Aleer Majoll’s late winner gave Balga reserves a 3-2 victory over Wanneroo City SC in an animated end to end spectacle at Kingsway sports complex keeping them only 5 points adrift of league leaders Quinns FC.
Majoll’s late strike and two spectacular goals from Ajana Kuol and Tahir Kulelija mean the boys in green have won their last three games and are unbeaten in four.
The away side were made to work hard for the victory and they seemed to be lacking the same panache that marked their last two victories against Melville & Rockingham.
Balga made advances early on and perhaps should have been at least 1-0 up after forcing the home keeper into making two remarkable saves. Things weren’t looking good for the home side when after only 15 minutes into proceedings they were reduced to 10 men after a wreckless challenge on Amir Ali gave the referee no other choice but to show red.
Balga failed to capitalise and with only 20 minutes on the clock found themselves 1-0 down when Wanneroo were awarded a penalty for a soft tackle just inside the box. Balga goalkeeper Ton Thongnam managed to get a hand to the initial effort but unfortunately parried to the Wanneroo striker who made no mistake second time around.
The visitor’s levelled things up ten minutes later when Tahir Kulelija raced clear to score his second goal in as many games. Kulelija’s previous topflight experience was evident as he sent a searing 20-yard shot high past the keeper.
However Wanneroo failed to give up and remained to be a threat on the break. Thongnam again saved dramatically from a set piece and after some intensive pressure the home side found themselves in the lead once again. With both some confusion amongst the Balga defence and the referee failing to spot a hand ball the home side pounced on a loose ball and tapped in from close range.
After the break, Balga appeared to be more fluent on the ball and manager Adrian Caloiero went searching for an equalizer replacing Kidane Berhe with Ajana Kuol. The gamble paid off as only 12 minutes later the Sudanese attacker scored with a powerful header from a delightful cross delivered by Majoll.
With time running out and Wanneroo showing signs of fatigue, Caloiero’s answer was a novel one, switching to three at the back by replacing Mohammed Barrie with Phil Pyrchia and throwing Majoll up top alongside Taj and Kulelija.
Pyrchia played a huge role as with only minutes to spare it was the trusty centre backs clever flick that allowed Majoll to take a touch and tee himself up before crashing a thunderous right-foot finish into the bottom corner from just inside the box.
It was an Balga display that will have given manager Adrian Caloiero much pain before the pleasure of victory, some slick passing and lively attacking being mixed with dreadful defending that would invite greater punishment should it be repeated against full strength side.
Balga Manager, Adrian Caloiero:
“Mentally it can sometimes be harder to play against 10 than it is to play against 11 so we had a look at the system at half-time as it just didn’t seem to be working. When Wanneroo began to fatigue we moved a couple of people around to see how they would cope and it paid dividends.”
“I have to give credit to the boys for not giving up, the attitude shown today really demonstrated the depth we have in the squad. Yes at times we were poor, and there are definitely areas that we need to be working on in training ahead of Forrestfield in two weeks time but I’m delighted to be taking home all 3 points.”