULL Luke.
Substitutes: 5. BRESLIN Aiden, 25. ASHTON Max, 8. LEE Richard, 17. MACKEN-WALSH Seamus, 21. CHURCHWARD Jack.
Port Kembla: 1. DAENELL Bryce, 2. DI-PIETRO, 3. DONNELLY Lachlan, 4. PAPALIA Luca, 5. PRANDALOS Peter, 6. CHICHARO Daniel, 7. NIKOLOVSKI Jayden, 8. ANAGNOSTOPOULOS James, 9. CARRASCO Oli, 10. NIKOLOVSKI Jordan, 11. CARELLA Daniel.
Substitutes: 12. LAVALLE Rocky, 13. GEORGES Sam, 14. SEKULOVSKI James, 15. SAFFIOTI Christian, 21. GENUA Luka.
Date: Saturday 8th May 2022
Venue: Ocean Park
Referee: Jay Walpole
Assistant referees: Demi Goddard and Club (Morgan)
Report by Solomon Beddow, @SolomonBeddow on Twitter.
Photo courtesy of John Carusi