Coniston FC and Cringila Lions played out a 1-1 draw on a chilly Sunday afternoon at JJ Kelly Park.

Jonah Kalmanidis put the ball in the back of his own net to give Coniston a halftime lead before Peter Simonoski came off the bench in the second half to equalise from the spot.

The match got off to a slow start, with both teams feeling their way into the contest. The hosts began to take control around 10 minutes in with Sam Matthews’ shot from the edge of the box curling over the bar.

Three minutes later, the side came forward again, this time through Matthew Tschentscher down the right. The winger found Tobias Norval in the middle, but he made weak contact with the ball as it calmly bounced to Cringila goalkeeper Nikola Ristevski.

Cringila responded to this pressure in the 18th minute when Andre Dias’ powerful free-kick on the right was held onto by Coniston shot stopper Kaydin Harrison.

The chances continued to trickle through with Lions’ Michael Mendes seeing his first-time effort from the left of the box spin wide of the near post midway through the half.

In the 26th minute, Lukas Stergiou’s right-sided corner for Coniston met the head of Tschentscher in the middle who nodded just past the left post.

The visitors had great two great opportunities to take the lead 10 minutes later. Firstly, Andre Dias’ corner from the right found Kalmanidis at the back post, but he headed over the bar.

Soon after, Stefan Dimoski leathered a low strike from the right of the box that Harrison did well to eventually hold onto.

However, the visitors would be left to rue missed chances as Coniston opened the scoring in the 37th minute. Norval’s cross from the left found Tschentscher in the middle who headed onto the crossbar before Kalmanidis couldn’t get out of the way and bundled it into his own net.

Tschetscher continued to threaten for the home side getting in one-on-one down the right in the 41st minute but Ristevski pulled off a super stop to keep Cringila’s deficit to one.

Coniston took their lead into halftime hoping to secure an important victory in their bid to make the final five.

The second half got off to a cagey first five minutes before Cringila’s Ryan Akhurst fired a first-time strike from outside the box in the 52nd minute that Harrison saved.

Shots were few and far between before the hour when the tempo of the match heated up.

In the 61st minute, Coniston’s Daniel Stern lined one up from outside the box that flew over the bar.  Seconds later, Cringila were awarded a free-kick on the right that Harrison Taranto whipped into a deep area with James Carli heading wide.

As the game dragged on, the Lions held possession higher up the field, probing for the equaliser.

In the 78th minute, Anthony Krsteski and Mendes collided with Coniston defender Jake Morlando in the box seeing Cringila awarded a penalty. Substitute Simonoski stepped up and passed his shot into the right side of the net with Harrison going the opposite direction meaning the scores were levelled.

Cringila maintained their pressure on the Coniston goal with Krsteski and Mendes both seeing efforts go just wide of the left post five minutes later.

The Lions had one last chance to snatch the points right at the death of stoppage time. An incisive counterattack found Mendes on the right, who unleashed a superb curling strike towards the far post that Harrison managed to palm over.

In the end, the teams had to settle for a point.

Coniston travel to Corrimal next week while Cringila host Wollongong Olympic.


Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_

Photos courtesy of Edmund Esterbauer

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