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Cringila Lions twice fought back from a goal down to defeat Wollongong United 3-2 on Friday night at Crehan Park.

Sam Matthews put United into the lead in the 28th minute before Justin Ivanovic equalised five minutes later. Klime Sekutkoski scored in the 40th minute to give United a halftime advantage. However, Cringila captain Peter Simonoski notched a second-half brace to secure the Lions the points.

The game got off to a timid start, with neither side taking the initiative early on.

United created the first chance of the match three minutes in. Van Elia took aim from the left edge of the box and forced Cringila goalkeeper Nikola Ristevski to bat the ball away down to his right.

Cringila then went forward in the 19th minute. A ball was lofted into the box, and Simonoski attempted an overhead kick that cleared the crossbar.

Nine minutes later, the visitors broke the deadlock. Sekutkoski escaped down the right before cutting the ball back to Matthews, who converted it into a vacant net.

United’s lead only lasted five minutes as Cringila snatched an equaliser. Ben Zucco’s first-time effort following a set-piece deflected off United defender Evan Ball into the path of Ivanovic in the box, and the centre-back slid in to score.

The game continued to provide goals, with Wollongong United edging back in front five minutes before halftime. Sekutkoski got on the end of a right-sided ball towards the back post, where the winger bundled it home.

The side had two more chances deep into first-half stoppage time.

Five minutes into additional time, Mitsuo Yamada took on a right-sided free-kick that just missed the near post. Two minutes later, Nav Darjani lashed a volley from a similar area that Ristevski did well to hold onto.

United went into halftime in the lead after a solid first-half performance from the away side.

Cringila came out firing for the second half and got off a shot four minutes in. Riki Koyanagi with a half-volley from the edge of the area that Ristevski palmed away.

They restored parity for the second time just before the hour mark. Andre Dias found space in the left of the box and stood the ball up for Simonoski.  The striker directed an accurate volley into the bottom left corner.

Simonoski remained a threat as he sent two shots narrowly past the post over the next 10 minutes.

Cringila’s captain finally bagged his second in the 69th minute. Another dangerous set piece dropped at the far post for Simonoski, who belted the ball off the bar and in.

Despite leading the game twice, United found themselves behind heading into the final 15 minutes.

In the 84th minute, Elia lined up a central free-kick that Ristevski punched to safety. Two minutes into stoppage time, the forward had another free-kick, but the ball fell just wide of the left post.

Cringila held on for the final minutes to secure three points in the first game of Round Seven.

The Lions are away to Tarrawanna next Saturday, while Wollongong United travel to Port Kembla on Sunday.

Match Stats

Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_

Photos courtesy of Edmund Esterbauer

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