Illawarra Premier League Season 2019

DSC_2480
Alvin Ceccoli halts Keisuke Hayashi wing-play and funnels him into traffic.
DSC_2324
Blueys fans are optimistic as the team enters the field.
DSC_2401
Jason Zufic and Nicholas Tomasiello in a key struggle down the flanks.
DSC_2403
Rangers hold their line as Keisuke Hayashi is caught offside as the Blueys seek to exploit his pace.
DSC_2599
Tit for Tat. Lukas Steriou brings down Rick Goodchild.

Round 1: The Seasons is off and running!

 

 

The season is underway and the Bulli hoodoo of choking when it matters has lifted. Bulli FC as Premiers and Grand Final Champions are favourites to take out this year’s title. However, all the other teams will be looking to take a scalp when they meet the double champions in 2019.

Bulli v Corrimal Rd21
Bulli FC 1901 win Grand Final 2018

Can Bulli FC make it a back-to-back double?

Bulli v Corrimal Rd21
Grand Final 2018 as Bulli FC 1901 break the hoodoo.

The Fraternity Cup is won by Corrimal Rangers 3-1 in a convincing manner making them favorites as title chasers. Whilst preseason is often an unreliable indicator over the entire IPL season, the impressive display by Rangers shows they will be serious title contenders.

Ceccoli joins the celebration
Ceccoli acknowledges the brilliant goal that ensured a Rangers win
preseason_cup
Corrimal Rangers win the Fraternity Cup- the new hegemony?

Bulli FC have changed their squad losing a number of players over the offseason. This weekend’s game against Corrimal Rangers will show whether Bulli still have enough squad depth to hold onto the title.

Alvin Ceccoli
Alvin Ceccoli during the Fraternity Cup Final

Rangers have strengthened their side with experienced defender Alvin Ceccoli- his knowledge of tactics and defensive prowess make him a valuable addition to their squad.

Round 1  The Fun Begins 

High optimism in the Blueys camp as they take on South Coast United who struggled last year to avoid relegation.

High Optimism
Explosive start for the Blueys?

New rules now allow clubs to display their cultural heritage. A group of SCU fans fly the flag as they take on the Blueys at Tarrawanna.

Croatian Flag
The opening scene as the Blueys take on SCU at home.

The Blueys dominate the game from the start apart from the odd but very dangerous incursions by South Coast United.

Byung Kuk Cho
Byung Kuk Cho sures up the SCU defence

Quality goalkeeping and solid defence keeps SCU in the game as the Blueys gradually gain control of the midfield.

Goalkeeping
One of many good Jason Bleakley saves keeping SCU in the game.

In the 41′ Cody Wally gets behind the SCU defence and shoots. A desperate lunge by Greg Valic to block the ball manages only to deflect it passed Bleakley.

Goal_in_the_net
OG by Greg Valic
Goal
Cody Waller celebrates with fans
Tackle
Mate Nimac with a tackle from behind

SCU in the second half break up the rhythm and tempo of the game with a few feisty tackles hoping to pinch a goal on the counter.

Yellow Card
Referee Nathan Wotton issues the yellow to Nimac

Tight marking keep SCU in the game as Blueys raids are repelled.

Close marking
Byung Kuk Cho and Cameron Hansen block a Yusuke Maruyama shot on goal

Blueys supporters go home satisfied with all three points.

DSC_1768
Blueys fans lend support to the team hoping to see a second goal

In the end it is the Blueys who come out on top.

DSC_1728
Blueys take all three points

Tarrawanna Blueys 1 South Coast United 0

The Sunday game is between Port Kembla  and Albion Park White Eagles. White Eagles will be looking to put their previous loss in the Fraternity Cup behind them and start off with a win for the new season. For Port, last season was difficult and disappointing.

Hot and humid conditions greet the players. Port are immediately on the attack and are unlucky not to score in the first few minutes.

Early onslaught save
Brad Jardine playing against his former club makes an excellent early save

The early Port pressure is rewarded with a goal.

It is new recruit from Tarrawanna,  Brad Acev who scores 13′ in to put Port ahead after a sustained dominant opening to the game.

Acev goal
Brad Acev scores through a busload of players
Aerial Battle
The game turns into an intense midfield aerial battle as White Eagles attempt a fight back.
Midfield Battle
White Eagles use physicality to break up the play and win the ball and also stop counter attacks before they get started.
Joel Beattie raids
Recently returned Joel Beattie raids up the flank cause Port Kembla defensive problems as they seek to contain his pace and guile.

Port is able to hold off the threat and win the game convincingly and all three points. It was always going to be difficult chasing the game in the heat for the White Eagles.

Tackles
Close and hard-fought battle.

Port Kembla 1 White Eagles 0

 

Round 2 Neighbourly Love

Woonona Sharks take on their arch rivals and neighbours Bulli FC. This will be the opening game for Bulli as their scheduled opening match against the Rangers was washed out. Woonona narrowly avoided relegation last year and are hoping to survive and remain in the IPL.

The ground is heavy and a strong Southwesterly winds howls across the pitch and will make conditions difficult for both teams. The Sharks are hoping this may level the playing field.

goal
Brendan Pattman scores after just 13′
DSC_2282
Bendan Pattman
Dylan Lewis
Burley striker Ben McDonald replaces injured Dylan Lewis

The Sharks put up strong resistance and go to the break one down but still positive they can sneak a goal or two in the 2nd Half.

Bulli gain supremacy in all the one-to-one battles and dominate both possession and territory.

Kenji TakaHashi and Bradley Strudwick
Kenji Takahashi puts pressure on the ball
Ben McDonald
Ben McDonald makes it 2-0 after just one minute into the 2nd Half.

The heads drop but Woonona keep struggling as Bulli go for the jugular with their tails flying in the breeze.

Wolf
Woonona drop off deep and Bulli FC are in full control

Bulli get a 3rd through Kyle Hazelbrook and go into cruise control. Brendan Pattman makes it 4-0 with his brace.

DSC_2520
The Sharks look set for another year where they battle to avoid relegation

Woonona Sharks 0  Bulli FC 4

Rangers are at home and flying high after their Fraternity Cup victory take on Port Kembla who ground out an impressive win over the White Eagles in Round 1.

