IN the club’s inaugural league match, South Coast Flame managed to secure three points with a stirring 5-nil win over Balmain Tigers at Ilinden Sports Centre.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Five players got their name on the score sheet including young gun Caleb Grace who scored the club’s first ever first grade league goal.
Captain and goalkeeper Matt White, a Shoalhaven Heads/Berry product, was also in fine form, pulling off a number of stunning stops.
Other Shoalhaven products in the team included Bomaderry’s Darren Jones and Culburra’s Martin Thompson.
The Flame had a bright start to the match, with Bojan Caric going close in the seventh minute with his thumping shot just going over the crossbar.
In the 12th minute, they opened their account – the ball was played to Dion Sterjovski in the box, who slid it off to Grace on the left of the goal to fire home from close range.
The build-up was far from vintage, but memorable nonetheless.
In the 26th minute, they doubled their lead off a well-worked set piece.
A corner was played short to Sterjovski on the left wing, he flung in a cross for Julio Mushaba at the far post, who headed the ball back across to Caric to scramble the ball over the line from inside the six-yard box.
Balmain began to find their feet and they had three good chances to pull a goal back before the break.
In the 33rd minute, Antony Barca set up his striker Joel Douglas but he hit his shot went straight at White.
Two minutes later, White pulled off a spectacular full-stretch save to deny Alexander Barnstone from the edge of the area.
In the minute before the break, Joel Douglas had a one on one chance but White was again up to the challenge, parrying to his right before pouncing on the loose ball.
White’s heroics meant the Flame would go into half-time with the two-goal advantage intact.
Paul Robaard’s side returned for the second half and within three minutes, scored a third.
Mushaba had the ball out on the right wing and he swung in a delightful cross for Matt Mazevski to leap through the air and head past Tigers’ goalkeeper Hiroki Fujiwara.
Within two minutes of the restart, Sterjovski made a mazing run into the left of the box but his shot produced a strong save from Fujiwara.
From there, Balmain countered and White was on hand to deny another attempt from Douglas.
Cameron Hanson was brought on to the park on the hour and within 10 minutes, he all but secured the three points for the club.
The striker, who had deputised at fullback in the FFA Cup match against West Pennant Hills, threw himself at a loose ball in the box and slotted it past the Fujiwara and into the bottom right corner.
With the final whistle looming, a Mazevski flick on put Sterjovski one-on-one with Fujiwara before he produced a gorgeous chip into the right of the goal.
An audacious finish to round off a fantastic 5-nil win.
After the match, coach Robaard was thrilled the claim the three points in their first ever league match.
“It's a fantastic way to start for the club,” Robaard said.
“It was a big result, but the clean sheet was the most pleasing thing."
In the under 20s, the Flame went down 6-3 in an end to end affair with Balmain scoring a couple of stunning goals.
Johnny Vicoroski was the leading light for the Flame with the forward netting a hat-trick to keep the side within touching distance until the final stages of the match.
In the under 18s, the Flame secured their first point with a 1-all draw.
They found themselves down 15 minutes into the match but levelled the scores from the penalty spot through Ethan Lehn before the break.
Coach Darren Jones said he was happy with his side’s efforts.
“It was a positive result, we controlled the match in the second half and I felt we were unlucky not to come away with the win,” he said.
After the match, White was named man of the match.
South Coast Flame FC lineup: Matt White (c), Andrew Bova, Dion Sterjovski, Andrew Christie, Bojan Caric, Darren Jones, Matt Mazevski, Julio Mushaba, Caleb Grace, Djordje Uzelac, Martin Thompson
Substitutes: Doug Woodiwiss, Wade Wilton and Cameron Hanson.
This story first appeared on Football South Coast
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.