Oakleigh Bow Out To Avondale In Semi-Finals

  • Oakleigh Bow Out To Avondale In Semi-Finals

Avondale has booked its place in the 2019 NPL Victoria Grand Final for the second consecutive season, defeating the Oakleigh Cannons 2-0 at Avenger Park.

Goals either side of half-time sealed Avondale's place in the Grand Final, in a fiery contest which saw neither side pull any punches.

It was a frustrating opening half for the Cannons, who had come into the match on a 17 game unbeaten run.

Against the wind and a well-rested Avondale, Oakleigh found themselves a goal behind in the 24th minute when Scott Hillar's glancing header crept past John Honos at the near post from a corner.

Gaining the early momentum, the home side looked to take full advantage - creating several opportunities and forcing Honos into a string of saves to keep his side in the match.

As the first half came to an end tempers began to flare, with the Oakleigh players taking exception to several decisions not going their way. 

Determined to get back into the match - Oakleigh shot out of the blocks after half-time, with Matt Foschini having his attempt blocked by the Avondale goalkeeper who had not been tested in the first half.

At the other end prolific goal scorer Liam Boland fired another warning for the Cannons after his header just went wide after finding himself unmarked inside the six-yard box.

Boland's striking partner Yusuf Ahmed would soon join in on the action, finding space on the left wing - jostling with Oakleigh's Tom Matthews - before firing a shot just wide of the post.

But the home side would be kept out for too much longer.

Substitute Stephan Valentini would head home Avondale's second in the 66th minute - sealing the win and Avondale's place in the Grand Final for the second consecutive season.

Though this contest was far from over as tensions boiled over late in the match, with several scuffles causing interruptions in play.

Oakleigh's chance of a late come back was all but squashed when Luke Pavlou was booked a second time for a late challenge.

The loss ends a remarkable 17 match unbeaten run in the league for the Cannons. 

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