Brad Acev goal
Brad Acev scores after 2′

Port are immediately off the blocks and score just as the crowd are taking their seats with their vino.

Port Attack
Corrimal struggle to contain the early Port momentum
Corrimal Player
Mitch Di Pietro raids down the right flank cause Rangers defensive problems.
Mitch Di Pietro_2
Di Pietro running at the Corrimal defence
2nd goal Port Brad Acev
Brad Acev scores his brace in the 58′

Rangers pulls one back through a Luke Boersma OG in 86′

OG
OG 86′
Tough day out
A tough opening game to the season for Rangers

Corrimal 1  Port Kembla 2

Rangers are next away to Bulli FC on Wednesday night in the Round 1 match that was washed out last weekend. This game will be an important litmus test for both clubs to indicate how competitive they will be in the new season. Will it be blue or red or green?

Bulli FC v Corrimal Rangers Round 1

Bulli v Corrimal Rd1 2019
Corrimal are immediately on the attack.
Early Penalty Shout
An early penalty shout is waved away
DSC_3061
Rangers main source of attack is down the right-wing
Van Elia v Kenji Takahashi
Van Elia v Kenji Takahashi

Rangers switch flanks as Elia is met with well-timed Takahashi tackle

Penalty shout 2
Another penalty shout is waved away
Goal Corrimal
Elia slots the loose ball home from close range in the 28′
Elia celebrates
Elia celebrates the goal and Rangers go one up

The early pressure has paid off and Rangers go into the lead.

Marking Elia
Bulli FC tighten the marking on Elia
Yellow Cards
Strong defensive Rangers tackles attract yellow as Bulli search for an equalizer

The second half begins with both sides in a testy mood.

Kanaizumi contains the aerial threat Ben McDonald
Kanaizumi contains the aerial threat of Ben McDonald
Red Card to Bulli
As the yellows mount the reds come out

Bulli FC are a man down and chasing the game. It seems as though Rangers are about to take an important 3 points homes.

More yeelows
The niggling tackles begin to get under Bulli FC skins with time running out
More Cheese
Referee loses patience issuing another yellow. This time to Jason Zufic.

Zucco, Rangers big signing this year from Port is given marching orders for another foul. Four minutes of added time as Bulli make one last ditched attempt to get a point.

Bulli Last minute goal
A 94′ Hazebroek pile driver equalizer and there is no time for a restart.
DSC_3452
It feels like two points lost rather than one gained.

Bulli FC stay in touching distance of the top the table and Rangers earn their first point.

Bulli FC 1  Corrimal Rangers 1

 

Round 3: The Battle at the Bottom Begins in Earnest

The Fernhill Foxes take on the Tarrawanna Blueys. The Foxes have only one point and are likely to be involved in a relegation battle this year. Every point is vital. The Foxes are looking to beat the Blueys, the persistent under-achievers, whilst the Blueys are hoping this will be their season. They have performed well in the first two rounds showing both strong defensive qualities and the ability to score a goal and defend the lead. A win today will see them stay at the top of the table on points.

DSC_3495 (1)
Fernhill Foxes warm up and are ready to battle
Blueys Travelling Support
The Blueys travelling support

The first half is tight with strong midfields in a duel.

Tough_Battle
A tough battle to contain the speedy and tricky Yoji Ogawa
Blueys attack
The Blueys are immediately on the attack
Defensive tackle on Yogi
Mitchell Ferrera with a strong tackle on Yoji Ogawa
Flank play
Blueys Flank play causes Foxes problems
Tight Battle
A well organised Foxes defence

The teams go in 0-0 at half time.

DSC_3800
Blueys tight defence nullifies the Foxes speedy mobility
DSC_3824 (1)
Blueys defend well as the Foxes look to open the scoring
DSC_3849 (1)
No 9 Stephen Lloyd puts the Blueys in front from a corner in 72′
DSC_3885
Jordan Hughes trickery in midfield as Foxes go in search of an equalizer.

The Blueys defence hold tight and they take all three points.

Fernhill Foxes 0  Tarrawanna Blueys 1

On Sunday Olympic take on White Eagles who will be desperate to get at least a point out of the game otherwise they’ll enter in the relegation zone. Olympic need to win to remain joint leaders with the Blueys.

DSC_4321

Olympic get an early goal through Matt Floro 6′.

Goal 1
Matt Floro slots the ball passed the White Eagles keeper Brad Jardine
Goal celebration_2
Matt Floro celebrates his 6′ goal

The White Eagles try to penetrate the Olympic defence with Joel Beattie runs up the flanks as he switches wings and appears to have a free licence to roam.

Joel Beattie
Joel Beattie raids cause the Olympic defence some problems as White Eagles search for an equalizer.
DSC_4169
Penalty shout is waved away
DSC_4164
Luke Foster contains the dangerous attacking thrust by Valentino Merxhushi

Half-time and its 1-0

DSC_4262
Olympic dominate in midfield and in the air
DSC_4343
White Eagles struggle to contain Olympic . Araki Naomichi prepares for another corner.
Ekove D'Almeida
Substitute Ekove D’Almeida scores in the 86′ 2-0

Jamie Wakeling makes it 3-0 in the 90′.

Yusuke Ueda
Yusuke Ueda and the Olympic strike force are too strong for the White Eagles

Olympic join the Blueys on top of the ladder.

Wollongong Olympic 3  Albion Park White Eagles 0

 

Round 4 The table is starting to sort

The Fernhill Foxes meet the Cringila Lions. Both are considered likely candidates for the drop and both are in the relegation zone. The Hill are at home.

narrow miss
Cringila are immediately on the attack and Kyoga Uemoto narrowly misses a header
DSC_4445
Alex Mojsoski controls the midfield early on.
DSC_4479
Mojdoski switches flank as Lions seek an early goal
DSC_4489
Nikola Ristevski makes a great save from a direct free kick
DSC_4507
The Hill defence swarm Uemoto as they gradually get control of midfield
DSC_4523
Elias Ayoub launches a counter attack
DSC_4525
Another quality save by Ristevski
DSC_4530
The race to stave of relegation is on in earnest
DSC_4549
New recruit to the Hill defence as they begin to dominate territory
DSC_4601
Aleksander Prentoski launches an attack
DSC_4605
Foxes fans hoping for a goal
DSC_4636
Second half and the Hill continue where they left off and look for three points
DSC_4698
Narrow escape for the Foxes as the Lions hit the post on a counter raid

 

DSC_4736
Kerr brings down Takao with a judo throw- there is no way through for the Lions
DSC_4743
Aerial battle

It ends all square.

