Blazing sunshine and a crisp morning greeted Xavier College and CGS on a beautiful day in the return to APS action after the three week holiday break. XC were looking to continue their good form after defending the Loyola Cup in Sydney the previous weekend.
The steely eyes and determination were there in XC from the outset. It was clear from the outset that XC had a mission. The intensity was extraordinary and they barely let CGS have a look in as far as possession was concerned. Every time a CGS player had the ball, an XC player would pounce – the pressure was immense and it took only 10 minutes before CGS wilted in the face of Xavier College players’ aggression, desire, determination and skill. Nicky Edwards was causing constant problems on the left flank for the CGS defence – he turned them inside and out and they had no idea how to handle his skill in possession. In the 10th minute of the match, Nicky flashed a quick pass into the box to the on-running Mikhail Capodistrias who flashed into the CGS penalty area and flicked the ball past the CGS goalkeeper and XC were on the board with an excellent goal. Things only got worse for CGS with XC pounding them on both the left and right flanks. Oscar Bertelle and Daniel Roccioletti causing issues on the right and Nicky Edwards and Frank Kanesoulis relentless on the left. In the 14th minute of the match, the dam wall broke. A magnificent corner from Nicky Edwards was whipped in to the waiting head of an unmarked Captain Seb Lock and a simple headed goal resulted –XC 2 leading CGS 0. With XC leading 2-0, CGS knuckled down and even though XC continued to dominate both possession and territory, a third goal was elusive. CGS barely had a shot at Ben Luff’s goal – I don’t think Ben broke a sweat all half! It wasn’t until the 37th minute of the match that XC’s constant pressure told again. Once again it was wonderful work from Nicky Edwards – a wonderful lofted ball from the left flank that found the on-rushing head of Marius Sorace who rose high above a CGS defender and powerfully headed the ball into the back of the CGS goal and a 3-0 lead was established before the half time break.
The second half saw no let-up from XC and after only 2 minutes of action, a rampant Nicky Edwards crossed the ball into the CGS penalty area only to find the head of a CGS defender who artfully glanced the ball into the back of his own net and the own goal saw the score blow out to 4-0 in the 42nd minute of the match. The bench was emptied early in the second half shortly after the 4th XC goal. There was no let-up in intensity though. Whilst it took some time, the 5th goal was a result of some beautiful work from both Nic Sette and Dean Di Pietro. Nic was able to cross the ball from the left flank, find the feet of Dean in space in front of goal and he made no mistake, pounding the ball into the back of the CGS goal in the 58th minute of the match and the score was 5-0. Barely 5 minutes later Dean worked some magic again with Nic and their interplay resulted in the creation of enough space in front of goal for Aaron Fabris to nip in from the right flank and score the 6th goal of the game in the 63rd minute of the match.
The team weren’t done yet though. In the 75th minute of the match, a free kick was awarded outside the CGS penalty area on the left flank and up stepped Nic Sette. He whipped a lofted ball into the CGS penalty area and it curled past everyone, including the CGS goalkeeper and into the CGS goal, taking the score to 7-0 in XC’s favour. That is how the score remained when the final whistle was blown. What a performance from Xavier College this was today! If the team keeps playing with this sort of fluency, watch out Scotch College next weekend. Time next game will go a long way in determining who will take home the APS Premiership in 2016. Two more games to go, two more wins needed, it’s a simple equation for even the weakest of mathematics students.
Oscar Bertelle played at both right back and centre back today. He was the rock we have come to expect – solid as ever in either position and his long throws into the CGS penalty area caused huge issues for the opposition today.
Mikhail Capodistrias is a transformed player after a superb Jesuit Carnival. His imaginative play in the midfield and penetrative runs into the penalty area caused real issues for the CGS defence throughout the match. Long may his rich vein of form continue.
Dean Di Pietro made a great cameo when he entered the fray in the second half, scoring one goal and setting up another. He ran into space on a number of occasions and created a number of scoring chances – he is clearly returning to some form after a bit of a slump.
Nicky Edwards was on fire today. He dazzled with his footwork at times and CGS had no answer to his capacity to deliver a pinpoint pass, cross or corner. He set up no less than 4 goals today and was a constant attacking threat.
Aaron Fabris settled nicely into his work, initially at striker and later on the right wing. Growing both in confidence and stature, Aaron scored one goal today and his work rate was very high throughout the match.
Lee Gellis entered the fray in the second half and he settled into his work in the heart of midfield, with the team not missing a beat. He worked hard throughout the half and was at his creative best, causing problems for a tiring CGS defence.
Frank Kanesoulis continued with his fine form from the Jesuit Carnival. Such a creative, hard running player, he links beautifully with Nicky Edwards on the left. An accomplished defender, and yet loves to get forward and create goal scoring opportunities, of which he had two, but was unable to score……
Captain Seb Lock was at his indomitable best today. Strong, powerful and always in control, he managed the tempo of the match magnificently today. CGS never got past or around him and never really posed an attacking threat because of his work. He even popped up for a goal of his own in the first half.
Ben Luff returned to APS action for the first time in 2016 after a long injury lay-off. He was faultless today, although he really had little to do, given the team’s on-field dominance.
Tom Natoli played with precision and confidence in the defensive midfield position today. His ability to deliver a long-range diagonal ball was imperious today. A fine performance from a vastly improved player today.
Tom Petricca had a fine game at centre back today. He worked well with Seb Lock in the core defensive coupling. He ran hard throughout the match and was determined to not be beaten. He’s also becoming a fine advocate of the ‘to the striker’s feet’ long pass.
Daniel Roccioletti ran hard throughout the first half and into the second half prior to his substitution. He was creative on the right flank and delivered a number of threatening balls. He seems to be back to his confident best after a fine Jesuit Carnival.
Fabio Sacchetta entered the fray in the second half at right back and never put a foot wrong. His passing was incisive and tackling assured. In truth, I don’t remember a single threat being mounted by the CGS left winger in the entire match!
Nic Sette caused havoc as soon as he made it onto the pitch in the second half. His capacity to beat an opponent is outstanding and his laying off of the ball to on-running teammates was on full display today. He set up one goal and scored one of his own for good measure.
Marius Sorace seems to be relishing a return to the midfield. He had an outstanding game today. Defensively superb, intimidating CGS midfielders throughout the match with hard tackles and incisive passing. He was rightly rewarded with a fine headed goal late in the first half and just looks like he’s really enjoying playing football at the moment. Long may it continue.