Apollo strikes late against Centrals

SOLID GAME: Apollo’s Matthew Pohlner goes head-to-head with Gambier Centrals’ Brayden Coppick in a battle for the ball. Pohlner played a solid game in Sunday’s clash and scored the only goal for the match. Picture: JAMES MURPHY

APOLLO claimed yet another victory in what was the closest game in Round 7 of the Limestone Coast Football Association’s premiership season.

Making the trip across town to face Gambier Centrals on Sunday, Apollo looked the better of the two sides in the first half and controlled the majority of play.

But goals were not on the menu, as players from either end struggled to convert opportunities.

The score sat level on nil-all at half time, with both sides eager to have an impact after the break.

Centrals found a few more chances up forward and the game reached somewhat of a stalemate in the second half.

But Apollo remained strong and saw more of its goal square as it intensified its efforts to make a stake on the contest.

Finally it was Matthew Pohlner who ended the drought as he bagged a goal in the latter stages of the game to give the visitors the lead.

Centrals attempted a counter-attack and turnovers were seen from both ends, but Apollo’s defence held firm and the final whistle saw the side claim a well-earned win.

Apollo coach Derek Ferguson was proud of his team’s performance and expressed his happiness with the level of game it was able to uphold.

“We had probably 90 percent possession,” he said.

“We played very well, probably the best we have played at Centrals for a long time.

“We were all over them, but it was just the forward third – we just couldn’t put them away.

“But I was really happy with the way we played, it was really good.”

Despite the close scoreline, Ferguson believed Apollo held the advantage for most of the game, while saying he looks at performance before the scoreboard.

“As long as our possession is good and we are keeping hold of the ball and having good movement, I am more than happy,” he said.

“I don’t look at the score, I look at the performance first.

“The score takes care of itself most days.”

With a few players returning to the side on the weekend, Ferguson agreed it was good to welcome back some players who had been out for a couple of games.

“It was probably our strongest team we’ve put out for a little while,” he said.

“A few blokes needed the run – they hadn’t played for three or four weeks.”

Ferguson said Sunday’s clash saw a solid performance from the team as a whole, but mentioned some he believed to have played especially well.

“Matthew Pohlner was very good, I thought he had a ripping game,” he said.

“I thought Eric Irakoze was good up the back and Tom (Inglis) and David Cole up the back were pretty solid.

“It was a pretty good all-round performance.”

In the other matches of the round, International made the trip to Portland where it also claimed a victory away from the comforts of home, demonstrating why it is undefeated this season.

Establishing an early lead, Inter held a 3-0 advantage over its opponent going into the second term.

The resume of play saw similar results for the home team, as Inter powered on to increase its lead to five goals, before the match was called short in the 71st minute due to the state of the pitch.

Tobbei Kennett led the way on the scorers list for the game as he secured two goals for his side, while Dan Bronca, Sam Bueti and Lachlan Charlton bagged singles.

Blue Lake now holds a three-week winning streak after it hosted Millicent at Malseed Park for a win on the weekend.

Having defeated Tatiara in Round 7 and Naracoorte the week before, the Rangers have proven themselves capable, but are yet to convert these results into their clashes against the top three teams in the competition.

The first half saw Blue Lake hold a two-goal lead over Millicent, with the visitors left scoreless for the opening term.

After the break the Rangers maintained their control, claiming two more goals for the game, while Millicent was able to score once to leave the final score at 4-1.

Bryce Strachan led the charge for his side with three goals to his name, while Michael Walters also hit the scoreboard with a single.

John O’Connell gave Millicent a glimpse of hope as he scored in the second half, but Blue Lake’s lead was too much to recover.

After a loss to the Rangers last week, Naracoorte redeemed itself as it hosted Tatiara for a four-goal triumph.

With the half-time score at 4-2 in the home team’s favour, a scoreless second term for Tatiara saw the margin increase to 6-2 before the final whistle.

This victory marks Naracoorte’s first win for the premiership season.