Port Melbourne SC defeated St. Albans Saints SC 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at Knights Stadium on Wednesday night to progress to the 7th Round of 2016 FFA Cup qualification.
Young goalkeeper James Kapuranovski started his second game for the club in the absence of senior keepers Stjepan Gal & Michael Stark. David Stirton made his return to the starting line-up after a recent injury and Jamie de Abreu returned to the starting XI as well, having missed the previous league game.
Port Melbourne started the game strongly with several close chances but it was St. Albans who struck first in the 22nd minute against the run of play, with Joshua Knight able to get onto the end of a long ball out of defence then lob Kapuranovski & follow it up for a simple tap-in. Ten minutes later, parity was restored as Adrian Zahra capped off some neat build-up play from David Stirton & Bonel Obradovic with a clinical finish and the game went to half time with the score locked at 1-1. Moments into the 2nd half, Port won a free kick on the edge of the area and made the scoreline 1-2 through James Riccobene’s expert effort which Ibrahim could do nothing to stop. St. Albans were able to get themselves back in the contest in the 64th minute when an Andrew Milicevic corner wasn’t dealt with and Joshua Knight was able to head in for his second goal.
The game took a final dramatic turn in the 88th minute, with the possibility of extra-time & penalties looming, as Zahra played a one-two to drive his way into the box, leaving the St. Albans defender no option but to handle the ball to stop his progressss. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and awarding a penalty to Port Melbourne. David Stirton displayed excellent technique & nerves of steel to bury the penalty and cement victory for the Sharks.
Port’s win means they will be returning to same venue to take on Melbourne Knights in the 7th Round of FFA Cup Qualification. The winners will qualify for the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32, as well as the Dockerty Cup semi0finals.
FINAL SCORE: St. Albans Saints 2-3 Port Melbourne SC (HT: 1-1)
Venue: Knights Stadium
Date: Wednesday 1 June 2016
St. Albans Saints SC :
24. Dilan IBRAHIM (GK), 18. Ben SHAPER, 2. Ryan MCGUFFIE (C), 5. George TSAKALAKIS, 11. Joseph MONEK, 6. Nicholas SARBIN, 16. Michael GRGIC, 7. Moustpaha QUAYNOR (15. Jay KELLY 62′), 10. Joshua KNIGHT (17. Adrian Barresi 78’), 8. Andrew MILICEVIC, 23. Ivan SKORICH (9. James GOULOPOULOS 57’).
Unused Subs: 38. Edwin MURPHY (GK), 19. Reuben QUINN-WALTERS
Port Melbourne SC:
1. James KAPURANOVSKI (GK), 4. James KARVELIS (22. Ryan OPPERMANN 30’), 19. Shaun KELLY (C), 23. Jacob ELIOPOULOS, 3. James RICCOBENE, 2. Andrew VIOLA, 8. Bonel OBRADOVIC, 7. Jamie DE ABREU, 17. Erhan YALAZ (12. Alec GOODWIN 78′), 9. Adrian ZAHRA (20. Tyler JAMES 90+2′), 10. David STIRTON
Unused Subs: 14. Trent MANICAS