Oakleigh shares spoils with Port
By Brandon Galgano
Despite taking the lead just after half time, Oakleigh Cannons was unable to defeat an out-of-form Port Melbourne outfit at Jack Edwards Reserve on Friday night.
With the visitors on a five-game losing streak, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Arthur Papas’ men to continue their mid-season resurgence on a chilly night in Melbourne.
It was Port who started off the stronger though, dominating play early with the forward quartet of Adrian Zahra, Julius Davies, Kamal Ibrahim and Trent Rixon oozing class.
With Sean Rooney making his debut for the club, Oakleigh began to come into the match with the former Newcastle Jets front man forcing a good low save at Stjepan Gal’s near post.
The opening half turned into more of a physical contest though, with numerous players from both teams shown yellow cards for late challenges as tensions begun to heat up.
The real talking point though came in the 40th minute with Rooney hauled down in the box by Gal after being played through on goal and despite desperate cries for a spot kick from the Oakleigh players and fans, referee Shaun Evans called play on.
Port then had its first real chance early in the second period as a good move from Rixon on the left forced a good save from John Honos before the ball was cleared away, despite Zahra’s best efforts to bundle the ball over the line.
Just two minutes later Oakleigh had a spot kick with referee Evans in no doubt as a driving run into the area was hauled down with Mirjan Pavlovic stepping up to take.
The former Wellington Phoenix front man made no mistake with the spot kick, sending Gal the wrong way to open the scoring for the hosts in the 51st minute.
The lead didn’t last long though as Port hit back courtesy of an own goal by Tremayne Sadler.
A stinging cross from the ever dangerous Alan Kearney flashed across the area with Sadler only able to clear the ball into his own net to level the scores at 1-1.
Oakleigh very nearly re-took the lead just moments later as a corner was headed on goal by Pavlovic but James Riccobene headed the ball off the goal line much to the relief of the visiting players.
Ibrahim was next to go close for Port with a low drive flashing just wide of Honos’ left post as both sides looked to score that crucial second goal.
The hosts had Honos to thank for keeping the scores level in the 65th minute as Zahra found space in the area before hitting a powerful drive which was somehow tipped onto the crossbar by the Oakleigh number one before being cleared away.
And despite a few nervous moments at the back for Port in the final minutes neither side was able to be separated with the scores locked at one a piece.
Photo: Peter Psarros
Oakleigh Cannons 1 (Pavlovic 54’ PEN) drew with Port Melbourne 1 (O.G Sadler 56’) at Jack Edwards Reserve.
Oakleigh Cannons XI: 76 John HONOS ©, 21 Jacob WILLIAMS, Aaron WILFORD, 18 Adam LE CORNU, 12 Tremayne SADLER, 6 Steve PANTELIDIS, 11 Kofi DANNING (26 Lampros HONOS 59’), 15 Jake MCLEAN, 14 Mirjan PAVLOVIC, 16 Sean ROONEY, 10 Dean PIEMONTE (8 Dusan BOSNJAK 69’)
Unused Substitutes: 35 Lajos HUN, 23 James BOUZIOTAS, 2 Rowan MCNAMEE
Yellow Cards: Rooney 42’, Mclean 59’, Wilford 78’
Red Cards: NIL
Port Melbourne XI: 1 Stjepan GAL, 2 Andrew VIOLA, 3 James RICCOBENE, 4 Alan MULCAHY, 5 George KROMMIDAS, 6 Chris GROSSMAN ©, 7 Adrian ZAHRA (8 Brent FISHER 90’), 9 Trent RIXON (11 Nick KROUSORATIS 63’), 14 Kamal IBRAHIM, 16 Alan KEARNEY, 20 Julius DAVIES (10 Andrew MILICEVIC 76’)
Unused Substitutes: 25 Michael STARK, 15 Kristopher KIOUSSIS
Yellow Cards: Riccobene 7’, Krommidas 20’, Mulcahy 33’, Viola 54’
Red Cards: NIL