Cringila Lions and Coniston could not be separated in a 2-2 draw at a soaking Crehan Park on Friday night.
Anthony Krteski scored against his former side to give the hosts the lead right at the death of an extended first half.
A resurgent second-half performance saw Coniston’s Samuel Matthews equalised early on before substitute Gian Sacco put the side in front later on.
However, Michael Mendes slotted away a penalty for Cringila with 10 minutes to go to see the scores finish level.
The Lions got off to an energetic start – pinning Coniston back into their defensive half for the first quarter-of-an-hour.
Stefan Dimoski broke in behind the right channel inside the first three minutes, getting to the byline before his cross found Ryan Akhurst in the middle, whose effort was blocked.
Dimoski took on a shot of his own four minutes later, powering a swerving effort from the right edge of the box, but Coniston shot-stopper Kaydin Harrison held onto it.
The forward struck the woodwork in the 14th minute with some tenacious pressing resulting in Jake Morlando coughing up the ball on the halfway line.
The former Wollongong Olympic man drove towards goal before unleashing a right-footed strike that cannoned back off the crossbar.
The visitors struck the woodwork too 21 minutes in when defender Ekoue D’Almedia latched onto a long-range freekick forcing Nikola Ristevski to reactively tip the ball onto the crossbar and over.
A severe injury to Coniston winger Tyson Black midway through the half saw a 13-minute stoppage in the match.
As the game stretched into the depths of additional time, the Lions found the lead.
Dimoski’s ball from the left of the box fell to Akhurst in the middle whose effort deflected into the path of Krsteski.
The ex-Coniston attacker eagerly smashing the ball home from close in.
Cringila took a slender lead into halftime after nearly an hour on the clock.
The away side came out for the second half with great purposefulness and looked set on turning the scoreline around.
Both Tobias Norval and Van Elia saw shots fall off target in the opening five minutes for Coniston.
The side’s persistence paid off just eight minutes into the second half, as a right-sided freekick met Samuel Matthews’s head in the middle, sending a bullet header into the goal.
Matthews almost had a second just a couple of minutes later with his shot from the edge of the box bouncing narrowly past the right post.
Coniston had another opportunity at the hour mark with Adam Voloder finding space in behind on the right.
The attacker drove towards the byline, sending a pass across to Gian Sacco in the middle, but the substitute’s shot rolled wide of the right post.
Voloder continued to exploit the space on the right-hand side causing problems for the Cringila backline.
The visitors completed the turnaround in the 70th minute with Voloder once again receiving the ball in right-sided space and picking out Sacco centrally, who bundled the ball home.
The side almost doubled this lead seconds later as Norval’s effort from the right of the box hardly flew past the left post.
Despite a determined second-half display from Coniston, Cringila were awarded a penalty with 10 minutes to play.
Mendes stepped up assuredly – accurately side-footing a left-footed effort into the bottom left corner beyond Harrison.
Both sides could’ve nicked a win in the dying embers of the match with a key chance either way.
In the 90th minute, Coniston’s Elia looked to clip the ball beyond an onrushing Ristevski on the edge of the box, but the keeper repelled the effort.
Moments later, Lions’ fullback Andre Dias went down the other end, blasting a shot into the wrong side of the side netting from the left of the box.
The teams were forced to settle for a stalemate in the end with a 2-2 draw.
The draw does little for either team with Cringila dropping into seventh incrementally behind Albion Park while Coniston stays in fourth.
Coniston are in action again next Friday night, travelling to Macedonia Park to face Wollongong United while Cringila takes on Tarrawana away.
Cringila Lions 2 (Anthony Krteski 45+13’, Michael Mendes PENALTY 80’)
Coniston FC 2 (Samuel Matthews 53’, Gian Sacco 70’)
Cringila Lions: 1. RISTEVSKI Nikola, 2. CARLI James, 3. DIAS Andre, 5. RALSTON James, 6. KOTEVSKI Kayne, 8. MATIAS Keegan, 24. AKHURST Ryan, 10. UGRINOVSKI Steven, 47. KRSTESKI Anthony, 17. DIMOSKI Stefan, 7. MENDES Michael
Substitutes: 19. PRENTOSKI Jordan (UGRINOVSKI 75’), 88. SITNIKOSKI Stiven, 72. REEVES Brock, 30. FERNANDES Ivo, 66. FAKOURY Jacob
Yellow Cards: James Ralston 87’
Red Cards: Nil
Coniston FC: 1. HARRISON Kaydin, 2. MATTHEWS Samuel, 3. KAYANO Takayuki, 4. BLACK Tyson, 6. STERGIOU Lukas, 7. VOLODER Adam, 10. ELIA Van, 11. MORLANDO Jake, 17. ZUFIC Jason, 19. NORVAL Tobias, 34. D’ALMEDIA Ekoue
Substitutes: 20. MATIAS Harrison, 14. SACCO Gian (BLACK 32’), 15. DUCKINOSKI Aleksander, 23. MICESKI Nikolas (NORVAL 80’), 35. STERN Daniel
Yellow Cards: Jake Morlando 13’, Van Elia 64’, Lukas Stergiou 83’
Red Cards: Nil
Date: 2 September 2022
Venue: Crehan Park, Cringila
Referee: Nick Ryan
Assistant Referees: Greg Reid and Hayden Michlmayr
Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_
Photo courtesy of Edmund Esterbauer