Round 16 – National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men Review

Former players playing their former clubs, local derbies and surprise upsets – Round 16 served up another recipe for drama and delight in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s.

 

Match of the Round: Rydalmere Lions vs Parramatta FC

Little brother, Rydalmere Lions, defeat big brother, Parramatta FC, for the second time this season to claim ultimate bragging rights in season 2018.

It was billed as the ‘game that had it all’.

The Elrich boys playing against their former club.

A local derby.

Revenge on the mind of the Eagles after their 4-1 drubbing earlier in the season.

However for a game that ‘had it all’, just one goal was needed to secure another memorable victory for the Lions.

Parramatta got proceedings underway and immediately settled into a fluent passing rhythm.

Jason Trifiro sat at the base of the midfield, looking to dictate play. But just 60 seconds into the game, the midfield maestro dallied on the ball, allowing Futoshi – the Japanese Kante, to nip in and steal the ball.

Futoshi was clean through on goal but tried to round Giglio in goals rather than pick his spot; ultimately allowing the keeper to deny Rydalmere taking a lead within the first minute.

Hearts were in mouths on the Parramatta bench as Futoshi ran through, but after the early chance the game returned to the tense arm wrestle many fans predicted.

Parramatta’s greatest threat came in the form of former Rydalmere player, Zak Elrich.

The winger’s pace and silky skills left the Lions’ defence in a daze on a couple of occasions but each opportunity who carved out for either himself or a teammate was eventually cleared away by a scrambling Rydalmere team.

Very few teams have been ability to match the Eagles in terms of possession this season and whilst Rydalmere are known as the Lions, it was Parramatta FC who were enjoying the lion’s share of possession in this match.

Key to this control was Yahya Elhindi, the midfielder looked comfortable on the ball in the centre of the park, and even ventured forward on a couple of occasions, testing the reflexes of the Rydalmere goal keeper with a few long range efforts.

Whilst Parramatta dominated the centre of the park, Rydalmere were showing promise of their own out wide.

Michael Konestabo and Alusine Fofanah troubled the Eagles’ fullbacks as their pace and trickery threatened to lead to the game’s first goal.

The referee’s whistle brought an intriguing half to an end, as both coaches reflected on 45 minutes in which their contrasting styles delivered enthralling football, but ultimately yielded no goals.

The question on all the fan’s lips who had gathered at Valentine Sports Park was, ‘which team is going to make the breakthrough?’

Fans didn’t have to wait long for the answer.

Just 10 minutes into the second period, Rydalmere, showing the kind of determination they have built a reputation on this year, arrived first at a long ball.

Duncan Stewart flicked on a neat header into the path of Mitchell Gibbs, who looked up and saw the run of Michael Konestabo in behind the Parramatta right fullback – who was horribly out of position.

Konestabo charged onto the ball with sharp pace, caressed the ball it into his stride with a deft left foot touch, allowed the ball to roll in front of his body and powered a low left-foot strike into the bottom corner of the goals.

Buoyed by the confidence of his goal, Konestabo tried his luck with his right foot just a minute later. This time, his strike from 25 yards sailed over Giglio in goals, hit the underside of the cross bar, bouncing down and then eventually gathered by the keeper.

The Rydalmere players cheered, believing the ball had crossed the line.

The referee and his assistant said no.

The Eagles looked like they had found their equaliser 5 minutes later when Huseyin Jasli curled the ball into the back of the net following a quick set-piece, but he had taken it prior to the referee’s whistle and it had to be ruled out.

Parramatta looked particularly frustrated following the decision, primarily because they had struggled to create clear goal-scoring opportunities in the game and there was a palpable feeling throughout the ground that perhaps their best chance of equalising had just evaporated into the icy winter air.

That’s exactly how it turned out.

Despite their endeavour to rescue a point, despite the entrance of Ahmad Elrich onto the pitch, and despite the faithful support of the Eagles’s fans, it was never going to be Parramatta’s night.

Tony Basha’s lion cubs, a starting 11 with 9 players under the age of 21, proved once again that performance on the pitch counts for more than reputation off it.

Another positive for the lion cubs is with the Wanderers defeat over the weekend, they now, incredibly, find themselves in the top six. Can they hold on to this precious finals’ place?

For Parramatta FC, it’s a result that draws them closer to the clutches of relegation. Over a month ago they proved what they are capable of with a fantastic win over Mt Druitt, but disappointing results like this quickly erase any fond memories of wonderful performances gone by.

 

Match Stats:

Saturday 17th June 2018 – Valentine Sports Park

Referee: Samuel Grasso

Assistant Referees: Oliver Lawton, Manwel Limninos

Rydalmere Lions 1 (Michael Konestabo)

Parramatta FC 0

Rydalmere Lions: R. Farrell, D. Ortega Roman, A. Sayan, M. Gibbs, M. Konestabo, F. Kondo, A. Epifanino, E. Stewart, M. Mayora, B. Cook, A. Fofanah, H. Sinpraseuth, Y. Al-Taay, D. Stewart.

Parramatta FC: S. Giglio, R. Coletta, S. Dubocanin, J. Musgrave, J. Aguirre, N. Yalda, J. Trifiro, M. Lecce, Y. Elhindi, R. Blakeley, H. Jasli, Z. Elrich, A. Elrich

 

GHFA Spirit FC 3 vs Mounties Wanderers 0

When it rains it pours.

After 450 minutes without a goal, Kevin Lopes has scored two inside 90 minutes to fire Spirit FC to an emphatic 3-0 win over the Mounties Wanderers.

For much of the season, Lopes’s form has mirrored Spirit FC’s.

A strong start to the campaign saw Lopes score 6 goals in just 4 games and that coincided with a strong run in form from David Perkovic’s side, winning 3 of those 4 matches.

Although, following that, Lopes and Spirit FC went on a dismally barren run.

Slowly, like an oil tanker churning through heavy seas, Spirit and Lopes have turned their form around.

The best evidence of this fact came in a total dismantling of a Mounties side that has failed to deliver on the promise of its lavish transfer window.

Sam De Oliveira is as dangerous outside the box as Mexico’s Javier Hernandez is inside of it and Oliveira showed just why on 20 minutes when his pile-driver effort stung the palms of Dion Shaw in goals, with the ball rebounding to Kevin Lopes who showed predatory instincts to follow up the shot and gratefully tap the ball home.

Mounties could have hit back immediately through Juan Carlos but the Spaniard, who looks to be labouring under the colours of the Wanderers, delayed a shot just long enough for Romic to scramble off his line and smother the shot.

Early in the second period, Oliviera was lurking just outside the area once more and fizzed a pass wide to Ryan Johnstone. Having just taken the corner, Johnstone whipped in a flat cross that found the head of Lopes who rose high to score his second of the game.

The Mounties looked to respond immediately through Raul Romero but again Romic was there to prevent any ‘Romero’ getting their name on the scoresheet.

As this week’s preview stated, this game would revolve around the cult-figure of Matthew West.

The experienced striker didn’t let us down.

On 81 minutes, West sealed all three points for his team with a thumping header after an delicious Mason Ireland cross.

West showed his delight in scoring against his old team, celebrating wildly as the Mounties players fell to the floor, defeated.

Time is running out for the Mounties if they want to make the finals this season and unless their form turns around quickly, some of the biggest names in the competition could be watching the finals from the stands.

Spirit FC coach, David Perkovic was extremely pleased with his side’s performance and their recent improvement in results. With a game against the Spartans next week, Spirit FC will fancy their chances to continue their wonderful rise.

 

Macarthur Rams 0 vs Northern Tigers 0

For two weeks in a row, the Tigers have failed to score.

To make matters worse, those two games have come against opposition struggling down the bottom of the ladder.

Jason Eagar was extremely disappointed with his side’s lack of finishing last weekend and he would’ve been equally frustrated by his profligate players in this match.

Borrowing President Trump’s border protection policy, the Rams tried their best to build a big wall around their defensive box at Lynwood Park on Saturday night.

Their plan seemed to work as the Tigers struggled to find space in behind the Rams’ defence; being limited to long range efforts and looping balls into the box.

The Rams sat deep in their defensive structure, looking to nick a goal on the counter attack but you got the sense that maintaining a clean sheet was the home side’s priority as they neglected to commit too many players forward.

The words from the Macarthur manager at half-time seemed to echo Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings as the Rams emerged with a determined, ‘you shall not pass’ resolve in the second half.

Despite concerted effort from the Tigers’ players, there didn’t seem to be any way for them to break down the Rams’ defence.

In the end, it’s a positive point for the Rams who trim the gap on the teams above them.

Whilst for the Tigers, another disappointing result sees them slip even further outside the finals’ places.

To reverse the saying and add injury to insult, Tigers’ skipper Michael Rolston was taken away in an ambulance after dislocating his shoulder. It’s a bitter blow for the Tigers who rely heavily on their skipper for inspiration and guidance both on and off the pitch.

All at Football NSW wish Rolston a speedy recovery.

 

Canterbury Bankstown 1 vs St George FC 4

A familiar name and a familiar score-line sees St George continue their scintillating recent form under coach, Wally Savor.

The transfer window threatened to shipwreck the Saints’ finals’ chances this season but Savor’s ability to unite and motivate a diverse group of players – plus the performances of players like Hussein Akil, has led to St George collecting 7 points from their past 3 games.

Canterbury Bankstown have shown their ability to frustrate the ambitions of many of the competition’s top teams this season.

Although an early goal to St George in this game eased all fears of another shock upset as the Saints clicked into gear.

Nicholas Paras looked to be in ominously dangerous form and he found the diagonal run of Anthony Morabito who powered a shot past the keeper from just outside the box.

1-0 on the 10 minute mark and it was 2-0 on the 20 minute mark as Nicholas Paras, who had obviously seen the highlights of the Portugal vs Spain match, beat the wall and beat the keeper with Ronaldo-type execution.

Canterbury Bankstown threatened the St George goal from set-pieces but the Saints defence held firm to the break.

If Branko Culina’s men were going to get anything from this match they needed to be the next to score.

However just 10 minutes after the restart, St George added their third of the game

Nicholas Paras, who already had an assist and goal to his name, sealed his McDouble after he latched onto a long ball and chipped the despairing Bankstown keeper who had wandered too far off his line.

In the 75th minute, a familiar name found its way onto the St George scoresheet.

Jason Romero, a new signing from the United States, was on the pitch for all of 5 minutes before notching his first goal for the club.

