Drama in Lara as Warriors go down 1-2 to Avondale
By Rusty Woodger (@RustyWoodger)
PHOTO: Ivan Dugandzic
Avondale has run out 2-1 winners over North Geelong in a drama-filled encounter at Elcho Park today.
The Warriors had a last minute equaliser disallowed in a game that also featured three penalties and a red card.
Jonathan Munoz’s two goals from the spot were enough to edge out Reardo Luka’s first-half penalty and claim three points for Avondale.
The referee was kept busy in the early stages of the game with heavy tackles flying in from both sides.
The hosts were enjoying the better of the early play before Avondale were gifted a penalty when Matthew Townley brought down Christopher Irwin inside the area.
Munoz calmly dispatched the spot kick, leaving the Warriors to play catch-up for the third week in a row.
But two minutes later, North Geelong was itself gifted a reprieve after Michele Crazia felled Nikola Jurkovic inside the 18-yard area.
Reardo Luka equalised from the spot to set up a grandstand second half between two sides in desperate need of a win.
The Warriors came close to snatching the lead in the 50th minute when Mark Paleka unleashed from inside the box, but his strike was deflected away.
Then, with 15 minutes to play, Darren Lewis brought down Aleksiy Khrapko inside the box with a poorly-timed challenge, leading to Lewis’ second yellow card and another Munoz goal from the spot.
Despite going a man down, North Geelong continued to pile the pressure on Avondale’s defenders.
In the dying seconds, a long-range free kick from Townley fooled everyone and floated into the back of the net in what appeared to be a legitimate goal.
But it was ruled out after the referee cited a foul on Avondale keeper Frazer Siddall, much to the dismay of the Warriors players and its bench.
After the game, North Geelong coach Micky Colina said the officials were “sucked in” by play-acting from Siddall.
“Today I think the officials decided the outcome of the game, unfortunately,” he said.
“As soon as Townley hit that ball, the keeper was gone. His timing was right off, I saw it.
“He got bundled over by his own players. And look, the keeper was smart enough. He stuck to the ground and milked the situation.”
The win is Avondale’s third in four games, while the Warriors’ losing streak extends to five matches.
North Geelong Warriors 1 (Luka 38’) defeated by Avondale FC 2 (Munoz 36’, 74’) at Elcho Park [HT: 1-1]
North Geelong Warriors: 1. Daniel ZILIC, 2. Darren LEWIS, 16. Michael GRGIC, 3. Matthew TOWNLEY, 99. Nathan LONG, 8. Vito CICHELLO, 4. Nikola JURKOVIC, 10. Robbie ZADWORNY, 7. Reardo LUKA (9. Tomislav TRBUHOVIC 81’), 14. Mark PALEKA, 11. Juso JULARDZIJA (23. Michael ANDERSON 64’)
Unused subs: 6. Joshua PUGH, 17. Nicholas JURCIC, 22. Hamish FLAVELL.
Yellow Card: Townley (33’), Jurkovic (69’), Lewis (16’, 76’).
Red Card (s): Lewis (76’).
Avondale FC: 20. Frazer SIDDALL, 27. Julien CANNIZZARO, 28. Anthony FALLONE (24. Resit CULCULOGLU 79’), 13. Michele CRAZIA, 6. Anthony STRANO, 5. Jeffrey FLEMING, 18. Jonathan MUNOZ, 17. Phillip RICCOBENE, 10. Burakhan KOCA (16. Jungho KIM 84’), 4. Christopher IRWIN, 19. Jason PRINCIPATO (9. Alex KHRAPKO 58’)
Unused subs: 1. Anthony SARIC, 8. Simon TOLLI
Yellow Card: Principato (12’), Riccobene (70’).
Red Card (s): Nil