Bellambi Rosellas marked their return to the Illawarra District League with a gutsy 2-1 come-from-behind win over Warilla Wanderers at Elizabeth Park on Saturday. 

Hasan Ayoub put the visitors in front a quarter of an hour before Gaku Yamamoto got Bellambi level just before the break. Luis Gonzales scored the winner with 14 minutes to play to earn the Rosellas their first competitive win of 2024.

Warilla started the match brightly, putting their opponents under pressure and creating an opportunity four minutes in. Nikita Peros received the ball in the right of the box and took on a left-footed shot that deflected into Warilla goalkeeper Volkan Guden’s hands. 

The Wanderers continued to pile forward and 12 minutes in, Farshad Valadkhani lined up from range, seeing his effort fly past the right post. 

The side’s early ascendancy paid off three minutes later when Ayoub’s narrow-angled free-kick on the left looped into the far corner of the post. 

Warilla carried on pursuing further goals as Mason Videla and Peros both forced Guden into crucial saves over the next six minutes. 

Bellambi responded midway through the half as Yamamoto’s cross from the right found Gonzales at the back post, but the forward directed his header wide. 

The away side resumed their attacking ways half an hour in, with Jack Murray capitalising on a giveaway but firing his shot over the bar. 

There was another chance for Warilla with four first-half minutes to play when Nicolas Rouco forced Guden in a sharp, low save. 

Warilla were left to rue missed chances as the Rosellas snatched an equaliser in the 45th minute. 

Yamamoto controlled the ball well in the middle of the box before finding the right side of the net with a right-footed strike. 

The Wanderers almost got back in front deep into first-half stoppage time, rattling the crossbar, but the teams went into halftime with one goal each.

The visitors came out with a similar intensity to how they started the first, as Valadkhani and Ayoub both sent efforts wide inside the first 10 minutes. 

Bellambi started to come into the game after this, pushing Warilla back into their half. 

In the 62nd minute, Yamamoto took on a first-time effort that Warilla goalkeeper Frank Gaudiosi batted away before Rouco shovelled the ball just over his own crossbar. 

The Rosellas kept on pushing and found themselves in the lead 76 minutes in. Yamamoto’s strike was deflected past Gaudiosi before falling to Gonzales in the right of the box, who converted the ball into an empty net. 

Warilla started to rush more numbers forward in pursuit of a late equaliser. 

With three regular minutes to play, Ayoub’s left-sided free-kick went across the face of goal, narrowly evading Murray and Zachary Winter. 

In stoppage time, a long ball towards the right of the box found Warilla substitute Stewart Robertson, whose volley agonisingly rolled past the far post. 

Bellambi saw out a nerve-wracking six minutes of added time to prevail on their return to District League football. 

The Rosellas travel to University next Saturday hoping to make it two wins in a row, while Warilla host Thirroul at the same time. 

Match Stats

Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_

Photo courtesy of Graham Brown





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