Warriors win to keep survival hopes alive
By Damir Kulas
North Geelong Warriors has recorded an upset 2-1 away victory over Avondale at Avondale Heights Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
A first-half double from Gareth Richards secured the three points as Massimo Murdocca’s second-half strike proved to be a mere consolation for Anthony Barbieri’s side.
A cagey opening saw both sides struggle to create any meaningful opportunities in front of goal as both were reduced to a half chance each inside the opening twenty minutes of the contest.
However a free-kick to North Geelong found its way to centre-back Michael Grgic on the left whose low cross into the box was met by Richards inside the goal area as he tapped home the opener.
One soon became two as Michael Anderson’s pin-point cross from the left found the head of Richards who slotted past Avondale goalkeeper Chris Maynard for a shock 2-0 lead to the visitors.
Veteran forward Mathew Sanders almost grabbed an immediate reply for the home side but his effort was deflected wide by the oncoming Warriors defenders.
Micky Colina’s men came out of the half-time break determined to extend their lead with Juso Julardzija failing to trouble Maynard as the former South Melbourne goalkeeper safely collected his shot.
A mistake in the Avondale defence saw Anderson presented with the perfect opportunity to extend the lead however his shot flashed wide across the goal.
Jonathan Munoz then sent in a cross into the box from the right, which was met by the head of Alex Khrapko but the substitute was unable to test Daniel Zilic in goal with the header going just wide.
A foul on Murdocca by Warriors youngster Nikola Jurkovic saw the former Melbourne City midfielder grab a goal back for the hosts as his free-kick took a deflection before bouncing off the crossbar and crossing the line much to the frustration of Zilic.
With the North Geelong defence holding firm, Avondale’s best chance to grab an equaliser fell to Murdocca in injury time but his free-kick sailed over this time around as the visitors collected a priceless three points.
Avondale FC 1 (Murdocca 70) defeated by North Geelong Warriors 2 (Richards 27, 34) at Avondale Heights Reserve
AFC: 1. Chris Maynard (GK), 5. Jeff Fleming, 6. Anthony Strano, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 10. Burakhan Koca (9. Alex Khrapko 57’), 11. Francesco Stella, 15. Zoran Pajic, 16. Matthew Sanders, 17. Phillip Riccobene, 18. Jonathan Munoz (4. Jacob Colosimo 70’), 28. Anthony Fallone (19. Jason Principato 57’)
Unused Subs: 13. Michele Crazia, 20. Frazer Siddall (GK)
Yellow Card(s): Strano 74
Red Card(s): None
NGW: 1. Daniel Zilic (GK), 2. Darren Lewis, 3. Matt Townley, 4. Nikola Jurkovic, 7. Reardo Luka (14. Mark Paleka 61’), 8. Vito Cichello, 11. Juso Julardzija (9. Rudi Saglam 76’), 12. Gareth Richards, 16. Michael Grgic, 17.Nicholas Jurcic, 23. Michael Anderson
Unused Subs: 5. Anthony Banovac, 10. Yusuf Yusuf, Hamish Flavell (GK)
Yellow Card(s): Jurkovic 69
Red Card(s): None