Albion Park White Eagles scored the latest of equalisers to share the points in an exhilarating 4-4 draw with Port Kembla on Sunday afternoon at Wetherall Park.
All eight goals came in the second half in a fantastic spectacle in the Illawarra Premier League.
Port should have been in front within five minutes when a left-sided corner found Oli Carrasco at the back post. The forward nodded a strong effort goalward that Albion Park goalkeeper Hayden Durose repelled with a superb reaction save.
The hosts continued with their positive start putting their opponents under pressure and getting into dangerous areas.
Although Albion Park threatened from two corners themselves a quarter of an hour in. Joshua MacDonald’s deliveries causing problems for Port Kembla, but the scores remained level.
Port came forward again 29 minutes in through Jordan Nikolovski, whose effort from the left edge of the box rolled to Durose.
A couple of minutes before halftime, they had another chance, with Taiga Nakayama’s left-sided cross falling to Jordan Kizi at the back post, who shot across the face of goal.
Despite a spirited first half from Port, the teams went into the break with the deadlock still to be broken.
It was an explosive start to the second half with plenty of chances for both teams.
Four minutes in, Port’s Nakayama’s free-kick from the left edge of the box clipped the left post with Durose unmoved.
Albion Park came forward two minutes later as Michael Kyriakoudes’ cross from the left met Liam Wille but the winger’s header looped up and was caught by Port goalkeeper Luke Genua.
Just seconds later, the home side snatched the lead. Kizi picked up the ball in the right of the box and fired over the top of Durose into the net.
From there, the White Eagles turned up the tempo pursuing a quick response to going behind. In the 52nd minute, Macdonald was denied at close quarters by Genua.
However, just three minutes later, the visitors netted the equaliser. Striker Cameron Morgan glanced a fantastic header from a right-sided cross into the bottom left corner.
The White Eagles didn’t stop there going into the lead four minutes after scoring their first. MacDonald’s corner from the left found Morgan at the near post, directing his header into the goal.
The drama continued in the 63rd minute when Port’s Shotaro Iwamoto was tripped in the box by Park defender Renji Shimizu, seeing the award of a penalty. Nikolovski stepped up and saw his effort saved by Durose but substitute Marco Pennisi tapped in the rebound.
Only three minutes after that, the visitors clawed their way back in front. Another MacDonald corner, this time finding Fordham at the far post, who volleyed past Genua.
Port weren’t out of it yet, as they equalised again 73 minutes in. Adrian Avello unleashed a spectacular long-range free-kick that floated into the top right corner.
Only two minutes later, the home side took the lead again. Nikolovski got in behind the right channel of the box and played it across to Carrasco, the forward sliding in to score.
The game continued to dazzle with lots of goalmouth action for both teams in the final 10 minutes.
In the 83rd minute, Albion Park substitute Julian Minutillo was slipped into the box but Genua held onto his side-footed shot.
Port immediately took the ball down the other end with Iwamoto rounding Durose in the box, but Shimizu speared his goalkeeper’s blushes.
As the game ticked into its final minutes, the hosts were subjected to a bombardment from the White Eagles. With three regular minutes to go, MacDonald’s shot from the right of the box was well saved by Genua.
The hosts would need to hold on for nine additional minutes if they were to claim a special win.
In stoppage time, Port Kembla withstood a succession of corners, while MacDonald also struck the crossbar so it looked like it would be Port’s day.
However, at the death, another ball swung into the box from the right dropped at the feet of Minutillo who blasted it home to earn Albion Park a point.
It was a tough pill to swallow for the home side who could have risen up the table with three points. They will pursue a better result against Wollongong United next Sunday, while Albion Park host Wollongong Olympic.
Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_
Photos courtesy of JC Sports Photography