Cup dream is fouled away

March 21, 2017

Juggling Geordie: Suns defender Geordie Lelliott attempts to control the ball on Saturday night

Baxter's ball: GV Suns striker Liam Baxter tussles for possession against his North Caulfield opponent.

Welsh wizard: Rob Hughes in full flight during Saturday night's FFA Cup loss.

The FFA Cup dream is over.

State League Two minnow North Caulfield Senior FC knocked out an eight-man Goulburn Valley Suns side on Saturday night, winning 1-0 at McEwen Reserve.

An ill-disciplined Suns were reduced to eight players just before the full-time whistle, with three red cards shown in the space of five minutes.

Player-coach Nick Kalafatis was given an early shower after two yellow card offences in the space of a minute, goalkeeper Monty Al-Gazaly received his marching orders for a last man tackle, while Scottish import Liam Baxter could miss a number of weeks for a wayward tackle on Caulfield’s keeper Samuel Quinn.

In a game the Suns were expected to win, the home side created chances, but were simply not good enough in the end.

Baxter missed two clear-cut opportunities either side of the half-hour mark and central defender Geordie Lelliott looked to have made it two headed goals in two games, but his strike rattled the crossbar.

Following the cup exit, the Suns fielded a near full strength side and Kalafatis was blatantly disappointed with the result.

‘‘We are out of the cup and that is not what we wanted,’’ Kalafatis said.

‘‘We created chances, we played okay in patches but we lost and we will need to address certain issues as a result.

‘‘It was not good enough.’’

The Suns have struggled to defend set pieces this season and, again on Saturday night, they were undone just after the main break.

The home side failed to clear the lines after a Caulfield free kick was delivered to the back post, then headed across goal for Ariel Ritz to tap home, with Kalafatis lamenting on his side’s defensive frailties.

‘‘We have struggled all season defending set pieces and it cost us yet again,’’ Kalafatis said.

‘‘It is an issue that we work on, but just can’t seem to get it right come game day.’’

Dynamic attacking midfielder Shaun Kane was forced to miss the clash with ankle soreness and Kalafatis felt his absence proved a big loss.

‘‘Kane is a really good player and I think we missed his drive from the midfield,’’ Kalafatis said.

‘‘Our forwards rotated quite well, but once we conceded it was hard with Caulfield placing so many numbers behind the ball.’’

The Suns will be hoping to bounce back against Eastern Lions in a crucial National Premier League division two clash this weekend, but will have to do it without their suspended trio.

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