Bentleigh's commanding win over Avondale leaps the side into third place
By DAMIR KULAS (@DamirKulas)
Bentleigh Greens have stretched their unbeaten start to the season to ten games after a commanding 2-0 away victory over Avondale at Doyle Street Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
An early Matt Thurtell strike and a late tap in from Chris Lucas ensured the Greens all three points in sunny conditions as the two Queenslanders proved to be the difference between the two sides on the day.
The Greens began the contest on the front foot and went close on two separate occasions as Troy Ruthven and Wayne Wallace had their efforts go just wide from a corner.
Up the other end, Avondale had their first sight on goal in the 10th minute when Burakhan Koca found himself through on goal and forced Bentleigh goalkeeper Alastair Bray into making a smart save.
Minutes later, Greens skipper Wayne Wallace put Matt Thurtell through on goal with a superb through ball leaving the in-form forward to smartly lob the oncoming Frazer Siddall in Avondale goals and give his side a 1-0 lead.
Thurtell’s strike partner up front Chris Lucas almost doubled the lead when he beat the offside trap and latched onto a through ball before seeing his effort being well saved by Siddall.
Moments later, Siddall and Avondale could only watch as Greens midfielder Liam McCormick, making only his first start of the season, rattled the post with a free-kick effort from 25 metres.
Immediately after, Avondale had their best opportunity of the contest when some good work between Chris Irwin and Jonathan Munoz down the left hand wing saw the latter launch a stinging shot at Bray who did well to parry the ball wide for a corner.
Despite an exciting opening half hour, the rest of the half saw both sides struggle to create any meaningful opportunities as the visitors maintained their 1-0 lead going into the break.
After the interval, the Greens almost made it 2-0 when a McCormick took a touch of the wall, falling into the path of Tyson Holmes who had his close-range effort diverted by Siddall for a corner.
In the 65minute, Chris Lucas fashioned a great opportunity for himself but scuffed his shot straight into the palms of a grateful Siddall.
The Avondale goalkeeper was at his best ten minutes later when Greens right-back Thomas Matthews surging run into the box saw ended with a shot which Siddall did well to save down low.
The hosts were starved off any goalscoring opportunities in the second period until a low cross into the box narrowly avoided Avondale marksman Alex Khrapko before falling into the path of substitute Daniel Slovacek who failed to make any decent contact on the ball with the goal at his mercy.
The Greens defence cleared the ball up long and found the feet of Matt Thurtell who raced down forward before a slip at a crucial moment from Avondale defender Zoran Pajic saw the striker retrieve the ball back as he cut the ball back for Lucas to tap the ball home to seal all three points for the visitors.
The undefeated Greens next take on Northcote City at home while Avondale face up a mid-week FFA Cup tie against Port Melbourne before having to back up on the Friday Night with a visit to Lakeside Stadium to face the other unbeaten side in the competition in South Melbourne.
Avondale FC 0 defeated by Bentleigh Greens (Thurtell 14, Lucas 84) at Doyle Street Reserve
AFC: 20. Frazer Siddall (GK), 4. Chris Irwin, 5. Jeff Fleming, 9. Alex Khrapko, 10. Burakhan Koca (23. Daniel Slovacek 75’), 13. Michele Crazia, 15. Zoran Pajic, 17. Phil Riccobene, 18. Jonathan Munoz, 19. Jason Principato (31. Omar Ammache 68’), 28. Anthony Fallone
Unused Subs: 1. Anthony Saric (GK), 16. Mitchell Vasilt, 24, Resit Culculoglu
Yellow Card(s): Crazia 39, Pajic 77
Red Card(s): None
BG: 21. Alastair Bray (GK), 2. Thomas Matthew, 4. Troy Ruthven, 5. Jack Webster, 6. Liam McCormick, 8. Wayne Wallace, 9. Chris Lucas, 10. Tyson Holmes (19. Daniel Visevic 75’), 18. Matt Thurtell, 24. Luke Pilkington, 36. Steven Topalovic
Unused Subs: 1. Ryan Scott (GK), 7. Jamie de Abreu, 11. Dion Kirk, 15. Kobbie Boahene
Yellow Card(s): None
Red Card(s): None