Cringila Lions took a decisive step towards finals football with a late 2-0 win against Tarrawanna Blueys at Tarrawanna Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Peter Simonoski proved effective off the bench, scoring with 15 minutes to play before Anthony Krsteski added one 10 minutes later to secure the victory.
There was a chance for the Lions within the first minute as Krsteski latched onto a left-sided cross, meeting it at the near post; however, it was bundled out for a corner.
The Blueys went forward nine minutes later, as Nicholas Morgan prodded a shot from the right of the box that required Cringila goalkeeper Nikola Ristevski to save sharply down to his left.
The visitors took the ball down the other end straight away with Krsteski side-footing a first-time effort from range straight into the gloves of Tarrawanna shot-stopper Adam Rodriguez.
The side created another opportunity midway through the half but, Michael Mendes volleyed over from the left of the box.
Tarrawanna came agonisingly close to taking a lead into halftime when Harry Lloyd dragged a shot from the right of the box just past the left post in the 26th minute.
Despite chances for both teams, the scores remained deadlocked at the break.
It was a fiery start to the second half, but neither team was able to make an imprint on the other’s goal inside the opening 10 minutes.
In the 56th minute, Lloyd took on a left-sided shot from range for the hosts that flew just over the bar.
The Lions got a foothold as the second half progressed starting with Mendes’ deflected strike on the left dipping over the bar a couple of minutes later.
Early second-half substitute, Simonoski was causing problems for the Blueys’ defence getting onto the end of Stefan Dimoski’s cross just after the hour mark, but the ball was smothered.
The forward saw the ball trickle past the left post 10 minutes later courtesy of a Rodriguez touch before volleying over the bar from inside the box in the 73rd minute.
Simonoski made good on his chances 75 minutes in, receiving Dimoski’s right-sided ball across the box and sliding a calm finish into the goal.
Three minutes later, the former Wollongong Wolves attacker powered a shot towards the right post that Rodriguez batted away.
The home side looked to respond with 10 minutes to play winning a couple of set pieces in dangerous areas.
In the 80th minute, a delivery from the right eventually fell to Lloyd at the back post who skewed his effort over the bar.
Takumi Ofuka drew close from a more central dead ball that narrowly drifted wide of the left post.
Despite a brief resurgence from Tarrawanna, the visitors doubled their lead in the 85th minute.
Krsteski’s flick from the right of the box squeezing under Rodriguez to roll into the goal.
As the game dragged into its final moments, the Blueys created a few chances – the best of which was a Lloyd shot from outside the box that Ristevski parried around the right post.
A couple of goals in the final 15 minutes proved to be all Cringila needed to claim victory and leap into fifth position.
It’s been a stark upturn in form for Cringila since the reformat losing on just one occasion – a 2-0 defeat at Bulli.
Assistant coach Jorge De Matos admired the grit and determination from his side and pinpointed regular games as a reason for the side’s recent winning ways.
“Both teams went into it knowing they needed to win and finals are on the line,” he said.
“We were always going to be slow out the gates [to start the season]. The start-stop with all the rain and everything else, there was a time there when we were playing one game a month.
“I think now just getting consistent games and just getting together and bringing in those links and that chemistry in and the results are starting to show for themselves.”
The Lions will finish the season away to Wollongong United next Friday night.
Just one win for the Blueys since the reformat has dropped the team into sixth; however, they do have a game in hand on the squads above them.
The team will play the two sides below them in their final couple of matches starting with Port Kembla on Wednesday before Albion Park two nights later.
Tarrawanna Blueys 0
Cringila Lions 2 (Peter Simonoski 75’, Anthony Krsteski 85’)
Tarrawanna Blueys: 1. RODRIGUEZ Adam, 2. NAYLOR Matt, 3. PAGE Brody, 4. MORGAN Nicholas, 5. CHAPMAN Dan, 6. LEARMONTH Ben, 7. LLOYD Harry, 8. LEVY Jake, 9. HIGH Nicholas, 10. KIRKLAND Kyle, 11. OFUKA Takumi
Substitutes: 12. MEROLA Daniel, 13. DRAIN Toby (KIRKLAND 74’), 14. CHAPMAN Tim, 15. SHIMOZONO Takumi, 21. MICALLEF Josh
Yellow Cards: Kyle Kirkland 53’, Nicholas High 72’, Toby Drain 74’
Red Cards: Nil
Cringila Lions: 1. RISTEVSKI Nikola, 3. DIAS Andre, 33. HONDROUDAKIS Emanuel, 5. RALSTON James, 6. KOTEVSKI Kayne, 8. MATIAS Keegan, 7. MENDES Michael, 10. UGRINOVSKI Steven, 17. DIMOSKI Stefan, 24. AKHURST Ryan, 47. KRSTESKI Anthony
Substitutes: 9. SIMONOSKI Peter (UGRINOVSKI 57’), 19. PRENTOSKI Jordan, 88. SITNIKOVSKI Stiven (KRSTESKI 90’) 22. KALMANIDIS Jonah (KOTEVSKI 84’), 20. TOLNAY Kurtis
Yellow Cards: Kayne Kotevski 53’, Ryan Akhurst 83’
Red Cards: Nil
Date: Saturday, 10 September 2022
Venue: Tarrawanna Oval, Tarrawanna
Referee: Peter Ilcevski
Assistant Referees: Jay Walpole and Hayden Michlmayr
Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_
Photos courtesy of Graham Brown