The final matchday of 2017, big results, a championship for the Lady Wolves and a milestone for a club legend. Here’s how all the final round action unfolded.
The final match day got underway on Wednesday night as the Lady Wolves lined up in a top of the table clash against Mercedes. Despite knowing that they would need to lose by 9 goals to forfeit the title the girls still aimed to get the win and so go through the year undefeated. The first half was an even affair worthy of the occasion, OISC perhaps slightly on top as both sides had opportunities to open the scoring. OISC were throwing everything at their opposition to get the opener; Eliza Sims suffering a wrist injury but playing on. Defensively OISC remained very solid; Chloe Murray particularly key to keeping Mercedes attacking line at bay. In the second half it was OISC that finally got the breakthrough as a Sophie Hlipala ball into the box found Eliza waiting at the back post to header the ball home. As the half continued, the ball rarely left OISC’s attacking half, the girls bombarding the Mercedes goal but much in the style of the Socceroos v Thailand game the night before the huge shot count was not turned into results on the scoreboard. Late in the match Mercedes made two forays forward and picked up two goals to against the run of play to take the points with a 2-1 victory. The win not enough to overcome OISC’s massive goal difference. The Lady Wolves crowned the 2017 Women’s Collegiate League champions, the first league title in their history.
The Division 4 sides took their final journey to a ‘safe labour seat’ to take on Elizabeth Downs, whose Saturday sides had struggled all season. A threadbare E Grade hoped to do the double having run out victors 5-1 earlier in the season. However, the Downs younger legs came out on top, and with an average age pushing 40, the E’s struggled early. Mike Manou provided the only real bit of quality to score, before a questionable decision saw a penalty awarded to the Downs. OISC went in 3-1 down at half time, needing to adjust their play style to better suit their experience. The second half was much improved; David Leach using all his experience to win and score a trademark penalty. Michael Sorgini came on in the last 15 minutes to provide some much needed pace, and the tactical masterstroke paid dividends with Sorg breaking down the right wing and playing a wonderfully tempting ball across the six yard line for Leachy to ghost in at the far post and stroke in his 500th goal for OISC. A wonderful individual achievement was somewhat soured, as Leachy received a yellow card for removing his playing strip. Reflecting on his milestone achievement Leachy said, “It was a proud moment as the ball hit the net for the 500th time and I realised that a journey that was 30 seasons in the making had come to a fantastic conclusion. I have played this wonderful game with great mates and I have so many lasting memories to enjoy. I now have time to fondly reflect on the past, recover from the outrageous hangover of the present and then decide my footballing future.” Emerson Ciccarello in goals kept the scoreline at 3-3, to conclude the E Grade’s season in 5th place with 8 wins.
Here they are, goals 499 and 500!!!
Despite coach Conte/Ciano being unavailable for the final game of the season, the D Grade was on fire early on. Emerson Ciccarello and Max Soulsby taking corners, of which OISC scored five in the first half. Iordan Kostadinov turned in the first, despite a Downs player trying to deny the ball on the goal line with his hand. Marko Draganic scored his first (and second) goals for the club, with a bullet header, and then reacting quickest to the rebound. Emerson scored the perfect header into the top corner, which a head of his size deserved. He then nutmegged the goalkeeper for the fifth. Although the goals dried up in the second half, the goal that did come was worth the wait. Thomas Chesterman intercepting a pass, and then fantastic passing and combination play by Emerson, Neo Yao, and Max Soulsby culminated in a Neo Yao goal that was richly deserved. Finishing with a 6-0 victory and 5th place in a difficult league is a very good achievement that the boys should be proud of.
The C Grade headed west in for a must win clash against Cobras, knowing that action going on out at Pooraka would also go a long way to determining the 2017 C Grade Champion. The first half between two of the top sides was an even and hard fought affair with both sides having opportunities but not able to convert. Defensively OISC remained solid, Tom Smith particularly key to quelling Cobras defensive strikes; similar Nick Evenden in goal commanding his area and taking some important grabs around goal. At the attacking end, OISC was getting the better of the chances peppering the goal from both open play and the corner; Jake La Scala proving particularly menacing. At the break the score remained tied at 0-0, and a big speech from Coach Andrawos reminded the boys what was on the end of the match. The second half went up a level from the first with some real fire and feeling in the match that was threatening to boil over on more than one occasion. Remaining fully focused on the match however OISC finally got the breakthrough they deserved, a ball across to Trent Spinelli drawing the keeper well out of his box to the corner flag; beating the tackle the ball in from Trent finding Andrew Rossi waiting in the box to control and tap in. OISC continued to maintain the pressure with a corner coming perilously close to doubling the lead as it was cleared striking the underside of the crossbar. As the half wore on the OISC side resembled more of a hospital ward at the new RAH as they were reduced to only 11 fit players and no bench, but a testament to their determination and resolve they continued to battle through and in the end took a well deserved 1-0 victory. This puts them at the summit of Div 6, with one opposition catch-up fixture outstanding.
The B Grade were hoping to end their season on a high against a fourth placed Cobras side who OISC punished 7-0 in Round 9. On the much smaller confines of the Flinders Park pitch the first half was a far more even affair with both sides having opportunities but neither able to break through until Curtis Covino cleverly put OISC ahead mid way through the half. The second half though was where all the action was as Davide Cavuoto with his scoring boots on put OISC further ahead, then a Cobras own goal put the B’s three ahead and once Shaun George put a shot firmly into the crossbar it looked like OISC were going to run away with the match once again. However no sooner said than done, Cobras were on the board then only one goal behind as they converted from the spot. The comeback was complete as a defensive switch off saw OISC concede a third bringing the match back on level terms. This lasted only a matter of seconds though as Curtis Covino’s long range strike from the restart put OISC ahead once again. The boys were not able to bring it home though as a second penalty to Cobras saw the match finish a high scoring 4-4 deadlock and the B’s finish the year in 3rd place leaving them to rue what might have been.
The A Grade needed a win against a Cobras side fighting relegation if they had any hope of being able to take advantage of any slip by second placed Wanderers. Their bid for the three points got off to a poor start as some poor defending allowed Cobras to seize and put themselves ahead. OISC were not without opportunities; a placed Peter Barone header finding the crossbar before the leveller came from the corner kick, some tiki-taka in the box and a resulting Julian Sartoretto header. The match level at the break but the second half seeing Cobras take control and dictate the play, reducing OISC’s attacking penetration while being able to apply their own as they broke through for the winner. The A’s finishing the year on a disappointing note and for the second successive year finishing in 3rd place.
That concludes the on-field action for season 2017, but there is still plenty coming up off the field with Presentation Night coming up on Saturday September 23rd. Coaches Lunch is happening on Saturday November 18 at The Maylands and AGM/Christmas Drinks on Thursday December 7 also at The Maylands. Further info for these events will be communicated closer to the date. OISC will of course be back bigger and better in 2018!!! Come on you Wolves!!!