Woonona grabbed their fourth win in a row thanks to a 3-1 win over Fernhill at Ocean Park on Sunday afternoon. After a scrappy opening 35 minutes, the Sharks sparked into action scoring three goals in the space of five minutes. Corey Haines-Grose got the first rounding the keeper and passing home. Jarred Morley doubled this lead two minutes later, tapping in from close range before Tyler Bromham-Fuller converted from the spot sending the keeper the wrong way. The Foxes grabbed one back early in the second half when Ryan Hunter headed home following a set piece situation but were unable to pull the match closer.

The opening quarter of an hour saw either side fail to take control of proceedings, with both teams unable to put a flow of passes together. It took until the 19th minute before a clear-cut chance was created, with Corey Haines-Grose ghosting in behind the Fernhill backline allowing him to get a left-footed shot off which forced a strong save from Bryce Daenell. Immediately after this chance, Fernhill went down the other end with Jack Lombo turning well and hitting a shot which rolled into the arms of Ben Wunsch.

In the 25th minute, Woonona were awarded a freekick from a tight angle on the left-hand side. Jarred Morley stepped forward and lashed a right-footed effort just past the far post. Woonona continued this pressure two minutes later as Corey Haines-Grose made a lung-bursting run down the left-hand side before driving a ball across the six-yard box. Daenell did well to cut out the danger, allowing his defence to fall back and clear their lines. Fernhill responded to this pressure in the 32nd minute as Alex Rooke broke the offside trap, going one-on-one with Ben Wunsch from a tight angle on the left-hand side. However, he dragged his shot wide of the far post.

Woonona opened the scoring with five minutes to play of the first half. Corey Haines-Grose latched onto a hopeful ball forward, setting himself face-to-face with Bryce Daenell. He calmly rounded the onrushing keeper and rolling the ball into a vacant net. Just two minutes later, the Sharks doubled their advantage as Jarred Morley got on the end of a cross from the left-hand side of the park, getting just enough on the ball to send it goalwards. Daenell got a hand to the effort but not enough to prevent it from finding the back of the net. Fernhill’s misery was compounded in the 44th minute when the Sharks were awarded a penalty. Tyler Bromham-Fuller stepped up and confidently sent the keeper the wrong way with a powerful effort.

Despite neither side taking control of the ball for large spells throughout the half, the Foxes found themselves down 3-0 heading into the sheds at half-time, with the side needing an inspired reaction if they wanted any hope of getting something from the match.

Woonona continued on from where they left off just two minutes into the second half when Luke McCosker attempted to curl a strike into the far corner but saw his effort plucked from the sky by Daenell. Two minutes later, they created another opportunity when Jesse French brought down a ball launched over the top of the Fernhill defence. He managed to get a shot off, but it was held well by Daenell. However, despite this spell of play from the hosts, the Foxes found themselves back in the game in the 51st minute when a short corner to Ben Riach caught the Sharks off guard. Riach whipped a ball in from the edge of the box, finding an unmarked Ryan Hunter who headed beyond Wunsch.

Fernhill failed to take advantage of this momentum shift however, leaving Woonona to resume control of the game. The Sharks conjured up another opportunity in the 72nd minute when Haines-Grose powered in a dangerous freekick which Daenell was unable to hold onto. The ball nearly fell to Khalid Alali but it was cleared just in time for the visitors. Five minutes later, Woonona again nearly added to their advantage when another set piece caused issues for Fernhill. Christopher Gibson found himself unmarked at the back post but could only head the ball into the hands of Daenell.

As the clock ticked down, Woonona were unable to extend their lead any further, with the hosts holding on to secure their sixth victory of their league campaign and send the side into the top five for the first time this season, although Wollongong United could overtake the side once they play their postponed Round 12 fixture against Coniston.

Woonona coach Dan McGoldrick spoke of his ambitions for the team this season stating: ‘Our objective would be to get into the five (top five) … and you never know in semi-finals, anything can happen’. However, they will need to be at their best to maintain their place as the next four weeks sees the side playing four out of last season’s top five. Next up for the Sharks is a mid-week cup clash with Port Kembla in the quarterfinals of the Bert Bampton Cup. This is followed up with a visit to Balls Paddock to face Bulli in a local derby, with the side looking for revenge after having been defeated 4-0 earlier this season.

Meanwhile, Fernhill will be very disappointed in losing their eighth game of the season. The Foxes will need to start picking results if they are to avoid finishing bottom, with South Coast United and Cringila both picking up victories this weekend. Next weekend, Fernhill host bottom-placed side South Coast United who with a victory could go level on points with the Foxes.

Sunday 9 June 2019 at Ocean Park, Woonona

Woonona – 3 (Haines-Grose 39’, Morley 41’, Bromham-Fuller 44’)

Fernhill – 1 (Hunter 51’)

Woonona Sharks: Ben WUNSCH, Tyren MACLOU, Jeremy LOPEZ, Christopher GIBSON, Khalid ALALI, Kota ODAKURA, Jesse FRENCH, Tyler BROMHAM-FULLER, Luke MCCOSKER, Corey HAINES-GROSE, Jarred MORLEY

Substitutes: Jai MELLOR (MCCOSKER), Bradley STRUDWICK (FRENCH), Tyler SNELGROVE, Damien GREW (MORLEY), Chris WEARING

Fernhill Foxes: Bryce DAENELL, Andrew DRAPANIOTIS, Kurt FOULGER, Liam CHILTON, Ryan HUNTER, Yoji OGAWA, Alexander ROOKE, Tatsunori NAKAGAWA, Jack LOMBO, Rhys WILSON, Ben RIACH

Substitutes: Alexander JOSIPOVIC, Elias AYOUB (DRAPANIOTIS), Jeremy KEMP (CHILTON), Shinsei TANAKA (LOMBO), Lachlan CALDER

Referee: Steve BOZIC

Assistant Referees: Patrick HUTTON and Harrison FISHER

Report by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_

Photo courtesy of Fernhill FC