Albion Park White Eagles nicked a vital 2-1 win over Cringila Lions at Crehan Park on Friday night to re-establish a healthy advantage at the top of the Illawarra Premier League.
Liam Wille gave the visitors an early lead before Peter Simonoski equalised just after the hour mark. An own goal to James Carli jagged the points for Park to send them six points clear at the top of the competition.
It was the perfect start for Albion Park as they hit the front within the first couple of minutes. Wille performed a superb roulette in the right of the box to make room for a lashing shot that rippled the roof of the net.
The Lions looked to respond over the next 20 minutes with Stefan Dimoski’s shot saved before Steven Ugrinovski headed over the bar.
In the 25th minute, the White Eagles took the ball down the other end as the dangerous Wille rolled an effort just past the right post.
Nine minutes later, Albion Park’s Christopher Nathaniel jinked inside and forced Cringila goalkeeper Nikola Ristevski into a phenomenal save to his left.
As the first half entered the final 10 minutes, Cringila created numerous chances with Dimoski and Anthony Krsteski having shots, but they didn’t trouble Hayden Durose in the Park goal.
In the final minute of the half, the White Eagles nearly doubled their advantage. Joshua MacDonald taking on a narrow-angled shot from the left of the box that Ristevski managed to smother.
The visitors took their slender lead into the break.
The Lions came out firing for the second half throwing everything at the White Eagles’ goal.
Six minutes in, Andre Dias lofted a ball into the box for Simonoski who was denied at point-blank range by Durose. Seconds later, Dimoski leathered a strike from the right of the box that flashed across the face of goal.
Cringila’s pressure finally paid off in the 67th minute when Krsteski was fouled in the box seeing a penalty awarded. Simonoski stepped and found the right side of the net with Durose diving in the other direction.
The hosts didn’t stop after their equaliser, pursuing that go-ahead goal.
In the 75th minute, Simonoski laid it into the left of the box for Michael Mendes who scuffed it well wide from close in. Seconds later, Dimoski had another shot, this time the ball going over the bar.
Despite Cringila’s turnaround in the match, their hard work was undone with nine minutes to play. A mix-up between defender Carli and goalkeeper Ristevski on a long ball, seeing the central defender head the ball past his goalkeeper to score a gut-wrenching own goal.
The Lions couldn’t get back into the game as they went down to a devastating defeat at home.
Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_
Photo courtesy of Edmund Esterbauer