Almanac Soccer: North Geelong 1 – 1 Brunswick City

A perfect late autumn day, cloudless sky and no breeze, and soccer as far as the eye could see. Several games going on at the same time. North Geelong Warriors versus Surf Coast in the local women’s competition. North Reserves are finishing their match with Brunswick City. Children are in impromptu games in any available space. It was Saturday at Elcho Park when I arrived for the National Premier League Division Two match between the Warriors and Brunswick seniors.


Brunswick came into the match on top of the league, led by top scorer Jesse Makarounas— Australian youth representative and former A-League player with Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United. North had Stuart Begg in charge, having replaced Zeljko Gagula as coach.


The visitors started brightly, putting North under pressure, but the defence held firm despite one or two difficult moments. North could not string effective passing movements together and relied on long balls forward on several occasions. When Brunswick’s Lucas Oliveira went down in the area the fans around me were calling for a penalty, but referee Max Hanlon was having none of it. North’s Luka Skoko played a neat, lofted pass to John Pykett who had gone forward but the latter’s shot was diverted for a corner kick. Luka Jurkovic was presented with a gift from a defensive miskick but just couldn’t find the corner of the net. The first half ended goal-less as William Tsiamis spurned a late chance for Brunswick.


I talked to former North star and Croatian international player Joey Didulica at half-time and he thought that North would score in the second half and hang on to that result. He was right about the first part and only a bit of bad luck prevented North from taking all three points. North’s goal was a thunderous strike from distance by Yuji Kin, which flew into the top corner of the net from all of 30 metres, leaving keeper Jordan Gifkins with no chance of stopping the rocket. That came in the 61st minute and certainly woke the visitors up. The Brunswick fans were asking why did they not play like that when they were level rather than when they went behind?


North took advantage of some gaps which emerged but could not add to their tally and in the 76th minute Brunswick forced a scramble in the North penalty area. Several attempts were blocked but when Lisandro Paz and Makarounas had shots the ball ricocheted around and in trying to prevent it crossing the North goal-line, Anthony Banovac got the last touch for an unlucky own goal.


Nicholas Gonzalez of Brunswick seemed to be clean through in the 86th minute but missed to the left of the North goal. North had a similar effort at the other end. Both teams had chances after that and in some frenetic five minutes of added time, but the match finished all square.




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