Fernhill Foxes 0  Cringila Lions 0

Corrimal Rangers have experienced difficulty replicating the pre-season form are at home and up against Wollongong Olympic who are hoping that this season will make up for the disappointment of the last. As they walk onto the field they hear announced over the loud-speaker that the Blueys have a two goal lead over Bulli FC. They will need to win this game if they are to stay on top of the ladder with the Blueys.

Mark Every with a clean tackle on Van Elia
Olympic are immediately on the defensive and put pressure on the ball. Mark Every with a perfectly timed clean tackle on Van Elia.
Ben Zucco
Olympic use a high pressing game to nullify the Ben Zucco influence in midfield.
DSC_4858
Early penalty shout as Van Elia is brought down in the box
Elia brought down
Hayden Durose with a courageous dive at the feet of Elia
DSC_4862
Elia is dismayed that no penalty is awarded
DSC_4910
Down the other end Nic Loe makes a fingertip save
Durose dominate the air
Durose dominates in the box
DSC_5064
Zucco in on the keeper
DSC_5124
D’Almeda in a one to one with Kanazumi
DSC_5136
Rangers double mark Ueda
DSC_5209
Rangers break through with a Van Elia goal 67′
DSC_5240
Sliding tackle as Olympic go in search on an equalizer
DSC_5248
John Martinoski trickery as Rangers scramble to defensive duty
DSC_5312
Try as they might but no goal is found. Rangers take Olympic down a notch.

Corrimal Rangers 1  Wollongong Olympic 0

Round 5 Can the Blueys hold top spot?

The Blueys sit on top of the table and are away to Port. Fernhill defeated Bulli FC so one of the potential title chasers can be left behind in the Blueys wake if they win today. Will this be the long-awaited Blueys season? Previous seasons have had false dawns so the fans will be hoping they can maintain their excellent early form.

DSC_5457
The Blueys put the Port defence under early pressue. Nathan Belsito blocks an attempted cross into the danger zone.
DSC_5483
The Port defence scrambles to get into position as Keisuke Hayaski use pace down the left flank and crosses to the tall and burly Stephen Lloyd.
DSC_5487
Chris Fuentes plucks the ball out of the air
DSC_5518
A close call for Port as Lloyd fails to make contact on a cross from the right flank.
DSC_5519
Another high ball this time into Yusuke Maruyama is dealt with by Fuentes
DSC_5525
Fuentes intercepts the ball into Lloyd

Will Tarrawanna rue the missed opportunities and be able to break through a determined Port defence?

DSC_5527
Port start to pick up some ball and begin counter raids down the right through Fabian Lacovelli
DSC_5550
The momentum swings as Mitchell Ferraro slides in to stop a flank attack
DSC_5564
Keeping error gifts the ball to Sandy Lowcock
DSC_5574
Sandy Lowcock hammers home the loose ball and celebrates with fellow striker Brad Acev Port go into the break one up.
DSC_5598
The Blueys go all out to equalize before half. Yusuke Maruyama attempts a scissors kick.
DSC_5609
Outstretched fingertip save by Fuentes
DSC_5613
Another close shave for Port
DSC_5574
Sandy Lowcock scores his second 48′ on the counter attack
DSC_5745
And a third Lowcock 57′ goal sinks any hope of recovery
DSC_5820
Brave goalkeeping by Fuentes as he wins the ball off Hayashi
DSC_5830
Lloyd ponders the missed opportunities
DSC_5777
Red card to William Mobbs for a second yellow gives the Blueys a glimmer of getting at least one back
DSC_5869
Port defence is too organized and are deserved winners

Port Kembla 3 Tarrawanna Blueys 0

The same old story!? Inconsistent form has cost the Tarrawanna Blueys on a number of occasions including last year. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Blueys can become more consistent and win a trophy this season. Port Kembla FC proved remarkably resilient and well-organized in defence. This season every team appears capable of winning on any given day. The struggle at the top and bottom is intensifying.

Next up is Wollongong Olympic v Woonona Sharks- bound to be a tough struggle with both teams steeped in tradition. The Sharks date back to 1889 and Olympic are 41 years old and still going strong. Both are a testament to the passion of football as we, the  soccer fans like to refer to our game.DSC_6388_3

DSC_5939
Woonona Sharks ear-marked by many as relegation candidates open the attack. Wollongong Olympic v Woonona Sharks Round 5
DSC_5961
Olympic respond with an early goal by Vaughan Patterson with a 10′ driving header. Olympic 1 Sharks 0
DSC_5969
Sharks dismay at conceding so early.
DSC_5976
Vaughan Patterson celebrates all too easy?
DSC_5984
Midfield struggles ensues
DSC_5999
Kojiro Hori shields the ball
DSC_6001
Burly Patterson controls space
DSC_6014
Jarred Morley helps the Sharks to control a fair share of the ball
DSC_6042
Referee Nick Ryan with a close eye on the action
DSC_6047
Ben Wunsch makes a great save off a Matt Floro drive
DSC_6117
Yusuke Ueda makes it 2-0 in 39′
DSC_6127
Yusuke Ueda celebrates with the bench after scoring
DSC_6152
Official watches ball hoofed over the fence land in the creek.
DSC_6164
After the break the Sharks tighten up on Olympic
DSC_6179
Jerry Lopez heads a Patterson cross to safety
DSC_6189
Jai Mellor gets one back 53′. Sharks begin to believe their hard work is about to pay dividends.
DSC_6208
Sharks take exception at a Jack Keating crunching slide tackle
DSC_6219
Jack Keating fends of Sharks attack
DSC_6231
Second Yellow = Red. Sharks have a big chance with an extra man.
DSC_6240
Ueda goes in search of another goal to seal the win.
DSC_6263
Yusuke Ueda
DSC_6274
Sharks surround Ueda
DSC_6282
Ueda parts the defence
DSC_6284
Narrow miss
DSC_6322
Olympic lauch another raid
DSC_6388_1
Sharks score! Lachland Newman goal in 90’+3′
DSC_6388_2
The Sharks tear apart Olympic in added time
DSC_6388_3
Lachlan Newman celebrates
DSC_6388
Sharks take a point home.