St George, who limit their scouting system to the last name, ‘Romero’, look to have found the missing piece in their puzzle as they maintain their push towards the finals.

Canterbury Bankstown finally gave the home fans something to cheer about when Goncalo Paradanta scored with minutes to go.

The late consolation wasn’t enough to ease the pain of their third defeat in a row.

After a mid-season surge, Branko Culina’s men have taken their foot off the pedal in the past month and will be looking nervously over their shoulder at the teams behind them closing the gap.

St George are hitting form at just the right time to set up an enthralling encounter with the ladder leaders, Mt Druitt, next week.

 

Central Coast Mariners 3 vs Blacktown Spartans 1

It’s fair to say the Spartans are not the same team they were in the early rounds of the competition.

Three wins in their past four games have restored much needed confidence to the men in orange and black.

It’s with this new-found confidence that the Spartans started the game, and took a surprise lead.

Who scored?

You guessed it.

Alex Boyadjian. Spartan’s superman.

The lead lasted only 10 minutes however as the home side hit back through Emmanuel Peters.

Neither side looked like breaking the deadlock as the clock ticked towards full-time as the icy chill that covered the ground seemed to freeze the legs of both sets of players.

Shortly after the resumption of play however, the Mariners did manage edge their noses in front.

Joshua Nisbet weaved his wand out wide before delivering the ball on a plate for Charles William who gratefully gobbled up his dinner.

Despite trailing, the Spartans showed no signs of waving the white flag.

However for all their endeavour, Nick Porreca’s side couldn’t find a second goal of their own.

Although all three points were sealed on the stroke of full-time as the Spartans committed players forward, Charles William sprang a swift counter attack, and served a sweet pass to Kyle Johnson who smashed the ball home from close range.

An important result for the Mariners who make the most of the Rangers dropping points.

Whilst the Spartans can take solace in their performance, even though the result wasn’t the one they intended.

 

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 vs Hills United 2

As stated in this week’s preview, the Wanderers’ place in the top six was on the line in this clash against Hills.

Failure to win and their finals’ place could slip right out of their hands; and, that’s exactly what happened.

After a tight first half, Daniel Fogarty…. I mean, Patrick Gatt opened the scoring for Hills in the 67th minute.

Although, as the old saying goes, you’re at your most vulnerable after scoring, and that proved true as the Wanderers went right up the other end to grab a goal of their own.

Samuel Silvera, who had been a constant threat all night, showed blistering pace to beat a defender to a ball before collecting it in his stride and slotting past the keeper.

Despite the goals, the game showed little sign of opening up into the attacking feast fans at the Sydney United Sports Centre craved.

However with 10 minutes to go, Hills scored the decisive goal as Ben Welch showed tremendous skill to guide the ball into the back of the net.

Luke Mcguire looked nervous on the sideline as he prayed his team could hold on and collect their first win in 5 games.

Mcguire’s prayers were answered as the full time whistle blew, giving Hills three points they so desperately craved.

For the Wanderers, their season looks to be slipping away faster than you can say, Kosta Grozos as the absence of some key players takes a serious toll on their top six ambitions.

 

Mt Druitt Town Rangers 0 vs North Shore Mariners 3

The North Shore Mariners have provided the shock of the round with an incredible upset victory over the league leaders, Mt Druitt Town Rangers.

Everything the Mariners touched turned to goals on an unforgettable night for the club.

After 3-0 loss to Parramatta FC four weeks ago, the Mariners looked like kissing their finals’ chances goodbye.

Altthough recent performances have shown that the North Shore boys have the ability to beat any team in the league – even the high flying Rangers.

Goals to Mitchell Smith, Joshua Mbakwe and Chris Lindsay was enough to see of Aidan Desmond’s team whose frustration boiled over on 78 minutes, as they were reduced to 10 men.

The resulting spot-kick was converted by the Mariners, sealing three goals and three points for the away side.

With a cluster of teams ravenously hunting down a top six spot, victory here strengthens even further North Shore’s grip on a finals’ place.

Whilst the Rangers have built such a healthy lead at the top of the table that their position is hardly under threat. But what is concerning is the cracks that are starting to emerge in the Rangers’ armour – cracks teams will be looking to exploit come the knockout games.

 

Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty

ROUND 16 – NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES 2 NSW MEN’S PREVIEW

Move aside Aaron Mooy and Mile Jedinak.

The Rydalmere Lions and Parramatta FC are in town and are ready to contest the most anticipated Match of the Round of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s on Saturday night.

 

Match of the Round:

Rydalmere Lions vs Parramatta FC – 7pm, Saturday 16th June – Valentine Sports Park

Socceroos?

More like Soccerwho’s.

The Australian football team get their World Cup campaign underway against France this Saturday night at 8pm (AEST).

Although rumours have been flying around all week that Mile Jedinak and co have put in a late request to have their kick-off time delayed, just so they can tune in to watch Rydalmere Lions vs Parramatta FC.

And who can blame them?

This clash has everything; a local derby, the Elrich boys playing for their old, old club against their old club, and revenge on the mind of the Eagles after their 4-1 humiliation earlier in the season.

However whilst this game throws up a thread of exciting plot-lines of its own, it also has wider repercussions for the rest of the league.

Rydalmere sit on the cusp of the top six – just one point adrift of the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Their recent win over the Central Coast Mariners have given them the confidence to take on any team in the league and they go into this match expecting to collect another three points to continue their march towards the finals.

After two wins on the trot at the end of May, the Eagles were suddenly believing they had what it took to make a late-season surge towards the finals.

Altthough a little stumble to start June has hurt those ambitions and have left fans of the historic club looking anxiously at the Club Championship table.

The Eagles currently sit in the relegation hot seat on the overall standings, but have the Macarthur Rams well within their sights.

If Leo Carle’s side are to make a great escape and avoid the dreaded drop this season, wins in matches like this against the Lions, are essential.

With so much at stake for both sides, expect a capacity crowd at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday night.

How will the Elrich boys play in their return to Rydalmere?

Will the Eagles get revenge for the lesson they were taught earlier in the season?

Or will the Lions continue their climb towards the finals?

Find out in the most anticipated Match of the Round all season.

 

GHFA Spirit FC vs Mounties Wanderers – 7pm, Saturday 16th June – Christie Park

This game centres around one man.

Matthew West.

The former Mounties striker was without a home following the transfer of the Romero Bandidos to the Wanderers once Terry Palapanis took over.

That was until Spirit FC and coach David Perkovic threw the veteran forward a lifeline.

Although in the four games West has played for Spirit FC, he has failed to find the back of the net once.

It’s a worrying run of form for a man whose team depend upon his goals to fire them to victory.

However there will be no shortage of motivation for West in this game and you can expect him to have a big say over which team takes home the three points on Saturday night.

 

Macarthur Rams vs Northern Tigers – 7pm, Saturday 16th June – Lynwood Park

The Northern Tigers suffered a shock defeat to the Spartans last round and really had one thing to blame for that defeat.

Poor finishing in front of goal.

Whether it was Liam Mcconaghy missing his 5th headed opportunity of the night or Matthew Stewart blazing over from 12 yards, the Tigers forgot to pack their shooting boots that night at Blacktown Football Park.

Now they’re making the even longer journey to Lynwood Park, and Jason Eagar’s men will be triple-checking their boot bag before they leave home – so they don’t suffer the same fate two weeks in a row.

It’s been a dismal season so far for the Rams.

The 42 goals they have conceded in 15 games is the highest in the competition – by a distance.

The only saving grace is that Parramatta FC sit below them on the Club Championship table. But with 5 defeats in 6 games, it doesn’t look like the Rams will maintain that advantage for much longer.

Will the Tigers slip up again or will they find their roar once more as they continue their hunt for an elusive finals’ place?

 

Canterbury Bankstown vs St George FC – 7pm, Saturday 16th June – The Crest Athletic Centre

Can you hear that?

It’s the sound of Canterbury Bankstown alarm bells begin to faintly chime in the distance.

After a strong run of form, two defeats in a row has seen Branko Culina’s side slip dangerously down the table.

The currently lie in 12th, ahead of only Parramatta FC and Macarthur Rams.

Although if anyone has the ability to silence the increasing sound the Canterbury Bankstown alarm bells it’s Jake Bradshaw.

The classy forward has notched 7 goals in 15 appearances so far this season and Culina will be hoping Bradshaw can lead his team to victory against a very strong St George side on Saturday night.

St George have re-found their feet after the destabilising transfer window.

However their recent away form will have coach Wally Savor concerned.

Two defeats in their past three away games is not the form of a top 3 side and Savor knows he will need to rectify this if St George are to maintain the frenetic pace at the top of the table.

This match shapes as a potential banana-skin clash for St George as Canterbury Bankstown look to re-find the form that saw them go undefeated for 5 straight games through May.

 

Central Coast Mariners vs Blacktown Spartans – 3pm, Sunday 17th June – Pluim Park

The last time these two teams met, they played out a thrilling 3-3 draw.

It was just one of 6 draws the Mariners have succumbed to this season, a total of 6 points from a possible 18.

These dropped points would certainly be welcomed now as the Mariners find themselves 8 points behind first placed Mt Druitt and only one point above St George and North Shore who are third and fourth respectively.

This means the Mariners are looking nervously over their shoulder rather than ambitiously up ahead of them.

The Spartans are currently in season-best form.

Two wins from their past two games has seen them shoot right up the table and they are now nipping at the heels of a host of teams trying to squeeze into the top six.

A finals’ place is perhaps too fanciful but their rise has given them welcome breathing space above the teams below them.

The Mariners will need to be wary of Alex Boyadjian whose recent form has been the catalyst behind the Spartan’s impressive run and if the boys in orange and black are to get anything from this match, expect the superhero Spartan to be at the centre of it.

 

Western Sydney Wanderers vs Hills United – 3pm, Sunday 17th June – Sydney United Sports Centre

After 6 yellow cards, 1 red card, and 5 goals in their previous match, this fixture promises to be as feisty as an episode of Love Island.

What makes this clash even spicier is the fact that both these sides’ top six status is on the line.

Hills United currently sit in 5th spot on 24 points whilst the Western Sydney Wanderers are just behind them in 6th on 22 points.

A defeat for the Wanderers could mean that Rydalmere or the Northern Tigers overtake them in the finals’ places; whilst for Hills, their superior goal difference means a defeat won’t see them slip out of the top six but when you consider that just 5 weeks ago they were second – it’s a worrying decline.

