|ROUND 3 MATCH REPORT|
|Wednesday, 28 March 2007|
Sunshine George Cross laid on its best performance of the season so far away at Oakleigh's Jack Edwards Reserve last Friday night.
OAKLEIGH CANNONS 2
SUNSHINE GEORGE CROSS 2
The Georgies were coming off a demoralising 2-0 home defeat to derby rivals Green Gully with only a 4 day turn around, and the injury list was quckly growing at a rapid pace as Chris Greechan, Ralph Napoli and Adam Gauci Seddon joined Jonas Salley, Brett Gilmour, Michael Batinovic, Michael Fiorenza and Dusko Delic on the sideline. Nana Addo and Matthew Cini were elevated into the first eleven along with new signing from Heidelberg Ilia Tsoumerkas slotting into the central defence position.
It was George Cross that took the initiative to the star studded Oakleigh team in the first half, and as early as the 6th minute a fine finish from Kam Simsek from build up play in the Oakleigh area was amazingly disallowed for off side. A few close calls followed this as Addo missed a cross at the far post by a matter of inches. However, the travelling Cross fans only had to wait till the 31st minute when Magnacca finished from 18 yards after a mazey run through the Oakleigh half. A mere 6 minutes later it was 2-0 to the Georgies as Trpcevski capitalised on a failed clearance from Oakleigh keeper Webster, blasting home from a similar distance.
The Cross dominated play in the first half and never allowed the recognised strike force of the home team a single genuine shot on target.Tsoumerkas especially keeping Masi and Nilo well in check. The foul count against the Cross was a sign that there would be no easy ball won in midfield by the Cannons. Trevor Conroy, the Irishman, placing some crunching tackles just in front of the back four in order to intimidate the Oakleigh play makers.
The expected onslaught of Stuart Munro's team came in the second half as Oakleigh switched to a 4-3-3 formation in an effort to get back into the match. The Cross lasted well for 20 minutes, but after a series of close range saves from Martin John and some desperate defending in the box, Anthony Pelikan finally cracked a resolute defence slamming
home a 4th or 5th rebound.
This gave the Cannons an enormous lift, and with the short week beginning to tell on the Georgie legs and the cramping up and departure of Tsoumerkas from the pitch after the 74th minute, the Georgie defence and midfield were getting caught deep and were constantly being pushed to the wall by the rampaging Oakleigh midfield.
The Cross had to resort to playing on the break in order to grind down the clock, but it was a clock that the referee seemed to ignore as very deep into stoppage time, Oakleigh found an equaliser through sharp shooter Masi to head home above a tiring Cross defence.
At the final whistle, which still came 3 minutes after the Masi goal, it was a relieved Oakleigh which was spared its blushes, but a disappointed Cross which could have and should have so easily registered its first win of the season.
A 2-2 result away from home at a venue where one would expect very few teams this season to come away with any points at all is on the surface an excellent result, and one which gives the Cross great confidence that it can play good football and generate a result.
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