Season rivals North Sydney and Kissing Point clashed at Mills Park on a cool, grey and wet afternoon in the 47th NSFA Cup. They were playing for the NSFA Cup, a piece of silverware donated by Angus and Coote Jewellers in 1968.
North Sydney had won the last two out of three NSFA cup finals, but Kissing Point was looking for their seventh victory, setting the record for wins in the NSFA Cup.
During the season, the two sides had been almost inseparable, finishing equal on points with Kissing Point ahead on goal difference, but North Sydney had won all three of games against Kissing Point. That meant this match was going to be a tight contest.
There was a minute silence before the kick-off respected by both teams, in memory of Gil Merlo, the President of Lindfield Football Club who had passed away earlier in the week. There had also been a minutes silence for the two matches earlier in the day which featured Lindfield FC teams.
Kissing Point had the honours of kicking-off but North Sydney immediately brought their “A” game to bear, putting Kissing Point under pressure for the first ten minutes having the a little bit more possession, a little bit more control but Kissing Point were constantly finding gaps and making a quick break-away.
Both sides were happy to use the strong shoulders of their mid-fielders but the referee quickly put his stamp on the game, not allowing any ill-discipline form either side this afternoon.
Scott Barton, John Donaghey and Gary Lynam were stringing together some great plays down the right hand side of the pitch for North Sydney with Donaghey making some good crosses in to the box. Ronan Byme had the first real chance on goal for North Sydney, but his shot went high of the mark.
For the majority of the first half, North Sydney appeared to have the upper hand, with several key chances on goal.
However, Kissing Point were pushing back with good work from Peter Blakely, Sam Dawson and Marcus Flottman. And then Tim Suggate rocketed in a shot from well outside the 18 yard box, swept in to the arms of Milad Hemmatparast in goal.
Not to be outdone, North Sydney’s Olsi Slefo returned the favour, firing one in to the arms of the Kissing Point goalie Matthew Roozendaal from a free kick.
And then came the breakthrough that Kissing Point were looking for, with Flottman bringing the ball right down the left wing beating the North Sydney defence. he crossed the ball over the top of the goalie to the feet of Blakeley who had a clear shot on goal. Blakeley made no mistake, putting in the back of the net with about three minutes to go in the first half.
And that’s the way score stayed at half time. 1:0 to Kissing Point.
The second half got underway as a misty cold rain enveloped the ground with Ed Bowers and Ronan Byme from North Sydney bringing the ball down their respective wings and crossing in to Kissing Point’s danger zone. But Kissing Point has great defenders; in particular, the stand-out player for me was Sam Wheatley in defence who was letting nothing through.
Bowers was substituted off only fifteen minutes in to the second half bringing on the fresh legs of Lucas Goode upfront who is a big, fast man. Could this give them the edge they were looking for?
Gary Lynam from North Sydney almost managed to draw the scores level with a great shot from outside the 18 yard box, forcing Roozendaal to break right to sweep the ball up.
Both sides, visibly moved the pace up a notch after twenty minutes in to the second half and this became a period of great play for North Sydney. Every time Kissing Point fired the ball away from their goal area, it found the feet of a North Sydney player in the mid-field, who pushed it right or left for their wingers to bring back down and lob in to the danger zone for another attack on the Kissing Point goal by Goode and Byme.
Eventually, after twenty minutes of attacking the Kissing Point goal, North Sydney got the benefit of their hard work with Byme playing a short corner out to Ryan Jewitt. Jewitt then pushed the ball back to Byme who brought it in to the 18 yard box, working his way around two Kissing Point defenders before having a shot which skirted off another Kissing Point defender and in to the back of the net.
One-all and almost 2:1 when Lynam missed the left post by less than half a metre sixty seconds later.
Not to be put-off, Flottman had a shot on goal for Kissing Point, made at full pace, but it was wide of its mark and out to the side of the left post.
Kissing Point were still under pressure from North Sydney, but against the run of play, Kissing Point took the ball up the field had a good shot on goal which was stopped by the goalie, but Hemmatparast made a rare fumble which gave Kissing Point the chance to head the ball and score. Kissing Point 2:1 up with only four minutes to play.
And that was the final score. Kissing Point won the match 2:1 giving them the NSFA Cup for a record seventh time.
An excellent game of football on an otherwise wet and grey afternoon.