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Monday, 05 June 2006

A come from behind 2-1 victory over the Essendon Royals at Chaplin Reserve has lifted the Cross up the table and away from the dreaded relegation dog fight.




LINE UP: John(GK), Erdogan (Gauci-Seddon 85'), Rocco, Azzopardi, Muscat(c), Delic (Soares 81'), Gilmour, Trpcevski (Waterson 46'), Mitrovic, Richards, Draycott SUBS NOT USED: Fiorenza (GK), Napoli

Sunshine George Cross overcame hoodoo side the Essendon Royals after this come from behind victory. In the past 5 meetings between the two sides, the Royals have held the upper hand with 4 wins and one draw, and for a long period in this keenly fought out clash at Chaplin Reserve the visitors appeared set to continue to hold sway.
Essendon lead at the break completely against the run of play. It was rough justice on the Sunshine outfit as it was them who did all the running and pressurising. The Cross could have led as early as the 6 minute when Vasco Trpcevski saw his rasping long range shot go just wide. Mark Draycott did likewise a minute later, and went evern closer after 11 minutes when he was set up by Fidell Richards. With only the keeper to beat Draycott's shot was turned for a corner by the ever alert Mark Sutalo. Dusko Delic then set up newcomer Srecko Mitrovic, but once again Sutalo was in the right place to stop the shot.
In one of Essendon's few ventures forward, they were almost caught out when Mark Draycott won the ball in his own half. His pass to Richards set him on a run in on goal, but instead of shooting he chose to play the ball across the goal to the lunging Draycott who cold not connect to push the ball into the open goal. It was turning out to be a game of missed chances as at the other end David Pilic blasted the ball over in the first Royals attack after 22 minutes. Dusko Delic was winning a lot of the ball and his distribution created panic for the Essendon defence. Delic along with Gilmour and Mitrovic controlled the midfield to set up numerous attacks.
The highlight of the first half was the fanastic 30 metre shot by Srecko Mitrovic that brought an equally good save by Sutalo. The Essendon keeper did well to stop the ball, but failed to hold onto it. Draycott was impeded when trying to get to the rebound, but the referee waved play ona llowing dusko Delic the chance to lash home the loose ball into the net but his shot sailed over the bar to let Essendon off the hook.
The Georgies lost their way in the final 15 minutes of the first half and it was Essendon who almost went ahead when Henry Fa'Arodo tested Martin John with a rasping drive. John's punch allowed the ball sit up nicely for the on rushing Nicholas Schwal who smacked his shot against the cross bar.
The Chaplin Reserve crowd was stunned into silence after the Royals went ahead through a 40th minute headed goal by defender Mile Medjedovic following an Essendon corner.
The Georgies brought on Trent Waterson for Vasco Trpcevski in the second half and it was a similar pattern that emerged with the Cross in control without being able to break down the visitor's packed defence. Gilmour's hard work on the left flank almost bore fruit when he found Richards. The hard running striker beat two defenders, but his shot rolled agonisingly just wide of the far post. Essendon was content to sit back and absorb the pressure. At every opportunity their defenders pumped long balls forward for lone striker Fa'Arodo to run onto, but most occasions he was no match for Colin Azzopardi and Daniel Rocco. Fa'Arodo did escape a couple of times but was quickly closed down without any trouble for John in the Georgies goal.
The longer the game went the more it appeared the Cross would once again be frustrated by Essendon Royals. To their credit the Georgie players continued to probe and ask questions of the Essendon defence. The positive answer came in the 72 minute when dazzling play by Richards found Dusko Delic on the right of the penalty area. Delic saw his shot hit the cross bar, but for once lady luck smiled on a Georgie attack with the ball falling nicely at the feet of Mark Draycott who made no mistake from close range.
The atmosphere at the ground changed as every George Cross supporter encouraged their players to go on and win the match. The ground expolded five minutes later when star of the match Fidell Richards beat his opponent and sent over an inch perfect cross to the far post where Manny Muscat got his head to the ball to plant his header into the back of the net.
Essendon sensing the game slipping away decided to play football for the first time and employed different tactics and pushed further forward. The Cross defence was in no mood to let all the hard work slip up and were well in control for the remainder of the game. It was the Georgies who looked the more likely to score, and could have had their strikers been a little bit more selfish and tried their luck from good scoring positions. In the end it was a thoughouly deserved victory for a team who did all the work.


FOULS: 13 8


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