Matchday 7 brought the excitement of a fierce local derby between Terrigal and Avoca which was originally scheduled to be played at ‘Fortress Duffy’s’, but had to be shifted to a similar patch of grass in Pluim Park due to wet weather in the days leading up to the match. After strong performances in all grades over the past few weeks, the boys were full of confidence and ready to put a dent in their local rivals chances at making finals this year, whilst also aiming to achieve their own goals in competing for the league title and playing finals football across all grades.
It turned out being another positive day at the office where all grades picked up the wins giving the squad a third consecutive 9-point weekend. A huge achievement from the lads who are starting to look better and better each week. Under 21s were able to come away with a scrappy 5-2 win, Ressies did incredibly well to fight back from 2 nil down to win 3-2, whilst First Grade again showed their dominance and quality with a clinical 4-1 victory. The victories to First Grade and Under 21’s kept them both undefeated for the season and holding their spots in the Top 2 of their respective grade, whilst the Reserve Grade’s strong show of character lifted them up to 3rd place and only a point off top position.
The wins across all 3 grades brought the Terrigal BPL squad up to 99 points in the race for the Club Championship, only 6 points off the leaders, Killarney.
Below is summary of how each game unfolded:
A strong start from the boys gave us a couple of chances early and after some good high pressing, Jay Panopoulos won the ball back to lay off for Spiros Depountis to beat the keeper with a controlled shot just outside the 18-yard box. 1 nil to the young Olads!
To Avoca’s credit, they were able to work themselves back into the match with some slick ball play from the back however, Terrigal were maintaining territorial possession and continued to turn the screws to eventually go 2 up with another top turn and shot from that man again, Spiros Depountis.
It seemed like Groundhog Day had come to Pluim Park when again after our second goal, the boys lost a bit of concentration and allowed Avoca to play the ball around, giving them some confidence in being able to create some chances on goal.
It took a few of the lads to get back to basics and once they did, it all started to fall back our way. It wasn’t long after the boys started to play some attractive football that Matthew Roper found a small patch of space near the 18 yard box and played some nice touches to beat the keeper from a very narrow angle. A quality goal from the young flyer, and one that earned Terrigal a 3 nil at halftime.
Whilst the scoreboard said one story, it didn’t tell the true reflection of a first half that could been much different if not for some individual pieces of brilliance. It took a halftime break to refocus and get back to concentrating on a full 45 minutes which clearly did the job, as the boys came out firing and were once again pinning opposition back in their half where we able to earn a free kick which Josh Reed slotted home nicely to lead 4-0.
<Insert Groundhog Day reference> But once again, we dropped our focus and concentration. With the few threats Avoca posed to us, they pulled one back almost immediately and to their credit, they were able to get a second goal which gave the match some life.
The rest of the half was a tense and tight affair, both teams playing some decent football but the defences of each team holding each other out to stop the scoreboard from ticking over.
Eventually this took its toll on a spirited Avoca outfit, as Jay Panopoulos received a gift of a through-ball from Spiros Depountis to take our lead back to 3 goals.
This would be the end of Avoca’s attempted comeback, as the young Orange and Black came away with a gutsy 5-2 win to keep them undefeated and locked in equal first place.
It was an even opening to the second match of the day, as both teams shared possession in the opposing halves giving the feeling that it would be a tight contest.
As the match went on, Terrigal started to go through the motions and were unlucky not have the first goal of the match after the Avoca keeper fumbled the ball off a shot aimed on goal, but unfortunately the Olads couldn’t pick up the scraps and tuck it away.
Almost straight after this, and true to the tight contest, Avoca had a chance going 1 on 1 with Riley Battle but the striker strangely decided to choose an air swing leaving our number 1 to easily retrieve the ball.
20 minutes into the first half, and with no additions to the scoreboard, both teams continued to feel their way into match and attempt to take control but to no avail.
The next 10 minutes started to give this match a real derby affair with some tough challenges flying in from the opposition, prompting the orange lads to fire up and match them in the contest.
Half an hour gone and the first real chance of the game fell to Jack Rodger who performed a lovely turn past his defender in the 18 yard box but unfortunately sprayed his shot over the bar.
The Terrigal boys were left to rue their missed opportunities, when against the run of play, the Avoca striker made a run into the box and seemed to trip over his own heels but the referee saw differently and deemed it a foul in the box, therefore allowing Avoca to convert from the penalty spot. 1 nil to Avoca.
To add to the largely frustrating first half for Terrigal where nothing fell their way, captain Ben Morton found himself in nose bleed territory after a nice run behind the defence, his well struck half volley was unlucky to go just wide of the goals much to the Avoca keepers relief.
