Hamlyn Terrace hosted a big clash in reference to the finals race on Sunday afternoon as the Wildcats welcomed Berkeley Vale looking to extend their unbeaten run to four matches. After an even opening 10 minutes, the visitors found the back of the net to take the lead with Troy Mumford scoring from close range after just 14 minutes with his ninth goal of the season. Only 15 minutes later the ‘Cats leveled the match, with striker Kane Woolston scoring from 8-10 yards after a clever square ball picked him out. The equalising goal really brought the game to life, with Berkeley Vale almost regaining the lead in the 30th minute, denied only by a smart save from Woongarrah’s custodian Matt Wilson. The sides continued to trade chances as the first half neared its completion, with Jamie Bartlett spurning a good chance to give his side the lead in the 41st minute. Lachlan Jones got free down the left before picking Bartlett out with a nicely weighted pass, however, the midfielder couldn’t hit the target.
The half-time break appeared to have crushed the momentum of both sides, with neither able to fashion any significant opportunities within the opening 15 minutes of the second half, until Wombats ‘keeper Steve Grimmitt was forced to make a good stop after Kane Woolston found himself in behind the Berkeley Vale defensive line and one-on-one with the shot-stopper. This was just the first of a number of big second-half saves that saw Grimmit keep his side in the match, with the second coming in the 67th minute, denying another good Woongarrah chance with a big stop. In a period that saw the ‘Bats come under significant pressure, they were also provided a gift after ‘Cats keeper Matt Wilson was adjudged to have taken down Michael Tawyer in the penalty area, a strange decision from the shot-stopper as Tawyer looked to be posing little threat to goal as he attempted to retrieve a loose ball that looked likely to roll behind for a goal kick. Troy Mumford stepped up to give his side the lead against the run of play, however, he couldn’t convert, dragging his attempt wide to the left.
The penalty miss appeared to have significantly boosted the Woongarrah side and they were unlucky to be held out a mere three minutes later, with three separate attempts blocked on the line, the first from Grimmitt before a number of defenders managed to recover and scramble the forthcoming efforts away. Called into action again, Grimmitt was on hand to deny Jamie Bartlett in the 79th minute after the ball fell to him at the back post from a corner, before the ‘Cats finally found the breakthrough in the 83rd minute, with Alex Govorcin finding the net after another goal mouth scramble saw the ball fall to him, firing past Grimmitt at his near post to cue mass celebration on the Woongarrah bench.
Berkeley Vale pushed hard in the closing 10 minutes for the equalising goal, with ‘Cats captain Chris Gavin almost scoring an unfortunate own goal after wrong-footing his keeper with a back pass only to recover in time to clear off the line. An inviting ball into the area then saw Reece Caira draw another good stop from Matt Wilson as the referee blew full-time on an entertaining match. • The match was to end in unfortunate circumstances after Woongarrah’s David McPherson was issued a second yellow card following an incident after full-time.
Round 16 will see Woongarrah tested again when they host third-placed Terrigal next Sunday