Coniston seized all three points against Bulli in an epic goal-scoring finals warm-up at JJ Kelly Park on Friday evening.
A fast-moving start from both teams saw the visitors take control early on in the game.
Bulli opened the scoring in the 14th minute with Sam Davies flying through the midfield before his shot would soon be denied by goalkeeper Kaydin Harrison, later rebounding into the feet of Lewis Grimshaw who calmly took a 1-0 lead.
Just minutes later, the home side looked to be dangerous with a low ball cross from Matthew Tschentscher into midfielder Samual Matthews who sat just inside the 18-yard box before sending his shot over the crossbar.
Coniston captain Lukas Stergiou gave his side another attacking chance with a superb switch ball into striker Van Elia who would later take a strike onto his right foot but could not find the back of the net.
In the 29th minute, Bulli were given a corner which saw the ball fly precisely into the box and onto the head of Deakin Brownlee but an excellent save from Harrison denied Bulli from doubling their lead.
five minutes later, Coniston found their chance to equalise with Alexsandar Duckinoski making a brilliant run down the line before cutting back and releasing the ball into Toby Norval who sent his shot into the bottom corner, setting the scores at 1-1.
The home side continued their fight for a comeback when both Elia and Tschentscher forced saves out of goalkeeper Seiya Miyamoto from distance with just 10 minutes left of the first half.
Bulli came close a few more times with the likes of Grimshaw and Joel Starr, but it was Coniston who would take the lead seconds before the break with a spectacular top corner shot by Matthews from long range.
The two sides battled it out up until the half-time blow, but it was Coniston who walked into the sheds with a 2-1 lead.
Just two minutes into the second period, Coniston substitute Gian Sacco took space down the left-hand side before sending an accurate low-ball into Tschentscher who calmly tapped the ball past Miyamoto for an early 3-1 lead.
It wasn’t over for the away side just yet when Ryan Emerton made his way into the centre of the box before drilling his low shot past the gloves of Harrison in the 49th minute.
Bulli came close to recapturing the equaliser when Davies went on a run towards Grimshaw out wide who would later cross the ball into Starr but could not make his way past an impressive Harrison.
At the 60th minute mark, the score became 4-2 to Coniston when Sacco and Tschentscher
paired up once more with a long-range cross from Sacco into Tschentscher who was just able to get a touch, sending it into the back of the net for his second goal of the evening.
A close half-volley from the visitors Ben McDonald and long-range attempts from Starr just wasn’t enough to get past Harrison.
In the 77th minute, the final goal for the evening was scored by Coniston FC when a foul in the box gave Van Elia a successful strike from the penalty spot.
The final whistle blew and it was the home side that would not only walk away with a comfortable 5-2 victory over Bulli which in turn secured the club championship – something not achieved by the club in two decades.
Both sides now have a week off ahead of the finals with Coniston facing Cringila in a sudden-death affair while Bulli will take on Wollongong Olympic with the winner moving within on game of the grand final.
Coniston FC 5 (Toby Norval 33’, Samuel Matthews 45’, Matthew Tschentscher 47’ 61’, Van Elia 77’)
Bulli FC 2 (Lewis Grimshaw 14’, Ryan Emerton 44’)
Coniston FC: 1. HARRISON Kaydin, 2. MATTHEWS Samuel, 3. KAYANO Takayuki, 5. LOE
Daniel, 6. STERGIOU Lukas, 9. TSCHENTSCHER Matthew, 10. ELIA Van, 15. DUCKINOSKI
Alexsandar, 17. ZUFIC Jason, 19. NORVAL Tobias, 34. D’ALMEDIA Ekoue
Substitutes: 14. SACCO Gian (ZUFIC), 46. RUBIBI Innaent (TSCHENTSCHER), 53.
SKURTEVSKI Payton (STERGIOU), 20. MATIAS Harrison
Bulli FC: 21. MIYAMOTO Seiya, 2. JACKSON Kyle, 6. DAVIES Sam, 9. MCDONALD Ben, 10.
GRIMSHAW Lewis, 11. BROWNLEE Deakin, 16. ROOKE Alex, 19. CLARINO Ian, 22. BRYCE
Lachlan, 27. STARR Joel, 33. EMERTON Ruan
Substitutes: 25. ADNUM Samuel (DAVIES), 26. LEWIS Mitch (ROOKE), 3. BAULCH Alex
(EMERTON), 1. KLUDASS Braeden, 49. COOK Jayden
Date: Friday, 17 September 2022
Venue: JJ Kelly Park, Wollongong
Referee: Nicholas Ryan
Assistant Referees: Brendan Fotheringham and Nathan Alterator
Report by Alison Dinh, on Twitter @alisondinh_
File photo by Edmund Esterbauer