Olympic’s Javier Ovendo (left) dribbles past Tarrawanna’s Ben Zucco at Wollongong Olympic Park on Saturday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELIStuart Beedie has predicted the race to occupy the remaining two Illawarra Premier League finals spots will come down to a test of nerve after his Port Kembla side surged back into contention.
Almost written off as no-hope of figuring in the post-season a month ago, Port Kembla has strung together four wins in their last five matches to sit just a point outside the five.
Out-of-sorts Wollongong United (32 points) and Cringila (31) also have to play table-topping Dapto Dandaloo in the final two rounds adding further merit to the Zebras’ (30) finals bid.
‘‘They could win both games – it’s as simple as that,’’ Beedie said of Port’s closest rivals after the action-packed 4-3 win over Cringila at Crehan Park on Friday night.
‘‘It’s just going to come down to who holds their nerve. We’ve gone on a bit of a run and other than the loss to [Dapto] Dandaloo we’ve won four out of our last five.
‘‘The league’s like that – everyone takes points off each other and if you can go on a bit of a run you can get yourself up the table very quickly. We’ve put ourselves in a position where we can challenge from.’’
Port Kembla’s revival has coincided with the return of attacking linchpins Daniel Aliffi and Matt Werakso who have shrugged off long-term injuries.
Aliffi was on the scoresheet in the win over Cringila to complement Jon Ramos’ brace and a Peter Richardson strike.
‘‘To be honest, that’s been our thing all year [missing players],’’ Beedie said. ‘‘I’ve obviously been playing players that are not quite up to it.
‘‘The guys who are coming in are quality players – Aliffi and Werakso – and they’re probably our two best attacking players.’’
Adrian Cevenini scored twice from the spot for Cringila and Michael Stojanovski added a late consolation.
Meantime, Dapto Dandaloo edged closer to the league title after a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Fernhill on Saturday. Chris Smith, Dom Magill and Sam Munro all found the back of the net in the second half to overturn Sam Gordon’s opener for the Foxes.
The Fury’s lead remains at two points with two games remaining after Bulli eased past Coniston 2-1 thanks to first-half goals from Brendan Pattman and Ben McDonald. Ile Kostovski was on target for the visitors.
The title race has thinned to just two teams after Tarrawanna, now five points off the pace, were held to a 0-0 draw by Wollongong Olympic at the PCYC.
Daniel Atkins delivered a blow to Wollongong United’s finals chances as he scored either side of the interval in Albion Park’s 2-0 win over the Bert Bampton Cup winners.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.