The Wanderers know the danger men for Hills – Daniel Fogarty, Pete Cejka and Greg Giovenali. But knowing where the danger lies is not enough. The Wanderers will have to stop them. And few have been able to contain them, especially Fogarty, so far this season.

Take a photo of the top six because after this week and in particular this match, it will look very, very different.

 

Mt Druitt Town Rangers vs North Shore Mariners – 5pm, Sunday 17th June – Popondetta Park

Outside the top three of Mt Druitt Rangers, Central Coast Mariners, and St George, very few have looked like mounting a serious challenge this year.

Although in recent weeks the North Shore Mariners have thrown their hat into the mix.

Two wins in a row, including a hammering of Western Sydney Wanderers, has shown the Mariners have the ability to mount a serious challenge this season.

However what is concerning for the North Shore squad is their record against the three big boys.

Three games, three defeats.

13 goals conceded at an average of 4.3 goals per game.

If the North Shore Mariners are going to play finals’ football and do more than simply ‘make up the numbers’ they will have to improve markedly on these results.

And where better to start than with the competition leaders, Mt Druitt Rangers.

It’s a tough assignment but one that should reveal whether North Shore have the capability to go far in the finals’ series this season.

 

Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty

ROUND 14 – NPL 2 NSW WOMEN’S REVIEW

While it rained across Sydney, it also rained goals in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens competition.

Twenty-nine goals were put into the net across five matches as the Match of the Round was washed out. Both Sydney Olympic FC and Central Coast Mariners remain top while there was breakthrough wins for St George FC, Nepean FC and Inter Lions.

Inter Lions 4 defeated Marconi Stallions 1

Inter Lions move themselves into sole possession of sixth position, after a tough 4-1 success against a well-drilled Marconi Stallions side at Concord Oval on Sunday.

The Lions started slow but once they got their footing in the contest, Inter took control. Kirilee Cook was once again starred for them, the striker slotted home the first, as Zoe Zaczek and Sarah Mandile helped them a 3-1 half-time lead.

Cook completed her brace in a barren second half while Hannah Voloder fired home her fifth of the season for Marconi. The Stallions are starting to lose touch with the fifth placed Nepean FC, and the rest of the midfield.

Afterwards Lions coach Danny Abboud praised the effort to take down a quality Stallions side but also warned that during this upturn in form, the side can’t allow themselves to get a big head as there is still plenty of the season to go.

Nepean FC 2 defeated UNSW FC 0

This might be the consistency that Alan Tasses has been speaking of, Nepean FC put together solid back-to-back performances in a 2-nil victory against a fading UNSW FC side.

Nepean FC looked much more like the side that Tasses imagined in the pre-season. They moved the ball well, creating a host of chances against the students, even crashing three efforts against the crossbar that could’ve swelled the score-line.

Imogen Lane opened the scoring with her sixth of the season, as the youngster continues to combine well up top with the experienced Stefanie Trovato. Alix Waddell got their second in a first half salvo that settled the contest.

That result gives Nepean FC some breathing space in fifth place, they remain two points ahead of the chasing pack, and Tasses hopes that these two performances can be a springboard to a good run of performances headed into the post season.

Western NSW Mariners 1 defeated by St George FC 3

The Saints are coming! St George FC have broken the drought, springing the upset Sunday afternoon in Orange, defeating Western NSW Mariners 3-1.

All the goals for the Saints came in the first half. Emily Upstone, Tyler Danes and Marissa Nicopoulos wer the heroes for the team in red-and-white as they register their first win in National Premier League 2 Womens and put some space between them and Southern Branch FC.

It was a disappointing thud back to earth for Western NSW Mariners. They came into this game off back-to-back victories but they didn’t play to their usual standard – Meaghan Kempson tallied their lone goal in a loss that puts them back into the pack.

For St George it was celebration times for the Saints. Their coach Mark Cuppit was delighted for the team that their hard work was rewarded in finding three points in what has been, a downbeat season for the side.

Southern Branch FC 1 defeated by Central Coast Mariners 7

Central Coast Mariners continue on their merry way with another goal-filled contest against a stubborn Southern Branch FC on a cool afternoon down in Nowra.

While the scoreline might suggest a one-sided affair, Southern Branch FC held their own against the second placed, Mariners, they equalised through Shaylee Meehan after Iona Snape opened the scoring.

From there it was all Mariners. Georgia Davis got herself a brace, as did Candice Phelan to put her tally for the season to 27 as Gabrielle Blanch and Grace Bryant finished the scoring.

Mariners coach Dan Barrett praised the business-like approach they had to the contest, and even without a trio of players as they look to be fresh for the room home. Barrett also heaped some praise on the improvement of the home side since their first clash.

Sydney Olympic FC 7 defeated Gladesville Ravens 3

Valentine Sports Park played host to a football fiesta, as Sydney Olympic FC remain undefeated in a ten-goal bonanza against a struggling Gladesville Ravens side.

Lieke Bever once again dominated the scoresheet, the striker fired home five goals as Olympic made it 12 wins for the season, as they still look to be the side to beat in National Premier League 2 Womens coming into the finals.

Last year;s golden boot Madelaine Costanzo and Kristy Kunovski rounded out the Olympic scoresheet on a wonderful afternoon of football. Gladesville Ravens had some joy themselves as they found the net three times which is their best return in a few weeks.

SD Raiders vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers was washed out

-By Justin Davies

ROUND 15 – NPL 2 NSW WOMEN’S PREVIEW

As the clock continues to tick down on the end of the National Premier League 2 Womens season, teams need to start making their moves.

This is important for those in mid-table, if they want to play finals football, as another intriguing set of matches are ready to play out across the NPL2 Womens stage.

Match of the Round: Gladesville Ravens vs Nepean FC, Sunday 17 June, 6pm, Christie Park

Our match of the round this weekend, heads out to Christie Park, as a resurgent Nepean FC look to continue the misery of Gladesville Ravens, in the late kick-off on Sunday night.

Much like Icarus perhaps the Ravens flew too close to the sun, after their solid start to the season, the goal-scoring, and conversely their form, has dried up leaving Gladesville in an unfamiliar seventh position, although they can draw level with Nepean FC if they can end the drought.

Nepean FC might have finally turned the corner they needed. Their campaign has been blighted by inconsistency and missed chances, but a pair of successes against Marconi and UNSW has put a spring in their step.

While it wasn’t perfect against the students – Nepean still conspired to hit the crossbar thrice – three points does help. They have a solid defensive core and Stefanie Trovato, Imogen Lane and Britney Pelle up-top might sway the contest in their favour.

These two sides played out a 1-1 draw back in round four, a draw here would be much better for Nepean, as the Ravens need to re-find their early season form quickly, so we’re set for a tense contest Sunday night.

Central Coast Mariners vs SD Raiders, Sunday 17 June, 3pm, IFS

Over the next three weeks SD Raiders face a trial almost as treacherous as Homer Simpson’s Stonecutter initiation, and it starts with heading up the highway to take on the in-form Mariners at IFS on the weekend.

Similar to a greatest hits radio station, the Mariners rolled out their best artillery in their romp of Southern Branch FC. Candice Phelan, Iona Snape and Gabrielle Blanch all featured in the 7-1 victory as SD Raiders were the unlucky fixture to be postponed in last week’s wet weather.

Prior to their enforced rest, SD Raiders were in prime form. A run of three straight victories had them locked into fourth position – helped by the fine fettle of Samantha Nagy and Logan Garard compliment Cassidy Chidgey and their stoic defense which all need to be at top form against the free-scoring Mariners.

Thawed out from their trip south, the Mariners issued a big statement a fortnight ago against APIA then followed by another huge success. Their talisman in Candice Phelan has 27 now for the season while youngsters Jordan Evans and Iona Snape show there is some great talent coming through the ranks and Sunday is the chance for an attacking smorgasboard between two talented teams.

Marconi Stallions vs Southern Branch FC, Sunday 17 June, 3pm, Marconi Stadium

In their second season in NPL2 Womens, Marconi Stallions have flattered to deceive, but have a chance to perk themselves up as Southern Branch FC make the trip to Bossley Park in Round 15.

Coming into the weekend, both sides were dealt heavy defeats – Marconi Stallions fell 4-1 to a revived Inter Lions and Southern Branch, while they put up a fight, succumbed 7-1 to a rampant Mariners side at home.

Last time these two met, Marconi put Southern Branch to the sword, 8-1 and with the talent available to them, including Hannah Voloder, Jess Beale and Demelza Howard the Stallions may find themselves back in the mix on Sunday night.

Western NSW Mariners vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Sunday 17 June, 3pm, Sir Jack Brabham Park

Fresh from their break, APIA Leichhardt Tigers make the longest trip left in their schedule as they go west to Orange, taking on a chastened Western NSW Mariners side.

Both sides will be stewing on losses coming into the weekend. APIA Leichhardt have now had two weeks to swallow their 5-2 loss to the Mariners while Western NSW were left stunned by St George FC 3-1 which might put them out of finals reckoning.

APIA has plenty of class players that won’t make it back-to-back poor performances. Lucy Gilfedder had a rare misstep in midfield while their defense was unusually porous. Luckily for them, they have Ash Palombi up-front and a whole swathe of attacking options that should see them get back into the winner’s circle.

The home side are losing touch with the mid-table quickly. They’re six points from challenging Nepean FC, and need to turn their results around. For that, they’ll need a big performance from their experienced players including Jess Daymond and Teegan Courtney to tame the Tigers.

St George FC vs Sydney Olympic FC, Sunday 17 June, 3pm, St George Stadium

Can the Saints do it again? After collecting their first points of the season, they welcome the unbeaten Olympic side to St George Stadium to try and topple the giants of NPL2 Womens.

The roar that followed after St George FC’s maiden victory was all their frustration turned into ecstasy after 14-week barren run. Now they follow that up with Sydney Olympic FC visiting after they put seven past Gladesville.

For the Saints if they are to pull off the upset of the season, Marissa Nicopoulos will be at the center. The livewire attacker scored in their 3-1 victory and put together impressive performances in recent weeks, so another one against Olympic is needed.

Regarding Olympic FC, they are the competition front-runners for a reason. Lieke Bever banging in goals up top alongside the talents of Madelaine Costanzo and Danielle Calvi makes for a daunting prospect for the other eleven NPL2 sides.

