Thurtell helps Bentleigh to first points
Bentleigh Greens has kept early pace with last season’s champion South Melbourne after a convincing 2-0 win over North Geelong Warriors at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex.
Debutant Matt Thurtell opened the scoring in the first-half with a well-taken effort, before he turned provider for substitute Jamie De Abreu late in the game.
It was an end-to-end first half at Kingston Heath as both sides looked to make the perfect start to the NPL season.
The first chance fell the regional side’s way, as Juso Julardzija spotted Alastair Bray fractionally off his line, and it took a brilliant save from the young shot-stopper to deny the North Geelong forward’s chipped effort from the wing.
From there on, it was all Bentleigh with only the heroics of Warriors ‘keeper Daniel Zilic keeping the promoted outfit in the contest.
Chris Lucas’ pace came to the fore in the 20th minute as the winger burst through on the left, eventually denied by the outstretched leg of Zilic.
Visevic was the next to face the wall in goals, as he was stopped by a diving effort with his low drive.
Talisman Wayne Wallace shimmied left and right on the edge of the area, before launching a vicious strike, but that man Zilic again was on hand to tip it wide.
Thurtell was denied brilliantly again by the keeper in the 35th minute, but had his revenge moments after.
Some lovely build up play from Queenslanders Tyson Holmes and Lucas saw the latter play in Thurtell, who impressed in spades, slotting home low to open the scoring on 37 minutes.
In a more low-key second term, chances were at a premium for both sides.
Julardzija continued to press the Bentleigh defensive line and he fashioned an early chance, sliding the ball narrowly wide of the post.
Bentleigh worked the ball around the better of the two teams and controlled a large portion of the possession.
With it, they created two clear-cut chances to seal the game, neither of which they took.
Chris Lucas had the first attempt with 20 minutes remaining, somehow skying his one-on-one effort from five-yards.
Goal scorer Thurtell also had a golden chance go to waste, as he went high and wide with only the keeper to beat for his brace.
They were, perhaps fortunately, not made to rue their mistakes as substitute De Abreu sealed the contest with a tap in.
Bentleigh Greens 2 (Thurtell 37’, De Abreu 87’) defeated North Geelong Warriors 0 at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex [HT 1:0]
Bentleigh Greens: 21. Al BRAY (GK), 5. Jack WEBSTER, 36. Steven TOPALOVIC, 24. Luke PILKINGTON, 11. Dion KIRK, 8. Wayne WALLACE (c), 10. Tyson HOLMES (4. Troy RUTHVEN 88’), 19 Daniel VISEVIC (15. Kobbie BOAHENE 80’), 18. Matthew THURTELL, 9. Chris LUCAS (7. Jamie DE ABREU 69’), 2. Tom MATTHEWS
Unused Substitute(s): 1. Ryan SCOTT (GK), 6. Liam MCCORMICK
Yellow Card(s): Kirk 8’, Topalovic 50’, Pilkington 55’
Red Card(s): Nil
North Geelong Warriors: 1. Daniel ZILIC (GK), 17. Nicholas JURCIC, 2. Darren LEWIS, 3. Matt TOWNLEY, 6. Josh PUGH, 16. Michael GRGIC (4. Nikola JURKOVIC 59’), 8. Vito CICHELLO, 23. Michael ANDERSON, 10. Robert ZADWORNY, 14. Mark PALEKA (Nathan LONG 76’), 77. Juso JULARDZIJA
Unused Sub(s): 21. Matija DRAGOVIC (GK), 5. Anthony BANOVAC, 31. Antonio BARESIC
Yellow Card(s): Zadworny 84’, Jurkovic 85’
Red Card(s): Nil
PHOTO: Anita Milas