An afternoon match greeted both Xavier College and GGS with the match rescheduled from Saturday 18th June. The match was played in Melbourne’s winter gloom and the Jackson Pitch was sodden under foot with persistent drizzle having fallen all day, but stopped just prior to the 3.30pm kick-off.
Xavier College took control of the match early and both Nicky Edwards and Nic Sette were finding space on the flanks, ab le to deliver a number of early crosses into the GGS penalty area and in the 8th minute of the match, a Nic Sette cross found Nicky Edwards unmarked in the GGS penalty area and he completed an easy shot low into the GGS goal to open the scoring. Despite dominating both possession and territory for the remainder of the half, and pressing the GGS defence into action time and again, XC was unable to get on the score sheet again. The frustration was evident from the XC players, but to the credit of the GGS defence, they were able to disrupt XC’s attacking flow and prevent XC doubling their score despite a number of goal scoring opportunities that unfortunately were wasted.
The second half was a continuation of the first, with great frustration building from the XC side that again pressed the GGS goa continuously, but were once again unable to break through. More concerning were the occasional errors being seen from players that normally are so steady. Both Oscar Bertelle and Seb Lock were both caught out at times in the second half, but the ever-present Tom Petricca and Dylan Garofalo were able to clean up any attacking threats that were able to develop. At the other end of the park, one threat after another was being repelled by GGS. That was until the 78th minute of the match, when a long range throw into the GGS penalty area by Tom Natoli found the feet of Nic Sette in enough space to tap the ball into the back of the GGS net, a master stroke in a sea of mediocrity. Finally the team had some breathing space with a 2-0 lead and only 2 minutes left on the clock. Unfortunately, ill-discipline and a good dose of silliness crept into the team’s game and rather than focus on the ball in the final minute of the match, XC engaged in pushing and shoving. GGS gleefully took advantage of this and took a quick free kick, swept the ball down the pitch and the XC defence was nowhere to be seen. The GGS striker was quickly one-on-one with Luke Dais, but he wasn’t able to keep GGS at bay and they snatched a late consolation goal. This was immensely disappointing, and a hollow manner in which to finish the match. The team must be more disciplined as we now prepare to defend the Loyola Cup in Sydney.