Woodside Soccer Club’s senior men’s A and B Grade sides were both at home last Saturday in Collegiate League competition. The First XI played new CSL club, Cardijn Old Collegians Football Club, whilst the second XI took on Westminster. The Woodside Warriors’ A Grade team kicked off in the early game, at 1pm, against a Cardijn side competing in its first season of senior football. Named after a Belgian cardinal and based at Noarlunga Downs, the visiting side have had a mixture of results this season and were chasing their second win of the season against a Woodside team coming off its first loss of 2017.
With regulars Tom Yeardley and Thomas Morgan absent, Woodside’s usual starting eleven was shuffled around. Brad Bateman started in his customary spot, in goals, but David Grant was moved into a holding midfield role to accommodate the posting of Damien Sheridan at sweeper. Sheridan was partnered with captain, Tully Challen, with Billy Hyder and Andy Hampel completing the defence.
Will Pashley retained his place in midfield after an impressive debut last week and he was deployed alongside Harvey Watson, Liam Bucco and Diederik Polman. Matt Thoday was Woodside’s lone striker and Jake Howe, along with Alex Aloisi, made the subs bench.
Woodside coach, Neil Williams, encouraged the home side to make a positive start after failing to dominate the early stages of previous games. This they did and went into a 1-0 lead after just 10 minutes when the ball broke to David Grant at the edge of the penalty area. Grant’s low-driven, swerving shot, raced past the Cardijn ‘keeper’s dive as it flew into the net.
However, the single goal lead appeared to lull rather than galvanise the home team and Cardijn, second bottom on the ladder, improved their game to the point that Woodside were second-best for many periods of the first half. The hosts did get to the half time interval with their 1-0 advantage intact but Cardijn were not willing to travel so far for little reward.
Midway through the second 45 minutes, Cardijn struck an equaliser after a race onto a loose ball was won and converted and this set the tie up for an interesting last 20 minutes.
Pashley’s passing and Thoday’s running were unrivalled but the hosts couldn’t find a way past the back four. The team pressed up the park but couldn’t convert chances they had.
Then, with just 4 minutes remaining, Tully Challen collected the ball just inside the Cardijn half and was given space to run at his opponents. Just as they drew close to block his run, Challen let fly with a shot from all of 35 yards. The shot rifled into the roof of the net and blew the stuffing out of Cardijn’s resistance.
The Woodside team then held on for a nervy last few minutes to win the tie 2-1. The unconvincing victory, coupled with an unexpected loss for rivals Rostrevor at Mercedes, moved Woodside up to second on the Division 4 table but five points behind runaway leader, Pembroke.
Woodside’s reserves took to the field of play at 3pm with Westminster providing opposition. Woodside, on a high after a recent run of good results, were confident of a win over Westminster who languished near the wrong end of the table. Perhaps a little complacent, the home side came undone against the underdogs, losing the tie 4-3 with a late goal conceded from a corner kick.
However, the day started brightly enough with Brad Bateman doubling up for his second game of the day behond a sound back-four of Lee Maker, Bob Edwards, Luke Beltrame and Paul Yeardley.
Gary Miller, Bruce Tonkin, Zac Ferguson, Alex Aloisi and Jake Howe were tasked with dominating the midfield whilst Jesse Aloisi was set to torment the defence with his mazy ball skills and finely tuned finishing in front of goal.
However, the plan didn’t quite work out and Westminster were deservedly 1-0 up by half time.
Both sides traded goals during the second half with the tally eventually at 3-3 with 10 minutes to go. Alex Aloisi had scored from close range and Tully Challen, on as a substitute, scored one in open play and a second from the penalty spot after his legs were removed from underneath inside the penalty box.
With around 15 minutes to go, Woodside goalie, Bateman was substituted after injuring his ankle. He was replaced by outfield player Jake Howe who, almost immediately pulled off a great close-range save to deny the visitors their winner.
However, Westminster pushed and harried and eventually scored the winner with a header from a corner kick. Woodside used further substitutes, Sam Farley, James Cochrane, Liam Bucco and Billy Hyder but couldn’t alter the course of the tie.
The late goal was a disappointing end to a game that Woodside were hoping to win and good performances by the likes of Bruce Tonkin and the Aloisi brothers, were not enough to win the points on offer.
Woodside’s Reserve grade have a catch-up game against Uni White, under lights at Woodside Oval, this Wednesday evening, 7th June. Next Saturday, the Reserves are again in action when they host Pembroke from 3pm, also at Woodside.
The Club’s First XI have a bye next week and don’t play until 17th June when they travel to Pembroke.