The 2016 Fraternity Club Cup saw Tarrawanna face off with Wollongong Olympic in Round 1. The order of the day was fast pressing forcing loose possession. Tarrawanna nearly opened their account in the 4th minute, with winger Isabella latching onto a deep cross, before seeing his downward header bounce onto the top of the crossbar and over. Within the following minutes, Tarrawanna had two more good opportunities, with Mazevski shooting high and Isabella putting another header over the bar.
Tarrawanna were endlessly creating chances, however it was Olympic who seemed more secure on the ball, playing a much higher-percentage possession style. A compact midfield saw the Olympic possession struggling to make meaningful inroads into Tarrawanna territory, so they were forced to resort to long through-balls, which were easily picked off.
Wollongong's patience was finally rewarded on 16 minutes, with a low cross swung into the box taking a deflection away from Tarrawanna goalkeeper Hamilton, before a lunging Lee at the back post snuck the ball into the bottom corner for the 1-0 lead. Following the opener, Olympic found themselves parked deeper in the Tarrawanna half than ever, with Tarrawanna being forced to make constant quick counter attacks.
Olympic goalkeeper Timpano was forced into a number of key saves in succession as Awono and Stone both saw good chances turned away. Tarrawanna were gifted a penalty on 32 minutes as Goodchild was scythed down on the by-line in a relatively non-threatening position. Mazevski stepped up from 12 yards, but saw a strong penalty saved by Timpano away to his right. The first half concluded with Olympic leading 1-0.
The second half saw Olympic lift the pressure, and were nearly rewarded 2 minutes after the interval with Hamilton only able to parry a cross, with a deflection forcing Simpson into an acrobatic goal-line clearance. Hamilton was again required just 4 minutes later, after Sutcliffe was sandwiched between two Tarrawanna defenders for the second penalty of the match. Sutcliffe sent Hamilton the wrong way from the spot to extend the lead to 2-0.
Isabella constantly found himself in the action, providing many aerial chances from the wing, however received a booking on 43 minutes after a clattering challenge, to which the referee audibly remarked "you're lucky to still be on the pitch". Goalscorer Lee also saw yellow shortly after, following an upending challenge in midfield.
Even with halves shortened to 35 minutes each way, the heat saw the pace of the game slow with the passing time, seeing the pace of Sutcliffe becoming an increasing problem for the Tarrawanna defence. Diagonal balls were fed in behind the Tarrawanna defence, and crosses fired just too far in front of onrushing Olympic players on a constant basis. Olympic's ambitions for a third were nearly their demise, as twice in 2 minutes Tarrawanna broke on the counter, with Mazevski and Stone both forcing reflex saves from Timpano midway through the half.
Isabella again found the thick of the action on 63 minutes, receiving a nudge as he leaped for a contested header, and was deemed to have been fouled, seeing Tarrawanna given a second penalty. Goodchild placed it low to the right, out of reach of Timpano to make the score 2-1.
As the game drew to a close, end-to-end football saw many half-chances go astray at the last moment, with good build-up play lacking the final, decisive pass. Tarrawanna were constantly exploiting the energy of Isabella down their right wing, with many of their 2nd half counter attacks coming down that side. Consecutive last-ditch tackles on halfway from Sam Chapple in the dying minutes prevented Olympic going 1-on-1 with Hamilton, before Tarrawanna thought they had a last-minute equaliser as Timpano was beaten at his near post from a fast break, before being called back for an offside.
The final whistle finalises the 2-1 score-line in favour of Olympic. Tarrawanna had the better chances of the game but failed to capitalise on them, and left with a sole penalty to show for it, with Olympic taking their chances.
Story by David Atherton
Picture by Pedro Garcia
Last Modified on 23/02/2016 11:02