The St Albans Saints kicked-off their 2019 FFA Cup run in style as they left JL Murphy Reserve victorious on Saturday night after defeating Port Melbourne Sharks one-nil.
Joseph Monek netted the only goal of the contest as a 70th minute volley saw the winger strike the roof of the net, to give the Saints a lead which they managed to hold onto.
The Sharks saw two fantastic opportunities in the first half-hour to break the deadlock through Finn Beakhurst and Sam Ford however, a magnificent Jordan Wilkes came to the rescue. Two last-ditch goal-line clearances from the defender kept the score in the balance.
Monek had an opportunity in the 36th minute to find his first, after David Stojić’s excellent pressing forced Alan Kearney off the ball inside the Sharks’ defensive box. Monek’s effort however, was skied over the bar.
With only three minutes remaining in the first half, Sharks’ Amadu Koroma broke free on the right wing and squared a dangerous ball to Ford. With nothing but the net to find, the effort was skied from two metres out.
Monek received the first booking for the Saints just three minutes prior to netting.
Two quick corners arrived for the Saints and the second saw a defensive lapse from the Sharks, which ended with a loose-ball headed towards Monek.
Leaping for the ball, Monek managed to connect with it and send it over Sharks’ goalkeeper Nicholas Ereš, who had dealt with all of Saints’ pressure prior.
The lead was there however, holding it was the real task. Both teams went to the bench as the Saints brought on Hernan Espindola, Anthony Del Vecchio (debut) and Ben Shaper for Matthew Cundari, Stojić and Marko Bagarić respectively.
A penalty shout was waived away with five minutes to go, as referee Andrew Meimarakis deemed Koroma’s challenge on Monek as fair.
The Sharks instantly went the other way and nearly found the equaliser as substitute Kamal Ibrahim struck the post.
A number of half-chances followed alongside nine minutes of additional time however, the Saints completed their task and held on to secure progression into Round Five of the competition which leaves 32 teams.
The Round Five FFA Cup draw is scheduled for Tuesday, 23rd April. More information will be available through our social media platforms.
Kruni Ražov’s men do turn their focus back on the league however, as Round Ten requires three hours travel to face Murray United.
The match is scheduled for Saturday, 27th April at La Trobe University (Albury-Wodonga), with kick-off set for 15:00.