Wollongong Olympic 2  Woonona Sharks 2

The ability to fight through adversity by hard work and organization earn the Sharks a valuable point which may be vital at season end when relegation awaits for the bottom placed team.

Round 6 Reshuffle on the cards?

The Sharks are full of confidence as they take on Coniston FC. 

DSC_6457
Both sets of fans optimistic before the Sharks v Coniston game yesterday.
DSC_6469
Sharks enter the field hoping to replicate their form against Olympic on the weekend.

 

DSC_6493
Referee Bobby Mazevski keeps a close eye on the game which may have relegation ramifications at season end.
DSC_6512
Coniston FC defence put pressure on the Sharks ball carrier- Corey Haines-Grose.
DSC_6593
Penalty shout early in 1st half is waved away.
DSC_6595
Sharks are unlucky not to be awarded a penalty. “VAR! VAR!” was the call from some of the Sharks supporters
DSC_6622
A solid Coniston FC header launches an attack.
DSC_6626
Mick Grimenio with a 50m lob over Ben Wunsch puts Coniston in front.
DSC_6630
Unstoppable Coniston strike! Power, distance and dip.
DSC_6640
And it’s in! Coniston take the lead in 22′.
DSC_6736
Jarred Morley is closely watched by Cono as the Sharks pile on the pressure in search of an equalizer
DSC_6819
Sharks are immediately on the attack in the second half. The shot is saved and the ball is deflected onto Boden Allport’s hand- no penalty.
DSC_6820
Jarred Morely looks to bury the deflection but Cono scrabble the ball away to safety.
DSC_6841
as often happens when chasing the game the ball is driven into the top right hand corner as Cono break.
DSC_6842
Dinko Terzic scores ’50
DSC_6851
That sinking feeling spreads throughout the team

Dinko Terzic goes on to score a hat-trick (50′, 71′, 82′) with a Matt Poposki 90′ coup de grace 

DSC_7025
Plenty to ponder about.

Woonona Sharks 0  Coniston FC 5 

The Sunday game is between the Blueys and Wollongong United.  The Blueys can return to the top of the table if they take all three points at home against a Wollongong United struggling to find form.

DSC_7037
Tarrawanna Blueys open fast and furious looking to get an early goal advantage.
DSC_7106
Mohamed Kardoli
DSC_7121
Referee Nathan Wotton awards a penalty which is duly converted by Rick Goodchild 21′
DSC_7124
Goodchild celebrates his penalty conversion
DSC_7142
The referee rejects the penalty appeal instead awarding a free kick to the Blueys
DSC_7145
No penalty as Kane Wright appears to be brought down in the box
DSC_7162
Blueys keep a tight rein on Nathan Wagleman
DSC_7193
Wollongong United go in search of the equalizer with Kane Wright spearheading the attack.
DSC_7228
Matthew Naylor shielding the ball
DSC_7251
Fans enjoying the action

They go in half time with Blueys leading 1-0

DSC_7327
A well executed slide tackle
DSC_7356
Matthew Wagleman receives a yellow
DSC_7403
Benjamin Spruce narrowly misses with a power header

 

DSC_7466
Mitchell Ferraro slots home the second in 74′ Tarrawanna Blueys 2 
DSC_7364
Wollongong United coach reflects on the decisions that didn’t go their way.

Tarrawanna Blueys 2  Wollongong United 0

 

Round 7 The battle at the top heats up

 The Blueys take on Olympic who are seeking to bounce back and who are two points in arrears but can leap-frog to the top with a win. For the Blueys, a win would see skylight between them and the chasing pack. All is set for an exciting game.

DSC_7631
A corner kick looking for an Ueda header is well defended by the Blueys as Rodiguez punches the ball to safety
DSC_7640
Sam Munro drive from 18m skims the bar
DSC_7667
Kojiro Hori heads a Blueys clearance back into the danger zone as Olympic gain territorial advantage.
DSC_7669
At the other end, Hayden Durose commands his box as the Blueys build an attack
DSC_7678
End-to-end. Rodriguez punches another ball to safety that is destined for Ueda
DSC_7692
Blueys launch a counter attack through Matthew Nalor down the right flank
DSC_7704
Ueda strikes from a precision slide-rule Martinoski pass in 24′
DSC_7700
Blueys fans are stunned by the quality Ueda strike
DSC_7733
Olympic launch another attack that is well defended by Matthew Naylor
DSC_7783
An unstoppable Martinoski rocket from 20m in 34′
DSC_7947
Blueys begin an all out 2nd half attack and pepper the Olympic goal. Durose makes an excellent save.
DSC_7952
Jack Keating stars in an excellent defensive effort in 2nd half
DSC_7985
Another top save!
DSC_8052
Lots to ponder about as the Blueys are unable to crack the rock solid Olympic defence

The win puts Olympic on top of the table.Wollongong Olympic 2 (Ueda 24′, Martinoski 34′)  Tarrawanna Blueys 0

The Sunday game features Corrimal Rangers at home against relegation candidate Cringila Lions. 

DSC_8065
Rangers fans sit out the wet.
DSC_8209
The early Cringila attack is through a motoring Takao Teremoto
DSC_8336
Rangers fans are enjoying the game.
DSC_8450
Van Elia opens the scoring
DSC_8527
Van Elia
DSC_8533
That sinking feeling
DSC_8540
Van Elia scores 5 goals!
DSC_8551
Lions fans are becoming distraught
DSC_8632
Van Elia receives a yellow card after celebrating his 5th goal.

Olympic are top of the table as the Blueys slip down the table. Cringila Lions put in a lack-luster performance and seemed to lack fight against the clearly superior Rangers.

Round Eight: Who are improving and who are not?

The Blueys will be needing all three points if they are to be serious championship contenders. Cono are looking to consolidate their position and start to put pressure on those above them on the table.

