A Carl Marshall strike in the 44th minute has taken Darwin Rovers to within two matches of back-to-back round of 32 appearances in the nationwide FFA Cup.
In a Cup game that had everything, a 10-men Rovers held on desperately in a frantic second half to beat the in-form Hellenic and advance to the June 13 Norzone final against Mindil Aces.
Rovers goalkeeper Mathew Ashton was the match hero, repeatedly denying a wave of blue shirts in the last 30 minutes. "We had to battle hard, they (Hellenic) came at us hard and credit to the boys we were able to hang on" Ashton said.
Hellenic only had themselves to blame despite a superb performance by the Rovers, who lost 6-1 to the Blues only 10 days ago.
Misses to the normally prolific Geoffry Lino in the dying minutes added to Hellenic’s heartache in what was their first loss in any competition this season.
The Rovers, fifth on the league table before last night's game, were the better side in the first half despite Hellenic dominating the Cup and league competitions through the first six weeks.
They had the ball in the net in the 20th minute when a Daniel Smith glancing header was helped over the line, but the linesman's flag indicated an offside position, much to the despair of the Rovers coaching bench.
Hellenic's first serious chance did not come until the 40th minute, the busy Sulav Maskey having his looping header cleared off the line.
Rovers forward Carl Marshall broke the goal drought when he swooped on another glancing header, this time from Dean Molloy, to ease the ball past Hellenic goalkeeper Nelson Nheu.
It was a different Hellenic in the second half. Lino's shot from close in was parried then dived on by Rovers 'keeper Mathew Ashton to maintain the 1-0 scoreline.
The Rovers could have sealed the game in the 90th minute. But a Dean Smith blast from 15m sailed over the crossbar, allowing Lino the chance to level the scores, a task the football gods denied him.
Original Article from NT NEWS, story by Grey Morris (31/05/2017)
Rovers 1 (Marshall 44')
#FFACup #FootballNT #FFNT #HACvDRSC #MagicOfTheCup
Next Round's Fixtures
- Darwin Rovers FC v Mindil Aces FC, Tuesday 13 June, 7:00 PM