Thirroul Thunder jagged some crucial points in their battle to avoid finishing last with a hard-fought 3-1 win against Warilla Wanderers at King Mickey Park on Saturday afternoon.
Warilla took the advantage into halftime courtesy of Hasan Ayoub’s accurate strike. Thirroul turned it around in the second half, though with Bradley Strudwick picking up a brace while Joshua Bond also scored.
It was a frantic first half with plenty of end-to-end football, and chances for both teams to get on the scoresheet.
Ten minutes in, Thirroul forward Strudwick lined an effort up from the right of the box that dragged just wide of the left post.
Warilla had a chance a few seconds later when Samuel Georges’ shot from the edge of the area was held onto by Thirroul goalkeeper Liam Harris.
Ten minutes later, Strudwick laid the ball into the left channel Joshua Bond, the Thunder winger running on goal and seeing a narrow-angled shot saved by Frank Gaudiosi. Then Strudwick had a header from a corner cleared off the line.
However, despite Thirroul’s early chances, the hosts took the lead in the 25th minute. Ayoub receiving the ball in the left of the box and passing a composed finish into the far corner.
The Wanderers finished the half strongly with Harris called into action on several occasions to keep Thirroul’s deficit to a single goal heading into the break.
Thirroul put Warilla under some early second-half pressure and were rewarded five minutes in with the equaliser. Strudwick unleashing a fantastic dipping free-kick from the edge of the box that nestled in the top left corner.
Opportunities continued to trickle through for the visitors and in the 69th minute, Joshua Bond’s effort from range cleared the crossbar.
Just three minutes later though, the side turned the scoreline around. A determined lung-bursting run from Calum Pickthall down the right seeing the attacker get a cross in for Joshua Bond who prodded home in the middle.
Warilla looked to respond in what remained of the game, putting the Thunder under pressure at the back.
In the 74th minute, a cross from the left found Mason Videla at the back post but he couldn’t get it on target.
Four minutes later, substitute Dylan Di Cesare managed to nod a long ball over Harris with the two colliding but as it bounced towards the line, a retreating Daniel Bond cleared it away.
The collision between Di Cesare and Harris saw the latter goalkeeper need to be withdrawn as Daniel Bond put on the gloves for the final 10 minutes.
Di Cesare’s introduction for Warilla had changed the match’s momentum as the dynamic attacker continued to create problems. His shot in the 82nd minute was saved before he struck the right post moments later.
The drama stepped up a notch in the final two minutes as tempers boiled over with a melee ensuing between the two sets of players inside the Wanderers’ half. The aftermath saw Pickthall sent off for Thirroul while Warilla’s Brenton Geribo also received his marching orders.
The Thunder remained resilient, and deep into stoppage time, they sealed the result on the break. Strudwick powering a sweetly hit shot from the edge of the box that bounced off the left post and into the goal.
Thirroul saw out the remaining moments to pick up a vital three points in the battle at the bottom.
Report and photos by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_