Reports from Taipans for their NSW Premier League matches against Quake
With the majority of Quake age groups still in the running for finals berths, it was never going to be easy for the Taipans travelling to Minto, but we have come a long way since round one and have proved we can give the premiership big boys a real game on our day.
The Academy game supplied everyone with the usual feast of futsal fare with some great potential talent on show.
The 12 Boys were the only South Coast side actually sitting above Quake in the ladder at the start of the day, and needed a big win if they were to push for a finals place. Goals from Joel King and Kayne Kotevski looked to set the boys up for just that as the Taipans raced to a 2-0 lead at halftime. But the boys couldn’t seem to replicate the usual form that we have come to expect and a narrow 2-1 win leaves them with only the remotest possibility of making the finals.
The 12 Girls were confident of an upset following the 2-2 draw in round 6 but Quake had other ideas as they looked to consolidate 4th place. 3-0 at halftime the young Taipans looked down and out, but you can’t knock the spirit of the ever improving girls, as goals from Danika Matos and Taylor Hargrave were just reward for a fantastic fight back. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as Quake scored another making the final score 4-2. Nevertheless a great second half performance.
The 14 Boys, sitting in fourth spot, were also looking to consolidate their position, but needed to be at the top of their game against second placed Quake. A close first half saw both sides look nervous with neither side wanting to lose. 2-1 down at the break, the Taipans had it all to play for, but like the 12 Boys, never really produced the futsal that we have come to expect from what has been one of our most consistent and entertaining teams all season. The final score of a 4-2 loss leaves the boys relying on other results to see if they can get in the finals. Taipan scorers were Robbie Del Banco and Mat Mazevski.
The Taipan 14 Girls were also up against a side sitting in second place, so were under no illusion of the task in front of them. Matching their illustrious opponents blow for blow, the girls put in an excellent performance to go in 1-1 at half time. The second half saw the Quake side get on top as the quality of their side finally got the better of the young South Coast girls running out 6-2 winners. The Taipan goal scorers were Katelyn Leadbeatter and Ebony Frazer .
The Taipan 16 Boys, sitting in eighth place had the unenviable task of taking on the leagues number one side, and with an 11-0 score from the previous match and no goalkeeper available, the worst was expected. But the lads were not going to be anyone’s gimme, and set about their task with great effort and application. 4-0 at halftime eventually turned to a final score of 7-0 but the Taipans were competitive throughout and never gave up.
Our 16 Girls took a shock first half lead with a fantastic strike from Taren King that would normally be a worthy match winner for any side. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, as the girls epic defence was breeched in the second half, and despite their best efforts the South Coast girls couldn’t get the goals back. Final score 3-1.
Illness and injury had the youth team calling upon two 15 year olds and a 14 year old to bolster the squad against third placed Quake. But the youngsters wouldn’t let anybody down as the team produced the game of the day, if not better, in a pulsating game of futsal that had everybody watching enthralled to the end. 2-3 up at halftime and more of the same in the second had the Taipan young men running out worthy 4-6 winners in a great advert for the game. Taipan scorers were Mitch Del Turco (2), Klime Sekutkoski, Nathan Scicchitano plus a goal each for James Brodnik (15) and Mat Mazevski (14).
Our Women were still trying to find some consistency in their performances as the whole is not always equal to the sum of the parts. Once again good individual skill would not be enough to overcome the more experienced team work of the experienced premier league sides. 3-1 down at half time with our goal scored by Chantelle Nohokau, turned to 8-1 at the final whistle.
In the men’s game Campbelltown were on the back foot early when Coast target Pete Gaffney forced his way through for the opening goal in just the third minute of the game. It was Gaffney’s 10th strike of a solid season and lifted the away team into the lead.
It could have been more for the Taipans had Shane Borg not pulled off a string of fantastic saves in Campbelltown’s goal and Coast were to rue their missed opportunities.
Quake rumbled into action after the early setback and started a full-court press that would last the entire game. It reaped dividends almost immediately.
Shane Ardle equalised in the 13th minute before young gun Bruno Antelmi fired twice in quick succession either side of a Jake McGing goal to put the home side 4-1 up at halftime.
The Taipans have shown to be a much stronger unit in the second half of the season and goals to Sarhand Mehrkhavari and Daniel Ferraro had them breathing down Quake’s necks at 4-3 down, despite being a player short for a few minutes after losing Daniel Atkins to a second yellow card.
South Coast were on fire and had several chances to level the scores with a number of missed one-on-ones against an under siege Borg, and their fortunes opened up further with the dismissal of Quake star Damian Brosque following a clumsy challenge and then a second booking for dissent.
With their backs to the wall and their season on the line up stepped Ardle, who plunged a dagger into the Taipans efforts with his second goal of the game inside the last four minutes.
But the Coast refused to surrender and a second Mehrkhavari score pegged the gap to 5-4 to make it a tense closing few minutes, only some stoic defence saving the day for Campbelltown.
Quake club secretary Carlos Martinez needed a few moments to settle his nerves after a thrilling encounter that now sets up an enticing winner-takes-all final round match-up against Boomerangs at their Minto “epicentre” this Saturday night.
“To be honest, when they scored to make it 5-4 and we had a man down, I thought they would pinch it,” he said, “but we defended strongly and got away with it.”
“We missed a lot of opportunities in front of goal but we’re happy to go to round 14 with a real chance at home against Boomerangs. If we win we go through, if we lose we don’t – pretty simple, really.
“Given the importance of the game I’m sure they’ll be gunning for us, and except for Brosque [out suspended] we’ll have a full team.”
After an edgy season Martinez was glad to have a finals shot, but he said it didn’t have to come down to a last game blockbuster.
“If you look back at our results we’ve had three draws. We led Boomerangs 5-1 and drew, and if we had won that game or one of the other games [a tough 2-2 draw with highflyers Dural and a shock 5-5 draw with Mascot], we’d be in a better position.”
“The work [coach] Simon Keith is doing with the boys has been excellent and next year we’ll be a much better side for what we’ve been doing this year. Making the semis will be mission accomplished, and from there anything can happen.”
Martinez also held special praise for the way South Coast had turned their season around and kept up their efforts to the very end despite relegation looming over their heads.
“In all nine grades they fought hard and played like they belong in Premier League, all credit to them. Hopefully they can build from here and keep their sides and be a force again next year in Super League and come back up better for the experience.”
Taipans coach April Van Woerkom would need to grow an extra pair of hands to count the number of times her side had been in a great position this season and failed to pull off victory.
“We were a bit unlucky again… we failed to convert six one-on-ones,” she said. “It’s just lapses in concentration that have let us down this year, but I think we are a premier league side. We just left our run a little too late to put it all together this time around.”
So 6 points might not be that great, but the teams all showed Great Spirit and were competitive until the end. Next week is the last game of the season, and as we travel to Enfield, we can still have a say in who goes on to win the championship.
See you all there……………