Football South Coast 
Illawarra District League
Round 22 / First Grade
Balgownie Rangers FC v University Of Wollongong FC
Saturday 19 August 2023

Balgownie Rangers downed University of Wollongong 3-0 at Judy Masters Oval on Saturday afternoon, securing the perfect end to the season on their ‘old boys’ day.

The Rangers are the oldest running football club in the country, celebrating their 140th anniversary on the day.

An early own goal followed by Alexei Rosser’s stoppage-time penalty had Balgownie 2-0 up heading into halftime.

Jesse French added a third in the final stages of the second period to round out the result.

The hosts put their opponents under some early pressure, seeking to pick up a swift opening goal.

Eight minutes in, the ball dropped at the feet of French in the box, whose snapshot was well-saved by Caleb Biondo. French had another chance two minutes later, this time stabbing wide from the right of the box.

Balgownie’s pressure paid off as they snatched the lead in the 13th minute when University defender Nic Wilson diverted a left-sided cross into his own net.

Six minutes later, University’s Christopher Hollingshead won the ball after a collision with Balgownie goalkeeper Hugh Bahnert on the edge of the box, but the keeper did well to recover and smother it.

After this, the Students started to get a foothold in the game, as set pieces and wide deliveries caused problems for the Rangers’ backline.

They had another chance 36 minutes in when Brendan Wyatt’s central free-kick sailed just over the bar.

University couldn’t make the most of their improved spell in the game, going 2-0 down in first-half stoppage time. Balgownie’s Alexei Rosser fired home a sensational penalty into the roof of the net, to give the Rangers a commanding lead at halftime.

The Rangers nearly added a third two minutes into the second half when Abdullah Chhipa cut inside in the right of the box, but his effort rolled to the goalkeeper.

It was end-to-end football in the second half, as the teams traded shots, but efforts flew wayward.

In the 65th minute, Luke Inglis lined up a long shot for the visitors that bounced straight to Bahnert. Six minutes later, Conor O’Brien’s effort from the left of the box was parried over by the goalkeeper.

Balgownie took the ball down the other end in the 73rd minute – Chhipa getting down the right and crossing it in for Rosser, who kneed it wide.

Five minutes later, Rangers’ midfielder Jamie Holland took on a shot from the edge of the box that Students’ goalkeeper Caleb Biondo expertly tipped over.

The side picked up their third with eight minutes to play when French ran in on goal and slotted a left-footed finish past Biondo.

University looked to respond straight away, with Hollingshead’s shot from the right of the box saved before Inglis’ fierce volley forced another impressive stop from Bahnert.

The home side saw out the remaining minutes to claim a well-deserved win over University on a special day at Judy Masters Oval.

Both these teams narrowly missed out on finals. Balgownie were denied by goal difference, and University were three points behind them in seventh.


Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_

Photos courtesy of Graham Brown

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