Principato leveller denies Bentleigh
By Damir Kulas
Bentleigh Greens missed the chance to close in on the PS4 NPL Victoria premiership after a 1-1 draw against Avondale on Friday night at Kingston Heath.
A header from Tyson Holmes in the 15th minute gave the home side the lead before a deflected shot from Jason Principato early in the second half salvaged a point for the visitors.
The away side had the first real strike in anger when Jonathan Munoz launched an audacious volley from range which went just wide of Alastair Bray’s post.
That close shave spurred the Greens on and up the other end right-back Dion Kirk’s cross found the head of Holmes who rose above his marker to give his side the lead.
Avondale spurned a great chance to equalise when Massimo Murdocca’s cross back into the box saw Anthony Fallone latch onto the header only to see it flash wide of goal.
Veteran midfielder Jeff Fleming looked to continue his good run of goalscoring form of late but saw his effort go straight into a Greens defender before the follow-up went astray.
Avondale came out of the half-time break the better of the two sides and duly equalised when a ball from the left found Principato and took two deflections on its way to goal before beating Bray.
They almost took the lead just after the hour mark when a goal-mouth scramble saw Bray bravely deny first Michele Crazia before latching onto the ball just as Matthew Sanders was about to tap it in.
Minutes later, a cross from the left from Ryan de Vries was flicked onto Daniel Visevic at the back post, before the former Melbourne Knights forward chipped Chris Maynard only to see the ball cleared off the line by the head of Crazia.
The game had by this stage turned into an end-to-end contest with Greens skipper Wayne Wallace coming close on two separate occasions while goalscorer Holmes was denied by an alert Maynard.
John Anastasiadis’ men were left ruing their luck when a golden opportunity to take the lead went begging asChris Lucas beat Maynard to the ball but blazed his shot over the bar.
Two minutes later and it turned out to be a case of déjà vu as Lucas was played through for another one-on-one only to waste the opportunity as he hit the ball over the post.
A quick break-away up the other end saw Avondale substitute Omar Ammache race away only to see his weak shot untroubled Bray.
Despite a mountain of late pressure from the home side, and a misplaced shot from Burakhan Koca, the score remained level at 1-1 as the Greens dropped further points in the race for top spot.
Bentleigh Greens 1 (Holmes 15) drew with Avondale FC (Principato 52) at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex
Bentleigh Greens: 21. Alastair Bray (GK), 5. Jack Webster, 6. Liam McCormick, 8. Wayne Wallace, 9. Chris Lucas, 10. Tyson Holmes (4. Troy Ruthven 79’), 11. Dion Kirk, 19. Daniel Visevic, 23. Ryan de Vries, 24. Luke Pilkington, 36. Steven Topalovic
Unused Subs: 1. Ryan Scott (GK), 7. Jamie de Abreu, 12. Dimitar Mitkov, 17. Ryan Love
Yellow Card(s): Pilkington 62
Red Card(s): None
Avondale: 1. Chris Maynard (GK), 4. Jacob Colosimo (31. Omar Ammache 58’), 5. Jeff Fleming, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Alex Khrapko, 13. Michele Crazia, 16. Matthew Sanders, 17. Phillip Riccobene, 18. Jonathan Munoz (10. Burakhan Koca 85’), 19. Jason Principato, 28. Anthony Fallone
Unused Subs: 20. Frazer Siddall, 24.Daniel Slovacek, 37.Dean Campelj
Yellow Card(s): Riccobene 81, Khrapko 87
Red Card(s): None