Bergers finals tune-up continues with late draw
By Katie Lambeski
A late equaliser from substitute Reuben Way earned Heidelberg United a point in a 2-2 draw with Green Gully SC at Olympic Village on Wednesday night, cancelling out a brace from Evan Christodoulou.
Gully took the lead early through Christodoulou 14 minutes in, until a penalty was converted by Daniel Heffernan to restore parity just before the hour mark.
The match took another twist instantly after, with Christodoulou giving the visitors the lead with a stunning long-range strike that thundered into the back of the net.
The goal set up a thrilling ending, with the home side piling on the pressure and pulling back an equaliser with just two minutes of normal time remaining. Way latched onto a loose ball on the right side of the penalty area and slammed it past Rani Dowisha to ensure the Bergers took something from the game.
It was an entertaining and attacking 90 minutes from both Heidelberg and Green Gully, both looked to assert pressure high up the park. A well-taken free-kick from Mathew Breeze straight in front of goal bounced off the left post, falling to Christodoulou, who made mistake from close range for an early Gully lead.
The home side sought to rebound, causing problems on the counter. Jack Petrie had a gilt-edged chance at the 30th minute, finding time and space on the edge of the box, but blasting a clear chance over the bar.
Gully raced down the other end through a Breeze cross from the left flank, finding an unmarked Simon Tolli, but the winger couldn’t direct his header to goal. The sides went into the halftime break level and evenly-matched.
Heidelberg’s first equaliser of the night came not long into the second half, after a charging Govas latched on to a knock-down Heffernan header, but collided with Roddy Vargas, the referee pointed to the spot and Heffernan converted.
Gully sprung back into action immediately, reclaiming the lead moments after through a stunning Christodoulou strike.
The final ten minutes of the game saw Heidelberg looked to turn the screws and push Gully back into their half, piling on the pressure, and were denied by Gully until Way poached a late equaliser.
Attention now turns to the final day of the PS4 NPL Victoria season on Sunday afternoon, with Heidelberg hosting Dandenong Thunder, while Gully face a visit from Avondale FC.
Heidelberg United FC 2 (Heffernan 59’, Way 88’) drew with Green Gully SC 2 (Christodoulou 14’, 61’) at Olympic Village (HT 0-1).
Heidelberg United FC: 23. Griffin MCMASTER, 3. Les DOUMBALIS, 4. John LAZARIDIS (2. Jamie CUMMING 59’), 5. Dan VASILEVSKI (12. Kenny ATHIU 64’), 10. Jack PETRIE, 13. Luke BYLES, 14. Dan HEFFERNAN, 17. Steven PACE, 20. Necj KOLMAN, 21. Andreas GOVAS (7. Reuben WAY 73’), 22. Kaine SHEPPARD
Unused subs: 1. Jason KOUTSODONTIS, 11. Mark MCGOUGH
Yellow cards: Sheppard (67’)
Green Gully SC: 23. Rani DOWISHA, 2. Matthew REID, 4. Daniel JONES, 5. Rodrigo VARGAS, 7. Liam SCOTT, 9. Evan CHRISTODOULOU, 11. Mathew BREEZE, 16. Simon TOLLI, 17. Alon BLUMGART (21. Luc JEGGO 79’), 20. Hakeem ALORAIBI, 38. Liam BOLAND
Unused subs: 1. Cameron DYER, 3. Aaron COHEN, 8. Tomas MURPHY, 10. Rinor MURIQI
Yellow cards: Boland (38’)