It was a battle of the two leading sides in the Illawarra Premier League Youth Grade competition in this Cup fixture which needed extra time before the Rangers sealed it with two quality goals.

Corrimal appeared to start the better of the two sides with some early possession and pressure. The first real opportunity fell to the Rangers on 10 minutes when Harrison Anagnostopoulos’ free kick from just outside the box just went over the bar.

Just five minutes later, some neat link up play between Joshua Bussoletti and H. Anagnostopoulos saw the latter have his shot well saved by Jake Charlston.

Corrimal were enjoying some sustained pressure and on 18 minutes, H. Anagnostopoulos was put through on goal which again forced Charlston into a smothering save.

Wollongong United were finding it difficult to find a way to goal however Evan Ball did find some pace on the right before whipping a cross across the face of goal which saw Riley Simpson fail to make good connection with the goal at his mercy.

Just before half time, James Anagnostopoulos danced around a couple of defenders before letting fly a shot that went just the wrong side of the post.

Both sides going into the break goalless.

Wollongong United’s Oliver Robinson had half a chance just after the break, but he sent his shot sailing over the bar.

On the hour mark, H. Anagnostopoulos beat a defender on the left before squaring to Yoan Ciugureanu howover the pass was just behind him with Ciugureanu failing to make a good enough connection with the goal at his mercy.

Wollongong United enjoyed their best spell of the match just after the hour mark with Alexander De Santos finding the dangerous Jayden Makowski however the latter just couldn’t keep his shot down in the windy conditions.

Just a few minutes later, Robsinson made a remarkable run from the sideline cutting in by the goal line and beating a couple of defenders before laying off to an unmarked De Santos on the far post however Harrison Matias threw himself across goal to smother what should have been a certain goal.

As the game moved into the last ten minutes of regulation time, Makowski who was starting to make some inroads had another opportunity from just inside the box go begging.

In the final minute of regulation time, Ciugureanu had his powerful strike dealt with well by Charlston.

In what was one of the last actions of regulation time, Wollongong United’s Evan Ball saw red after picking up his second caution of the match.

After 90 minutes, the match was scoreless, and we moved into extra time.

Corrimal looked buoyed by the fact they were now playing against 10 players as they controlled a good part of the extra time periods.

Just three minutes into extra time, Ciugureanu’s free kick shaved the cross bar.

On 98 minutes, Luke Darjani made a darting run that started from outside the box as he pierced the United defence and had his shot partially smothered by Charlston however the ball bobbled up and bounced into the goal to give the Rangers the lead.

Into the second period of extra time, Corrimal’s Noah Duarte had his shot incredibly saved by Charlston who was doing his bit to keep United in the match.

Just two minutes from time, Liam Mavridis took a couple of touches and let fly with a left footed shot that found the top right corner as Charlston could only look on in despair. It was a superb strike that effectively sealed the match for the Rangers.

It went from bad to worse for United as Brock Cummings saw red for what appeared to be for something said to the match officials.

Corrimal Rangers seeing out the 2-0 win to become the 2023 Youth Cup Champions.

We could well see these two sides meet again in the Grand Final in a couple of months.

The man of the match was James Anagnostopoulos.


Report by Bobby Mazevski

Photos courtesy of Gragrapix

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