UNSW FC vs Inter Lions SC, Sunday 17 June, 3pm, Valentine Sports Park

Much like the magnet pull of two opposing forces, UNSW FC and Inter Lions are travelling in different directions, as they come together at Football HQ on Sunday afternoon.

The Lions have been the pride of the mid-table with three straight wins headlined by a 4-1 success against fellow finals aspirants Marconi Stallions, who they face again on Thursday while UNSW FC were blanked again against Nepean FC.

Finding the back of the net has become an issue for the students. In the last five games they have scored twice while conceding 17 makes for grim reading. Coming up against in-form goalie Natasha Pentecost means the UNSW strikers need to fire to keep their season alive.

It is simple for Inter Lions – just continue to secure three points. After the slow start to the season, Abboud’s side has sprung to life, Kirilee Cook the star, slotting goals and a fluid style of play has them prime to possibly snatch the last finals spot.

Source FNSW -By Justin Davies

Round 15 – NPL 2 NSW Men’s Review

Want proof the NPL 2 NSW Men’s is tighter than ever before? Look no further than Round 15 of the competition as dramatic draws and an unbelievable upset captured the hearts and minds of football fans on a very foggy long weekend.  

Match of the Round

Blacktown Spartans vs Northern Tigers

The fog settled like a blanket over Blacktown Football Park as the Northern Tigers made their way west to take on the Spartans.

But as the players emerged onto the field, the icy cloud-like fog withdrew, like a curtain opening ready to reveal a grand show.

And what a show it was.

One goal, one incredible upset, and one night to forget in front of goal for the Northern Tigers.

Neither coach would have been pleased with how the game began as both sides seemed uneasy in possession, choosing to thump the ball long – endangering the cars that had entrusted the safety of their windshields to the towering fences that bordered the field.

But as each team’s nerves began to ease, the ball started to zip around the pitch, leading to a flurry of chances for both sides.

The first chance fell to the Spartans.

And, much to the delight of coach Nick Porreca, it fell to superman Boyadjian.

The Tigers failed to clear the lines following a scramble in the box, and Spartans’ winger Garang Awac pounced on a loose ball. Looking up, Awac saw Boyadjian unmarked pleading for the ball to be played into his path. Awac obliged and Boyadjian did what seems to come as instinctively to him as breathing, and used his calfzillas to roll the ball past the keeper and into the net.

Looking up at the scoreboard perched in the far corner of the field, it was a surprise to see the Spartans in the lead but few could argue the Tigers didn’t deserve to be losing after their sluggish start to the game.

With only 17 minutes gone, there was still plenty of time for the Tigers to get back in the contest and they almost responded immediately through a sharp shooter of their own.

Liam Mcconaghy has been a reliable source of goals this season but his glancing header trickled wide of the far post after a sublime passing move on the right hand side unlocked the Spartan defence.

As the half wore on, the Tigers continued to carve out half-chances in front of goal but each time Spartans’ keeper Dominic Nascimben was equal to the effort.

The Spartans held a deserved lead at the break but there was a tangible feeling hovering in the misty air that if the Tigers could shake themselves from their winter hibernation, they would be able to find their way back into the game.

And four minutes into the second half, the Tigers came as close as you can to finding their equaliser.

A whipped corner found Liam Mcconaghy at the near post and his deft header fizzed over the keeper and smacked into the far upright and bounced out.

It had been a while since Tonu Liiband had something to do in the Tigers’ goal and perhaps that was his excuse when on 53 minutes, he fumbled a low cross, spilling the ball into the path of a Spartans’ player. Just as it seemed the Spartans were going to gratefully accept the invitation to smash the ball into the back of the net, Liiband acrobatically thrust his leg into the air to block the goal-bound effort. If you’re a fan of the Premier League and need a visual before the highlights video drops, search David De Gea against Arsenal and Alexis Sanchez at the Emirates from the past season.

But what followed this, was a moment of pure bewilderment.

Oliver Wiggin raced his way down the left wing, weaving through players like a slalom on a winter slope. Spotting the run of his forward ahead of him, Wiggin played an intelligent pass into his path. The Tigers’ striker cut back on his right foot and sent a shot sailing towards the roof of the net. Nascimben parried the shot into the air but as it dropped out of the night sky, the ball fell onto the cross bar before deflecting into the lap of an awaiting Tigers’ player. Stunned by the perplexing path the ball had taken, the Tigers’ player could only stab a limb at it. The ball, seemingly with a mind of its own, then flew through the air towards the goal but had its entry rejected by a stubborn right upright.

Everyone in the ground took a collective breath.

How did the ball not go in?

Jason Eagar cut a frustrated but confused figure on the sideline as nothing seemed to be going right for his side in front of goal.

Trying to change his team’s luck, Eagar inserted Rory Spiers into the mix but his introduction brought blistering pace but no breakthrough in their endeavour to beat Nascimben in goals.

It was proving to be a night to remember for Nascimben as just 14 minutes from time, he showed cat-like reflexes to deny Mcconaghy from close range.

There was one final chance for the Tigers to steal a point as right-back Matthew Stewart found himself with the ball at his feet just 12 yards from goal. Stewart had the goal at his mercy as he approached ominously but his shot soared high over the bar – to the dismay of the entire Tigers’ bench.

The Spartans rejoiced at full-time, in recognition of both a tremendous performance and tremendous result.

And for the first time this season, the Spartans have won two games in a row, giving themselves a wealth of breathing space between themselves and the bottom-placed Rams.

The Tigers were left reeling from a result that sees them slip down to 8th in the table, and could significantly hurt their chances of playing finals’ football at the end of the season.

Match Stats

Saturday 9th June 2018

Blacktown Football Park

Blacktown Spartans 1 (A, Boyadjian 17’)

Northern Tigers 0

Blacktown Spartans: D. Nascimben, E. El Ali, P. Crevani, A. Boyadjian, D. Akol, B. Bezzina, M. Donatiello, A. Voloder, R. Blanco, A. Pecora, C. Torrelli, M. Cook, N. Sansom, G. Awac, B. Ansah, H. Brown.

Northern Tigers: T. Liiband, J. Bachelard, J. Craig, M. Rolston, J. Hardwick, L. Mcconaghy, L. Dawson, M. Stewart, O. Wiggin, Z. Morris, N. Polinsky, M. Warner, R. Spiers.

GHFA Spirit FC 2 vs Rydalmere Lions 2

It’s a score-line the great Richie Benaud would’ve loved to have read.

Two-two.

But it’s a score-line both David Perkovic and Tony Basha would rather not.

A game that both sides felt as though they could have and probably should have won ends in a frustrating draw just like a shot of de-caff coffee on a morning you really need a boost.

Spirit FC opened the scoring after Louie Zacharopoulos nabbed his first senior goal for the club midway through the first half.

It looked like a lead David Perkovic’s side would hold to the break but one minute before half-time, Rydalmere levelled the contest.

Danny Ortega Roman rose highest following a corner to thump his header home.

The two sides switched roles in the second period.

This time Rydalmere scored midway through the half after Victor Anyimba sent the ball sailing to where only the spiders hang out, in the top corner of the net from 30 yards out.

It was an emphatic strike by the winger that looked like it would deliver his side all three points.

But with time evaporating faster than the fog in the night sky, Spirit lumped a ball forward that found the head of Grant Cornwell whose effort beat the Lions’ keeper and nestled in the back of the net.

A draw is better than a defeat but it’s a point that firmly entrenches both sides in the middle of the table, unable to break into the elusive top six.

St George FC 2 vs Western Sydney Wanderers 2

It’s the 87th minute and the Wanderers are celebrating what they believe is the winning goal in this crucial top half of the table clash.

Fast forward three minutes later and the celebrations were still going, but this time they belonged to St George as Hussein Akil had snatched a dramatic late equaliser.

This topsy-turvy clash had supporters cheering one minute then crying the next as the action swept from one side of the field to the other.

Despite the end-to-end action, both sides went to the break locked at 0-0.

That was until Samuel Silvera made his way off the bench, onto the pitch and onto the scoresheet with his very first touch of the match.

It was a Silvera special as he swerved in a free-kick from 25 yards out.

But, in an ominous foreshadow of what was to come later in the match, Hussein Akil rained on the Wanderers parade, pulling a goal back for St George moments later.

It’s been a wonderful two weeks for Akil who has shown true leadership in the absence of some key figures at St George.

With less than 5 minutes remaining the Wanderers hit the front, Fabian Monge teed up Marley Peterson who blasted his effort into the net.

But again Akil would spoil the party, levelling in injury-time to break red and black hearts.

St George have shown incredible resilience in recent weeks, led by arguably the most in-form player in the league, Hussein Akil. Wally Savor will be hoping Akil’s teammates can follow suit as they aim to maintain pace with Mt Druitt and the Mariners above them.

Mt Druitt Town Rangers 5 vs Macarthur Rams 1

A five star team and a one star team leaves us with a logical result.

After heavy fog subsided a hurricane of Mt Druitt attack rolled in, rendering the Rams helpless as they tried to prevent the inevitable onslaught.

Leading 3-0 at half-time, both sides emerged for the second period looking as though they had both accepted the fate that so obviously lay before them.

There was a brief moment of life in the Macarthur side when they pulled a goal back on 64 minutes but two late goals to the Rangers added a rather large exclamation mark to the result.

After the match, the scorecard had a familiar look to it as Emmanuel Gonzalez – twice, Hiten Satoh, Lachlan Roberts and Alex Vlismas all etched their names into the ‘goal scorers’ column.

After a mid-season stumble, the Rangers look to have found their feet and now enjoy an eight-point lead above the chasing pack.

The gap isn’t quite as large as eight but the Rams now have to cross a whopping 7 point bridge if they are to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon this season.

Hills United 3 vs Parramatta FC 3

After three draws in four games, the last thing Hills United needed in this home clash against Parramatta was another… draw.

But after trailing by two goals after just 17 minutes, Hills coach Luke McGuire would have gladly taken a draw.

The ever reliable Neram Yalda opened the scoring after just three minutes, notching his eighth for the campaign.

And Parramatta’s impressive start continued as they doubled their lead through Huseyin Jasli just over 10 minutes later.

The Eagles were soaring and it looked like the game was over before the half-time break.

But a lapse in concentration just 7 minutes before the break allowed Hills to get back into the match.

Pete Cejka scored Hills’ first from the spot on 38 minutes before the one-man band, Daniel Fogarty scored his 10th of the season just before the interval.

With both sides scoring two goals in quick succession in the first half, it was clear that momentum would play a huge part in deciding which team would walk away with three points.