DSC_8704
Tight marking is a Cono feature early on.
DSC_8715
Kody Maude

 

DSC_8719
Mick Cimeno
DSC_8730
Cono start out with max revs.
DSC_8736
Blueys put pressure on the ball.
DSC_8751
Blueys try the aerial route.
DSC_8763
It’s Kody Maude who puts Cono in front 0-1 against the Blueys in the 18′.
DSC_8777
At the other end Blake Horton makes a great save.
DSC_8820
Textbook attacking the ball.
DSC_8830
Haydyn Lloyd
DSC_8835
Matt Tschentecher scores in 37′. Cono go two up!
DSC_8841
Cono go two up.
DSC_8893
Blueys score through Steven Lloyd with a perfectly timed glancing header in 43′.
DSC_8907
Half-time fly-over at Tarrawanna Oval.
DSC_8917
A mighty 49′ drive by Rob Brown and Cono restore the two goal lead 1-3.
DSC_8928 (1)
The mid-season Blueys blues.
DSC_9006
Strong Cono defence. Well-timed slide tackle.
DSC_8958
Technical area advice

 

DSC_9102
Rick Goodchild scores from the spot in 93′

DSC_9108Tarrawanna Blueys 2 Coniston 3

The mid-season Blueys form slump see them slide down the ladder.

Round 9 : The whirlpool to the vortex at the bottom

Woonona Sharks take on Cringila Lions- a loss for the Lions would make them lay-down misere to be relegated. The Sharks need to consolidate, or they too will fall into the mire.dsc_6463

DSC_9118
A vital game for the Lions.  Lose and they will be stuck in the mire of relegation with the Sharks moving well away from the zone.
DSC_9128
Lions keep a close eye on Kota Odakura.
DSC_9130
The early pressure is seen on Lions faces.
DSC_9136
Ibrahim Sesay challenges in the air looking to flick the ball over the Sharks high line.
DSC_9154
Space opens up for Sharks attack. Jarred Morley launches a raid into the Lions final third.
DSC_9160
Todd Sparks is unable to get his cross in due to sturdy Sharks defence.
DSC_9186
Speedy Takao Teramoto is shadowed by the equally fast and agile Kota Odakura.
DSC_9193
Luke McCosker helps out in defence and launches an attack as the Sharks absorb early pressure.
DSC_9198
Luke McCosker scores in 21′ with Goalkeeper Nikola Ristevski rooted to the spot as the ball flashes into the bottom right-hand corner.
DSC_9201
Sharks take the lead.
DSC_9222
Flying Odakura is first to the ball as Sharks midfield takes control of the match.
DSC_9241
Lions keeper Nikola Ristevski is kept busy parrying the Sharks shots on goal.
DSC_9244
Sharks dominate midfield.
DSC_9253
Sharks lead Lions at half-time 1-0
DSC_9558
Sharks are first the ball.
DSC_9395
Lions effort to gain control of the match is met by Sharks steely determination not to let the game slip.
DSC_9421
Confidence grows as time runs out for the Lions.
DSC_9634
Aleksandar Prentoski staring into the relegation vortex.

Woonona Sharks 1  Cringila Lions 0

In the Sunday match Corrimal Rangers take on South Coast United the other team on the edge of the precipice.

DSC_0005
Rangers attack right from the starting whistle and narrowly miss.
DSC_0023
Jason Zufic causes United problems down the right wing.
DSC_0092
Matt Galanti helps Rangers dominate midfield
DSC_9732
Tim Wylie “Captain Courageous” scores 4′
DSC_9837
Josh Hawker fights to retain possession in midfield.
DSC_9845
Ever present Alvin Ceccoli marshals Rangers defence
DSC_9878
Fans enjoying the game.
DSC_9891
Anguish on the South Coast United bench as they stare into the whirlwind of the relegation zone.
DSC_9895
Rangers keep a close eye on Byungkuk Cho.
DSC_9897
Byungkuk Cho
DSC_0089
Halftime fly-over.
DSC_9930
United defence halts Rangers progress.
DSC_9936
Ben Zucco and Zac Hawker in Battle Royale

DSC_9976

DSC_9948
Tomoki Wada scores 50′

 

DSC_0068
Jason Bleakley is kept busy

DSC_9979Corrimal Rangers 2 South Coast United 0

Round 10  Vying for the Top

Some big games are on this weekend with the top teams vying for poll position.  

DSC_0432
Sandy Lowcock celebrates the opening goal against Wollongong Olympic in 27′
DSC_0443
Clever Luke Boersma through ball splits the Olympic defence and is superbly finished by Sandy Lowcock.
DSC_0455
Next minute Julian Minutillo is brought right in front of the nose of the referee. Olympic are awarded a penalty.

 

DSC_0457
The penalty is duly converted by Yusuke Ueda.
DSC_0461
Yusuke Ueda scores from the spot.
DSC_0471
Port is immediately on the attack looking to regain the lead.
DSC_0490
John Martinoski with a quality strike.
DSC_0492
No chance for Port keeper Chris Fuentes.
DSC_0506
All smiles after the John Martinoski quality swivel volley.
DSC_0579
Olympic go into the break one up.
DSC_0751
Halftime fly-over.
DSC_0608
Olympic are immediately on the attack with weaving Martinoski dribbles around the box.
DSC_0649
Olympic dominate all over the park.
DSC_0651
Ueda defends from the front giving the Port backline no respite.
DSC_0669
Brendan Fordham is first to the ball and there is no way through for Port.
DSC_0689
Port bench takes issue with some of the refereeing decisions not going their way.
DSC_0714
Yellows begin to accumulate as Port struggles to get possession. Luke Boersma goes into the book.
DSC_0360
Long suffering Olympic fans hoping this will be their year.
DSC_0760
Yusuke Ueda as the final whistle confirms the Olympic victory who go to the top of the league.

 Port Kembla 1  Wollongong Olympic 2

Round 11 Table sifting as competition reaches midway

Can the Olympic roll continue when they take on Wollongong United?

