Vets Round 12 Match Report
The equation for the OXSC Vets in round 12 was simple. A loss would see the gap to first open up to an almost unassailable 7 points or win and bring that gap to a single point. There was also more than a little bit of revenge motivating the OXSC this week with memories recalling not only the team’s worst performance of the season back in round 3 but the damage to John Roskam’s nose sending Canberra’s press gallery into a frothing frenzy of innuendo and speculation.
OXSC Veterans 3 – North City Wolves 1
OXSC – Pessina, Bengasino, Byrne, De Luca, Eddy, Iacovangelo, McIntosh, Melvin, Musolino, Robilotta, M Sette, Sorani, Toomey, Ubaldi
Goals: McIntosh, Ubaldi, M Sette
Assists: Robilotta, M Sette, Ubaldi
Unbeaten in eight games, the OXSC Vets had a stable look about them as they entered Hays Paddock. Coach Brown’s hamstring needed rest and all-time leading OXSC goalscorer Ubaldi was ready after his own recent injury troubles. John Longo may be overseas but this team lacks nothing when it comes to defensive replacements and the record of only three goals conceded in the last eight games is testament to that.
Any team with a record of nine wins and only two losses (with goals scored at an average of over 4 a game) was sure to represent a stern test. And the opening 10 minutes delivered a searching examination of the OXSC’s defensive shape and title credentials. North City’s talented midfield poured forward, skilfully using the hold-up play of their forwards to initiate their attacks. The OXSC defensive four were superb all day repelling attacks and keeping the pressure from being converted into meaningful chances. The OXSC stood firm but it wasn’t until some forceful one-on-one challenges were won by the OXSC defenders and midfielders in the middle third that the tide turned. The pace of Ubaldi and McIntosh was better utilised going forward with Robilotta and Iacovangelo seeing more of the ball out wide.
And it was a one-one contest that would prove to be the decisive moment of the game that not only gave the OXSC the lead but also changed the way in which North City attacked. Robilotta and his opponent clashed in the centre circle, leaving both teams shouting for a free-kick. With the referee waving play-on, Robilotta picked out McIntosh with a defence splitting pass that was dispatched just under the crossbar and into the net. At 1-0 North City began to launch the ball forward, not knowing that this played into the hands of Bengasino and Sorani at the back, ably supported throughout the half by Musolino, Toomey and Eddy, Pessina was supreme under the high ball and it was only a couple of dangerous corners and one clearance off the goal-line that was required to keep the scoresheet clean to half-time.
As the half approached its end, Ubaldi showed why he has 86 OXSC goals to his name (make that 87). Michael Sette passed the ball to him, Ubaldi swivelled from 8 yards out and directed a spectacular volley into the net to make the score 2-0.
The second half was all about preserving the result as North City loaded their attack and played with first three, then eventually four, permanent attackers in an effort to unsettle the OXSC. The midfield group of Melvin, Sette and De Luca controlled the danger centrally and were ready to launch quick counter attacks via Byrne, Iacovangelo and Robilotta out wide. Two one-on-one chances went begging for the OXSC as North City opened themselves up in the search for goals but it was third time lucky as Sette took a pass from Ubaldi and shot diagonally from outside the penalty area. The slightest of bobbles took the ball over the outstretched arm of the keeper to make the game safe at 3-0. A late goal from North City was nothing more than a consolation as the OXSC celebrated a famous victory.
Eight wins in a row (nine games unbeaten) and only one point between first and second place, the season is well and truly alive for the OXSC Vets as they return to Hays Paddock to play Gisborne in two weeks time.