Stubborn Avondale earn late point off Bergers
By Lou Verga (@LouVerga)
A last gasp equaliser from Zoran Pajic has sealed a 1-1 draw for Avondale FC against Heidelberg United at Olympic Village on Sunday.
The hosts bossed large periods of the match and took the lead through a Steven Pace header. But Avondale would not lie down and got their reward with an equaliser deep into stoppage time.
Les Doumbalis had the first effort for Heidelberg in the 10th minute, as his left foot strike from distance very nearly dipped onto the crossbar.
Despite Avondale starting to keep the ball and move forward, the next chance again came the way of the home side in the 18th minute, as Ken Athiu’s bobbling half volley had to be tipped wide by Fraser Siddall.
Three minutes later, Siddall made a much more impressive save to again deny Athiu. Kostas Kanakaris stood a cross up to the back post where the rangy forward headed the ball towards the bottom corner, but the Avondale stopper pulled off an excellent diving save.
Siddall was being made to work hard and just seconds later leapt to get a hand on Reuben Way’s fierce strike from 25 yards.
Avondale were defending well but it took a Heidelberg centre back to breach the away side’s goal ten minutes before half time.
Pace showed determination to get to a high ball into the box and send a looping header back across Siddall and into the bottom corner.
Athiu nearly made it 2-0 five minutes later as he let the ball travel over him before fizzing a volley on the turn, but his nemesis Siddall made a great reflex save with his leg.
After the break, Heidelberg continued to cause problems with the movement of Athiu, Way and substitute Andrew Cartanos without creating many clear chances.
Avondale began pushing forward with 20 minutes remaining and Francesco Stella had Heidelberg holding their breath with a first-time curler that flew just wide after a low cross from Massimo Murdocca.
A 35-yard Jack Petrie volley caught Avondale off guard but the sensational effort cannoned back off the crossbar.
Just as it seemed Heidelberg would take the three points, a cross into the box from Avondale was not cleared by the Bergers defence.
The ball popped up to Pajic who sent a low strike past a wrong-footed Griffin McMaster to cue wild celebrations for the visitors.
Heidelberg United 1 (Pace 35’) drew with Avondale FC 1 (Pajic 90+3’) at Olympic Village, Heidelberg
Heidelberg: 23. Griffin MCMASTER, 2. James CUMMING, 3. Leslie DOUMBALIS, 7. Reuben WAY, 9. Kostas KANAKARIS (11. Mark MCGOUGH 79’), 10. Jack PETRIE, 12. Ken ATHIU, 13. Luke BYLES, 17. Steven PACE, 20. Nejc KOLMAN, 21. Andreas GOVAS (24. Andrew CARTANOS 55’)
Unused substitutes: 1. Jason KOUTSODONTIS, 6. Mitchell WALSH, 14. Daniel HEFFERNAN
Yellow card(s): McGough 90+2’
Red card(s): None
Avondale: 20. Fraser SIDDALL, 4. Jacob COLOSIMO (10. Burakhan KOCA 67’), 5. Jeffrey FLEMING, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Alex KHRAPKO, 11. Francesco STELLA, 13. Michele CRAZIA, 15. Zoran PAJIC, 16. Mathew SANDERS, 17. Phillip RICCOBENE, 19. Jason PRINCIPATO (18. Jonathan MUNOZ 83’)
Unused substitutes: 1. Christopher MAYNARD, 6. Anthony STRANO, 28. Anthony FALLONE
Yellow card(s): Riccobene 63’
Red card(s): None