A very depleted Green Gully Under 21’s team made the trip to Dandenong for the final game of the season, looking to make it 4 wins from 4 games. After climbing off the bottom of the table a few weeks ago, the team has gone from strength to strength under the coaching of Ted Latomanski. With regular players Justin Spiteri, Nick Giarizzo, Damian Barbanera, Garang Arou and Gavin Tasevski all receiving promotions to play with the seniors, there were numerous opportunities for boys from the Under 18’s and 16’s to step up.
Gully set up with a 4-4-2 formation, due to the absentees and players available; a formation that they have had some success with throughout the season. Phillip Pannunzio from the Under 16’s was rewarded with his first senior start after some impressive performances from the bench. With only five regular Under 21’s squad members on show it would be an excellent test of how far this group has come.
The boys in green and white were looking comfortable in possession and defensively solid. After some early exchanges at both ends, Gully took the lead just after 10 minutes with Alexander Cepivirovski chipping the goalkeeper with a sublime effort from the edge of the penalty area. Unfortunately, Thunder equalised within minutes after some holes appeared in the backline to make it 1-1.
There were then some half chances at each end, but Gully were looking the more dangerous any time they were able to break, especially with the speed of Nicholas Ochoa up front, supporting Captain Thomas Magarelli. After some neat interplay between Samuel De Los Santos Myles, a ball was played through to Ochoa who rattled the crossbar with his effort. Nicholas Valenzuela was on hand to follow up the rebound and give the away side the advantage right on the stroke of half time.
HALF TIME 1 – 2
Approaching the final half of the season Gully were looking to finish with style and some players looking to impress for season 2023. The forward press was evident from the kick off and the game was being played inside the Thunder half. Within the first minute there was an immediate chance on goal for Ochoa. This was quickly followed by shots from both Cepivirovski and Magarelli.
After a foul on the ever-dangerous Ochoa on the edge of the box, the effort from De Los Santos Myles hit the wall and rebounded to a fellow Gully player. It was laid off in the path of Sebastien Gianella who scored possibly the goal of the season; rifling the ball into the top corner and leaving the Thunder keeper helpless. It was no more than Gully deserved for such a fine start to the second half.
With coach Ted Latomanski now ringing the changes, the game became a little more stretched and there were now chances at either end. Gully, though, were looking extremely dangerous on the counterattack and it was Esrom Paulos and Magarelli who both could have added to the scoreline. Goalkeeper Thomas Simic was looking solid at the back when called upon, although even he could do little to prevent Thunder from nearly scoring at the end as the effort smashed against the crossbar.
It was a fantastic end to the season and fully rewarding for the coaching staff to see. After the mid-season struggles and players leaving there have been numerous opportunities for boys to step up into the senior environment. The future is certainly looking bright at Green Gully for 2023.
FINAL SCORE 1 – 3
Report by Asst. Coach Ian Burke
Photo by Mark Avellino Photography