Helensburgh Thistle powered their way to grand final glory, running out convincing winners 7-0 against Unanderra Hearts in the District League Second Grade on Saturday afternoon at Ian McLennan Park.

Cody Cuthbertson’s first-half hat-trick gave the Thistle a solid start which they carried on with in the second, adding four more goals including another hat-trick from Caleb Browne,

It was a frantic opening 10 minutes to the match with plenty of end-to-end action.

It took the Thistle just 16 seconds to find the opening goal with a ball slipped into the box for Cuthbertson, the attacker sliding a clever finish under Hearts goalkeeper Kenji Sawada.

Just four minutes later, Helensburgh picked up another goal with Cuthbertson again finding himself in a similar space to his first sending another low finish into the net.

Chris Murdzevski went close to halving the deficit for Unanderra in the seventh minute. Beating Thistle goalkeeper Connor Brown to the ball on the edge of the box at some personal cost, but watching it agonisingly bounce onto the right post.

Play was brought back for a freekick following the collision between Murdzevski and Brown giving the Hearts another chance to pick up a goal. Aleksandar Prentoski’s consequent effort was repelled by a combination of Brown and post.

Unanderra continued to push up the field with Byron Chaplain and Zac Di Genni both going close over the next 10 minutes.

The Thistle started to threaten again throughout the remainder of the first period with Eamon Van Zyl seeing his shot from inside the box batted away midway through. While Scott Mawbey’s wide freekick on the right was acrobatically tipped round the right post by Sawada in the final two minutes.

The consistent pressure paid off once more for Helensburgh as in first-half stoppage time, the side added a third. Cuthbertson was through on goal again before sliding a smart finish beyond Sawada to secure a first-half grand-final hat-trick.

Helensburgh couldn’t have dreamed of a better first half as they went into the sheds three goals to the good.

They carried on where they left off straight after the break. Browne notching up a fourth for the Thistle four minutes into the second half. Receiving the ball in the right of the box and curling an effort into the far corner.

The Thistle just kept on pushing – five minutes later Eamon van Zyl’s first-time shot from the middle of the box was batted away by Sawada.

The league champions picked up a quickfire double midway through the half as substitute Ryan Grima scored before Browne found the net for the second time.

The chances didn’t stop there for Helensburgh; however, Sawada produced several top-quality saves to keep the side at bay.

Browne secured his hat-trick with four minutes to go prodding an effort from close range into the roof of the net.

The Hearts were spared injury time as referee Brendon Fotheringham blew the final whistle to see the Burgh claim the title.

Helensburgh Thistle 7 (Cody Cuthbertson 1’ 5’ 45+1’, Caleb Browne 49’ 71’ 86’), Ryan Grima 69’)

Unanderra Hearts 0  

Player of the Match: Cody Cuthbertson

Helensburgh Thistle: 86. BROWN Connor, 2. LEHN Ethan, 3. CROKER Dylan, 4. FOX Mitchell, 5. MAWBEY Scott, 6. ROWLEY Reggae, 7. BROWNE Caleb, 8. DIPPLE Jack, 9. CUTHBERTSON Cody, 10. VAN ZYL Eamon, 11. MILLER Luke

Substitutes: 12. TIPPING Brady (LEHN), 13. MORGAN Ben (FOX), 14. EDMUNDS Dale (MAWBEY), 15. GRIMA Ryan (CUTHBERTSON), 17. RODGERS Fynn

Yellow Cards: Connor Brown, Caleb Browne, Dylan Crocker, Luke Miller, Mitchell Fox, Reggae Rowley

Red Cards: Nil

Unanderra Hearts: 1. SAWADA Kenji, 23. MOREIRA Bradley, 35. MANFREDI Lori, 39. MCRAE Aaron, 50. BUSSOLETTI Luke, 17. MAGILL Dom, 38. PRENTOSKI Aleksandar, 45. MARTIN Lachlan, 37. DI GENNI Zac, 42. MURDZEVSKI Chris, 47. SAVERINO Daniel

Substitutes: 36. CHAPLAIN Rhys (SAVERINO) 46. VACA Edwin (BUSSOLETTI), 34. BAXTER Kyle, 40. HINES Lachlan (PRENTOSKI), GALEA Justin

Yellow Cards: Zac Di Genni, Chris Murdzevski, Dom Magill, Aleksandar Prentoski

Red Cards: Nil

Date: Saturday, 22 October 2022

Venue: Ian McLennan Park, Kembla Grange

Referee: Brendon Fotheringham

Assistant Referees: Stuart Bell and Demi Goddard

Fourth Official: Ethan Zvargulis

Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_

Photos courtesy of Pedro Garcia


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