No goals as bottom North Geelong keeps Heidelberg at bay
By TONCI PRUSAC (@TonciPrusac)
North Geelong kept its first clean sheet of the season and, in the process, held league leaders Heidelberg United to a 0-0 draw in a dramatic, action packed encounter at Elcho Park on Saturday afternoon.
It was a clash that had it all, goal scoring chances, free flowing football, seven yellow cards (six to the Bergers), two send-offs and non-stop action that made mockery of the home side’s bottom of the ladder placing.
With the pitch bathed in glorious autumn sunshine, North immediately signalled its intent to take the game to the top side, dominating possession and creating more of the attacking chances in the opening half.
The Warriors had the best scoring chance of the game in the 29th minute when the best on ground, up till then, Reardo Luka managing to round 'keeper Griffin McMaster only to see his shot skew over the crossbar.
With half time fast approaching, the visitors were rattled as they were pressured into making simple mistakes, culiminating in a yellow card to midfielder Jack Petrie for a crude tackle on Luka, just before the half time whistle.
Immediately following the resumption in play, the home side continued where they had left off. From a corner in the 47th minute, Luka’s headed effort, on the turn, whisked just wide off the target.
Midway through the second stanza, North’s defence was forced to absorb a tremendous amount of pressure, as a desperate Heidelberg peppered the goals.
It was during this phase of the match that North ‘keeper Daniel Zilic stood tall, eventually earning man of the match praises for his series of spectacular second half saves.
Tackles were flying freely as the match official worked overtime, signaling numerous free kicks, but it was in the last five minutes that all ‘hell broke loose’.
As the game threatened to erupt into a major on-field brawl in stoppage time, a red card was issued to Heidelberg’s best player, Dan Heffernan, his teammate Kane Sheppard was yeloww carded, while North coach Micky Colina was sent to the sheds shortly afterwards.
Amidst all the tension, Sheppard hit the post twice for the Bergers, while North strikers Rob Zadworny and Juso Julardzija both had gilt edged opportunities to steal all three points for the home side in a desperate last gasp effort.
It wasn’t to be, as the spoils shared at day’s end, in what proved to be a riveting showdown between two sides who gave it their all during the entire 90 minute plus contest.
North Geelong 0 drew with Heidelberg United 0 at Elcho Park, Geelong
North Geelong: 1 Daniel ZILIC, 16 Michael GRGIC, 3 Matt TOWNLEY, 2 Darren LEWIS, 8 Vito CICHELLO, 4 Nikola JURKOVIC, 7 Reardo LUKA (18 Stipe TRBUHOVIC 75’), 10 Rob ZADWORNY, 11 Juso JULARDZIJA, 17 Nicholas JURCIC, 23 Michael ANDERSON.
Subs not used: 6 Josh PUGH, 5 Anthony BANOVAC, 31 Hamish FLAVELL
Yellow Cards: Darren Lewis 60’
Red Cards: Micky Colina (coach)
Heidelberg United: 23 Griffin McMASTER, 2 Jamie Cumming, 17 Steve PACE, 3 Les DOUMBALIS, 9 Kosta KANAKARIS (20 Nesc KOLMAN, 81’), 10 Jack PETRIE, 7 Rueben WAY (12 Kenny ATHIU 73’), 5 Daniel VASILEVSKI, 21 Andreas GOVAS (11 Jacob WILLIAMS 56’), 14 Daniel HEFFERNAN, 22 Kaine SHEPPARD
Subs not used: 1 Chris MAYNARD, 8 Jonathan VOULGANIS.
Yellow Cards: Jack Petrie 43’, Kosta Kanakaris 60’, Reuben Way 69’, Daniel Vasilevski 76’, Dan Heffernan 82’, Kaine Shephard 91’
Red Cards: Dan Heffernan 91’