Crowd: 3,789 Referee: J Tippett 6/10, Game: 6.5/10 (1st half 5/10, 2nd 8/10) Yellow card: Buonovaglia NB
Joined by Nick Guoth from Canberra and my two daughters (Lowenna & Kerensa) I drove up that Freeway for the 7th time this season in patchy rain hoping for at least a draw against the champions and league leaders. That is what I got, and in fact Souths were very lucky to fly home with that single point after a 2nd half barrage from Newcastle.
The Youth League game finished 4-1 in Newcastle's favour over the Sydney Olympic Academy team. A good sign, but the crowd was obviously being affected by the threat and actuality of rain. The first half was awefully boring really, just two teams trying to find their way, without the sparring of last week. There was little of interest except that it was obvious by the whistle that Souths were not posing any sort of threat. Greg Owens (midfield) and Adam Sanderson (in for Pryce at sweeper) were having fine games.
In the second half the game came alive with Melbourne lifting its tempo but the Breakers on fire. They were threatening to slip through the cordon with Buonovaglia again causing havok with his speed, commitment, and ducking abd weaving. Then Sterrey took off the ordinary Yoon and Ritchie and put on Umlil and Haythornthwaite. This lifted Newcastle to dominance and three times they hit the woodwork, and two great chances wide. The best was when Freddy Umlil was played through and instead of passing it he headed for goal, turned inside the defence and then hit his shot onto the base of the post with an open goal available. Little Johnny had some great scything runs which came to nought. It could have been 3-0 really!
Best for Breakers: Buonovaglia, Sanderson, Owens.
Ruuning 10th with out of form Marconi 1 point ahead and to play resurgent Canberra. That top 6 spot is just at the finger tips - can Newcastle go on and get enough of the remaining points to snatch that 6th spot if others falter?