Balga Reserves dropped two home points as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Forrestfield in Saturday’s Division 2 mid-table clash at Princess Reserve.
With the game less than 5 minutes old, the visitors had a stroke of luck when a corner kick caught a gust of wind and took a wicked bounce at the near post. Elliot failed to clear and the ball somehow found its way into the back of the net through the legs of Mapooth.
Ten minutes later, Balga found themselves 2-0 down when the travelling Forrestfield again capitalised when some shonky defending allowed an unmarked Forrestfield player head home from close range.
With Forrestfield now 2-0 up and cruising, Caloiero, just like he did at Wanneroo changed things tactically, switching from the traditional 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1 formation in order to provide his team with a bit more stability. Pyrchia and Majoll swapped positions at the back and Klenkovski moved deeper into the midfield leaving Kulelija to operate as lone striker.
It worked perfectly as within minutes Forrestfield were given less space in midfield, forced deeper and deeper into their own half and their full-backs were prevented from providing any extra attacking outlets down the flanks.
With the Balga defence now playing from the half way line, and the Forrestfield midfield feeling the pressure, Kuol cut out a square pass across the centre of the park and released Majoll down the right wing. The youngster made an inspiring run, beating two defenders and cheekily chipping over the away goalkeeper from just inside the box.
With Balga now controlling the game, it was inevitable that they would score again and it was through Kulelija they did. With only 5 minutes until the break, Elliot made up for his earlier blunder by snapping up a loose ball at the edge of the area and unselfishly laying off to Kulelija who smashed home into the bottom left corner on his weaker left foot.
The second half was much more open than the first with both sides hunting for the win from the get go with some of the passing and movement on display being of NPL standard. Forrestfield remained dangerous on the break but the Balga defence showed much more discipline than they had in the first half. Pyrchia was a rock and will have surely earned his spot in the starting back 4 as he consistently mopped up any threat of a defensive breach leaving goalkeeper Mapooth virtually untested.
At the other end Kulelija went close with a long range shot from just outside the box and Majoll had another one on one superbly saved by the visiting keeper. Caloiero made substitutions late in the second half, replacing Klenkovski with Singleton and Kuol with Berhe in order to clinch a winner but it was too little too late as the referee blew full time just as they had were beginning to a foothold.
Balga Manager, Adrian Caloiero:
“These matches are so unpredictable and with it been so tight in the league amongst the top six or seven clubs these games really are your classic 6 pointer” “Going into the game we were level on points with Forrie so getting a result of any kind was important. We should have taken all three points here today but even though we’ve dropped two, there is a long way to go and I still believe that we’re title contenders”.