Under strength Raiders win 14 Boys in mighty effort


Getting the first goal was going to be important in this game and the Allstars almost opened the scoring and the game could have been a very different result when Vincent Giannini laid the ball back for Jason Madonis but his shot struck the post.
The Raiders fielded only one fourteen year old and relied on an 11 and a 12 year old to battle and harass the Allstars upfront for them while the experienced players Nicholas Pepper and Hagi Gligoro shored up the defence.
The tactic paid dividends when the Raiders counter attacked at lightening speed and young Martin Lo placed the ball past the keeper to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead.
The Raiders scored again when Nicholas Pepper picked the ball up inside his own half raced upcourt, cut inside and slammed the ball past the keeper for an excellent solo goal.
The Raiders almost scored again when John Dimitrakis turned a long range Nicholas Pepper shot over the bar.
Then disaster happened for the Allstars when a pass out of defence was seized on by Nicholas Pepper who slipped the ball to Adrian Epifanino who tenaciously slipped the ball past the keeper to give the Raiders an amazing 3-0 lead.
The Allstars pulled a goal back with 3 minutes to go in the half. With the Allstars heavily on the attack the keeper John Dimitrakis came down court and smashed a shot through a crowded area and into the net to make the score 3-1.
The Raiders were joined just before half time by Jake Adelson and his inclusion added much needed experience to their ranks.
In the second half the game was swinging from end to end as both sides had several shots on goal.
Adelson sped down the right side and forced a fine save from the keeper then later nicked the ball off an Allstars attackers toe as he was about to shoot from close range. Tony Lo an outfield player deputising in goal made a smart save from Paul Zrno.
Tony Lo made further good saves to deny Vincent Giannini and a stinging shot from Paul Zrno was parried down.
The Allstars frustration was building and they were feeling the pressure playing against a young side that was putting up a strong resistance as they tried everything they could to find a way to break down the Raiders defence.
The Allstars were on full attack and the Raiders were starting to retract into total defence to protect their lead and last the game out.
Hagi Gligor made a great block to deny Paul Zrno, Tony Lo made a great save to deny Giannini and Daniel Paino had a shot saved.
Late in the game Domenic Badalato saved a 6th foul penalty shot and Jake Adelson had a fierce shot tipped over by Badalato.
The final whistle blew to the sheer joy from the Western Raiders contingent as they did an amazing job to hold the Allstars out the whole half and keep them scoreless. 
It was not to be the Allstars day but they are also a great side and will keep this game in the memory banks and learn from it.
An overjoyed Raiders coach Sam Galayini said he asked the two young players up front to harass the Allstars as much as possible to give their defenders Hagi, Nicholas and Tony Lo as much protection as possible and to see if they could get to extra time and penalties.
They went one better than that six players from the outstanding Western Raiders pulled off a great victory 3-1 in normal time.

Inner West Allstars                                                         Western Raiders
8. Jordan Hall                                                                6. Adrian Epifanino
9. Christian Calderon                                                     9. Martin Lo
4. Julian Cardona                                                          7. Jake Adelson
1. John Dimitrakis                                                          5. Hagi Gligor
22. Domenic Badalato                                                   3. Tony Lo
10. Paul Zrno                                                                8. Nicholas Pepper
5. Jason Madonis                                                         
7. Vincent Giannini
6. Daniel Paino
11. Keenan Gibson

Allstars ? John Dimitrakis
Raiders –  Adrian Epifanino, Martin Lo, Nicholas Pepper


Fouls –  Inner West 10,
            Raiders ? None

Officials ? Salma Aly, Dean Wright, Meni Belkadi

By Peter Davies