Avondale FC vs Kingston City
Round 3 in the Victorian NPL was forecast to be Hot no matter when you where scheduled to play and Saturday Afternoon proved to be just that. In an attempt to avoid some of Melbourne’s heat, our youth and Senior kick-off times were pushed back in the hope of some late afternoon reprieve although the heat didn’t subside making tough conditions for all involved.
Kington City arrived at Avenger Park looking to pick up their first win of the season while our Avengers looked to maintain their perfect start to the 2019 season. The Avondale side saw starting debuts for due Scott Hilliar and Stefan Valentini whilst Jonatan Germano returned to the bench for his first involvement of the season. The opening minutes of the game saw a good tempo being set by both teams in the attempt to gain an early advantage. Whilst Avondale enjoyed more of the early possession it was Kingston with the better of the early chances with some inviting crosses into the box which left the Avondale defence working hard to clear their lines. It was Stefan Valentini who created some of Avondale’s best chances in the first half and went close to opening the scoring only for a fine reaction save by the Kingston City custodian. As half time approached Tasuku Sekiya became more prominent and played Stefan Zinni in behind for his shot to force another good save from the Kingston Keeper. Kingston City had a golden chance on the stroke of Half Time to take the lead as a cross from their left wing found the head of their centre back only to skim wide of the far post and the score to remain 0-0 at the break.
As the players re-hydrated and the pitch was watering at the Half Time break we were ready for the shackles to be broken and it only took 52 Seconds in the second half for Sekiya to open the scoring. A poor clearance from the back saw Avondale regain possession in midfield and Sekiya played a quick one-two with Boland to advance himself to the edge of the area. He then cleverly used his quick feet to take himself past two Kingston defenders before firing hard and low into the bottom left corner to give the Avengers the lead. Avondale took advantage of the breakthrough and started to control proceedings creating good scoring positions in the front third and winning consecutive corners. It was from there where the second goal of the game came as Sekiya’s corner was spilled by the Kingston Keeper to the feet of Valentini who managed to poke home on the second attempt and double Avondale’s lead in the 62nd Minute.
It looked as though the Avengers would cruise home in the last third of the game as Brandan Lundy and James Riccobene showed amazing energy in the conditions working up and back on both flanks. The script changed in the 78th minute as Kingston were awarded a Penalty and a chance to get back into the match after a defensive block came off the hand of an Avondale defender which saw the referee point to the spot. Alex Caniglia slotted the Penalty in the bottom right corner as Chris Oldfield went the other way and it would be a fight to the end with the score at 2-1.
Avondale continued to push forward in the last 10 minutes and find a third to seal the victory with substitutes Jonatan Germano and Christian Inglese both seeing chances go over the bar from counter attacks as Kingston pushed numbers forward.
There wasn’t to be another goal and 2-1 was the final score seeing Avondale take 3 wins from 3 starts. Both teams were applauded at full time for their efforts in trying conditions and made for an entertaining contest. The win sends Avondale to equal top of the NPL Table with Bentleigh Greens as the only two clubs to remain with a 100% record.
Earlier on our U20’s fell to their first loss of the season going down 2-0.
Another Home game next week will we see South Melbourne visit Avenger Park in what will most certainly be better conditions for all involved. We look forward to another strong performance by our Avengers to keep our early season form continuing on.