DSC_0775
Intense Kojiro Hori concentration halts Wollongong United attack.
DSC_0788
After just 3′ Olympic have the ball in the net.
DSC_0792
Offside flag goes up and the goal is disallowed.
DSC_0852
Kawasakiya Hikaru and Kojiro Hori fight for possession.
DSC_0859
Zac McLaren tug puts pressure on Jake Keating.
DSC_0862
Brilliant Ueda diving header puts Olympic in front in the 24′.
DSC_0916
Hayden Durose with lightning reflexes stops a quality strike immediately after the restart to keep Olympic in front.
DSC_0929
It’s a goalmouth scramble. Zac McClaren puts it away. United level the score.
DSC_0939
McClaren celebrates his 33′ equalizer.
DSC_0953
United fans applaud the fight-back.
DSC_0955
United confidence mounts.
DSC_0960
Olympic blast wide.
DSC_0966
Brendan Fordham marshals the defence.
DSC_0998
Fordham header.
DSC_1005
Olympic put the foot down and attack United.
DSC_0899
Half-time fly-over.

DSC_1019

DSC_1034
United is kept in the yard by a pressing Olympic.
DSC_1039
Fantastic Sam Nastic makes an excellent save from a dipping ball.
DSC_1040
Nastic makes a fantastic save.
DSC_1042
Matthew McNab looks for support.
DSC_1071
The pressure gauge ticks.
DSC_1081
McNab is robbed of the ball.
DSC_1085
Ikumi Saito holds off Kane Wright.
DSC_1136
Martinoski pile driver!
DSC_1141
Martinoski 65′ and Olympic go into the lead 2-1.
DSC_1147
John Martinoski piledriver is enough to put skylight between Olympic and the chasing pack.

 Wollongong United 1 Wollongong Olympic 2

Olympic put daylight between themselves and the rest of the pack. 

Round 12 Halfway and the run is on!

 Hoe springs eternal as the Lions after an excellent win over South Coast United take on ladder leaders Wollongong Olympic at home. Olympic will be seeking to hold onto top spot. The Lions under their new coach hope to build on an impressive win from last week.DSC_2342

DSC_2433
Ryoga Uemoto scores after 1′ giving the Lions something to defend against the ladder leaders.
DSC_2355
Players celebrate as Lions hope springs eternal.

 

DSC_2365
Team spirit returned.
DSC_2373
Lions get ready for the onslaught.
DSC_2379
Olympic are immediately looking for an equalizer.
DSC_2384
A flying Ueda is beaten to the ball by a Nikola Ristevski punch.
DSC_2385
Yet another Olympic raid. This time through John Martinoski.
DSC_2397
Ristevski vacuums the ball in just before it crosses the goal line.
DSC_2401
Lions defence scrambles the ball to safety.
DSC_2403
Lions hoof it up and hits the bar!
DSC_2406
Bounces back into play.
DSC_2407
Jake Webster pokes at the ball through a crowd of players.
DSC_2410
The ball is plucked out of its flight into the capable Ristevski hands. The Lions survive the blitzkrieg.
DSC_2426
Ueda attempted volley is unable to penetrate the scrambling Lions defence.
DSC_2427
Ristevski makes another important save.
DSC_2465
Peter Prandalos of Olympic
DSC_2476
Alex Majsoski of Lions
DSC_2506
Martinoski and Sparks in one to one battle.
DSC_2518
Lions confidence grows as time ticks by.
DSC_2550
Prentoski entering the red zone as halftime nears.
DSC_2561
Ball Boy watches the intense struggle.
DSC_2569
Lions see more ball.
DSC_2587
Jason Brooks with some respite and Lions launch a counter.
DSC_2634
Jake Webster on the counter with engine humming.
DSC_2645
Cringila Lions make it 2-0 in the 45th.
DSC_2656
Jackson Brooks celebrates his goal.

 

DSC_2671
Lions are off into the sheds with a 2-0 lead.
DSC_2683
Half-time fly-over.
DSC_2687
Olympic is out early with it all to do.
DSC_2719
The lanky Jackson Brooks nullifies the Ueda aerial threat.
DSC_2726
Brooks and Ueda do battle.
DSC_2796
Flying Ueda volley flies over the crossbar.
DSC_2799
The Delphi ominous: luck is at low tide.
DSC_2879
Ristevski in magnificent form.
DSC_2910
Lions fan enjoying the game.
DSC_2927
All hands to the pump. Olympic are unable to break-through a desperate defence.
DSC_2962
Lions with a courageous effort earn all three points at home against the ladder leader Olympic as the Sharks look on.

 Cringila Lions 2  Wollongong Olympic 0

The Sunday game sees Rangers take on Bulli FC. A win for Rangers will lift them to 2nd spot and Bulli need points to build confidence in an underwhelming season so far.

DSC_2984
Rangers start the game confidently with a well-organized plan to counter the Bulli FC attacking intent.
DSC_2993
Matt Galanti halts the progress of Luke Foster.
DSC_3076
Ben Zucco with a ball and all tackle on Aaron Baker as Bulli FC launch an attack down the right wing.
DSC_3078
No foul given.
DSC_3080
Bulli continue to press and look to go forward at every opportunity.
DSC_3093
The injured Dylan Lewis looks on.
DSC_3103
Tomoki Wada halts the progress of Kyle Hazebroek.
DSC_3111
Kenji Takahashi brings down Van Elia on the edge of the box.
DSC_3115
Duly put way by Tomoki Wada with a wicked unstoppable bend around the wall in 45′.
DSC_3118
Rangers go into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
DSC_3299
Halftime fly-over.
DSC_3311
Tim Wylie appeals for a foul; not given.
DSC_3187
Yuya Kuwata makes a timely intercept as Corrimal look for a 2nd.
DSC_3193
Red card handed to Luke Stergiou and the match heats up.

 

DSC_3200
Given a straight red but is recorded as an R7!
DSC_3209
Corrimal protestations with the referee over the decision.
DSC_3218
Rangers are down to 10 men as Stergiou is sent to the dressing sheds.
DSC_3334
The scoring machine that is Van Elia puts in the 2nd in 86′.
DSC_3372
Corrimal are too good even with 10 men for Bulli FC as they move to 2nd spot behind Olympic.

