PHOTO: LAWRENCE ATKIN
Edgeworth Eagles 4 (Sanders 15’, Evans 44’, McBreen 75’, 89’) defeated Canberra Olympic 1 (Tsekenis 26’) at Deakin Stadium
Damian Zane said it “wasn’t perfect” but Edgeworth simply got the job done as they cruised their way into the final four of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues (NPL) Finals Series, defeating Canberra Olympic 4-1 in the nation’s capital.
A double from Daniel McBreen, along with a goal each from Kieran Sanders and Josh Evans was enough for the Eagles to book their spot in the final four for a second year running.
Zane felt his side started well, before finding themselves in a rut. But, they quickly recovered and went on with the job in the second half.
“Early on we probably could have been up two or three. I think they had one shot and the next probably ten minutes I thought we lost our way a little bit,” Zane said.
“Then we regained a bit of composure and we got the lead. I thought we were pretty good for the lead at half-time.
“We wanted to play an open game and in the end now we’ve got four goals and we’d be pretty unlucky not to host the game next week.”
The Eagles dominated the opener quarter-hour and duly got their rewards in the 15th minute when Kieran Sanders struck.
It came after goalkeeper Josh Low launched a towering goal-kick downfield, which Daniel McBreen nodded on to Sanders.
Sanders raced towards the Olympic goal, going one-on-one with keeper Angelo Konstantinou and slotted to make it 1-0.
Edgeworth almost doubled their advantage three minutes later when McBreen fired on goal from the edge of the box. However, Konstantinou was up to the task, making a diving save.
Canberra’s only golden chance of the first half came in the 26th minute and they took a full toll when Josh Gulevski broke free down the left edge.
Gulevski drew the defence and passed unselfishly to Jordan Tsekenis on the right who guided the ball home to lock up the match at 1-1.
However, it was the visitors who would head to the sheds in front as Kieran Sanders put a free-kick from the right on a dime for his skipper Josh Evans. Just a minute before half-time, Evans rose highest and headed Edgeworth into a 2-1 lead.
After the interval, Ayden Brice should have made it 3-1 in the 62nd minute when Kieran Sanders played him in on goal, but the tall defender struck his powerful shot just wide.
Less than ten minutes later Aaron McLoughlin went close after he weaved his way into the box.
It was left for McBreen to seal the Eagles passage through to the semi-finals, 15 minutes from time, as Sanders provided wonderfully again with a curling pass from the right.
The experienced striker controlled and volleyed on the edge of the box, thumping his shot into the top corner to make it 3-1.
McBreen rubbed further salt into Canberra’s wounds in the 89th minute when he was played through on goal by Adam Cawley, calmly slotting past Konstantinou to make it 4-1.
Edgeworth, who take a total of 18 points out of the Round 1 match, will see themselves take on the Brisbane Strikers at home at Jack McLaughlin Oval next weekend. The date and time are yet to be confirmed.