Bankstown Berries 2 v St George 1
Two very late goals for Bankstown Berries saw them snatch victory from the jaws of defeat after the nominal home side, in a match switched to Valentine Park, overcame St George 2-1.
Despite the lateness of the goals though, it was a result deserved as the Berries did dominate for the most part, putting strong pressure on St George, but failing for the majority of the game to make their possession count.
The Saints, seeking to recover from the heavy loss last week at Central Coast, were forced into changes with Michael Yarnold and Tarek Ercan both suspended, while Lenox Tweneboa and Wassim Hijazi started on the bench. The Berries meanwhile, were unchanged from the side that defeated Macarthur Rams last week, with even the bench featuring the same five.
The early exchanges were relatively even, and for the first twenty minutes, neither keeper were unduly concerned. Perhaps David Hamilton was the busier, predominantly from the Berries’ regular corners, but was invariably untroubled.
As the half wore on, the Berries began to dominate and it was down the left where the Berries were creating the most danger with Ilkay Gurbuz and Nicholas Paras combining well, with Mitchell Davidson joining in on occasions. But while a cross would arrive, the Saints defence, more on their game this week, snuffed out any opportunities. The closest they came to conceding came via Davidson, who turned well before just shooting inches wide.
St George’s chances were limited, a snapshot from Matt Sadler one of the few in the first half, but when Stevan Ilic broke clear five minutes before the break, a goal seemed imminent. That was before Milan Zoric was to concede a foul, bringing down the Saints striker on his way to goal. Zoric earned a yellow, but it could have been worse.
The resultant free kick was well over, but Ilic got his revenge in first half stoppage time. The Saints’ leading scorer showed great control before shooting into the top corner, a slight deflection seeing the ball spin just under the bar.
It was somewhat of a sucker punch for the Berries, who barely had time to restart. A goal down after dominating the half would have hurt deeply, but they set about their task with even more intent in the second period. It was through Paras that most chances arrived, last week’s double scorer not having luck on his side this week. He struck the bar from distance with a free kick and three further chances in the next ten minutes were also to prove fruitless.
The Saints, in a rare foray upfield, might have grabbed a second, but David Wilson just failed to connect properly to an Ilic cross.
But it seemed again that despite their possession, the Berries would remain scoreless, as the Saints, with the introduction of Lenox Tweneboa, switched to five across the back, keen to protect their one goal advantage. It looked like they would last too, as the clock ticked down and time dwindled.
Then with just three minutes of normal time remaining, the pressure told. Yet another corner, and up rose Dimitri Zakilas, to powerfully head home the equaliser. A saving grace perhaps and you could be forgiven for thinking that both sides might be content with that, a share of the points. But the Berries clearly weren’t, and they pushed on for a winner. Cruelly for the Saints, it came two minutes into time added on, a low Joel Anscomb strike sneaking through a packed penalty area.
Bankstown Berries 2 (Dimitri Zakilas 87’, Joel Anscomb 90+2’) v St George 1 (Stevan Ilic 45+1’)
Saturday June 20 2015
at Valentine Park, Parklea
Referee: Jerry Bitas
Assts: Brandon Lovric and John Lalic
Bankstown Berries: 1. Michael Frost 3. Liam McKenna 7. Kyle Ewart 11. Joel Anscomb 12. Mitchell Davidson 14. Nicholas Paras 16. Milan Zoric 17. Ilkay Gurbuz (19. Dimitri Zakilas) 18. Matthew Trotter 21. Peter Dimitropoulos (8. Thomas Taylor 82’) 22. Jake Bradshaw (10. Jun Kato).
Subs not used: 13. Andrew Nkpolukwu 42. Jake Senior
Yellow Cards: Joel Anscomb 25’, Kyle Ewart 35’, Milan Zoric 39’, Nicholas Paras 90+4’
Coach: Wally Savor