Bentleigh fall to resurgent Richmond

-

Rory Flanagan of Football Federation Victoria

Bentleigh Greens have succumbed to their second loss at the helm of John Anastasiadis, falling to a resurgent Richmond side in a narrow 3-2 loss at Kingston Heath on Friday night.

A spell of terrible decision making and glaring errors in the ten minutes after half time was enough to determine the result.

Recording 2-0 wins in round 17, both sides looked to continue on from their positive results. The Greens made just one change with Ryan De Vries coming in for Joey Calderone after an impressive cameo off the bench against Richmond.

Also with just the one change, Andrew Viola replaced Dimitri Tsiaras in Richmond’s line-up.

Many expected the two teams to slog it out in midfield and produce a rather dour spectacle, but right from the first whistle, that was proven not to be the case.

Scott Bulloch nearly found Michael Gwyther for the first chance of the match with a driven cross towards the back post but the New Zealand forward was unable to get a boot to the ball after a desperate stretch.

The recipient of Craig Smart’s cross-field switch, Bulloch tried his luck from distance and testing the hands of Gal early. Richmond’s ‘keeper wasn’t troubled as the strike lacked power.

Vice-captain and key defender, Aron Wilford made a mess of clearing Timmy Purcell’s cross and gifted the visitors a 12th minute opener as the ball sliced off his boot into the back his own net.

Determined to make up for his earlier mistake, Wilford exploited the pace of Ryan De Vries with a 50-yard lofted through ball. The striker was unable to manufacture an opportunity from the by-line and the attack petered out.

Renowned for his set piece ability, Michael Ferrante came close with a 25-yard free kick in the 20th minute. The attacking midfielder’s effort landed on the roof of the net after getting up and over the wall.

Nick Marinos looked to have seriously injured himself after a hefty challenge by Wilford. The former Heidelberg striker rolled around in agony and seemed to be on the verge of substitution but after a minute or two in the hands of the physio he rejoined the action.

Scott Muirhead’s trusty left boot forced a low save from Peter Gavalas with the resulting corner –also from Muirhead – finding Ross Antoniadis at the far post. The Richmond defender failed to hit the target and nodded wide.

The Eagles looked assured in possession and dictated all the play with tidy passing and aggressive challenges until Ryan De Vries equalised.

There seemed to be no danger when De Vries collected the ball just inside his own half on the touchline but in the blink of an eye he was tearing down Richmond’s right flank.

After cutting inside, he slalomed his way through the penalty area and capped off a dazzling run by firing past Gal into the back of the net to record his third goal in as many weeks.

Bentleigh started to gain momentum. Alex Rojas was presented with the opportunity from a close range set piece, but disappointed the crowd with a tame effort that sailed wide.

Michael Gwyther looked invigorated in his lone striker role and he provided plenty of running to link up with the Greens midfielders.

Jack Webster almost put his side in front with a free header drifting agonisingly wide as Gal stood watching, completely rooted to the spot.

Barely a minute after the second half kicked off, Wilford made another glaring error when he gave a back pass straight to Nick Marinos.

The Richmond forward attempted to dribble past Gavalas who clipped the heels of the Eagles number ten in his attempt to claim the ball and sent him tumbling.

Showing no hesitation, the referee pointed to the spot and awarded a penalty which was coolly dispatched by Ferrante.

The lead didn’t last long however, as a breakdown in communication from Gal granted Gwyther a free passage to goal. With an empty net at his mercy, the New Zealander prodded the ball home and bagged his first for the club in doing so.

To round out a bizarre ten minutes, yet another mistake led to a goal. This time Gavalas weakly palmed away as Marinos shot straight to Timmy Purcell who finished with ease.

No one could really believe what had just happened after a sparkling first half of football. Three dreadful mishaps had a major effect on the score line and drew a more cautious approach from the players on the park as the next 20 minutes were largely uneventful.

A controversial decision not to award Bentleigh a spot kick sparked the game into life. Jack Webster was brought down inside the area and the referee blew his whistle.

Much to everyone’s surprise a free kick was awarded to Richmond instead.

Michael Catalano had the chance to seal the points for the away side after a stunning ball from man of the match Purcell. An equally stunning save from Gavalas kept Bentleigh’s hopes alive.

As their opponents began to sit back, Adam Fadljevic found himself running at the Richmond defence. After beating his first defender, he should have opted for a shot but instead chose to continue dribbling and wasted the chance.

Deserving of a goal for his attacking work rate, Muirhead nearly got on the scoresheet but his touch let him down at the last moment and Gavalas swept the ball from his feet in trademark fashion.

Michael Chatzitrifinos instructed his troops to park the bus for the remainder of the game and deny the Greens any space to build attacks.

The win for Richmond sees them keep their faint hopes of a finals berth alive while Bentleigh remain in the mix but will likely sit in sixth place at the conclusion of the round.

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required