ZEBRAS END HEIGHTS' UNBEATEN RUN
ZEBRAS END HEIGHTS' UNBEATEN RUN
Zebras End Heights' Unbeaten Run
By Andrew Bishara (@_andrewbishara)
Moreland Zebras has ended Avondale Heights’ 15-match unbeaten run thanks to a tight 1-0 win at Clifton Park on Saturday afternoon.
An own goal by Dean Campelj less than a minute into the second half was enough to see the visitors claim the points.
It also meant that Avondale lost for the first time since Round Two, and perhaps ignited a possible title challenge after Box Hill United’s win reduced the league leaders’ margin to 11 points.
The first half was a drab affair, as both teams struggled to produce anything noteworthy.
Although Avondale controlled possession, it failed to break down a watertight Zebras defence.
The game desperately needed a goal and it got one, less than a minute into the second period, when from a Zebras’ corner Campelj sliced a clearance into his own net.
Almost immediately the game began to pick up in pace and the visitors could have drawn level when Anthony Strand rose highest from a corner, but his header went wide.
The hosts then a decent chance to extend its lead when Scott Robson danced around Avondale defenders in the box before chipping a lovely ball to Josh McMonagle-Ihasz at the back post.
But the midfielder could only header the ball right to Avondale ‘keeper John Scollo.
The visitors then had a golden chance to draw level, when an Andrew Le Page free kick went over the defence and came to the unmarked Michele Crazia.
With completely nobody around him and goals to himself, the defender put the header wide.
As the game wore on, Avondale pushed hard but couldn’t create anything dangerous as Moreland held on for the win.
Moreland Zebras coach Danny Gnjidic admitted that his side wasn’t at its best but deserved the points.
“It’s wasn’t our best performance from a football point of view, but from an focus, concentration side of things, it was pretty good,” said Gnjidic.
“Today we were tested and the boys stood up and I’m really happy for them."
Gnjidic believed his side’s good form can continue.
“We got a little momentum in the group. There’s a bit of belief in the team, the boys are fit and enjoying their football,” he said.
“It’s cliché, but the boys have been taking it one week at a time."
Avondale coach Anthony Barbieri believed that his troops performed admirably, but lamented the missed chances.
“We played okay, and to be honest we were probably the better side,” said Barbieri.
“They were quite organised and sat back and tried to nullify our game.
“But overall we did create chances and in the end of the day if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net, you’re not going to win.”
Barbieri believed the defeat was necessary for the team to spark into life again.
“Sometimes it’s a good thing because it’s a bit of an injection,” he said.
“I’m confident in the boys that they’ll show some character next week and bounce back.”
Moreland Zebras 1 (Dean Campelj OG 46’) defeated Avondale Heights 0 at Clifton Park [HT: 0-0]
Moreland Zebras XI: 21. Nikola KOSTADINOVSKI (GK), 2. Simon SYMEOY, 3. Johhny CRIVELLI, 16. Mile MEDJEDOVIC, 18. Adam CENTOFARI, 19. Brad MURRAY, 7. Scott ROBSON, 12. Josh McMONAGLE-IHASZ (14. James PAPADIMITRIOU 83’), 9. Joel NIKOLIC, 5. Nicholas SYMEOY, 10. Danilo BONILLA-OSPINA (8. Daniel SWEENEY 73’)
Unused Subs: 20. Nicholas KALAMBOKIS, 17. Jack TURNER, 1. Francesco GRECO
Yellow cards: CENTOFARI ’38, SWEENEY 78’, MURRAY 84’, NIKOLIC 93’
Red cards: Nil
Avondale Heights: 20. John SCOLLO (GK), 33. Dean CAMPELJ, 6. Anthony STRAND (19. Jason PRINCIPATO 91’), 15. Zoran PAJIC, 5. Andrew SACCHETTA (31. Michele CRAZIA 61’), 8. Bosin GEORGEVSKI, 11. Arturo YMERI (26. Anthony FALLONE 76’), 24. Resit CULCULOGLU, 34. Oleksiy KHRAPKO, 10. Burakhan KOCA, 7. Andrew LE PAGE
Unused Subs: 1. Anthony SARIC, 14. Daniel SLOVACEK
Yellow Cards: KOCA 53’