Monday night’s game had a sombre feeling to it, with as we know the tragic circumstances that happened two days prior. With the game being pushed back 24 hours, and the Olympic Village floodlights beaming brightly to full capacity, it was down to business once a minutes silence was observed.
The Warriors started strong as they have done all season, and inside four minutes forced Stjepan Gal to make a save from Kenny Athiu who, whilst the rebounding shot was saw Jack Petrie’s shot hit the woodwork.
On nine minutes Jamie De Abreu also found the woodwork as we found his way into the Warriors defensive area.
From there the Warriors found some ascendancy twice coming close to opening the scoring inside the first quarter of an hour. The Sharks would surge forward in droves, though any real attack was dealt with as the Warriors’ defensive shape held strong.
Then on 23 minutes as the Warriors surged forward, Athiu had Sharks skipper Shaun Kelly by his side by the by-line, things turned dour for the Sharks as Kelly felt what looked to be him hamstring go, just as he had Athiu in check.
The result forced Kelly to pull away just that fraction which allowed Athiu the space and force Gal to come off his line. Athiu managed to get passed Gal and put the ball in the back of the net with a scrambling Sharks defense close by.
With Kelly playing gingerly a break in play that saw Gal and Athiu collide enabled the Sharks to make the sub on 31 minutes and bring Kelly off for Oppermann.
Athiu was becoming a menace for the Sharks, and on 34 minutes dealt another blow to the away sides chances as he curled in a shot to Gal’s left hand corner. 2-0 to the home side. With the game starting to slowly slip away, David Stirton breathed some life back into the visitors on 37 minutes with a looped shot over Chris Theodoridis, the result coming from a rebounded shot. 2-1 to the Warriors, though the Sharks started to look strong.
With a single goal the difference at the main break, both teams would’ve felt strong going into the second half. From there though Athiu continued to pester the Sharks defense once proceedings got underway and on 57 minutes went down in the box, though the referee was unfazed.
The Sharks continued to push forward looking for that equalizer, though short comings came of it. On 62 minutes though things just got little more dour for the Sharks as Sean Ellis found the back of the net, after putting the ball in from a slight angle. 3-1 to the home side.
Vassiliadis saw the need for pace and with that brought on Erhan Yalaz for Alec Goodwin. Stirton moved into that central forwards role, with Yalaz out to the left side of the park.
It was quickly becoming the De Abreu and Athiu show with the sides going end to end, and these two players being the ones troubling the opposing defenses. With the rain starting to get heavier, Athiu was brought down by Gal on 77 minutes in the penalty box with referee Giuseffi awarding the spot kick. Athu slotted it his third goal, the Warriors fourth, and with that sealed all three points.
The Sharks should take a lot of positives from the game with the ability to chances and find space in the opposition half being the key. With a short four day turn around and a home game against bottom placed Northcote City at home, Friday nights game just got a whole lot more exciting.