Table topping clashes, late changes and that bicycle kick headlined a weekend where there were mixed results.
The E Grade who were depleted late faced a large pack of Northern Wolves and were under the pump as a result. Both sides had opportunities, Martin Radcliffe, Anthony Verlato and Neo Yao all getting on the board for OISC but the other Wolves also put three in to see the match remain a 3-3 deadlock.
The D Grade knew they were in for a tough time against the “other” Wolves. Northern Wolves sitting on top Division 4A, having dropped 5 points all season signalling a danger game for Pannunz’s men. Taking inspiration from England’s new manager, Sam Allardyce, the D grade resorted back to “19th century football” and attempted to park the bus. It was a long day of defending against a far superior opposition, and chances on the counter-attack were few and far between. The defensive effort was magnificent, with Justin “Butter” Lai and Peter Cates filling in dutifully in the full back roles, and Will Ventura and Iordan Kostadinov working well as a defensive midfield duo. Unfortunately when coming up against such a quality opposition, you need a bit of luck, and we didn’t get it. Northern Wolves were able to get a goal just before half time with a Pirlo-esque through ball, and scored their second 5 minutes from full time. Anthony Verlato with the assistance of the woodwork ensured it only remained two, but it was a very solid defensive effort.
The C’s started slowly against a Titans side who picked up a high scoring win over Brahma Lodge in their last outing. However it was OISC began to build some pressure on the Titans side which became too much on 20 minutes as the Titans defence struggled to deal with a cross into the box, the clearance finding its way in for an own goal. Making the most of this good fortune and momentum swing both jetsetting Sholto Broderick and Adrian Dinino who took full toll of a Johnno layoff scored to give OISC a three goal half time buffer. The Titans did attempt to increase the pressure in the second half but OISC continued to dictate most of the play, with one lapse seeing one goal brought back before Trent Spinelli headered home a Kangas corner to seal a 4-1 victory to maintain their position at the top of the table.
The B Grade took control against the league leading Titans from the first whistle maintaining the ball in their attacking area for large swathes of the early part of the match but found themselves once again unable to put away the multiple chances a young Titans defence afforded them. The breakthrough coming in the way so many goals have come from over the years with a Rowan Thomas corner finding the head of John Smith who duly put it in the top corner. The 1-0 half time score line not reflective of the dominance. As the second half began Coach Buch was forced into making some substitutes and re-shuffled the line-up which gave Titans some chances going forward but James Buccella in his return from injury and Smithy were able to keep Mark quiet in goals. The game was beginning to be put beyond doubt at the other end as Rowan again turned provider putting Dos through on goal for the second, before the simplest of balls delivered into the box allowed Dom Prince to extend the advantage to three. In the end that is how the score line remained with the B’s closing the gap to the league leaders down to four points.
The A Grade started positively in a tough match against the league leaders in Titans. Despite being under some early defensive pressure the defence of Sartorertto, Stenta and Kotzias in particular held firm and kept scoring chances at bay; Steven Anfiteatro dealing with those shots that got through not going wide. OISC took the lead as half time approached with Blakey channelling the Tour de France Peloton with a bicycle kick over his head in front of the OISC faithful finding Barbs in clear space to run on and slot the ball home from close range. In the second half OISC began to struggle, some players beginning to run out of legs allowing the faster Titans to begin to dictate the play and level the match from a cross into the back post. In the dying minutes OISC again worked hard to snatch the win but it wasn’t to be with the match ending in a 1-1 stalemate.
Next week all teams return home to the Superdome with the A and B Grades hosting MA Hawks, the C Grade welcoming the only Adelaide Uni side to visit Glenunga while the D and E Grades host Green United. On Sunday the Lady Wolves return to action as they play host to the Pembroke Queens.