It blew an absolute gale on Saturday evening at Ilinden Sports Centre as St George and Mounties matched up for the first time since the 2018 Grand Final, on this day, Mounties got their revenge.
Another old tale of two halves as St George coughed up a comfortable first half lead, Mounties storming their way to the finish line, running rampant in the second half with four unanswered goals, winning back some pride and the all-important three points.
The cold chilly weather was freezing all in the stands, yet it was delight to see it didn’t affect the action on the park, as it heated up immediately and kept on flaming bright until the final whistle, evident as out of the blocks, the hosts took the lead.
In only the second minute of the game, a simple recovery in possession allowed St George to get onto the front foot and counter, sending winger Marcus Beattie into space. He drove hard and fast towards the box before cutting back to Hussein Akil, who positioning himself pretty at the top of the box, cracked a first time curling shot, striking it into the underside of the crossbar and over the line.
Minutes later, Mounties had struck back. A free kick wide of the box was sent in towards the six yard box causing danger for the Saints, as Sean Rooney challenged keeper Anthony Costa for the ball, forcing an error as it dropped kindly to Tomi Mijic who tapped it in.
Had you turned your head away you would have missed more action as St George went close to taking the lead again with fantastic build up between Marcus Beattie and Kevin Lopes, seeing the latter, nod a ball into space in the box, with Beattie firing off a free shot but sending it over the bar.
It would be positive signs for the hosts as they did take the lead once again. Hussein Akil bent a free kick up and over the wall, dipping dangerously towards goal, Mounties keeper Dion Shaw looked to palm it clear, however, didn’t get enough on it and the ball settled into the back of the net.
Again the action would not relent as almost immediately from the restart Mounties should have levelled up. Tai Smith controlled a long ball, then cut it for Sean Rooney who looked to strike but deftly dropped it for the free run of Bruno Pivato, the midfielder firing a clear shot at goal too high.
Then in the blink of an eye, St George had bagged their third with Hussein Akil completing his hattrick. Stuck in a bit of trouble on the wing, Ali Nasreddine whipped the ball to Akil who cleverly flicked it past his marker and into the box before emphatically thumping home.
Mounties were still in the game, however they seemed to be only just holding on as St George continued to pepper their defensive resolve. The remainder of the first half, neither side could string together clear cut chances that had kept all spectators on the edge of their seats, the half ending with no further change to the score.
The return of the players to the field was welcome after the half-time break as it bore more waves of wintery air, again the action lightning up from the outset.
St George were aiming to keep themselves composed with their two goal advantage, however, that lead would be wiped away in a flash as Mounties brought the thunder.
It seemed a switch in mindset from the Mounties, with Jacob Poscoliero moving into the heart of defence and Theo Kofinas taking up a role in midfield, moving another imposing figure forward. With only five minutes into the half, Mounties subbed on Matthew West and the change brought immediate impact as he scored with his second touch of the game.
A long ball out from Dion Shaw found the head of West and he nodded on for Tai Smith who attacked the space ahead and cut back for the darting run of West who slid the ball into the back of the net.
Only one minute later the scores were tied up when Sean Rooney curled in a dangerous cross, beating the first man and finding the run of Theo Kofinas, the big man making no mistake and heading home.
Mounties kept up the attack and their clear sign of intent to get forward was proving beneficial to the side. Having played link up man for most of the match, Tai Smith went close to giving his side the lead, only for his clear chance to be fired straight at the keeper.
Still in the ascendancy, Mounties went dangerously close again as Sean Rooney got in behind the defence and one-on-one. Nervous tension filled the home side as he drew nearer to goal, thankfully for the Saints, keeper Anthony Costa came up with a massive save to deny the shot and ensure the scores remained even.
There was not much Costa could do only minutes later when Mounties did take the lead. Peter Triantis knocked a simple ball in behind, with Matthew West racing to the ball first, knocked it past the oncoming rush of Costa and into the net.
The goal seemed to knock the wind out of St George, who could barely believe they had given up their lead. They continue to compete and make waves towards goal, but Mounties kept on pushing back harder and harder. With five minutes left to play Mounties sealed their win when Sean Rooney whipped a deep curling corner to the back post to find the rising Tomi Mijic who headed into the path of Mitchell Davidson, and with a free header puts it in the back of the net.
There was one last push from St George but the match was already done. Simply blown away by the wind and the rampaging Mounties, the visitors dominant with four unanswered second half goals, claimed victory.
St George FC: H. Akil, S. Ali, J. Bandur, B. Bartels, M. Beattie, C. Jeong, M. Kokubo, B. Kubecka, D. Loe, K. Lopes, A. Nasreddine, T. Norval, M. Paz, A. Costa
Mounties Wanderers FC: N. Chianese, M. Cklamovski, M. Davidson, J. Groeneveld, J. Ingle, T. Kofinas, T. Mijic, B. Pivato, J. Poscoliero, S. Rooney, A. Schmidt, A. Schroeder, D. Shaw, T. Smith, P. Triantis, M. West
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