 Corrimal Rangers 2   Bulli FC 0

Round 13: It’s getting tighter at both ends of the table

 The Foxes take on United who have closed the gap in the relegation zone.

DSC_3441
Flying Blake Friedrich motors up the right flank and puts immediate pressure on the United defence.
DSC_3447
Greg Valic marshals the defence to fend off early Foxes pressure.
DSC_3455
United sit at the foot of the table.
DSC_3449
Kieren Brodnik fends off another Foxes raid this time down the left wing.
DSC_3487
United Keeper Jason Bleakly feels the Foxes heat.
DSC_3509
United aerial superiority nullifies Foxes high balls into the box.
DSC_3570
Foxes hit the upright!
DSC_3575
Jason Bleakley punches the ball clear from a dangerous Foxes corner kick.
DSC_3555
Cameron Hanson scores for United in 26′ on the break.

 

DSC_3596
Halftime fly-over.
DSC_3710
Friedrich shoots!
DSC_3713
Foxes are level.
DSC_3720
It’s 1-1.
DSC_3730
All square with plenty of time for a winner.
DSC_3750
And another in 60′.
DSC_3765
Foxes fans enjoyed the Jordan Hughes goal.
DSC_3811
United fans are worried about relegation.
DSC_3839
Yogi Ogawa with a weaving run goes after another.

 

DSC_3861
Valic with a bullet header equalizes 2-2!
DSC_3867
Chris Valic celebrates the equalizer.
DSC_3859
Still time for United to close the gap.
DSC_3873
Clearly taken out.
DSC_3877
Friedrich is brought down by Vidaic on the edge of the box. Referee ignores appeal.
DSC_3909
Ends all square.

 Fernhill Foxes 2  South Coast United 2

The final score keeps the points gap between the sides at 3 points. There is a long way to go and to survive the drop points will be needed.

Round 14  Winter Solstice

The Blueys have been in their usual mid-season form slump while the Foxes are getting perilously close to the bottom. Both sides need a win as Round 14 kicks off on the winter’s solstice.

DSC_4010
Rick Goodchild is immediately on the attack from the opening whistle.
DSC_4000
Foxes struggle to win the ball.
DSC_4002
Blueys intensify the pressure attacking down by the right flank.
DSC_4003
Foxes struggle to contain Blueys attack.
DSC_4019
Keisuke Hayashi scores 8′ in for the Blueys.
DSC_4027
Bryce Darnell exposed by static Foxes defence.
DSC_4039
Foxes counterattack.
DSC_4053
Ryan Hunter in search of a goal.
DSC_4057
Sam Munro breaks through the flat backline and drives the ball into the bottom left-hand corner. Blueys are 2 up in 18′!
DSC_4088
Bryce Darnell makes a brilliant save to thwart a Ben Learmonth drive.
DSC_4106
It’s all one-way traffic as the Blueys pile on the pressure.
DSC_4152
Foxes mount an attack through midfield.
DSC_4197
A Sam Munro brace and it’s 3 for the Blueys!
DSC_4204
Blueys celebrate Munro’s brace.
DSC_4213
Winter solstice descends at the Foxes who go in 0-3 at halftime.
DSC_4265
Mitchell Ferraro
DSC_4274
And another! OG from Ryan Hunter. Blueys lead 4-0 in 63′.
DSC_4348
OG #2: Ryan Wilson slots it into his own net in 85′.
DSC_4333
Tarrawanna fan hoping this will be their year.
DSC_4380
Final whistle- Blueys take all three points.

Tarrawanna Blueys move into 4th spot while Fernhill Foxes await the result of the South Coast United v Bulli FC game to see if they have hit rock bottom. (Table)

Round 15 Race for the Premiership

 The clash of the weekend is Olympic v Rangers.  Olympic once again have an opportunity to put distance between themselves and the following pack. 

DSC_4411
Joey Lavalle scores after only 2′! Olympic 1 Rangers 0

 

DSC_4418
Olympic celebrate Joey Lavalle goal.
DSC_4434
Van Elia with a great opportunity chips the ball over the bar.
DSC_4432
Emotions run deep between benches.
DSC_4437
Van Elia knows he should have scored the equalizer.
DSC_4454
Rangers seek to crack open Olympic defence.
DSC_4473
Olympic apply the squeeze on Van Elia.
DSC_4477
Durose does battle with Van Elia for aerial control.
DSC_4480
Durose gets the ball as Elia lies prone.
DSC_4486
Rangers on alert to the counterattack through Lavalle.
DSC_4489
Olympic put Rangers under pressure as the half draws to an end.
DSC_4517
Shot blocked off corner kick.
DSC_4496
Rangers struggle to take control of the match against a well-organised Olympic structure.
DSC_4501
Alvin Cecoli chases down the Olympic attack.
DSC_4504
Cecoli battles with Minutillo
DSC_4511
Corrimal keep a close eye on Ueda.
DSC_4540
Ueda on the attack.

 

DSC_4543
Fans enjoying the game.
DSC_4545
Alvin Cecoli
DSC_4546
Nikolas Loe secure hands
DSC_4549
Minutillo in on Zufic
DSC_4550
Minutillo yellow.
DSC_4556
James Kerr frustrated with some decisions.
DSC_4832
Halftime fly over
DSC_4534
No room given to Elia.
DSC_4674
Clever turn by Elia as Corrimal are off the blocks early in the 2nd half.
DSC_4645
End-to-end action. Corrimal scramble to contain Minutillo.
DSC_4682
Olympic defence scramble the ball clear.

 

DSC_4709
Martinoski shoots
DSC_4711
Nic Loe is unable to stop the drive with the ball bulleting into the far corner.
DSC_4713
Olympic take a two goal lead.
DSC_4727
Olympic celebrate 2nd goal.
DSC_4736
Cecoli in the ear of Martinoski after his goal.
DSC_4775
Hayden Durose
DSC_4765
The final whistle. Corrimal drop off the pace for the League Premiership.

Wollongong Olympic 2  Corrimal Rangers 0

Wollongong Olympic sit on top of the table with a lead of eight points. South Coast United defeated Port Kembla 2-1,  leaving the Foxes to prop up the table. Next week the race for the playoff places heats up.

