A rather youthful looking Green Gully ventured down to Paisley Park on a cold, but sunny afternoon. Coach Ted Latomanski was showing faith in the Gully junior system, starting with Julian Sandoval, Brayden Portelli and Esrom Paulos up front. The bench also had Daniel Latomanski on it, and senior debuts for Shifa Ahmed and Sebastian Gianella.
Gully started well and looked to be competing across the pitch, with both teams creating half chances. Gully was applying pressure with numerous shots off target and balls into the box not being converted. Disaster struck at the 8th minute mark, with Magic very fortunate to have a shot deflected into the Gully net, leaving goalkeeper Damian Barbanera wrong-footed.
The away side rallied and responded with some fine attacking plays, however, were unable to find the final killer touch inside the box. Portelli was looking dangerous and managed to win a penalty in the 20th minute. Captain Nicholas Giarizzo stepped up, sent the keeper the wrong way, but unfortunately also placed his effort wide of the post. It was a savage blow for the effort this young Gully side were displaying.
HALF TIME 1 – 0
Green Gully came out looking to get back into the game and pushing forward. Once again balls were getting into the attacking third, but without a clinical finish. Just short of the hour-mark, Gully on the attack with a corner got caught on the counterattack. Goalkeeper Barbanera pulled off two point-blank saves, but then had to watch on in despair as the third effort found the back of the net.
Changes were then made with Ahmed and Latomanski providing a youthful energy off the bench in wide positions, showing that the future is bright in green and white. Both players managed to create half chances for themselves and others and will have plenty more to offer in the second half of the season.
As the game drew to a close, Magic opened up the tiring Gully defence with a through ball and made it a score line of 3-0. Some more tough lessons once again for this young side as they find out what senior football is about. One shining light was Justin Spiteri, who still only 16 years old, came off the bench for the seniors to make an impressive cameo appearance in a 4-0 victory.
FINAL SCORE 3 – 0
Report by Asst. Coach Ian Burke
Photo by: Nomadic Monk Images