Holmes rescues point for Bentleigh
By Sean Ellicott
Image: Mark Avellino
Ladder leader Bentleigh Greens has survived an early scare to rescue a 2-2 draw against Port Melbourne Sharks on Saturday evening at JL Murphy Reserve.
The hosts raced out to a 2-0 lead after 15 minutes through George Krommidas and Kamal Ibrahim but Chris Lucas’ successful spot kick and an 82nd minute rocket from Tyson Holmes ensured the points were shared on the night.
The match was however overshadowed following a stoppage time collision between Sharks’ forward Nick Krousoratis and Bentleigh Greens custodian Alastair Bray, with the former stretchered off the field and taken to hospital at full time.
Port kicked off the contest on the front foot, taking the lead within the first six minutes.
Ibrahim’s sumptuous cross was met by Krommidas’ head at the back post, gifting Eric Vassiliadis’ side a dream start.
Ten minutes later and Port Melbourne doubled its advantage.
In a sublime solo effort from Ibrahim, the former Melbourne Heart youth product turned and dribbled past two Greens defenders before tucking his effort inside the near post.
The hosts were then dealt an unlucky break five minutes later as a disputed ball ricocheted onto Krousoratis’ arm inside the area, prompting referee Shaun Evans to point to the spot.
Chris Lucas assumed the responsibilities for the Greens, slotting in his 12th goal of the season.
Seeking to capitalise on their momentum, the Greens pressed for an equaliser, forcing Port custodian Michael Stark into the odd acrobatic save.
At the other end however, Greens skipper Wayne Wallace – celebrating his 100th league game for the club – executed a precise goal-saving tackle to deny Krousoratis of a third for his side.
With the table toppers trailing at half time and pressing for an equaliser, an enthralling second interval was promised.
Lucas provided a few highlights in front of goal, blazing a great opportunity over while Stark was on call to deny the Queenslander of an equaliser.
The Greens nonetheless levelled the scores thanks to thunderous long-ranged strike from Holmes.
Following up Jamie De Abreu’s disputed corner, the midfielder struck his effort into the top corner from 20 yards – setting up a tense final eight minutes.
Bentleigh’s number ten then came agonisingly close to popping up with the winner three minutes from time but couldn’t contain his strike from rising over the crossbar.
Port too continued to steer a result in its direction with former Victory attacker Julius Davies testing Bray late in the game while Krousoratis guided a late attempt on goal via the wring side of the upright.
The match though ended on a gloomy note following a sickening collision between Krousoratis and Bray.
A clearance from inside Port’s defensive half saw Bray rush outside of his area to clear his lines, clashing with the forward as the pair – with eyes only for the ball – collided while running into each at pace.
Despite winning the ball and heading to safety, Bray was awarded a yellow card for heavy contact with Krousoratis.
Port Melbourne 2 (Krommidas 6’, Ibrahim 16’) drew with Bentleigh Greens 2 (Lucas 23’, Holmes 82’) [HT 2-1] [U20s 3-4].
Port Melbourne Sharks XI: 25. Michael STARK (GK), 2. Andrew VIOLA (23. Connor REDDAN 10’), 3. James RICCOBENE, 4. Alan MULCAHY, 5. George KROMMIDAS (10. Andrew MILICEVIC 51’), 7. Adrian ZAHRA (22. Ryan OPPERMAN 74’), 11. Nicholas KROUSORATIS, 14. Kamal IBRAHIM, 16. Alan KEARNEY, 19. Shaun KELLY [C], 20. Julius DAVIES.
Unused Substitutes: 1. Ben MORELLA (GK), 15. Christopher KIOUSSIS.
Yellow Cards: Mulcahy (83’).
Red Cards: None.
Bentleigh Greens XI: 21. Alastair BRAY (GK), 5. Jack WEBSTER, 6. Liam MCCORMICK, 8. Wayne WALLACE [C], 9. Chris LUCAS, 10. Tyson HOLMES, 11. Dion KIRK, 19, Daniel VISEVIC (7. Jamie DE ABREU 59’), 23, Ryan DE VRIES, 24, Luke PILKINGTON, 36. Steven TOPALOVIC (4. Troy RUTHVEN 76’).
Unused Substitutes: 1. Ryan SCOTT (GK), 17. Ryan LOVE, 22 Austin WONG.
Yellow Cards: De Vries (28’), Bray (90+2’).
Red Cards: None