Bad news this week from the RiotACT sponsored Tuggeranong United:
Monaro Panthers have pulled off the upset of this, and possibly many a season, with a stunning 2-1 victory over champions Canberra FC at Deakin Stadium. The victory, as surprising as it was, certainly was deserved as the Queanbeyan based side put in an astonishing effort with passion and verve proving too much for a disjointed Canberra FC who could not find a way through the Panthers defensive ranks.
It looked however as if Canberra FC had done enough to win all three points after they took the lead six minutes before the break when Daniel Bennett freed Nicky Rogers into the penalty area and the striker blasted the ball high into the net from an acute angle. But the Panthers weren’t shaken. They equalised in the 52nd minute and the goal, of course, came from old boy Paul Ivanic. Awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area Ivanic curled a beauty over the wall and into the corner of the net to bring the visitors level. Chances were wasted at both ends before the Panthers stunned the home crowd taking the lead with five minutes left.
Collecting a loose ball in midfield substitute Tyson Cottam advanced an unleashed a dipping drive that caught Jakob Cole in the Canberra FC goal unawares as it speared into the back of the net. Leading 2-1 the Panthers hung on for their life and had an amazing escape as time ticked away Aiden Brunskill appeared certain to score when he flicked on a header inside the six yard box only for Panthers goalkeeper Rade Kosanovic to claw it away with a spectacular save that cued ecstatic Panthers celebrations.
A solitary goal from midfielder David Kemp was enough for Belconnen United to maintain their unbeaten record and remain top of the loop Premier League despite playing the final half an hour with only ten men following the dismissal of substitute Zach Maybury two minutes after his introduction for a senseless stamp on Tuggeranong full-back Chris Ruiz.
Tuggeranong had wasted two superb opportunities to take the lead in the opening stanza when Daniel Beaumont and Alex Weber passed up presentable chances in what was an even first half in which Belconnen also struck the post and saw a scrambled effort cleared off the line. The Blue Devils almost broke the deadlock early in the second half when Matt Valeri thrashed a shot off the crossbar and Taylor Beaton chipped over Tuggeranong goalkeeper Matt McDonald, but also the bar, when clean through.
Moments after this miss though the home side scored the game defining goal. A dink over the flat Tuggeranong defence freed overlapping full-back Cameron Reinhart, who may have been offside, but controlled the ball and sent a square pass across goal for David Kemp to tap into the empty net. The dismissal of Maybury gave Tuggeranong the initiative to push on for a draw but the Blue Devils held firm to secure a valuable three points.
Cooma Tigers have given Canberra Olympic a mountain to climb if they are to emerge as finals contenders after winning 3-1 at O’Connor Enclosed. In a strange match the Tigers were in front inside thirty seconds when a mistake from Olympic allowed Gustavo Roldan to square to Stephen Domenici who had the easiest of tasks to put his team ahead. Olympic were back in the match in the 17th minute though as goalkeeper Francis Bangweni dropped a routine cross and, following a scramble, Justin Selkirk put the home team back on level terms.
The match changed in favour of the Tigers with two goals within a minute midway through the first half. Domenici grabbed his second of the match, and eighth of the season, in the 24th minute with another sparkling finish before Gustavo Roldan received a pass in midfield and accelerated clear, beating the last man to slot home confidently. After that Olympic dominated possession but couldn’t create any clear cut openings to get back into the contest.
Meanwhile goals from Peter Marlette and Stephen Lee have given Woden Valley a 2-1 win against Canberra City at Hawker Football Centre sending the Valley side up to third on the ladder and level on points with Cooma Tigers, trailing leaders Belconnen United by four points. Woden had the advantage in the first half when Marlette opened the scoring only for City to exploit Woden frailties at the set-piece as Adam Dobell equalised. Lee had the last laugh though as he notched the match-winner eighteen minutes from full-time to give Woden a realistic shot at the top spot.
Belconnen United 1 (David Kemp 56’) Tuggeranong United 0
Canberra Olympic 1 (Justin Selkirk 17’) Cooma Tigers 3 (Stephen Domenici 1’, 24’, Gustavo Roldan 25’)
Canberra FC 1 (Nicky Rogers 39’) Monaro Panthers 2 (Paul Ivanic 52’, Tyson Cottam 85’)
Canberra City 1 (Adam Dobell 44’) Woden Valley 2 (Peter Marlette 38’, Stephen Lee 72’)