Huseyin Jasli had his say on who should take home the ’W’ 69 minutes when he scored his second of the game.

But the final word was left to the fantastic Fogarty who waited until the 92nd minute to silence the cheers of the Eagles’ travelling band.

After their fourth draw in five games, Hills slip further down the table to fifth. Their clash against the Wanderers shapes as a must-win as they desperately cling to their finals’ spot.

Parramatta FC switch their focus to a crucial match against rivals Rydalmere next week where they seek to reverse the 4-1 thumping they endured earlier in the season.

North Shore Mariners 2 vs Canterbury Bankstown 1

It seemed the Mariners were suffering from an identity crisis on Sunday afternoon as a large red and white banner stating, “We are Northbridge”, hung prominently behind one of the goals.

The banner served its purpose thankfully, as the players arriving in red and white were able to quickly remind themselves of who they are, where they were and the fact 90 minutes of gruelling football awaited them.

The first half raced by with little action as both sides lacked the necessary quality in the final third to trouble the scorers.

Mitchell Smith was warming up for the home side and it must’ve been some warm-up because the Mariners’ player scored with his very first touch of the ball.

The Mariners doubled their lead just 5 minutes later when Lee Jones blasted his spot-kick into the top right hand corner, giving the keeper no chance.

Just like an impartial parent wanting to show no favouritism to their kids, the referee awarded Canterbury Bankstown a penalty just two minutes after the Mariners’.

Domenico Tripodi kept his composure to convert and drag his team back into the contest.

Branko Culina urged his team forward, in search of another late equaliser but their luck wasn’t in this week, with the Mariners holding on for an important three points to keep their place in the top six.

Mounties Wanderers vs Central Coast Mariners (washed out)

Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty

 

Round 15 – National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men Preview

The teams at the top of the table are having a party. But those at the bottom have come to spoil the fun as Round 15 throws up the potential for some massive upsets in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.

 

Match of the Round: Blacktown Spartans vs Northern Tigers – 7pm, Saturday 9th June – Blacktown Football Park

Is it a bird?

Is it a plane?

No, it’s Alex Boyadjian coming to rescue the Spartans again.

The super star Spartan striker has been a bright light in a dimly lit season thus far, notching 7 goals in 13 games.

His McDouble last week against Macarthur secured a priceless three points for the Spartans and there are signs that ‘the times they are a changing’ for the fortunes of the men in orange and black this season.

After a disastrous opening half to the campaign, the Spartan ship has been sailing through safer waters in recent times, winning two of their past three games.

And the key to those victories is abundantly clear.

Solid defence.

In the three matches in which the Spartans have avoided defeat in the past month, Blacktown have only conceded 1 goal.

This defensive solidarity was highlighted in a superb opening 45 minutes against Macarthur last week where the Spartans denied the Rams even one shot on goal.

Although as different as a ram is to a tiger, so too this week’s opponents pose a totally different challenge.

The Northern Tigers were unlucky to not claim all three points against the Mounties last week and owe their success this season to a healthy balance of attacking flair and defensive steel.

Skipper Michael Rolston marshals his defenders with courageous leadership whilst Oliver Wiggin and Liam Mcconaghy pose a devilish threat up top.

It should be an intriguing battle with two teams trying to win for two very different reasons.

The Tigers need three points to stay in the hunt for a top six finals’ spot, whilst the Spartans just need to keep swimming to keep their head above water.

It shapes as a fascinating Match of the Round with big consequences for either side in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.

 

GHFA Spirit FC vs Rydalmere Lions – 7pm, Saturday 9th June – Christie Park

Last week, Rydalmere did what no one else in the competition has managed to do so far this season – beat the Central Coast Mariners.

As logically as 1+1=2, surely if Rydalmere have the capability to beat arguably the top team in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s, then surely they have the ability to beat any other team in the league?

However this is Rydalmere.

Rydalmere’s season has been a mixture of incredible highs – wins over Central Coast Mariners, St George, Mounties and Parramatta FC – followed by devastating defeats against the Spartans, and in the reverse fixture of this match earlier in the season, losing 5-1 to Spirit FC.

So, we wait with bated breath to see which Rydalmere will turn up this week.

After four defeats in a row, Spirit FC’s form is slowly turning around – picking up a win and a draw from their past two games against much fancied opposition.

The ability to steal points from the rich and give them to the poor is earning Spirit the nickname, Robin Hood.

Can they claim another big victim by robbing the high-flying Rydalmere at Christie Park on Saturday night?

 

Mounties Wanderers vs Central Coast Mariners – 7pm, Saturday 9th June – Cook Park

I smell an upset in the air.

It’s either that or the smell of my newborn son’s nappy that needs changing.

However either way, the tangible taste of explosive drama is wafting through the air as I ponder this exciting clash between two of the competition’s top teams.

After 13 incredible rounds in which the Mariners answered all questions that came their way, the was one question they have yet failed to answer.

How will they respond to a defeat?

Setbacks happen in a season but it’s the way a team bounces back from these setbacks that separate the pretenders from the contenders.

Unfortunately for the Mariners, a long road trip to Cook Park to play the resurgent Mounties is close to the last thing you want to when you’re in need of three points.

Although as every cloud has a silver lining, perhaps this match poses the best opportunity for the Mariners to remind both themselves and the league that they are the real deal this season.

For the Mounties, time is fast running out for them to make their charge towards the finals.

Strong recruitment and bold promises have thus failed to deliver and Terry Palapanis recognises the need for his team to start claiming regular wins to force their way into the top six.

Two teams with significant points to prove go in hunt of three competition points in a titanic battle on Saturday night – you don’t want to miss this!

 

Hills United vs Parramatta FC – 7pm, Saturday 9th June – Lily Homes Stadium

With only 1 defeat in their past 5 games, you’d expect Hills to be climbing the ladder.

Their current position of fourth is worthy of respect but their steady drop down the competition standings comes courtesy, not of defeats, but draws.

Draws are a dish that can satisfy no man’s diet and it seems Hills have been starved of a win for four long weeks.

If they are to topple Parramatta at home on Saturday night, the key will be in winning the battle of the wings.

Both sides are blessed with wondrous wingers, Zak Elrich and Matthew Lecce for the Eagles and Daniel Fogarty and Eoin Montford for Hills United.

These players pose the greatest attacking threat for their respective teams and have chipped in with bucket loads of goals and assists this season.

Sit back and get the cameras out, we are set for a blockbuster clash of skill, pace and power on Saturday night, these highlights might make a great YouTube compilation.

 

St George FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers – 7pm, Saturday 9th June – Ilinden Sports Centre

Imagine the team you could make with the players who have departed or are no longer available from both of these clubs this season.

A midfield of Abraham Majok, Kosta Grozos and Raul Beneit Romero; with Juan Carlos Romero and Lachlan Scott firing in goals up front.

Although like Leroy Sane, Alexis Sanchez, Buffon, and Arjen Robben at this summer’s World Cup, these players won’t be making an appearance in this clash on Saturday night.

However there is still plenty of talent left on the pitch for this match to truly captivate all football fans this weekend.

The Western Sydney Wanderers are clinging to their top six spot like Mufasa on a rock in Lion King, will St George be the Scar to knock them off?

 

Mt Druitt Town Rangers vs Macarthur Rams – 7pm, Saturday 9th June – Popondetta Park

The team at the top vs the team at the bottom.

In truth, these two teams seem worlds apart.

However David did beat Goliath and the Rams will be hoping to perform an equally miraculous task when they travel to Poppondetta Park on Saturday night.

Lachlan Roberts scored his first goal since his return to the Rangers last Saturday night in their win over Canterbury Bankstown and the winger will be hoping to make a habit of finding the net as he hopes to ease the goal scoring burden on the shoulders of Emmanuel Gonzalez.

Aidan Desmond’s side will be keeping a close eye on the Mounties and Mariners clash as they seek to extend their lead even further at the top of the table.

The Premiership plate is slowly emerging on the Rangers’ horizon, victory over the Rams on Saturday night will take them one step closer to decorating that trophy in green and gold.

 

North Shore Mariners vs Canterbury Bankstown FC – 3:30pm, Sunday 10th June – Northbridge Oval

The final fixture in Round 15 sees two in-form teams do battle at the ground famous for unbelievable matches.

It’s not quite the Theatre of Dreams but Northbridge Oval has seen some spectacular matches so far this season.

The first was a 9-goal, injury-time classic between North Shore and Mounties, the second an equally breath-taking match between Northern Tigers and the Mariners that finished 3-2.

Will Northbridge Oval conjure up another classic on Sunday afternoon – football fans in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s will certainly be hoping so.

Source FNSW - By Ryan Latty

Round 14 – NPL 2 NSW Women’s Preview

Why do you have to make things so complicated crooned Avril Lavigne, although the Canadian singer could’ve been describing the mid-table logjam that hangs over NPL2, as teams couldn’t make it more obvious their intentions for finals football in another smorgasbord of football across the long weekend.

Match of the Round: SD Raiders vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Monday 11th June, 6pm, Ernie Smith Reserve

Finish off the long weekend right – with some National Premier League action! SD Raiders welcome APIA Leichhardt Tigers in an exciting climax to the weekend, as the two sides jockey for top four positioning headed to the finals.

SD Raiders have cut a swathe through the NPL competition in the past month, six straight games undefeated and 18 goals scored – makes them one of the form sides. Meanwhile APIA has slumped slightly with a loss to Central Coast and draw with Gladesville sandwiched between huge victories against the bottom two sides.

Despite their slew of recruits, APIA lost their first home game in three seasons last weekend. The Tigers weren’t their usual fluid selves and Mariners took advantage, Matteo Maiorana will have the wounded Tigers primed for a clash against a tough Raiders side.

These two sides played out an end-to-end contest with fireworks on the pitch and in the dugouts between two of NPL2 womens most passionate coaches – in Maiorana and Matthew Costantini make this must watch for those free on Monday and near the south-west.

Add to that the form of the forwards for both sides, highlighted by APIA’s Ash Palombi 15 goals this season and across the field, Cassidy Chidgey with 13. Not to mention the supporting casts that has these sides side-by-side on the ladder and a fantastic way to end the long weekend.

Inter Lions vs Marconi Stallions, Sunday 10th June, 3pm, Concord Oval

These Lions are starting to roar. Inter head back home to Concord Oval, ready to host the stuttering Marconi Stallions Sunday afternoon, as these two mid-table foes collide.

