Cringila Lions edged past Corrimal Rangers 1-0 on a chilly Friday night at Crehan Park.
Keegan Matias scored the winner for the home side just after the hour mark to ensure the side’s unbeaten start to the season remained intact.
The Lions looked to get off to an early start creating a couple of chances within the opening 10 minutes.
James Ralston seeing a corner from the right blocked at the near post before Ben Zucco sent a first-time shot from outside the box over the bar.
The side began to step up their attacking attempts midway through the half looking dangerous on plenty of occasions.
Twenty-two minutes in, Michael Mendes shifted the ball inside from the right and had a shot from outside the box that was spilled by Corrimal keeper Takumi Tomizawa.
Cringila forward Mitsuru Sakashita reacted fastest poking the ball home from close range; however, the flag was raised for offside.
Three minutes later, Mendes was involved again on the right this time driving into the box and passing the ball into the center for Jake Levy who had a shot deflected over the bar.
The resulting corner from the left came all the way through the Krsteski at the back post, but he sent the shot over from a tight angle.
In the 27th minute, Lions’ fullback Andre Dias received the ball inside the left channel of the box but powered wide of the near post.
Five minutes later, Dias picked up the ball in a similar position to his first shot; however, on this occasion, it rolled into the gloves of Tomizawa.
Despite several opportunities for the hosts to take the lead, the Rangers almost took a lead into the break.
With 10 minutes to play, Dominico Tripodi capitalised on a turnover in Cringila’s defensive half and took aim from outside the box with it being deflected over for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Tripodi whipped in a cross from the left that whizzed across the face of goal, yet no Corrimal player could get the decisive touch.
In first-half stoppage time, the side was awarded a freekick on the right that found Mauro Leon in the middle, whose header was saved from point-blank range by Nikola Ristevski.
Both sides may have hoped to have been in front at the break; however, the deadlock was yet to be broken.
It was a purposeful start to the second period for the away side.
Zane Wilson having a shot blocked from the middle of the box before blasting a shot just wide of the near post from the right within the opening four minutes.
A minute later, striker Jai Mellor drew a sharp save from Ristevski down to his left after turning well centrally inside the box.
However, it would be the hosts who would take the lead with 65 minutes played.
A ball floated to the right of the box was controlled well by Zucco who delicately delivered a cross towards the back post allowing Matias to tap home comfortably.
The home side nearly doubled this advantage a couple of minutes later when Mendes was given time in the left of the box to lash a strike goalwards that was well-saved by Tomizawa.
Continuing their pursuit of a second goal, Cringila was awarded a penalty in the 71st minute.
Andre Dias stepped up but saw his effort saved by Tomizawa getting down to his left.
Tomizawa’s goalkeeping throughout the match had set up a tense finish with only one goal in it.
With 11 minutes to go, Cringila’s Krsteski cut inside from the left permitting time for a shot that rolled to Tomizawa.
Krsteski had another opportunity three minutes later, as he latched onto a long ball into the right channel getting his head to it before the keeper but it bounced wide of the right post.
In the final five minutes of the match, the Rangers nearly nicked a point.
Tripodi’s freekick from the edged of the box looped off the wall forcing Ristevski into a save before the ball rattled the crossbar.
Despite a late scare for the hosts, the side secured the three points with a narrow 1-0 victory against Corrimal.
Both Cringila and Corrimal will be at home next weekend with the Lions hosting Wollongong Olympic on Friday night, while the Rangers take on Albion Park on Sunday.
Cringila Lions 1 (Keegan Matias 65’)
Corrimal Rangers 0
Cringila Lions: 1. RISTEVSKI Nikola, 4. CARBO Christian, 3. DIAS Andre, 22. KALMANIDIS Jonah, 5. RALSTON James, 16. ZUCCO Ben, 8. MATIAS Keegan, 28. SAKASHITA Mitsuru, 21. LEVY Jake, 7. MENDES Michael, 17. KRSTESKI Anthony
Substitutes: 18. HIGH Nick (SAKASHITA 89’), 2. CARLI James, 10. UGRINOVSKI Steven (LEVY 46’), 24. AKHURST Ryan, 20. TOLNAY Kurtis
Corrimal Rangers: 1. TOMIZAWA Takumi, 2. CALLAWAY Reid, 3. KOBAYASHIA Masamune, 4. LEON Mauro, 5. CUSACK Tom, 6. CATAN Dylan, 7. WILSON Zane, 8. WEHMEYER Cody, 9. MELLOR Jai, 10. TRIPODI Dominico, 11. CARRENO Daniel
Substitutes: 12. SCOTCHER Jack (CARRENO 66’), 13. BOON Caleb, 14. GRILLO Augustin (CALLAWAY 79’), 41. OBREE Lachlan
Date: 20 May 2022
Venue: Crehan Park
Referee: Caleb Blanch
Assistant Referees: Brendon Fotheringham and Demi Goddard
Report by Timothy Gibson
Photos courtesy of Denis Ivaneza – Inner Visions Photography