Green Gully Under 21’s buoyed by the recent comeback versus St. Albans Saints were facing a tough task at home against second-placed Hume City. Still missing several key players through injury, there was a very youthful look to the home side. There were also Senior inclusions in the form of Mitchell Graham and Ethan Brooks to bolster Gully.
The game started at a frenetic pace and Gully were having joy in wide areas. The high press was working well, and Hume City were forced into playing longer than they usually would. For the opening quarter of the match the teams were even, although Hume did have plenty of pace out wide.
Just before the half hour mark, Gully were dealt a double blow with Hume City scoring twice from corners to the near post. The first one saw the home team’s defence standing watching and a free header was allowed. The second was an unfortunate own goal as Justin Spiteri tried in vain to make amends for a similar chance that had been placed off target at the other end. The effort and work rate couldn’t be criticised; however, the polish and execution were missing. Then tragedy struck after a speculative ball forward wasn’t dealt with and the Hume striker provided a classy finish.
HALF TIME 0 – 3
Gully came out fired up for the second half and immediately put Hume on the back foot. The press was far more intense and the Gully youngsters, made up of several players who could also qualify for Under 18’s were attempting to regain control. Brodie Sposato had a couple of excellent chances to get the home team back into the game but was unable to take them.
Further injuries were forcing the substitutes into action, although this was no deterrent to Green Gully. This squad has some serious depth and with more youth off the bench there is an enthusiasm and desire about them to succeed.
Nicholas Fumo was resolute in defence and with Brayden Portelli now occupying a more central attacking role, the Hume defence were looking more nervous. Gully were awarded a needless penalty after a clumsy challenge inside the box, however, captain Nick GIarizzo was unable to beat the away keeper. Discipline was now becoming an issue for Hume, as one of their substitutes picked up two yellow cards in succession and went for an early shower.
After consecutive corners, Gully were now offered a lifeline as Hume fell asleep at the near post and Portelli snuck in to tap home a goal and give the home side some impetus. Rejuvenated and with a man advantage, Gully pushed forward and looked to take the game on. The home team were now enjoying possession in the Hume half and were awarded another penalty for a challenge from behind which Portelli then converted.
With ten minutes remaining the game was well and truly in the balance. Hume was looking tired, but still dangerous on the counterattack. Gully searched for the equaliser, pushing players forward. Then in the blink of an eye Hume had secured the points after a mix-up in the Gully defence saw them regain the two-goal cushion with only 5 minutes left. The final score didn’t completely reflect the efforts of the home side.
FINAL SCORE 2 – 4
Report by Asst. Coach Ian Burke
Photo by: Mark Avellino Photography