Sitting in eighth place, Inter has been on a run recently – back-to-back successes over Nepean and Southern Branch puts them right into the finals hunt. Danny Abboud’s young squad are brimming with confidence and found their style of football.

Natasha Pentecost has been a rock between the sticks for the Lions; the custodian has produced fantastic saves across the season and her safe hands allows their strike force in Sarah Mandile, Georgia Bourbous and Dominique Caridad to prosper.

Marconi Stallions despite their recent setbacks remain in contention, but they need to fire quickly. One positive has been the recent form of Jess Beale, the striker has seven for the season and is the key for the Stallions success.

Nepean FC vs UNSW FC, Sunday 10th June, 3pm, Cook Park (St Marys)

Currently Nepean FC are the queens of the fifth place mountain, while the rest of the mid-table, including this weekend’s opponent, UNSW FC Sunday afternoon, try to capture of the flag at Cook Park.

Last week we got the good Nepean FC – Tasses side were clinical in front of goal as they downed Marconi Stallions 4-1 as the students downswing continued in a heavy defeat against the buzz saw that is Sydney Olympic FC.

The problem for Nepean FC this season is consistency. On their best days, they are an irresistible force that can blow away any team in NPL2 but unlike last season, where they snuck up on teams, their best days have been fewer this season – mostly coming when Stefanie Trovato fires.

Right now, for UNSW FC, they need to discover that winning feeling again. Last time they felt success was in mid-April against St George FC, and against Nepean last time out, it was a 0-0 draw, so Sunday is important for both sides chances.

Western NSW Mariners vs St George FC, Sunday 10th June, 3pm, Sir Jack Brabham Park

All quiet on the Western front as the Mariners wedged themselves into mid-table, now they have a chance to shoot for three straight against eleventh place St George FC, in Orange.

Their triumph against formerly fifth place Gladesville, came with them missing several key starters including top-scorer Teegan Courtney, but their young core stepped up including a bullet header from 14-year old Anna Hunt in the 3-1 success.

Hopefully the Mariners welcome back their stars, and a helpful run of home games coming up, they can put some pressure on the rest of the mid-table pack. Also helping them is their 4-3 win back in round three against the Saints, so this game is set up for action.

Southern Branch FC vs Central Coast Mariners, Sunday 10th June, 3pm, South Nowra Football Complex

Central Coast Mariners are the latest side to take the long trip down to Nowra, the rampaging side look to continue their dominant form Sunday afternoon on the south coast.

In last week’s Match of the Round, the Mariners laid down a huge marker in their 5-2 win against APIA Leichhardt, where Jordan Evans stole the headlines with a four-goal performance while Southern Branch fell 3-nil to Inter Lions.

Post-match last week, Mariners boss Dan Barrett sent a message that his side aren’t slowing down their dominance anytime soon, and with dueling dynamos in top-scorer Candice Phelan and Evans may send a chill down opposition spines come later in the season.

Sydney Olympic FC vs Gladesville Ravens, Sunday 10th June, 3pm, Valentine Sports Park #2

Rounding off Sunday’s action is Sydney Olympic FC looking to extend their unbeaten streak to 14, as they travel to Valentine Sports Park, to face embattled Gladesville Ravens.

Taking on Sydney Olympic FC at times, can be like David vs Goliath. They swept past UNSW FC 8-nil last week, Lieke Bever opened up a six-pack of goals as the forward inched closer to chasing down Candice Phelan for the top-scoring title.

Olympic remain four points clear of the chasing pack, last year’s premiers hungry to make sure that they sweep all the competition this time around. With talent like Bever, Madelaine Costanzo and Danielle Calvi leading the way they make a strong argument for that.

Gladesville Ravens flew high to start the season but recently, have had their wings clipped as their success has dried up. It will be tough going against the premiers, but David slayed Goliath so like Kevin Garnett said “anything is possible”

Source FNSW website - By Justin Davies

Round 14 – National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s Review

The streak is over, old enemies re-ignite past duels, the battle at the bottom gets more intense than ever before – these are some of the headlines emerging out of another incredible round of football in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s

 

Match of the Round: GHFA Spirit FC vs Hills United

Hills United FC has produced a stunning comeback, scoring late twice to force a 2-2 draw against a frustrated GHFA Spirit FC team, at a chilly Christie Park.

For the majority of the contest, GHFA Spirit FC were in complete control; Andre Carle’s well-taken double had them at the lead in the first half but they wilted late as their inconsistent form continues.

The away team were definitely second best across the park, but the fourth place side continued to push until the final minute, a superb rasping strike from Bradley Robertson gave them hope then Daniel Fogarty gambled at the back post to send the Hills faithful into celebration for a massive point gained.

Looking for back-to-back victories in the league, GHFA Spirit FC started brighter on the ball. Andre Carle was particularly swift with his movements, as he swept past defenders several times and created the best opportunities for the home side.

Hills United FC almost sucker-punched Spirit from a lost ball in midfield. The ball got clipped to Pete Cejka, the hulking striker cut it across the box as Fogarty stabbed it wide.

From there, the rest of the first half belonged to GHFA Spirit. Louis Bozanic went close with a curled effort in the 25th minute as coach Daniel Perkovic urged his side to press on against the Hills defence that looked shaky.

Spirit got their reward two minutes later.

Bright Appiah turned well to lose his defender before he slipped a feathered ball to Carle. The striker remained composed as he arrowed into the left corner, 1-nil to the home side.

It was double delight for Carle in the 38th minute. GHFA Spirit broke quickly and got the ball to their danger man, he took a calm touch before chipping Hills keeper, Luke Turnbull to put Spirit up 2-nil, as they took the spoils headed to the break.

Coming out more energetic after the break, Fogarty almost pulled one back as the pacy attacker strode clear of the broken GHFA Spirit FC defense, but thankfully for them, Tomislav Romic produced a key save to keep their advantage at two.

Mid-season signing for GHFA Spirit Matthew West flicked a ball in the direction of Appiah, the attacker fired low as Turnbull denied him superbly as Hills United FC held on by a thread.

That save spurred on the visitors. Greg Giovenali and Marcus Zarantonello tried to pull one back with long range strikes before Patrick Gatt’s header was deflected wide in the 75th minute, as Hills pushed hard.

It took a moment of individual brilliance to make it 2-1. Bradley Robertson found space down the left, strode past his defender and rifled a whistling effort into the top corner of the net, as the tension at Christie Park ratcheted up.

Deep into injury time, the mood turned dark for GHFA Spirit, as Hills pushed everyone forward for the equaliser. The ball soared through the night sky and it fell perfectly for a gambling Fogarty to slam home at the back post for 2-2.

Afterwards David Perkovic, the GHFA Spirit boss was understandably devastated at the result but found a few positives in the performance.

“I felt that we deserved more out of the game but we didn’t handle the pressure at the end. Credit to Hills that they continued to push and got their reward at the end,” said Perkovic.

“I was never comfortable with a two-goal lead, needed that third to put that nail in the coffin. For us though, we’ve had a rough patch but the last three performances including the FFA cup were positive,”

“We’ll take a point today. It was our first draw of the season and we’ll learn from the last 10-15 minutes in the future,” finished the GHFA Spirit boss.

For Hills United FC Luke McGuire was proud of the fight shown by the side in spite of a tough first half and going two goals behind.

“The boys showed some fighting spirit at the end there. Probably a bit lucky to get the points but we showed the fighting spirit we have at the club,” he finished.

MATCH STATS

Saturday 2nd June 2018

Christie Park, Macquarie Park

Referee: M. Bailey

Assistant Referees: A Mason & A Hosnani

GHFA Spirit 2 (Carle ’27, ’38)

Hills United 2 (Robertson ’87, Fogarty ’91)

GHFA Spirit: 1. ROMIC Tomislav, 2. ZACHAROPOULOS Louie, 5. ROBERTSON Andrew, 8. CORNWALL Grant, 10. BOZANIC Louis (20. MANOS ’61), 12. APPIAH Bright (23. IRELAND ’71), 14. CARLE Andre, 18. CAPPUCCIO Pasqualino, 21. JOHNSTONE Ryan, 22. DE OLIVEIRA Samuel, 99. WEST Matthew (9. LOPES ’59)

Subs not used: 13. SYRON Mackenzie 19. LOVELL Tom

Hills United: 1. TURNBULL Luke, 5. ZARANTONTELLO Marcus, 6. ROBERTSON Bradley, 7. GIOVENALI Wade (22. LAUBSCHER ’72), 8. MONTFORD Eoin (4. ORMSBY ’13), 11. MERRIN Daine, 15. GATT Patrick, 16. GIOVENALI Gregory, 19. KELSHAW Glen, 44. FOGARTY Daniel, 91. CEJKA Pete

Subs not used: 14. LANGAN Caelan, 45. BASDEN Jacob, 51. YAMMINE Joseph

 

By Justin Davies

 

St George 5 vs Parramatta FC 0

Parramatta FC had one shot, one opportunity, to right all the wrongs from Round 1 and prove to us all that they are back in 2018, but in the end they ended up with Mum’s spaghetti all over their sweater.

Despite St George being decimated by suspension and injury, the Eagles weren’t able to bring their good recent form into this game and coach Leo Carle will be concerned with the manner in which his team conceded their goals.

The night belonged to Hussein Akil who took the armband in place of the injured Tarik Ercan.

Akil truly rose to the occasion, netting a hat-trick for his side in a performance that led by example.

Nicholas Paras marked his first start of the season on 17 minutes as he whipped in a delightful free-kick that deceived Stefan Giglio in goals who dived the wrong way.

St George have been hurriedly shopping through this transfer window in search of replacements for the departed Romero’s. And new signing from the Spartans, Matias Da Silva Santos, whipped in a dangerous cross which eventually fell to Akil at the back post who made no mistake with his finish.

Parramatta were their own worst enemy just before the break as an under-hit back pass fell invitingly into the path of Anthony Morabito who skipped around a hapless Giglio in goals and rolled the ball into the net.

For all their fantastic football this season, sometimes the solution to break down a stubborn defence is route one football.

Just ask Big Sam.

Wally Savor would’ve been pleased to see Akil pounce on a long ball, burst past a defender and rifle a shot into the net from the tightest of angles.

It was a fantastic strike from Akil, one that indicated it really was his night to shine in front of the Ilinden crowd.

Although whilst nothing could go wrong for Akil and his St George stars, nothing could go right for Parramatta FC.

