Photo: Dion Fountas
It was an unchanged line-up from Kruni Ražov in Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash against Werribee City at Galvin Park where late drama saw the two sides settle for a point each in a one-all draw.
Robert Santilli was the man between the sticks again with Anthony Kataforis and Jordan Wilkes centrally in-front of him, as David Simms started on the left with Ben Shaper on his standard right side.
Domenic Falla, David Stojić and captain Michael Grgić formed the Saints’ midfield whilst Deji Omoboye and Adam Hodor were used out wide, constantly switching flanks with Joseph Monek playing up front.
This left Gabriel Matti, Matthew Cundari, Hernan Espindola, Josip Konyit and Marko Bagarić on the bench, for Ražov to utilise during the course of the contest.
The affair didn’t live up to expectations for neutral fans especially in the first-half, as the cagey contest saw both teams in a cautious state not wanting to make mistakes and give their opposition anything to take advantage of.
The best chance of the half came from a dangerous Joseph Monek delivery as he found Stojić at the back post who connected with the ball however, sent the effort wide in the 22nd minute.
Kataforis saw the only yellow card for the visitors in the first half and it came in the 38th minute when his late challenge brought down Carlin Feely.
City’s Jacob Butler had the first real opportunity of the second half as he let a 23-yard free-kick fly in the 65th minute with Santilli equal to it as he was at full stretch to keep out the effort.
The last minute of regular time saw a mountain of hope for the hosts as Hodor unleashed a piercing first-time effort into the top corner to the eruption of Saints’ travelling fanbase giving the visitors a very late one-nil lead.
Galvin Park wasn’t finished with its controversy as the other Hodor on the pitch, Shaun who is Adams’ brother made use of his opportunity five minutes into stoppage time after being substituted on in the 69th minute for the hosts.
Hodor latched onto a first-time ball with a world class volley to everyone’s surprise and drilled it into the top right corner, not even Santilli at full stretch could keep it out. The share of points keeps City at the top of the table as the Saints stay second.
Post-Match Interview with Kruni Ražov
JH: A one-all draw is disappointing especially after you had the lead there for a few minutes however, both teams had their chances and you could say a point each is a fair result. What’s your take?
KR: Yeah, I agree a draw was eventually a fair result… Disappointed we couldn’t take the three points under the circumstances but that’s football.
We didn’t play to our potential nor capacity today. We need to learn to close matches out better and kill the game off but in saying that, it was a great strike from Shaun Hodor to equalise.
JH: It’s never easy when playing in a top-of-the-table clash, they seem to be cagey at times with neither team wanting to give anything away. How do you prepare for these matches and is it different to any other?
KR: Yeah it was cagey and cautious at times as neither team wanted to lose. Nerves might have hit some of our players early on as our first half wasn’t great.
We didn’t prepare any different for this game as nothing changes with every match win giving you only three points regardless of the opponent.
JH: Saints can take their eyes off the league now for a short period of time as Port Melbourne Sharks await in the Fourth Round of the FFA Cup Preliminary Rounds. Is a cup run something that’s on your mind or is the sole focus on league promotion this year?
KR: We definitely would like to have a good cup run this year. We will be going to Port Melbourne with the best squad available and trying to win the game.
We know it won’t be easy as they are in fantastic form at the moment but it’s a challenge that we are looking forward too.