THE South Coast Flame made the most of a return to home soil by recording a strong 2-nil victory against FC Gazy Auburn – thanks to goals from Dion Sterjovski goal and Caleb Grace.
Both sides managed to get the ball into the respective penalty areas in the opening two minutes with Matt White, a Shoalhaven Heads-Berry product, being forced into a decent block off a Rosario Ochipati effort after 90 seconds.
The first real chances for Flame, which also features Bomaderry’s Darren Joines, came in the seventh minute when Bojan Caric’s header was saved by the Gazy goalkeeper with the ball coming out to Dion Sterjovski but he couldn’t hit his shot on target.
South Coast continued to build pressure and they were rewarded with a goal in the 25th minute with Dion Sterjovski controlling the ball in the box, jinking around a defender before burying the ball into the bottom left corner.
The goal reassured the side who began playing with a little more confidence in search of a second.
The second nearly came in the 37th minute when Caric’s pass deflected over the Gazy backline for Matt Mazevski to run on to but his volley cleared the crossbar.
Flame managed to play out the half and maintain their one-goal advantage heading into the sheds.
The visitors came close to a equalising three minutes into the second half after a lapse in concentration allowed Cristiam Chavarro to go through on goal but White pulled off another crucial save.
Flame managed to rid themselves of any earlier second-half nerves and regain control of the match with three decent chances.
Sterjovski forced the Gazy goaltender into a block in the 69th minute and two minutes later Grace made him pull off another save - neither convincing but effective nevertheless.
The best of the three chances came for Mazevski whose thunderous strike from the 18-yard line smashed off the middle of the crossbar.
The result was shored up in the 82nd minute with Flame scoring a well deserved second goal. Grace caught out a Gazy defender and disposed him before going through and goal and finishing with aplomb.
The visitors had a couple of set pieces in the final stages of the match but Flame held out to keep a clean sheet and record a 2-0 win.
After the match, first grade coach Paul Robaard was pleased with his side’s ability to deliver a 90-minute performance.
“Another solid performance in the first half, then we took it out and played a great second half to lock the game out,” Robaard said.
The result sees Flame jump into ninth ahead of Balmain, who they host next weekend.
This story first appeared on: Football South Coast