The opening match of the 2016 Jesuit Carnival saw Xavier College pitted against St. Ignatius’ College, Adelaide. Our opponents were considerably improved from two years ago and there was clearly a desire to achieve a result over the defending champions. On a cool, crisp morning with the sun beating down, both teams looked to gain ascendancy in the midfield, but neither team was ever really able to find their footing and exert control of the match for long periods of time. Whilst opportunities were being created, particularly on the left flank, with Frank Kanesoulis whipping cross after cross into the SICA penalty area and Nicky Edwards looking to be creative, the final ball was not being treated with care and too many goal scoring opportunities were being squandered. That was until a free kick was awarded on the right flank. Frank Kanesoulis lined the swerving ball up and found the head of Aaron Fabris who glanced the ball beautifully into the back of the SICA goal in the 18th minute of the match.
At this point, XC were well on top and the match should have been put to bed barely two minutes later. Nicky Edwards worked some magic on the left flank and drove the ball forward into the path of Dean Di Pietro who managed to create a one-on-one goal scoring opportunity vs the SICA goalkeeper. He managed to beat the goalkeeper and the ball was on track for a second goal but with no pace. The slowing ball was swept up by a SICA defender and the chance was lost. This missed opportunity deflated XC and seemed to energise SICA and they definitely had the better of the remaining time in the first half. Nonetheless, XC held on, with Tom Petricca and Oscar Bertelle working hard in the heart of defence to keep SICA at bay and go into the half 1-0 up.
The second half saw few real goal scoring opportunities. Too many XC players looked lethargic and lacked penetration in the midfield. At times, XC players hung back from SICA opponents and allowed them time and space and unfortunately, from a SICA corner in the 61st minute of the match, despite no less than 4 XC players close enough to simply clear the crossed ball, the ball was somehow scrambled across the line and into the back of the XC goal and the lead was lost.
No matter how hard the team tried, we simply couldn’t push for another goal and the match ended in a tame draw. It was great to see Ben Luff return to the team in goals after a very long injury lay off and he looked confident for the vast majority of the match. The team needs to turn around and achieve two victories tomorrow against Loyola Senior High School and St. Ignatius’ College, Riverview if we have any hope of defending the Loyola Cup in 2016.