Round 16:  Congested traffic chase finals spots

The Foxes need points if they are to avoid relegation. They take on Bulli FC at home on a heavy pitch drenched by rain over the last few days. The Illawarra has existing clubs as old 1883 yet local and state governments have failed in all that time to provide adequate grounds but are prepared to splurge on new to town luxury AFL grounds.  Nevertheless, the IPL goes on and must deal with sub-standard facilities and grounds starved of funds by bigoted government authorities. 

DSC_5429
The game opens with the Foxes containing the early Bulli FC momentum.
DSC_5437
Early Bulli play goes through Luke Foster.

 

DSC_5456
Bulli switch the point of attack going down the right flank through Mitchell Delturco while the Hill hold a high line and squeeze play.

 

DSC_5459
The Foxes organize the defence.
DSC_5461
Mitchell Delturco takes issue with a refereeing decision.
DSC_5531
Fans enjoying the game in the cool sunshine.
DSC_5468
Foxes defence holds tight under Bulli pressure.
DSC_5478
Bruce Darnell makes an important save and holds onto the ball.
DSC_5480
Bulli push players forward looking to crack the Foxes defence.
DSC_5486
Jeremy Kemp puts Foxes in the lead against the run of play.
DSC_5488
Yuya Kuwada given no chance.
DSC_5498
Foxes celebrate.
DSC_5519
Foxes with their tails up attack. Rhys Wilson sprints down the right flank.
DSC_5521
Cross is well defended by Kenji Takahashi.
DSC_5556
Bruce Darnell stops Ben Mcdonald aerial threat.
DSC_5562
Darnell tips the ball over the crossbar.

 

DSC_5567
Bulli crowd wondering if their team can score.
DSC_5590
Bulli FC score as the pressure pays dividends.
DSC_5600
Ben McDonald celebrates his equalizer.
DSC_5626
Halftime fly-over.
DSC_5636
Determined Foxes defence hold off Bulli FC presure.
DSC_5646
Luke Foster drives forward.
DSC_5649
Sturdy Kenji Takahashi slide tackle brings down Jordan Hughes.
DSC_5656
Foxes pack swarm in swamp to contain Ben Mcdonald.
DSC_5657
McDonald is locked out
DSC_5665
Kyle Jackson duel.
DSC_5766
Jordan Hughes break is chased down by Kenji Takahashi.
DSC_5779
Ball flashes across Foxes goal.
DSC_5783
Bruce Darnell retrieves the scraps at Ben McDonald’s feet.
DSC_5784
Over the top tumble.
DSC_5786
Kenji Takahashi with a dangerous cross into the Foxes penalty area.
DSC_5796
Foxes counter in a see-saw match.
DSC_5798
Aaron Baker in aerial duel with Tatsunori Nakagawa.
DSC_5823
Even-stevens.
DSC_6007
Ends 1-1.

The Sunday game is between Tarrawanna and Port Kembla.  Port need points and the Blueys can consolidate and make a challenge for the League Championship. 

DSC_6024
Port struggles to find penetrating passes through the midfield.

\

DSC_6025
Chris Fugutes parries a Michael Robinson header from close range.
DSC_6042
Tight Blueys marking stops Port from making progress in final third.
DSC_6048
Adam Rodriguez makes an excellent save.
DSC_6050
Blueys get cross in despite strong Port pressure.
DSC_6110
Blueys look to switch the play.
DSC_6020
Halftime fly-over.
DSC_6174
Fabian Iacovelli puts Port in the lead in the 46′.
DSC_6260
Penalty shout waved away.
DSC_6280
Tarra coach looks on as Blueys struggle to create a break-through.
DSC_6285
Blueys turn up the intensity with most balls going through Rick Goodchild. Penalty!

DSC_6286

DSC_6288

DSC_6310
Duly put away by Matthew Naylor 74′
DSC_6295
2nd Yellow for dissent and Stephen Llyod is sent off. Blueys are reduced to ten men.

 

DSC_6333
Rick Goodchild puts pressure on down the flank.
DSC_6373
Midfield stretches.
DSC_6415
Game ends in a draw.

 Tarrawanna Blueys 1  Port Kembla 1

Round 12 NAIDOC Week

 

DSC_6442
Olympic celebrate NAIDOC Week.

Wollongong Olympic riding high on the table take on relegation threatened South Coast United. A cold gale force westerly wind blows down the ground making conditions difficult for football. In his speech the Aboriginal elder say they call football soccer. Little does he know that clubs like Bulli FC 1901 were playing on the Illawarra before rugby league was even invented. The Illawarra has some of the oldest still existing teams anywhere in the world. The league is a national treasure unrecognized by the media.

DSC_6459
Jack Keating wearing the NAIDOC kit.
DSC_6462
Hayden Durose wearing the NAIDOC keeper outfit.
DSC_6503
Kijori Hori on defensive duties looks along the line as South Coast United mount an attack into the strong westerly wind.
DSC_6516
Mark Vidaic knocks in a 10′ OG.
DSC_6532
Olympic on a roll!
DSC_6560
Jason Bleakley blocks Yusuke Ueda near-post effort.
DSC_6600
SC United drive into the gale wind on a counterattack.
DSC_6609
Kojiro Hori halts the progress of Dion Sterjovski with a superbly timed slide tackle.
DSC_6620
Brendan Fordham with solid defence down the centre of the park.
DSC_6655
In search of the lost ball.

 

DSC_6670
Halftime and balls are recovered.
DSC_6710
Vaughn Patterson almost gets the 2nd for Olympic.
DSC_6724
SC United put pressure on Olympic.
DSC_6768
SC United score in 65′.
DSC_6770
Dion Sterjovski celebrates his equalizer for SC United.
DSC_6798
Martinoski shoots!
DSC_6802
Jason Bleakley dives.
DSC_6803
The ball flashes past the upright.
DSC_6835
Olympic lift the intensity and put on the pressure.
DSC_6896
Julian Minutillo shoots from close range.
DSC_6900
SC United luck holds out.
DSC_6912
It ends in a draw. SC United satisfied with a valuable away point against the leaders.

 

Wollongong Olympic 1  South Coast United 1

Round 18: Woonona Sharks celebrate 130 years with a sol