In a valiant display that combined promising attacks and stoic defence, Green Gully SC faced a narrow defeat in their Round 2 NPL Victoria clash against Hume City FC, despite a number of near-misses and a post-hit that kept the supporters on edge throughout the match.
Green Gully, riding high off their last-gasp victory in the opening round, looked to cement their position at the upper echelons of the league table. They started the game on the front foot, with impressive build-up play down the left wing and a determination evident in every move.
The game’s intensity was palpable from the get-go. Tevere, continuing his shooting-on-sight policy, had his efforts deflected behind for a corner. The subsequent play saw Schrijvers connect with a thunderous header, only to be denied by the post, a moment that typified the evening’s narrative of ‘so close yet so far’ for Gully.
As the half-hour mark approached, an early substitution saw Spiteri replace the injured Lauton, a reshuffle that tested Gully’s adaptability. Gully maintained a dominant stance, with Koudakpo‘s aerial threat looming large over Hume’s defence.
However, the 37th minute saw the game tilt as Ochieng for Hume City found the net with a sublime strike, curling the ball into the top corner after dazzling footwork, leaving the Gully faithful in a stunned silence.
The halftime whistle blew with Green Gully trailing by a single goal, despite a half filled with promising moments and control over large stretches.
The second half continued in much the same vein, with Gully pushing for an equaliser. Iannucci, ever the threat, drew a diving save with a long-range attempt that had the fans out of their seats. Spiteri, too, tested the Hume goalkeeper, signalling Gully’s intent to claw back into the game.
As the game progressed, Gully had to withstand a barrage of Hume City attempts, with Driscoll, Gully’s goalkeeper, called into action to deny Bingham in what would have been a second for Hume. Iannucci and Latham, consistent threats down the flanks, provided crosses that just failed to meet their targets.
The final ten minutes of the match saw Gully ramp up the pressure, creating a flurry of opportunities. Koudakpo’s powerful drive was matched only by the Hume keeper’s reflexes, and Latham‘s long-range effort forced yet another superb save. The repeated thwarting of Gully’s attempts by Hume’s goalkeeper was a testament to the quality of the opposition they faced.
The introduction of Shifa Ahmed for Ciarma marked a debut in challenging circumstances, a test of character for the youngster who entered the fray with Gully chasing shadows of hope.
Despite coming home with what looked to be a wet sail, Gully witnessed Hume’s Isgrove strike a stunning acrobatic finish to secure Hume’s victory.
As the clock wound down, Gully’s fortunes further soured with Koudakpo‘s dismissal following a second yellow card. 
In the end, despite a spirited display and a catalogue of chances that on another day might have swung the pendulum their way, Green Gully walked away empty-handed.
Report by Matthew Galea
Photography by Mark Avellino Photography