The Gully youngsters were hoping to build on the impressive second half at Port Melbourne last match, whilst also redeeming themselves following the loss to Altona Magic in their previous home game. It was a busy day at Green Gully Reserve with Junior NPL matches galore and players being required to play multiple fixtures. One of those was young goalkeeper Thomas Simic who will be needed to fill the gloves of captain Tomas Josifovski as he recovers from his injury.
Gully started positively and were on the front foot in the opening exchanges, however after 15 minutes it was Dandenong who looked the more dangerous. Fortunately, the defensive pairing of Rohan Kaler and Garang Arou were strong and resolute, as they helped the young Simic in the first half. Gully huffed and puffed without really creating too much, other than half chances, before being awarded a penalty for handball in the 20th minute. Stand-in captain Stafan Stojcevski stepped up and duly converted the exact penalties he had been rehearsing during the week, beyond the reach of the Dandenong keeper.
Dandenong rallied and were applying plenty of physical pressure under the watchful eye of the referee, but Gully refused to be outdone. Late in the first half Brodie Sposato was forced off with an ankle injury and was replaced by Nicolas Fumo in midfield.
HALF TIME 1 – 0
It was much the same after the break, with Gully on the back foot in the opening exchanges, although Dandenong couldn’t capitalise on their possession. As the game wore on, coach Ted Latomanski made changes in the midfield and the chances started to appear. Stojcevski forced the Dandenong keeper into two excellent saves, as well as pulling a shot wide after good build up play down the right-hand side from Justin Spiteri.
Under 18’s player, and last week’s goal scorer, Brayden Portelli very nearly made an instant impact again; this time shooting over the bar with just his second touch. Dandenong City put a cross too close to Simic, who caught the ball and then put Gully on the immediate attack with a long ball forward. Stojcevski got goal side of the defenders and this time made sure of the result with his second goal on the 80-minute mark.
This was just desserts for Gully, who were the better attacking team across the entire game. With the chances created in the second half, the result could have been more.
FINAL SCORE 2 – 0
Report by Asst. Coach Ian Burke
Photo by Paul Crossley