Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Missed opportunities hurt Victory

Cobram Victory is ruing missed chances after playing a hard-fought draw against Shepparton United in Regional Premier League.

MATTHEW GALEA April 1, 2014 4:05am

James Kalafatis was the only player from Shepparton United’s grand final triumph to feature in the Blues’ season-opener.

Cobram Victory was made to rue a number of missed chances during its 1-1 draw against a resilient Shepparton United side at Barooga Recreation Reserve on Sunday.

The match offered a first glimpse at reigning premier Shepparton United, but the Blues team that took on Victory was virtually unrecognisable from the one that won last season’s Regional Premier League grand final, with James Kalafatis the only player on the park involved in that triumph.

Cossie Kalafatis, Kelvin Lomax, Louis Corrigan and Shaun Pearson will all return in the coming weeks, but for its season opener, United called on a number of youngsters and recruits and coach Nick Kalafatis was pleased with what he saw.

‘‘I was happy with the performance and a lot of the young boys stepped up,’’ Kalafatis said.

‘‘They’ve only been together for three weeks and I was happy with how they followed instructions and with the way they all want to learn.

‘‘The performance was nothing special, but I thought it was disciplined.’’

Jesse Brun, Andrew Kyriakou, Clinton Hoxhallari and Laurence Jacuzzi were particularly impressive.

Kalafatis said Victory dominated possession, which he expected after watching Louis Clark’s side take on Kyabram the previous week, but was pleased with how hard his side proved to break down.

Victory still managed to hit the back of the net in the first 20 minutes, when debutant Charlie Romain put the finishing touches on some fine wing play from Arron Redman from over 18m out.

The Blues’ chances came on the counter, and it was their own debutant in Carl Lamb who got life as a Blue off to a good start when he made the most of his one-on-one opportunity in the closing stages of the first half to level the score.

Victory pushed hard for a winner as the game wore on, but a number of missed chances and some tiring legs ensured the points were shared.

Clark said his side’s dominance of possession was only matched by the Blues’ astute tactical set-up, but admitted he was disappointed not to take all three points.

‘‘I think Shepparton United played really well and gave us a hard game. We learnt a lot from it,’’ Clark said.

‘‘We’re not fit enough and have a lot of work to do this week and in the coming weeks if we’re to have the success we want, but hats off to them because tactically they were very good.

‘‘I’ll hold my hands up and admit I had a few chances I should have taken, and so will some of the other boys, but that’s (soccer).’’

Clark was proud of the performance his team produced, despite the result.

In the round’s other game, Tatura started its season with a 4-0 win over Kyabram.

New coach Tom Black scored twice on his competitive debut, while Oriol Fernandez and Thomas Leech scored the other two.

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