FELLOW State League debutantes Central Coast United welcomed South Coast Flame FC to Pluim Park on the back of their midweek FFA Cup success over Hurstville City Minotaurs, where they won 2-1.
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Coming into the match, Central Coast were second in the club championship and they continued their fine season with wins in all three grades including a dominant 4-1 win in first grade – against a Flame side that included Shoalhaven Heads/Berry’s Matt White and Culburra’s Martin Thompson.
In the first 10 minutes of the match, the home side were able to fork out a couple of half chances including an effort from distance through Scott McGinley which was deflected over the bar.
In the 11th minute, United opened the scoring through Cade Mapu who thumped the ball across goalkeeper Matt White and into the right upright before finding the back of the net.
Central Coast didn’t relent despite taking the early lead.
In the 22nd minute, Daniel McFarlane went on an amazing 30 metre run down the centre of the park before hooking his shot wide.
Half an hour in, some nice link up led to a shot from Jordon Bennett which was well held by White while five minutes from the break Mapu cut the ball back for Adam Woodbine who skied the ball over an open goal.
Apart from a couple of incursions into Central Coast’s penalty area via set pieces, Flame rarely troubled and were perhaps fortunate to only be a goal behind at the break.
It only took four second-half minutes for United to find their second.
A corner was whipped into the near post for an unmarked Geordie Howe to attack with the ball flying past White and into the goal.
Three minutes later, Josh Swadling stormed into the right of the area but a strong one on one save from White prevented a third.
Around the hour mark, South Coast worked a couple of good chances both ending with a Matt Mazevski shot.
In the 58th minute, a one-two came to Mazevski 20 metres out but his drive faded to the right and five minutes later Julio Mushaba played him into the right of the box but his slamming effort was denied by Jack O’Mally guarding his near post leading to a corner.
From the corner, United ended up having a glorious opportunity to put the game to bed when Woodbine latched onto a through ball which saw him one on one with White but as he entered the box he scooped his shot well over the bar.
With 20 minutes remaining, Central Coast netted their third, this time from the penalty spot.
Wade Wilton made a clumsy challenge on Josh Swadling who opted to take the spot kick which he slotted to the right just out of White’s reach.
United created numerous chances over the final quarter of an hour and with two minutes remaining they made it four.
Mapu had a wicked shot from the edge of the box which White somehow managed to keep out, however, the ball fell for Woodbine who tapped it into an empty net.
In the final seconds of the match, Mazevski was able to score the side’s first goal of the afternoon with a well taken shot which nestled into the bottom left corner.
This goal would be merely a consultation with the side ultimately going down 4-1.
After the match, White highlighted how the side came up against a class act, “Central Coast are a very well drilled side capable of playing some very classy football.”
The defeat means Flame drop one place to ninth, Flame return to Crehan Park next Saturday for a clash with Nepean FC who sit in fifth.
This story first appeared on: Football South Coast
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