Conference League Southern Round 1 Review


Conference League Southern Round 1 Review
There were plenty of goals in the opening round of the Southern Conference overall, with 19 goals in the four matches played, resulting in an average of almost 5 goals per game.  
Hakoah lead the way with a 7-0 away destruction of Greenisland SFC.
The first half was where the visitors did most of the damage with five goals, Martin opening the scoring after just 4 minutes, with Bozniak (24? & 40?), Pillemer (32?), and Mundell (34?) ending the game as a contest by the break. Blotch and Rimmer got the second half goals in a brilliant start to the season for the once-famous club.
White City accounted for Fairfield Bulls in a shock 4-0 away win, with a brace of goals from Kabbara, and one apiece from Alavata and Youkahana.
In the final encounter of the first day of the season, Gazy Lansvale beat Colo Colo Wanderers 4-2 in an exciting, see-sawing game.
Gazy opened the scoring through Lima right on half time, before Durrete equalized in the 5th minute of the second half. Alemic and Burnic gave Gazy some breathing space with goals within a quarter of an hour of each hour, only for Arayena to pull a goal back for the Wanderers. Rabaca made it 4-2 and a win to Gazy Lansvale with the fourth and final goal of the match in the 82nd  minute.
Camden Tigers had the bye first up and will look forward to kicking off 2008 away to White City this week.
Match of the Round
Sydney Cedars v Lilli Pilli FC
Cedars see victory on opening day
The 2008 Southern Conference League kicked off on Sunday as a blistery cool Punchbowl Oval played host to a game between the locals, Sydney Cedars, and visitors Lilli Pilli FC.
The playing surface was very flat and extremely hard, with the centre area especially firm and slippery given it doubles up as a cricket pitch in the summer.
The 2008 season started disastrously for the visitors when in only the 2nd minute, a stray ball loosely played into the penalty area by the Cedars was hastily cleared by Hawkins, only to see the ball ricochet off his defensive partner, Kendrigan, and whisk past the stranded Clarke to give the home side the lead.
Lilli Pilli started to adjust to the pitch and conditions, and went close to equalizing in the 12th minute when a Beare corner was met superbly by McPherson, only for his downward header to be brilliantly knocked away by Bekdache in the Cedar goal.
Sydney Cedars then went close to doubling their lead when a corner by Al Waeli was tipped away Clarke, only for El Haj to whip the ball back across to Kamara, whose mid-air back heeled volley needed Clarke to tip over the bar once more.
The visitors then had a great chance to score when Sunderlan stole a loose ball and found MacDonald with a great cross, only for the striker to completely mishit his shot well wide of the goal.
Lilli Pilli thought they had reached parity when Russell took a quick free kick, whipping it over the wall for Sunderlan to head into the net, only for the referee to call it back as he had not blown the whistle to take the kick.
Sydney Cedars then  scored a killer second goal just minutes before the break.
Big striker Ellerhani showed some razzle dazzle as he jinked inside two defenders at the corner of the penalty area, before crossing to Fayad, who controlled the ball, expertly beat a defender near the penalty spot, before cracking a shot past Clarke in the visitor?s goal. With a cluster of bodies in the box, Clarke was unsighted and did well to get hand to the ball, but could not stop it hitting the net.
The Cedar fans were still cheering their goal when within a minute of the restart, Ellerhani?s orange boots again did the damage with a brilliant cross for Mestu to send his header crashing against the cross bar before it was cleared.
Half time came and provided Lilli Pilli some reprieve as the Cedars went into the break 2-0 up.
Both teams huffed and puffed in the second period without really threatening to change the scoreline.
The Cedars, however, tried to finish off their opponents a couple of times. Firstly in the 58 minute Ellerhani beat his man out wide, only to have his cross cleared straight back to him, at which point he did it again, this time the ball flying across the goal mouth without a Cedar in sight.
Then in the 65 minute, Al Waeli dissected the visitors? defence with a superb through ball to substitute Benegadi, who wasted his opportunity to score by delaying his shot, eventually cutting the ball square to Fayad who sprayed his shot wide.
Lilli Pilli had their best chance a minute later when a Russell cheekily chipped a short corner near post for the onrushing Tanko, whose flick header was firstly tipped by  Bekdache, and then cleared off the line by Benegadi.
As the clouds moved in, and the rain started to sprinkle, the game fizzled out slowly, with Sydney Cedars holding on for pleasing if not convincing, opening day 2-0 victory.
The only sour note for the home side was the late sending off of Koroma for dissent in the final minute.
Best for the home side was Bilal El Haj, who was a rock at left back, winning all his personal duels, as well as contributing to the attack with many overlapping runs. Striker Ellerhani caused the Lilli Pilli defence problems with his strength and dribbling skills, whilst captain Essafadi was always calm and composed at sweeper.
For the visitors, McPherson had a strong first half, looking dangerous whenever he had the ball, whilst Clarke was sound between the sticks.
Match Stats
Conference League ? Southern
Round One
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Punchbowl Oval, Punchbowl
1st Grade
SYDNEY CEDARS  2 (Kendrigan own goal 2?, Fayad 40?)
Sydney Cedars ; 1. Bekdache, 2. Essafadi ?, 4. Hamzeh, 5. Tahan, 6. Kamara
(10. Benegadi 51?), 7. Koroma,  8. Al Waeli, 11. Fayad, 12. El Haj, 13. Mestu,
14. Ellerhani (15. Arya 79?).
Subs not used; 3.Myashita.
Lilli Pilli FC ; 1. Clarke, 2. Tanko ?, 3. Rosman, 4. Beare, 5. Kendrigan, 6. Hawkins,
8. MacDonald (7. Babington 48?), 9. Sunderlan (16. Karim 46?),11. Russell, 13. McPherson, 15. Byrnes (10. Healey 79?)
Subs not used; NIL
-By Frank Speranza