GOALS look like they will come a little bit easier to Bomaderry and Illaroo this season after they played out a 3-all draw on Saturday.
Both sides struggled to find the back of the net in 2013, but they had more luck in an entertaining game at Bomaderry Oval, which saw the visitors secure a late equaliser after being reduced to 10 men.
The home side opened the scoring mid-way through the first half with a goal to Mick Hampton, but Illaroo were soon back in the hunt when Evan Leedham scored an equaliser.
Bomaderry’s second came in contentious circumstances, shortly before the break when Illaroo keeper Paul Maiolo attempted to take the ball from a cross, before it was kicked out of his grasp by Cameron Nelson and was awarded a goal.
Maiolo was then handed a red card during the break after an argument with the referee over the decision, leaving the visitors a man down for the second half.
Despite the one-man advantage, Illaroo managed to keep their heads after the break and were the next to score, when Sam Leedham found the back of the net from a free kick, 10 minutes into the second half.
Bomaderry managed to hit the lead once more when Mick Hampton scored his second goal, but that wasn’t the end of the story.
Illaroo had a golden opportunity to level things up when Evan Leedham had a penalty shot late in the game, but was denied by a great save from keeper Daniel Turner.
But with time ticking away, Leedham got the chance to make up for his missed chance by scoring his second to even it up at 3-all.
Bomaderry coach Doug Foley said he was disappointed with the ending, after his side had led on three occasions, but thought there were still some pleasing signs.
“I thought our first half was quite good, but then we fell apart in the second,” he said.
“There’s definitely still a bit of improvement needed, but there’s plenty of optimism as well.
“I was very happy with the changes we made up front and we managed to score goals, it was probably just fitness that got us in the second.”
In contrast, Illaroo coach Andrew Timbs was quite happy to take the draw.
“I think with 10 men, you’ve got to be pretty happy if you can take any points out of it,” he said.
“It was a bit of a wakeup call and to the boys’ credit, I thought we actually stepped up and played better in the second half with 10 than we did with 11 in the first,” he added.
Timbs said Evan Leedham was their standout player, while he was impressed Angus Hoskins at the back, who was making his first grade debut, while Mick Hampton, Brad Bailey and Cameron Nelson were picked by Foley as the best for Bomaderry.
Both sides are expecting another tough game next week, with Illaroo to host pre-season favourites Manyana at Sharman Park, while Bomaderry are playing away against Huskisson.