The chances kept coming for Terrigal with Benny putting a lovely ball through for Alex Ford to run on to, but he was unfortunate not to get an opening on goal to shoot as it connected with the defender and fizzled out of play. Still, plenty of positives in the first half but Terrigal were unable to add to the scoresheet bringing the end to a frustrating half for the Olads.
The second half started with some promise, Terrigal again making good chances but unable to convert. They again came close with a free kick taken by Chicko which he struck well but unfortunately hit the crossbar.
Not too long after the previous opportunity, Fordy showed great pace to beat the defender to a through ball but again unfortunate to be off balance when having his strike on goal.
After all the pressure Terrigal had applied, it all came to no avail when Avoca got a corner and landed a (hard to say this) superb strike from outside the box unfortunately putting the Olads 2 goals down with half hour to go.
To the boys credit, they didn’t drop their heads, and whether it was Avoca’s second goal that gave them the wake-up call, or coach Dan Murace’s Yellow Card (surely a fine?!), the boys made their way up the pitch and earned a free kick. Chris Altuneg delivered a brilliant ball to the back post for Chicko to finish with a beautiful header into the top corner. GAME ON!
The goal to Terrigal gave them the confidence to continue attacking the fragile Avoca defence, and soon after they were awarded a corner which was heading on goal only to be hand balled by the Avoca defender leading the ref to hand us a penalty. Billy Holder stepped up to take the pen which was initially saved, but he followed up to tap in from close range to draw level, saving himself from being subbed off by Coach Murace!!! Whilst the penalty was awarded, the crowd was left bemused by the referee not giving a Red card to the offender, and this will make more sense shortly.
With the wind behind the lads after a second goal, Angus Missen picked up the ball outside the 18-yard box to send a bullet strike into the bottom corner of the net and bringing absolute delirium to the supporters as Terrigal fought back from 2 nil down to lead 3-2 with about 20 to go.
This tense affair was felt by all on the hallowed turf of Pluim 3, Avoca were getting regular sniffs on goal which brought Terrigal keeper Riley Battle into the game and producing a number of smart saves keeping the boys ahead.
With chances coming for each team in the closing 20 minutes, Avoca were awarded a penalty with a suspicious call from the ref, equally in sending Billy Holder off for a (suspected) handball on the line leaving Terrigal to play the remainder of the game with 10 men, and the prospect of facing a penalty kick. The penalty, which was a solid strike from Avoca but was incredibly saved by Riley Battle who kept Terrigal in front with his own hands.
The final 10 minutes was a very nervy affair, but the boys were able to hold-off and get the 3 points in what was an impressive fight back. 3-2 win for Terrigal!
After highs of the Reserve Grade curtain raiser, the main feature of the day kicked off at 2:45pm but before the supporters had the chance to take their seats from their canteen run, Lachlan Wilkinson smartly turned his defender and went one on one with the keeper to put the lads up 1 nil after 24 seconds.
Any nerves coming into the match were quickly put to rest with this strong opening and Terrigal then got into auto pilot mode continuing to pile on pressure which saw them go 2 nil up via a fine strike inside the box by Connor Wilkinson.
Avoca seemed to ease their nerves and get into the game however, much of the damage looked to have been done early.
Against the run of play, Avoca had a one on one chance which was cleverly shut down by Terrigal keeper Craig James. This sparked Terrigal back into gear and they started to bring the ball back down playing mostly up in the attacking half.
A corner to Terrigal nearly extended the 2 goal lead where Max Vegter attempted to flick the ball into the net but it unfortunately went slightly wide of the post.
Returning to the starting line-up was Josh Menzies, and he returned with a bang adding to the scoresheet to go 3 goals up halfway through the first half.
For the remainder of the first half, Terrigal were largely in control with Avoca getting sniffs here and there but not able to get on the scoresheet.
Terrigal started the second half positively, narrowly missing chances to extend their lead. It wasn’t until quarter way through the second half where the pressure started to take a toll on Avoca and Terrigal were awarded a penalty which Connor converted for his second of the match, much to the pleasure of the Avoca keeper who seemed to applaud the nicely taken strike.
Terrigal continued to make quality chances but it was against the run of play that Avoca got on the scoresheet which seemed to bring them back to life.
Late in the game, Angus Missen came on to make his first grade debut for the last 5 minutes of the match, reward for a top performance in Reserve Grade earlier in the day.
To be fair, that was one of the main highlights in a relatively drab second half, Terrigal going into cruise control in the final 45 and earning a commanding 4-1 win, and 3 valuable points to remain undefeated.
Next week the squad return to Duffy’s Oval to face-off against another tough opposition in The Entrance-Bateau Bay FC. Get down in your Orange and support the Olads from 10:45am.