Pierce Waring scores in NPL loss to Sunshine George Cross

A late Pierce Waring strike made for a tense finish in an intriguing NPL battle over Sunshine George Cross.

Sunshine's Anthony Cassar and Christopher Dib scored for the hosts in what was an eventful first half at Chaplin Reserve on Sunday.

Ultimately, Sunshine did just enough on the day, winning 2-1 and inflicting Victory's second loss in a row.

The game took a while before sparking into life following a controversial strike by Cassar. 

Play had to be restarted following a stoppage when Damien Miskulin went down with a knock to the head, but instead of playing it back to the opposition goalkeeper, Cassar took the opportunity to shoot, and buried his shot into the bottom left corner.

Victory argued the decision to allow the goal, but the referee held firm.

Sunshine held the ascendency following the goal, with a speculative effort from Ayodeji Omoboye going well wide, and another chance not taken by Cassar.

A poor ball from Anthony Duzel played Cassar in on goal, but he lacked the finish, lobbing it into the grasp of Andre Jannese. 

Three minutes later, a crazy 10-minute period ensued to round off the half.

A penalty was awarded to Victory when Christian Cavallo was felled in the box by Brandon Scerri.

John Maclean stepped up to take the kick, but Robert Santilli guessed correctly and palmed it away.

Lucas Derrick then had a great chance to level the scores, but Santilli was in top form, palming away from a corner. 

After the corner was half cleared, another penalty was given when the ball was played back into the box. 

With the ball in the air, Jesse Daley was nudged in the back by Daniel Hutchinson, and this time, Daley stepped up to take the kick himself.

Santilli once again guessed correctly, making a save to send the home fans into raptures, only for the linesman to flag that he had come off his line too soon.

The re-take was taken by Christian Cavallo, who sent Santilli the wrong way, but only managed to hit the post, leaving Sunshine in the lead.

Two minutes later, Cassar was brought down in the box, and a spot kick was this time awarded to the hosts.

Christopher Dib stepped up confidently and smashed the penalty past the despairing dive of Jannese.

Sunshine came out firing after the break, with Adrian Logozzo missing a half-chance well over the bar.

Cassar then had a header saved by Jannese, and probably should have done better.

But Omoboye missed the chance of the half for Sunshine just three minutes later, directing his diving header wide of the open net.

Victory finally began to gain some control back into the contest, but were still saved by the linesman’s flag in the 75th minute. 

Eddie Cetkin was found free at the back post from a free-kick, and nodded it firmly into the back of the net, but the assistant referee had his flag up, seemingly for offside.

In the 81st minute, Christian Cavallo hit the crossbar from a free kick of his own, frustrating the visitors even further.

Victory finally got the goal it was looking for four minutes later, as Warin shot wasn't kept out by Santilli's save, despite his protests.

In the end, it was all Melbourne Victory could muster, and Sunshine took the points.

Sunshine George Cross 2 (Cassar 23', Dib 45+1')
Melbourne Victory 1 (Waring 85')