Match Report: Sharks find that Winning Feeling

By Amateur Reporter

A fine and sunny Saturday afternoon greeted South Coast United at Ocean Park who came with 5 points from 1 win, 2 draws and 2 losses in Round 8 of the Illawarra Premier League. They were playing a Woonona side that were looking to post their first win of the season after a late drama last week broke the heart of the Sharks faithful.

The Sharks kicked off to the south and seemed slow to begin. South Coast applied plenty of pressure early on and the Sharks were very lucky not to have gone a goal down after countless raids and nice goal keeping from Brad Jardine. In the 7th minute, Jardine was at his best with a great one on one save to deny South Coast who looked certain to score.

It wasn’t until the 18th minute the Sharks got into a real goal scoring position when a nice build up play came though the centre of midfield and played through to Cameron Banks who turned and fired, forcing a save from the United keeper. This seemed to spark the Sharks who started to play themselves into the game and through some nice lead up via Chris Gibson gained a free kick just outside the box. From the set piece the shot thundered in and after a scramble was eventually cleared out for a corner. From the corner, the sharks needed some luck, but it wasn’t to be this time.

The Sharks continued to pressure United’s defence but were unable to finish off their chances. In the 31st minute, Gibson was issued a yellow card for dissent as both sides began to niggle one another. The niggle from the Sharks seemed to suit the South Coast as this sparked them back into action after applying the pressure early on. In the 43rd minute, a nice piece of play came from South Coast and if it wasn’t for rock solid defence by Ryan Hunter, the Sharks might have found themselves behind on the score board.

With South Coast fired up after some refereeing decisions went against them, their striker Sinan Dilber saw a straight red card after some foul language and dissent towards the man in the middle with the whistle just before half time.

Half time saw a tired 10 men South Coast and Woonona outfit satisfied with their opening 45 minutes head to the sheds with the score at nil all.

The Sharks came out after half time full of confidence. Whatever coach Rob Bemi said at half time worked wonders as they came out and played some nice football, constantly pressing the United defence looking to take the lead. Ryan Emerton continued with his attacking midfield dominance and the Sharks came very close to taking the lead on numerous chances with the best chance coming off a corner kick when Hunter out leaped his opposing defender to put the ball just over the bar.

In the 65th minute, Chris Gibson gave the Sharks the lead with a nicely slotted shot into the back of the net to the delight of Sharks fans. Off the field saw a heated verbal exchange between diehard supporters from both sides that fizzled out when play got back underway.

With the Sharks ahead 1 nil on the score board, South Coast seemed to drop their heads and thus the Sharkie’s boys took full advantage and applied the blow torch looking to double their lead. Time and time again with poor final pass options and poor finishing prevented this from happening. In the 79th minute, substitute Luke Mittwollen forced a nice save from the United keeper with an attacking strike which found the target.

With the clock ticking towards full time, the Sharks had a few nervous moments after South Coast caught the midfield napping on a few occasions and launched some counter attacks. Rock solid defence from Lachlan Fetterplace and Hunter stayed strong, upsetting any such raid.

After 4 minutes of time added on, the full time whistle came and the Sharks recorded their first victory of the season.

Two injury concerns came out of today’s fixture with Cameron Banks picking up an ankle injury and Luke Foster a knee injury. Both players could struggle to be fit for the Friday night fixture against local rivals Bulli.

In the early games played today, Youth Grade scored a 2-1 victory against South Coast United and the Men’s over 35’s snatched a 2 all draw with Coniston.