Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)
Holland Park Hawks and Rochedale Rovers played out a 2-2 draw in their opening Group B match. Under the competition rules where a winner must be found from each match, Holland Park won on penalties 4-1 after Rochedale missed two of their kicks.
Rochedale were the better team in the first five minutes before the Hawks began to wrestle control of the game.
Marek Madel teed up Jack Cabassi but nervously sent his effort straight to Rochedale keeper Jake Reesby who joined Rovers from Peninsula in the off-season.
Referee James Sherry was then called on to make a decision as Holland Park’s Ashley Shore was tackled inside the area. Sherry making the right decision in waving off the penalty claims. Madel had a follow up shot from the same phase of play that once again fell straight to Reesby.
Both defences looked flimsy at times, Holland Park guilty of not defending clearing their box and almost allowing Greg Cheshire, returning to Rochedale after a two-year absence, the opener.
A crazy period of four minutes then ensued in which three goals were scored.
Holland Park’s Dan Smith had a free kick twenty-five metres out on the left. Drifting it into the six-yard box, Luke Howell unfortunately turned the ball into his own net with a powerless Reesby left to see the ball dribble across the goal line.
Two minutes later, Michael Baird made something out of nothing, placing his effort past Hawks keeper Matt Carr’s right hand side.
Ashley Shore would then restore Holland Park’s lead, capitalising on a cross from Madel and with Howell facing his own goal, slotted past Reesby.
Another superb cross from Smith almost gave his side a third. The ball appeared to be heading wide before hitting the bottom of the right upright, rebounding into Madel’s path but he was unable to make Rochedale pay.
The excitement of the midway stages of the half then descended into a lull in the match but things livened up again in the final five minutes with Lewis Cameron and Seiji Shizuno having efforts for Rochedale while Madel continued to be lively, rounding Reesby but taking a heavy touch and finding side netting from the resulting shot.
Rochedale were again the better team in the opening stages after the restart. Cheshire was able to restore parity again shortly before the hour mark and a minute later should have been a little more unselfish but instead looked to Baird in a better position but the cross didn’t find its target.
Both sides struggled to find any forward traction and battled to effectively get out of the midfield. When able to get in the final third though, it was Cheshire who looked the most likely to break the deadlock on several occasions with impressive runs breaking through the Hawks defence.
On the stroke of full-time, Mark Rasmussen went for the spectacular to save the match from going to penalties, launching a long-range bomb that narrowly went over the crossbar.
Holland Park went onto win the penalty shootout 4-1 with Marv Brattan converting the winning spot kick.
Holland Park 2 (Own goal 18’, Ashley Shore 22’) v Rochedale Rovers 2 (Michael Baird 20’, Greg Cheshire 58’). Penalties : Holland Park 4 – 1 Rochedale.
Holland Park: Matt Carr (GK), Jack Cabassi, Kenneth Boyle, Marv Brattan, Schon Hansen, Mark Rasmussen, Sam Roper, Jake Kallis, Dan Smith, Ashley Shore, Marek Madel, William McPherson, Travis Jackson, Victor Fenehia, Alistair Pase, Jono Burrowes.
Rochedale Rovers: Jake Reesby (GK), Scott Sargent, Seiji Shizuno, Michael Baird, Scott MacNicol, Phil Davies, Luke Howell, Jarryd Gore, Brad Scott, Ryan Faichnie, Lewis Cameron, Greg Cheshire, Nick Wilson, Robert Armstrong, Artura.