The Gully youngsters made their way to Olympic Village in Heidelberg for the Sunday afternoon clash with Heidelberg United, who were only 3 points above them on the ladder. The conditions were testing, with a strong breeze towards the scoreboard end, although the pitch was in immaculate condition. Once again there were opportunities for younger players to make their mark; this time it was Fernando Menjivar making his first senior appearance off the bench.
The away team started the better and playing into a very strong breeze were playing with good intensity. Justin Spiteri was bossing the centre of the park and the hold up play of Brodie Sposato was excellent. Thomas Magarelli looked like he had bounced back to form and was able to expose the Heidelberg fullback on numerous occasions.
Gully took the lead as Spiteri won the ball in his own half and fed the ball wide to Esrom Paulos. Paulos went on a mazy run before drawing the defender and feeding Sposato who unleashed an absolute rocket inside the far post. The remainder of the half saw Heidelberg push forward with more intent, and Gully started to look a little nervous approaching half time.
HALF TIME 0 – 1
Gully looked to start the second half on the front foot, as they had the first. Pushing forward with pace and energy they continued to create half chances. After being close a few times, they were then awarded a penalty when the ball unluckily bounced up into the hand of the Heidelberg defender. Magarelli stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to double the advantage.
As the game wore on, gaps began appearing in the Gully defence too and the large pitch was having an effect as the boys tired. The Gully team owed their win as much to goalkeeper Damian Barbanera who made some outstanding saves. Heidelberg also managed to hit the post in the closing stages, which also saw Gavin Tasevski sent from the field for a second yellow card.
All in all, it was a gutsy win, once again with a very young side. Lessons to be learned for the future, but a crucial 3 points which saw Gully come off the bottom of the ladder.
FINAL SCORE 0 – 2
Report by Asst. Coach Ian Burke
Photo by Mark Avellino Photography