Xavier College’s third match of the 2016 Jesuit Soccer Carnival was also a must win occasion. The team was greeted by bright sunshine this time around after a wet morning match.
The crowd had barely the time to take their seats before Nicky Edwards had peeled apart the SICR defence, passed the ball to Aaron Fabris in space on the edge of the SICR penalty area and Aaron expertly flashed the ball past the SICR goalkeeper before any player had even worked up a sweat in only the 1st minute of the match. To their credit, SICR never dropped their heads and the first half turned into a real ding-dong battle. The reality on the ground was that Xavier College certainly had the better of play and the lion’s share of possession, but SICR gradually worked their way into the match and were able to generate two excellent scoring chances. It was the outstanding work of goalkeeper Ben Luff who managed to keep SICR at bay, firstly with a stretching save high to tip the ball over the crossbar in the 24th minute of the match and again in the 30th minute of the match, Ben pulled off a magnificent diving save low to his right. Tom Natoli was also working extremely hard in the middle, manfully supported by the impressive defensive quartet of Oscar Bertelle, Captain Seb Lock, Tom Petricca and Frank Kanesoulis. It was their work, alongside Ben Luff’s heroics that kept SICR at bay in the first half of the match.
The second half began in a sour manner with the SICR left winger managing to create space on their left flank, able to wriggle into the XC penalty area and beat no less than two XC defenders. He then crossed the ball in front of goal, finding the feet of the waiting SICR striker who tapped the ball into the XC goal in the 41st minute of the match and the score was returned to parity at 1-1.
It didn’t stay like that for long though before Mikhail Capodistrias broke his goal scoring hoodoo of 2016, dribbling the ball into the SICR penalty area, weaving through opposition players and belting the ball into the top right hand corner of the SICR goal, with the SICR goalkeeper having no chance whatsoever to save the ball in the 46th minute of the match; what a strike it was!
Mikhail’s goal broke the backs of the SICR players and in the 55th minute of the match, the best manoeuvre of the match when Nicky Edwards threaded the ball through to Mikhail Capodistrias who one-touch flicked the ball at the SICR goal, but was wonderfully saved, but only for the ricocheted ball to fall at the feet of Marius Sorace from close range who made no mistake and buried the ball into the back of the SICR goal. That wasn’t the end of the goal scoring action though, as Dean Di Pietro also broke his goal scoring drought in the final minute of the match after he received a ball from Marius Sorace. Dean turned and ran at the tiring SICR defence, broke through and then from the edge of the SICR penalty area and send a thumping drive into the top right hand corner of the goal and the match would end at 4-1 in Xavier College’s favour. The team must rest and tend to sore muscles with a view to defeating hosts St. Aloysius’ College in our final round robin match on Wednesday.