The Green Gully youngsters were looking to find a result against one of the league’s better teams, gaining some reward for the past few weeks improved efforts. It was always going to be a tough ask, especially with the lack of training during the week, due to the wet weather. Captain Stefan Stojcevski was back up front in another very young side.
Gully started on the back foot and were allowing the impressive Port Melbourne midfield to control the game from the start. It was no surprise that Port took an early lead, this early setback seemed to wake up the home side and they were now able to push forward into the Port half in what was becoming a very open and entertaining affair.
After a few tame efforts which the Port goalkeeper dealt with, it was becoming apparent that Gully was warming into the game. Around the half-hour mark, Stojcevski looked to switch play towards the right-wing of Julian Sandoval. Sandoval lay the ball back for Alex Cepivirovski who unleashed a thunderbolt that settled nicely into the top corner. It was rewarding for the home team who were showing good intensity in the contest.
HALF TIME 1 – 1
Coming out after half time the game was on a knife-edge. Both teams continued to push forward, leaving plenty of gaps in both defensive areas. Port Melbourne countered with pace, as Gully scrambled to retreat, there was a clumsy challenge inside the box and Port were awarded a penalty. Goalkeeper Damien Barbanera produced a fine stop from the spot, however the ball bounced back to the onrushing Port Melbourne forward, who then placed his opportunity over the bar.
It didn’t take long for Port to find the back of the net, though, with a deep corner finding their tallest player unmarked. He dispatched his chance across goal to the far post as a lack of concentration cost the home side yet again. Once again Gully pushed forward to try and get something out of the game and it was Cepivirovski who answered the call. This time drilling his shot into the opposite bottom corner to bring the teams level.
As both teams pushed for the winner there was some entertaining football being displayed from both sides. Once again there was clumsiness inside the Gully box and a second penalty was awarded. This time the same Port Melbourne player showed composure to send Barbanera the wrong way and put the away side ahead. This was how the game was to finish, although not before Port Melbourne brought another good save out of Barbanera and also hit the post.
FINAL SCORE 2 – 3
Report by Asst. Coach Ian Burke
Photography by: Paul Crossley