WEST Griffith struck twice in quick succession moments after Hanwood FC's stand-in captain was sent off to record an upset 2-0 victory at the Coro Club yesterday.
Hanwood had marginally more possession in the first half and Wests suffered three yellow cards for abrasive defence, but the best chance of the opening stanza came just before the break when Hanwood keeper Glen Armanini deflected two accurate shots from Wests' Matt Stirland and Zac Fattore.
Both sides went into the second half with a far more aggressive attacking mindset with countless shots on goal giving both goalkeepers headaches.
The skilful Joey Schirripa came close to a miracle goal when his corner kick rattled the crossbar - the first of a run of three corners and three free kicks upon which Hanwood failed to capitalise.
Wests survived the barrage and just minutes later, Hanwood stand-in skipper Daniel Draskovic brought down West Griffith's Matt Stirland, who had beaten the defence to a lofted through ball - earning Draskovic his second yellow card and opening the door for the home side.
Wests substitute Dean Cappello made Hanwood pay, finding himself on the end of two long balls and having the poise to guide the ball past Armanini twice in two minutes.
The final 20 minutes of the match saw tempers rise and even more yellow cards, climaxing when Stirland taunted the Hanwood spectators by gesturing the scoreline as he strode off the pitch after his second caution.
"It was a well deserved, hard-fought win because we certainly didn't have it all our own way out there - Hanwood's a good team and it could have gone either way there for a long time," Portolesi said.
"If you can't score a couple when the other team's one man down, it gives them confidence if anything, so it was very important to score that first goal shortly after their man was sent off.
"I'm very happy with the way the boys played - we didn't give up in the last 15 or 20 minutes, which has been our failure up to now.
"Our defensive line was really, really good. Jack Nodder and Steve Frame controlled it really well in the air, but of course Dean Cappello took his chances on the break and capitalised on his speed.
"The win gives us a bit of confidence and proves we're a quality team at the same level as the competiton's better teams."