Friday 2 July
Russell Vale 1 v 0 Thirroul
On a bitterly cold night the only goal came in the first two minutes of the game and was the result of a superb passing move from one end of the pitch to the other with Matt Nelson laying the final ball into the box for Nathan Hennessy to run in and place the ball into the corner of the net. This should have opened up the floodgates but for some reason the second goal never came even though Matt Nelson went very close a couple of times. Then towards the end of the first half Hayden Brown had two free kicks, the first was brilliantly saved by the keeper and the second saw Chris Behan sneak in at the back post but his first time shot was just off target.
When the second half began it was noticeable that Thirroul had reshuffled their pack, the better players were now in the back four and they had two holding midfielders. They were going for damage limitation and hoping to catch Russell Vale on the counter attack. Russell Vale continued to have most of the possession and whenever they came close to the Thirroul box the defence just hoofed it as far as possible. Coen Mackay and Dylan Andrews both had very good games at fullback for Russell Vale and tried to support the attack down the flanks at every opportunity. Unfortunately as the game wore on frustration crept into the Cobras play and Thirroul grew in confidence sensing they might be able to steal a point. However it was the Cobras that came closest to scoring when from a Hayden Brown cross Shae Morgan was unable to direct his header on target and soon after Jordan Woods missed a similar chance from an acute angle. Even though our football lost some cohesion in the second half and at times we even lost our shape it should be noted that we lost at home 1-3 to this lot last season so in that respect it was an improvement.