Green Gully’s single point for a 1-1 draw with top-of-the-table Avondale in the National Premier League Victoria on Saturday has come at a significant cost with Josh Brindell-South going down with a broken collarbone.
Brindell-South, a recruit with A-League experience at the Wellington Phoenix, could miss up to two months in a major blow for the Cavaliers, after landing heavily on the Knights Stadium turf.
“He was taken to hospital by ambulance and has suffered a broken collarbone,” Cavaliers general manager Raymond Mamo said.
“It happened in a tackle, but there wasn’t anything in it, nothing untoward. It was just the way he landed on his shoulder.”
Green Gully was unhappy with the result. The Cavaliers, fourth on the ladder with eight points, were adamant that it was two points lost on the short trip to North Sunshine.
“I’d have to say we were the better team on the park,” Mamo said.
“In the second half, we were well on top of Avondale. I thought today we should’ve come home with all three points.”
Green Gully can be comforted by the fact it took the challenge right up to Avondale, the NPLV early front runner.
The Cavaliers also extended their unbeaten streak to four games, including two wins and two draws.
Their only blemish on the season remains the 3-0 loss to Bentleigh Greens on the opening weekend.
It has been a surprisingly flawless transition from former coach Arthur Papas, who left to take up a high profile role in Saudi Arabia, to the newly elevated Brian Vanega, who was under-20s coach under Papas.
Mamo praised Papas for setting up a program that promoted from within.
“Arthur put a great system in place,” Mamo said.
“He kept all of the coaching staff in the loop from day one as to what he was doing.
“The coaches know what systems Arthur had in mind and that was even filtering down to the under 20s so the transition has been fantastic.
“Ante Cicak stepped up to the under 20s role and Brian Vanega moved from the under 20s to senior role.”
Green Gully could have taken a lead in the first half but Jay Davies’ penalty was denied by a diving Avondale goalkeeper Chris Oldfield.
Only two minutes later, Jonatan Germano powered home a free kick to give Avondale the one-goal advantage at the break.
Green Gully found an equaliser through big name recruit Wade Dekker 10 minutes into the second half.
Thereafter, it was a string of missed opportunities for the Cavaliers, who had to reluctantly settle for a draw.
“Matthew Breeze hit the crossbar, Alex Caniglia should’ve had a goal and Wade should’ve had another goal,” Mamo said. “We played really well today as a team and we moved the ball quite well, but it just wasn’t going in.”
The most pleasing aspect for Green Gully was the superb play of Nick Krousoratis on the wing and Breeze in the midfield.
The pair had an injury-interrupted 2016, but they appeared to be close to reaching their peak.
Green Gully’s next assignment will be in the FFA Cup this weekend.