North Beach is now in an excellent position for promotion at the halfway point of the season, with a 3-2 home win against Belmont Villa.
Coming back from 1-0 down, the Amateurs got their revenge for the 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture earlier this year.
The Charles Riley pitch was in prime North Beach form, with the non-stop rain over the past week giving the ground that extra bit of jeopardy (please, can we get a dedicated first team pitch next season).
Fortunately, the weather decided to stay away for the first half, which is a testament to the 45 pretty uneventful minutes despite some raised tempers, questionable tackles, and of course, avoidable bookings.
The score was 2-3 for yellow cards by the end of the half, 0-0 if you care about the score, and the second half set to be a North Beach classic. It also started raining, and Beach was defending the clubroom half of the pitch.
The second half started with both sides having a go at each other’s goals, with the deadlock being broken in the 58th minute as Villa opened the scoring.
Coach Stephen Critchley reacted with a substitution, bringing on the Norwegian machine Seb Brekke for James Paynter, who had been the target of Villa fouls for the afternoon. David Kelliher was then brought on a few minutes later for Kitson Catalfamo, injecting some fresh legs into the Beach attack.
A tactical masterstroke ensued, with Benny Reynolds finding the equaliser about 10 minutes after the changes, with Brekke securing the first assist.
Six minutes later, Brekke put an absolute peach of a ball into the box, which caught the Villa left-back off guard, who deflected it into the path of Reynolds, who turned and made it 2-1.
Beach’s final substitution saw debutant Gojko Muselin replaced with Logan Cross three minutes after the second goal.
Seven minutes after coming on, Cross found himself on the scoresheet when a Reynolds shot was parried into the feet of Brekke, who chipped the ball over the helpless keeper to Cross’ head, making it 3-1.
Villa pulled one back three minutes later after the ball was bundled over the line by Kaimon Parker (awarded to Jake Dean by the referee, unluckee), but it was only a consolation.
Beach is back to winning ways and now sit outright second on the table, one point behind Emerald and a point ahead of former league leaders Peel.
Coach Critchley says the win was huge for the team, especially with the deterioration of the pitch over 90 minutes.
“Not vintage, but massive.”Stephen Critchley
He says Beach responded well after conceding and showed the squad’s depth with the appearances of usual first-team starters, Brekke and Kelliher, from the bench.
Starting IX: Hughes, Lundie, Di Carlo, Dean, Catalfamo, Wearing, Judge, K. Parker, Muselin, Reynolds, Paynter
Subs: Brekke, Kelliher, Cross, Etheridge, Diletti
The return of captain James Di Carlo was a sure boost to this weeks starting team. The availability of Di Carlo allowed for Luke Wearing to be utilised in a more attacking midfield role to complement the solid partnership formed by Kaimon Parker and Chris Judge. A fresh face for the team saw Gojko Muselin go straight into the starting IX on his first call-up.
David Kelliher was fit enough to start on the bench after coming off early against South Perth last week. Seb Brekke was back, a late addition to the team as Jacob de Lima made way. Also returning to the first-team squad was Torren Diletti, a part of the 11 that beat Wembley in the FFA Cup a few months ago, after he suffered an injury during the preseason.
Around the grounds:
It was a very successful weekend for the North Beach senior sides, with all home games being won and overall a total of 22 out of a possible 24 points achieved from all teams.
NB Reserves 5-0 Villa
3’s 2-1 Curtin Uni (Metro Nth Div 3)
Yanchep United 1-7 4’s (Metro Nth Div 5)
Masters 2-2 Wanneroo City (Nth Div 2)
Woodvale 1-5 O45’s (North A)
Woodvale 3-6 O45’s (North C)
NB 2’s 4-2 Subiaco (Metro Nth Div 3)