Thunder relegated after North Geelong Warriors defeat
BY TONCI PRUSAC
NORTH Geelong ran out convincing 3-0 winners against Dandenong Thudner on Saturday in a result that relegated the Thunder from PS4 NPL Victoria.
North Geelong's hopes for survival from automatic relegation continue for another week.
A first half goal by teenager Nikola Jurkovic and a second half double by Gareth Richards propelled the Warriors to third last on the ladder, setting up a final round showdown with second last placed Werribee City next Sunday.
The Warriors went into the game buoyed by a pre-match announcement by Victorian Sports Minister, John Eren, that the State Government had pledged $150,000 towards new changeroom facilities at Elcho Park, complementing an earlier $133,000 promise by the local council.
The celebratory mood rose a level higher when teen sensation, Nikola Jurkovic, looped a header from a set piece past Thunder custodian Anthony Saric for the opener in the 31st minute.
After an even opening 20 minutes, it was all one way traffic for the Warriors as midfield maestro, Vito Cichello, totally dominated the middle of the park.
With the home side 1-0 up at the break, Dandenong coach Stuart Munro made a double substitution in a desperate attempt to inject some much needed venom into the Thunder attack.
Veteran attacker Veton Korcari came on for Jarod Patterson, while Michael Gerace replaced Damir Stoilovic.
Nonetheless, as proceedings in the second stanza started to settle, it was the Warriors who continued where they had left off at the interval.
The large home faithful didn’t have to wait long to restart their celebrations. In the 53rd minute, English import Gareth Richards netted the first of his double, rounding the ‘keeper and coolly slotting home North’s second for the afternoon.
In the 76th minute, it was Richards again whose headed effort dribbled over the line to seal the winner on what turned out to be the perfect icing on the Warriors’ president Andro Jurkovic’s birthday cake.
With the result firmly in the bag, Warriors coach Micky Colina decided to give two of his fringe youngsters a taste of senior football, bringing on Anthony Banovac and Matija Dragovic for Reardo Luka and the man-of-the-match Cichello respectively.
North Geelong 3 (Jurkovic 31’, Richards 53’, 76’) defeated Dandenong Thunder 0 at Elcho Park, Geelong
North Geelong: 1 Daniel ZILIC, 3 Matt TOWNLEY, 6 Josh PUGH, 16 Michael GRGIC, 17 Nicholas JURCIC, 7 Reardo LUKA (5 Anthony BANOVAC 82’), 8 Vito CICHELLO (19 Matija DRGOVIC 85’), 11 Juso JULARDZIJA, 10 Yusuf YUSUF (9 Rudi SAGLAM 71’), 4 Nikola JURKOVIC, 12 Gareth RICHARDS.
Subs not used: 18 Milan SEKULIC, 31 Hamish FLAVELL.
Yellow Card: Jurkovic 34’
Red Cards: None
Dandenong Thunder: 26 Anthony SARIC, 2 Jarryd BARNES, 3 Ramazan TAVSANCIOGLU, 5 Faisal SAKMIZADA, 24 Viktor MUJEDINOVSKI, 12 Brendan ELMAZOVSKI, 11 Timmy PURCELL, 10 Feston AZIZI, 18 Brodie PATTERSON, 7 Jarod PATTERSON (9 Vetan KORCARI 46’), 22 Damir STOILOVIC (23 Michael GERACE 46’)
Subs not used: 17 Fitim IBRAIMI, 8 Nelson SALVATORE, 21 Zaim ZENGLI.
Yellow Cards: Barnes 34’, Korcari 72’.
Red Cards: None