CONCORDIA men’s A-grade soccer team has secured second place and an all-important second chance in the Mount Isa soccer competition.
Requiring victory against the second-placed Atlas A on Saturday to leap-frog their opponents, Concordia were forced to come from behind twice to secure the win.
Concordia captain Jamie Stewart said finishing second on the ladder was vital for his side.
Both sides had opportunities to open the scoring at the Mount Isa soccer fields, but on both occasions, the goal-keepers came out the victors.
It took a remarkable free kick from 40 metres out by Atlas’s Carl Rogers-Page to break the deadlock, who took full advantage of the Concordia keeper being out of position.
On the other end, Atlas keeper Alex White was ensuring that his side remained in front heading into the break.
“I was really disappointed with our intensity in the first half, with us looking quite flat at times,” Concordia captain Jamie Stewart said.
“We were dominating possession but not really doing anything constructive with it.”
Just before the breakthrough, Concordia striker Anthony Bulgarelli stood Atlas’s keeper up and finished into an open goal.
But before Concordia had a chance to revel in their equaliser, Atlas responded through Josh Celona’s superbly hit volley from outside the box to again put Atlas in the lead.
Going into the break down 2-1, Concordia knew it had to come out on the front foot in the second half and that’s exactly what it did.
“Half-time came at the perfect time for our boys, because it gave us all a chance to refocus on the task at hand,” Stewart said.
“I thought we came out a completely different side in the second half.”
Concordia had all the running in the first 15 minutes in the second half but couldn’t take advantage of its chances, the best of them falling to captain Stewart.
Finally Atlas’s resolve was broken, as Anthony Bulgarelli ran on to a superb through ball from midfield.
Despite having his first attempt saved, he regathered the ball and calmly slotted his second, despite calls for hand-ball by the opposition.
The goal seemed to spur Concordia on to trying to secure the win with one more goal, with Bulgarelli having the best chance, hitting the woodwork with his close range shot.
It took poise from Stewart in the final five minutes to slide a ball through to a moving Richard Szecsi, who just got his left boot to the ball in time before the Atlas goalkeeper.
“The whole side showed plenty of fight in the second half, which showed by us dominating the last 25 minutes of the match,” Stewart said.
“We were creating enough chances but at time lacked the class on the final touch to score, but thankfully we found the winner with five minutes remaining.
“The whole team deserves credit for playing much more as a cohesive unit and never giving up in the second half.”
The win means Concordia now plays first-placed Parkside for a place in the grand final, while Atlas will face Isaroos.
In the other men’s matches, Parkside Rangers defeated Atlas B 2-1 while Isaroos defeated Bulls 4-1 in reserve grade.
■ Mount Isa soccer association ladder (end of regular season): A Grade: Parkside A 34 points, Concordia A 28 points, Atlas A 26 points, Isaroos 0 points; Reserve Grade: International 34 points, Bulls 22 points, Atlas B 20 points, Isaroos 16 points, Parkside Rangers 13 points, Concordia B 9 points, Parkside B 8 points.
GUTSY WIN: Concordia’s Isaac Grant pushes the ball forward.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.