This was confirmed inside the final 10 minutes when Akil rounded off an unforgettable night for himself individually and his team collectively with his third goal.

Aleksander Lekoski turned provider, picking out Akil who was never going to miss in front of goal.

A memorable night for St George who will believe they have the ability to put the departures of the Romero Bandidos behind them and consolidate their spot in the top 3.

Parramatta FC would rather forget this match and look forward to putting things right next week against high-flying Hills United.

 

Macarthur Rams 1 vs Blacktown Spartans 2

For two weeks in a row, Macarthur Rams have lost two crucial matches at home against teams around them on the competition table.

When you lose to the teams around you, very quickly they begin to disappear from view.

One glance at the league standings confirms this.

Macarthur now sit 5 points behind the Spartans who are second last.

Now the Rams really do know how it feels to be left outside alone.

The preview for this match stated that the two men who had the power to decide the outcome for this match were Mark Symington and Alex Boyadjian.

At the end of 90 minutes, it was clear who had won the battle.

Alex Boyadjian.

The super Spartan scored two scintillating goals either side of half-time to steer his side to a crucial three points.

The first came from the spot on 11 minutes as Boyadjian kept his cool despite the jeers from the home crowd.

Boyadjian made it two shortly after the break when a 10-pass build up play saw Richard Blanco thread Boyadjian through who slotted it past the keeper.

Macarthur managed to pull one back through Simon Valastro just 5 minutes later however and it seemed to spark life into the match.

However for all their huffing and puffing, the Rams just couldn’t blow the Spartans’ house down.

The pressure is really on the Rams now as the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be growing dimmer and dimmer.

 

Northern Tigers 2 vs Mounties Wanderers 2

A champion team vs a team of champions.

Although nothing could separate them.

The Tigers have built their reputation on fierce, determined teamwork. Whilst the Mounties have assembled a team capable of unnerving any team in the competition.

Captain courageous, Michael Rolston scored the first goal of the night as he blasted the ball home from the penalty spot.

Despite the lead, the Mounties dominated the first half, carving out multiple chances to level the contest.

They finally found that equaliser on 24 minutes when Raul Beneit Romero continued his good goal-scoring form for his new club.

The goal boosted the Wanderers’ confidence and they took the lead 5 minutes later when Alfred Hess scored his first goal for the club.

Although after the break, the game completely changed.

Jason Eagar rallied his troops, imploring them to find an extra gear in an effort to turn the result around.

With his team responded.

The Tigers pushed the ball into the wide areas, looking to get in behind the Mounties’ defence and deliver a telling ball into the box.

Liam Mcconaghy has been the leading man for the Tigers this season, and he scored his 8th of the campaign midway through the second half to bring the scores level.

As the game raced towards full-time, the Mounties were holding on for dear life as a barrage of Tiger attacks almost delivered a winning goal.

However the chances never translated into goals and both sides had to settle for a Desmond Two-Two.

 

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 vs North Shore Mariners 4

No Grozos, no Scott, no Majok – no points for the Wanderers who concede four goals to the North Shore Mariners for the second time this season.

We didn’t have to wait long for the game’s first goal in this match as Chris Lindsay opened the scoring in the 5th minute.

It looked like being a long night for Greenwood in the Wanderers’ goal as the Mariners showed no signs of resting on their one-goal lead.

Although it was the Wanderers who scored next, Marley Peterson capitalising on a defensive mix-up to score on debut.

The game continued to swing from end to end, with Adrian Valenti making a superb goal-saving tackle at one end for the home side, before the Mariners managed to scramble a ball clear from inside their own box when it seemed a man in red and black would smash it home.

The Mariners broke the deadlock shortly before the interval however as James Scott pounced to convert past Greenwood.

In almost a complete mirror of the opening stages of the first half, the Mariners scored inside the opening few minutes.

This time it was Marquin Smith who showed great skill to send Greenwood on an all too familiar walk, back to pick the ball up from the back of the net.

The last time these two met, it was the Wanderers who led before the Mariners came back to snatch a dramatic win.

However there was no miracle comeback in this match as the Mariners sealed all three points 13 minutes from time when Claudio Rosano beat Greenwood for the fourth time in the match.

A tough defeat for the Wanderers who slip close to the edge of the top six with the Northern Tigers and Rydalmere Lions hunting them down.

North Shore continue their win, loss, win, loss form but will need to repeat this performance on a consistent basis if they are to solidify their spot in the top six.

 

Canterbury Bankstown 0 vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1

Three important points for the Rangers but this match was marred by a horrible incident involving Fijian-international, Alvin Singh.

Canterbury Bankstown looked to unsettle the Rangers’ flowing football with some crunching tackles and relentless pressing but the energy they devoted into stifling the Rangers’ attack eventually left them exposed at the back.

A stray pass looked to be gobbled up by the Canterbury Bankstown keeper but Lachlan Roberts showed electric pace to zip in front of the goalie and sweep the ball into the vacant net.

Moments after the goal however, Alvin Singh suffered a devastating injury, breaking his leg following a crushing tackle.

The game was stopped for 15 minutes while the players and staff waited for the paramedics to arrive and it was clear the gruesome injury had was affecting the distressed Rangers’ players.

After the restart, both sides looked as though football had taken a back seat as all at the Crest Athletic Arena were filled with concern for Singh’s wellbeing.

When the full-time whistle graciously sounded, the Rangers had held on for an important victory, one that sees them extend their lead at the top to 5 points following the Mariners’ defeat to Rydalmere.

Football is important but it doesn’t take precedence to anyone’s wellbeing and all at FNSW wish Alvin a safe and speedy recovery.

 

Central Coast Mariners 0 vs Rydalmere Lions 2

The streak is over.

After 13 rounds without defeat, the Central Coast Mariners have finally lost.

And, in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Rydalmere Lions played without fear as they travelled to Pluim Park, exhibiting the very desire to win we have seen the Mariners display this season.

Although whilst the score-line reads two goals to nil, it was the efforts of Harrik in the Rydalmere goal that really earned his side the victory.

Harrik pulled off some terrific saves throughout the match, and each time he managed a miraculous save, it seemed to fill his teammates with the confidence needed to run up the other end and score two fantastic goals of their own.

The two goals were examples of the difference in determination between the two sides.

Victor Anyimba’s goal came after a Mitchell Gibbs’ rocket was parried by Adam Pearce in the Mariners’ goal before Anyimba showed his predatory instincts, getting to the ball first for an easy tap in.

Duncan Stewart also got on the scoresheet for the away side, out-muscling, out-pacing and out-thinking the Mariners’ defender before beating the keeper with a quality finish.

A result that will bring a big smile to the faces of Mt Druitt Rangers and St George FC as the Mariners lose for the first time this season.

Rydalmere prove once more that when they play with courage and concentration, anything is possible. But if they are to sneak their way into the top six, they will need to repeat this performance on a consistent basis – something they’ve struggled to do so far this season.

 

Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty

Round 13 – National Premier Leagues 2 Women’s Review

The top four of National Premier League 2 Womens continue to chug along, as the mid-table rubix cube got much harder with 5th to 9th position all trying to solve the puzzle and be the final member of the top five.

Match of the Round: APIA Leichhardt 2 defeated by Central Coast Mariners 5

Central Coast Mariners laid down an impressive marker, as they handed APIA Leichhardt Tigers their first home loss in three years, 5-2, as Jordan Evans scored four on a cold night at Lambert Park.

The young striker warmed up those supporters that travelled down the highway with her magnificent performance, as she netted twice in the first half before adding two more in the second 45. Goal-scoring fixture Candice Phelan 24th of the season rounded off a dominant performance.

APIA Leichhardt weren’t their usual slick selves as they weren’t able to find their passing rhythm and got themselves two goals through a deflection in the first half while Ash Palombi headed home for her 14th of the season, in the Tigers first loss at home in three years.

Evans was involved in the action early, the attacker had an early chance spurned before she converted for the first of the match. Taking a diagonal ball in stride, Evans burst into the area and finished past APIA keeper Courtney Halpin for 1-nil.

APIA responded immediately in an open first half. Lorena Bugen whipped in a diabolical corner that deflected off one of the Mariners defenders and into the back of the net for 1-1.

The two sides continued to trade efforts as Ash Palombi and Candice Phelan both flayed their chances wide, as the game lived up to the pre-match billing of being an attacking fiesta came to fruition quite early.

In the first half, the ball seemed magnetized to Evans feet. As the half wore on, she had a trifecta of chances where she broke into the box, but couldn’t find the finish as it looked like the half would end in a stalemate.

Although it didn’t. Candice Phelan broke free from the APIA defense, burst into the box and collided with APIA keeper, Halpin which was judged to be dangerous play from the keeper and a spot kick awarded. Evans stepped up and fired low right for a 2-1 score.

Luck favours the brave. Evans completed her hat-trick just before the hour mark, in probably the oddest style – a hopeful punt got caught in the lights which fooled Halpin and made it 3-1 for the visitors, who looked to lock down second place.

APIA tried to respond quickly again, through Karen Saavedra whose header was denied then Ash Palombi turned well before cutting an effort wide of the post, as it looked like it was one of those nights for the Tigers.

Down the other end, Evans continued to strike gold. Speeding down the left, she fooled her defender before sweeping into the box, having her first shot denied by Halpin but she responded quickest to the rebound making it 4-1 and three points for Mariners.

Needing to find three goals in quick succession, APIA pulled a goal back in the 72nd minute for 4-2. Ash Palombi nodded home a header that gave them life. They pushed forward with chances to Lucy Gilfedder and Palombi again, but they thrashed wide.

As APIA needed to throw players forward, Central Coast added a final goal to the tally. Who else but Candice Phelan swept downfield quickly, finished at the second chance for a 5-2 final.

Afterwards a jubilant Dan Barrett praised his Mariners side for a thorough performance as they don’t intend to slow down anytime soon.

“We knew today was going to be tough, we needed a massive effort. Credit to the girls tonight they did that. We’re very dangerous up front which is good for us,”

“We don’t count on losing anytime soon. That is seven straight victories and completing the double over APIA Leichhardt this season, we’re trying to finish as high as we can.” Finished Barrett.

For APIA boss, Matteo Maiorana tonight was a bitter pill to swallow but he hopes it is one that spurs on the home side to not taste the feeling again.

