Exciting contest

BACK AND FORTH: Croatia's Sam Sullivan battles for possession in his side's 2-2 draw with Wanderers.
BACK AND FORTH: Croatia's Sam Sullivan battles for possession in his side's 2-2 draw with Wanderers.

The Sunday, July 18 clash between Croatia and Wanderers didn't disappoint in chilly conditions.

Out for Croatia were Shannon (hamstring), Whitcher (injured) and Rigg (footy duties). For Wanderers: Ben Robinson (hamstring) and Dale Robinson (ankle).

It wasn't until the 10 minute mark that Willmott put a nice ball through but Croatia defence played for offside. Not given and Willmott ended up with the ball to finish neatly - 1-0 to Wanderers.

Sheedy was booked for remonstrating about the offside decision by Referee Anderson. A quick one-two involving Longin caused big problems for Wanderers defence, as did the resulting corner.

Another good ball in by Longin to Faulds, who missed a good chance with the header. In the 20th minute, Zuvela was brought down in the box and Referee Anderson had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Sullivan stepped up and firmly put the penalty away - 1-1. Faulds was then put through with the keeper to beat and scored but it was brought back by the linesman for offside.

In the 25th minute a well worked, rehearsed free kick saw Kelly calmly slam the ball past Keeper Marinkovich from the edge of the box - 2-1 to Croatia.

Croatia were having more of the ball in midfield by now. Faulds was fouled and Wanderers player Maysey was given a yellow card. The ball was worked forward and Sullivan's shot was deflected over the bar.

The corner had Wanderers' Tulett hit a timely header away, with Sullivan ready to pounce. Wanderers' Binetti was lucky to escape without a booking for a tackle.

Willmott then had a shot but it was straight at Keeper Tudhope. A promising move by Croatia had Faulds cross too close to the keeper.

At the 40 minute mark Wanderers' corner was hit over the bar by Chris Robinson. Back up the other end Sullivan beat a couple of players and crossed but no one was in the box.

Wanderers had a chance to equalise but Tudhope was quick off the line and saved bravely. Dawson took a free kick outside the box but hit it over the bar.

Another Wanderers attack saw Binetti's chested effort go past the post. Wanderers were starting to get more of the ball, but out of the blue, Croatia's final burst upfield saw Sullivan and Zuvela in a mix up and the chance went begging - half time.

Croatia began the second half by attacking relentlessly. Sullivan tried to walk it in with the keeper beaten but a Wanderers defender cleared it off the line - a real let off by Croatia.

Wanderers then had Tudhope coming out to stop a shot. Sullivan wasted a cross to Faulds - these two were right in the thick of the action, but chances kept going begging.

Then "Turbo" Singh had two bites but was saved by Tudhope on the edge of the box. A good ball by Croatia's Faulds saw Sullivan with keeper to beat again, but Marinkovich forced him wide and his shot went across the face of goal.

A one-two with Faulds saw Sully's shot cannon over the bar for a corner. Longin had a shot which forced another corner, Wanderers then attacked and caused Tudhope to drop the ball resulting in a corner.

In the 55th minute, Sullivan went through the defence cleverly but Marinkovich saved brilliantly and to be honest, was keeping Wanderers in the game.

Then Zuvela (injured) was subbed by Kevin Kelly for Mason. Wanderers, to their credit, weathered the onslaught and started attacking more.

Willmott for Wanderrers was causing problems for Croatia as was Faulds for Wanderers. With five minutes to go, Croatia had a corner with everyone pressing upfield, but it was wasted.

Then in the 89th minute, Wanderers went on one last raid, and Lawrence moved towards the right hand side of the box with no Croatia defenders closing him down.

He sent an inch perfect cross to Binetti, who scored past Tudhope with a header - 2-2 was the final result.

It was an enthralling match where Croatia had enough chances to win it easily but Wanderers toughed it out and hung in there for a valuable point.