Our Green Gully Under 21 side made the lengthy trip to Kingston Heath for what was likely to be a tough away day against the usually strong Bentleigh Greens. The curse of the captain’s armband saw a third captain appointed in Nicholas Giarrizzo in the absence of both Tomas Josifovski and Stefan Stojcevski through injury. There were more inclusions from the Under 18 squad on the back of their strong performances of late with Dean Peppas making his senior debut in the centre of defence along Garang Arou. Jacob Kitanovski-Groba was also making his first start of the season in midfield.
Gully started well and weren’t allowing Bentleigh to dictate the play, although the home side were looking dangerous on the transition forward. With the midfield working hard to close the space and the young defence staying resolute, Gully managed to keep Bentleigh to shots from distance for the first half hour.
Bentleigh were working equally hard and showing better intensity, especially without the ball. Gully was kept mainly to set pieces and it was from one of those corner kicks that a looping header from Arou tipped the top of the bar. At the other end the home side was awarded a corner. As the ball bounced around in the box, Gully was unable to clear and a tap in saw the home team go into the rooms with the advantage.
HALF TIME 1 – 0
After regrouping at half time, and by no means out of the game, Green Gully’s young side came out again showing good energy for the second half. Samuel De Los Santos Myles picked up a knock to his ankle early on and coach Ted Latomanski was forced into a change. No sooner had this been completed than a turnover in midfield saw Bentleigh go two up after goalkeeper Thomas Simic was unable to parry the first shot out of harm’s way.
Green Gully was finding some joy in the wide areas, however, the final delivery into the box wasn’t clinical enough and the Bentleigh defence hadn’t been tested.
A tough night at the office for the Gully youngsters against a ruthless and well-drilled Bentleigh side. Lessons learnt once again, but nobody who saw the game could fault the effort.
FINAL SCORE 2 – 0
Report by Asst. Coach Ian Burke
Photo by Mark Avellino Photography