“It was disappointing to lose. We haven’t lost many across the last few years, so it gives them a measuring stick to see if we want to be successful in this division. Credit to Central Coast they played well tonight,”

“We didn’t play well tonight, definitely not enough for a win but I don’t think a 5-2 loss reflected the contest. There were some freak goals that we conceded but we know what needs to be done with a tough run-in if we want to compete.” Finished Maiorana.

MATCH STATS

Sunday 3rd June 2018 Lambert Park, Marion

Referee: Michelle Allen

Assistant Referees: Santina Wang, Lola Collingbourne

APIA Leichhardt Tigers 2 (OG ’13, Palombi ’82)

Central Coast Mariners 5 (Evans ’10, ’46, ’59, ’67, Phelan ’90)

APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1. HALPIN Courtney, 4. SCARLATO Samantha, 6. GILFEDDER Lucy, 8. CANINI Carla, 11. PALOMBI Ash, 14. WATTS Rebecca (29. SMITH ’64), 15. MANIAS Kylie, 17. URQUHART Sarah, 19. SAAVEDRA Karen (16. BENNETT ’64), 21. CARMICHAEL Nicole, 23. BUGDEN Lorena

Subs not used: 13. SIM-SING Beatrice, 20. MARSH Stephanie, 22. RENFIGO Yadira

Yellow cards: nil

Red cards: nil

Central Coast Mariners: 1. HINES Rhiannon, 2. BLANCH Gabrielle, 3. SWINFIELD Melissa (25. SNAPE ’48), 4. PHELAN Candice (16. MAH ’91), 5. OLIVEIRA Katie (12. DAVIS ’45), 7. EVANS Jordan, 8. LITTERICK Kirby, 9. EYERS Haylie, 10. MCATEMNEY Jade, 11. SHORTER Elizabeth, 13. MURPHY Kaitlin

Subs not used: 21. TUCKER Mikala, 50. BRADBURY Maddison

Yellow cards: Litterick, Swinfield

Red cards: Litterick ’87

Marconi Stallions 1 defeated by Nepean FC 4

In one of the more surprising results of the season, Nepean FC completely put Marconi Stallions to the sword in a 4-1 victory this afternoon at Marconi Stadium.

Consistency and clinical have been the two buzzwords for Alan Tasses this season, and they definitely were that today. Stefanie Trovato led the way for them with a double, as Nepean FC rocketed out to a 2-nil lead at the break.

Alix Waddell continued her form with another goal while Annie Halls rounded off a performance that left Tasses jubilant, as the women from the foot of the mountains denied a talented Stallions outfit room to play and were clinical in front of goal.

For the Stallions, the result dented their finals chances, they have fallen to seventh, but did find some solace in a goal to youngster Isabella Said in the second half.

Western NSW Mariners 3 defeated Gladesville Ravens 1

Back-to-back successes for Western NSW Mariners has them firmly in the mid-table logjam after a 3-1 performance against the struggling Gladesville Ravens today in Orange.

Mariners coach Josh Ward called it the most complete performance from the side, as they took apart the Ravens side, although they went into the break, only a single goal to the good. Jasmin Courtenay fired home.

In the second, Sarah Morris scored her maiden goal for the Mariners while it was a memorable debut for 14-year old Anna Hunt. The youngster drilled a bullet header past the Ravens keeper in a dominant performance from the home side.

Southern Branch FC 0 defeated by Inter Lions 3

Inter Lions have recorded back-to-back victories for the first time this season, as they completed a successful trip down to Nowra, downing Southern Branch 4-nil this afternoon.

The young squad held a single goal lead headed to the break, as Georgia Bourbous smashed home providing more evidence that they have started to gel and putting together a slick brand of football for the second half of the season.

Striker Sarah Mandile struck twice in the second stanza, to complete the scoresheet for the Lions. The victory has them in eighth position, but importantly, within striking distance of Nepean FC that occupy fifth.

St George FC 1 defeated by SD Raiders 4

SD Raiders stretched their advantage over fifth to 7 points after a comfortable 4-1 success against lowly St George FC at the historic St George stadium today.

For much of the contest, it seemed to be a personal contest between Logan Garard and Samantha Nagy for most sublime goal of the afternoon. Both the attackers scored long range bombs that flew past Saints keeper, who had pulled off some impressive saves across the 90 minutes.

The two strikers picked up doubles in SD Raiders third straight victory which Matt Constantini praised as Garard’s best performance this season. He also singled out Saints Marissa Nicopoulos as a star performer in the losing side.

St George FC did find themselves on the scoresheet, as Lara Nicholls netted her fourth goal of the season on another unsuccessful afternoon for the Saints.

UNSW FC 0 defeated by Sydney Olympic FC 8

In a season filled with spectacular performance, Lieke Bever might have topped the lot. Her six-goal performance powered Sydney Olympic FC to their twelfth victory against a hapless UNSW FC today at Valentine Sports Park.

Sydney Olympic FC shot out to a 4-nil half-time lead on a glorious afternoon at football headquarters. Lieke Bever netted herself a first half hat-trick while Kristy Rohrer added the other as the premiers flexed their muscle.

They continued their assault in the second half, Bever completed a second hat-trick to shoot past the double digits in goals for the season, as last year’s golden boot, Madelaine Costanzo completed the scoring in a one-sided affair.

 

Source FNSW website - By Justin Davies

Round 14 – National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s Preview

Round 14 of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s is a reversal of the opening day fixtures from all the way back in early March.

All 14 teams have come a long way since that weekend. Some for better, some for worse.

And with the second half of the season kicking-off this round, each team has one final opportunity to undo the wrongs that have gone before or build on the promise they have shown in the opening half of the campaign.

Match of the Round:

GHFA Spirit FC vs Hills United – 7pm, Saturday 2nd June – Christie Park

Spirit FC have finally broken the Christie Park curse and look to have liberated themselves from the shackles of poor form that has weighed them down over the past month.

Just in time for the arrival of their local rivals, Hills United.

Luke McGuire’s men will need no extra motivation for this match as the memories of their Round 1 defeat to Spirit FC still linger uncomfortably in the back of their collective minds.

On the opening day of the season, it was Kevin Lopes’s late strike that gave Spirit a narrow victory after Eoin Montford was sent off on the hour mark.

But since that match, it’s been a tale of two very different cities as Hills United have soared into the top four whilst Spirit have languished down the bottom of the table.

Can Hills United exact revenge or will Spirit claim an impressive double over their local rivals?

Find out in another enthralling match of the round in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.

 

St George FC vs Parramatta FC – 7pm, Saturday 2nd June – Ilinden Sports Centre

All season long, Parramatta FC fans have been saying, “that game back in Round 1 against St George, we should’ve won that; and if we did, what a different story our season would have been”.

Well, now’s your chance to right one considerable wrong.

St George and Parramatta FC are two very different teams from the ones that took the field in Round 1.

St George, without their Romero Bandidos severely lack the attacking potency they once boasted.

Whilst Parramatta’s attacking arsenal has significantly improved after the signing of Ahmad and Zak Elrich from Rydalmere and the addition of Yahya Elhindi has bolstered their midfield stocks.

This match should serve as a precursor for how these teams will perform in the second half of the season: will Parramatta power and will St George suffer?

 

Macarthur Rams vs Blacktown Spartans – 7pm, Saturday 2nd June – Lynwood Park

Macarthur have become the sacrificial Rams of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s this season – offering three precious points to any club in need.

And their generosity began all the way back in Round 1 against the Spartans.

But their generosity cannot continue if they are to survive the dreaded drop this season.

Blacktown Spartans are another team threatened by relegation but have more room to breathe on the Club Championship table than the Rams.

However the Spartans need to keep collecting points in the final 13 rounds if they are to keep their own head above water.

Look out for the battle between Mark Symington and Alex Boyadjian as the two sharp-shooters try to fire their team to victory on Saturday night.

 

Northern Tigers vs Mounties Wanderers – 7pm, Saturday 2nd June – North Turramurra Recreation Area

The Tigers might not recognise the Wanderers when they meet on Saturday night.

After one of the most transformative transfer windows in NPL 2 history, the Mounties Wanderers are ready for a full-fledged finals assault as Hassan Jalloh has now been added to that list!

But for all their attacking talent, the Wanderers need to address their problems at the other end of the table. Terry Palapanis’s side have conceded 34 goals, the second highest in the league – only beaten by bottom of the table Macarthur.

Will the new-look Wanderers be able to hit the ground running or will the Northern Tigers be able to collect an important three points to sneak their way into the top six?

 

Western Sydney Wanderers vs North Shore Mariners – 7pm, Saturday 2nd June – Sydney United Sports Centre

The Round 1 clash between these two was an absolute classic.

Leading 3-1 shortly after half-time, the Wanderers looked to be cruising towards a comfortable opening round victory.

But North Shore had other ideas as three late goals incredibly stole all three points for the Mariners.

That defeat rocked the Western Sydney side as they went on to lose their next two matches.

The Wanderers will be hoping for the opposite this time round as they hope to use the victory as a catalyst to rise further up the competition table.

 

Canterbury Bankstown vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers – 7pm, Saturday 2nd June – The Crest Athletic Centre

If there was a meme for the season of Canterbury Bankstown it would be, ‘you vs the guy she tells you not to worry about’.

After a shocking start to the season, including a Round 1 humiliation at the hands of Mt Druitt Rangers, the Berries brought in the experienced Branko Culina to turn their fortunes around.

In that time, home side have transformed from competition ‘easy-beats’ to a team that is undefeated in their last 5 games.

But there aren’t many tougher tests in this competition than Mt Druitt Rangers.

This match will serve as a great indication of how far the Culina’s men have come and if they manage to steal a point or three off the Rangers, we could have a new competition leader for the first time this season.

 

Central Coast Mariners vs Rydalmere Lions – 3pm, Sunday 3rd June – Pluim Park

A lion’s most dangerous when it’s backed into a corner.

And that’s exactly where Rydalmere find themselves after losing three of their best players in the recent transfer window and after two straight defeats in the league.

There’s a famous line in the old-school football film, ‘Green Street Hooligans’ that fits perfectly with the situation Rydalmere find themselves in: the three scariest words in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s this season, ‘Central Coast away’.

Pluim Park has been a fortress for the Mariners this season, and in recent weeks have scored 9 goals in just 2 games there as they maintain their unbeaten streak in 2018.

Can the Lions provide a shock, as they did in Round 1 this season, and derail the efforts of the Mariners to claim top spot in the competition standings? Or will the Mariners continue their recent goal-scoring dominance at home?

Source FNSW website -By Ryan Latty