Round 24 – National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s Review

It’s a slippery slope on the road to the finals. That’s what a few teams found out this past weekend.

Just when you think you have placed yourself on solid ground, those around you have other ideas.

The National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s provided yet another reason why all eyes should be watching, as the finals mix somehow managed to get even tighter heading into the last few rounds.

 

Match of the Round:

Parramatta, desperate to find a win and stay alive in the NPL 2 had a lot of work to do whilst Berries aimed to keep improving on recent performances.

Despite playing their 3rd game in 7 days, the Berries started the brighter side.

Within the first 10 minutes they had 2 fantastic chances to take the lead, with one shot being fired just wide and the other saved by keeper.

Once the initial flurry had subsided, Parramatta took control of the game. Effective passing play out from the back kept the ball in motion and the tired legs of the Berries were finding it difficult to keep up.

Just reaching the mid-point in the first half, the Eagles struck gold. Sticking to their guns with ball movement, they played the ball forward for a gut busting run from midfield, to then be cut back and tucked away, 1-0.

It was a moment of elation for the Eagles and a sigh of exhaustion from the Berries.

The chances kept coming at both ends of the park, neither side striking the ball with the direction required to trouble the keeper.

As half-time loomed, the Eagles grabbed a second and a deserved lead for their efforts. An incredible run down almost the entire right wing was cut back just before tipping out and tapped away into the back of the net.

When play resumed from the break, it was the Berries who came to life, with the breather looking to have rejuvenated their spirits.

With penetrating play down each wing, the crosses began to come in fast and dangerous, the home side looking the more threatening and out to get back into the game. Several times the ball was whipped in and with each more threatening than the last it was only a matter of time before a goal was scored.

And as football often goes, it did.

Reaching the mid-point in the second half Berries fired in yet another threatening cross, which was flicked on from the front post to the free man at the back, to tap it in. Game on with 20 to go.

The game now beginning to flow back and forth, end to end, each side again had their fair share of chances. Unfortunately, it was a case of not today, as each one just couldn’t be converted and the game would finally end 2-1 to the Eagles.

 

Match Stats:

Saturday 11th August, The Crest Athletic Centre

Canterbury Bankstown FC 1

Parramatta FC 2

Canterbury Bankstown FC: C. Andricopoulos, N. Andricopoulos, A. Becerra, C. Becerra, J. Bradshaw, A. D’Mello, R. Darko, G. Desouza, S. Drewery, C. Haddad, A. Hadjisocratous, D. Mcmurray, J. Nicolaou, G. Paradanta, C. Taylor

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

 

 

St George FC 2 vs. Northern Tigers FC 2

From the start, the match was played at a fast pace with each side willing to push players forward.

The Tigers were finding their rhythm early and creating a couple of opportunities to get themselves ahead but just missing out at the last.

As things go in football, it can all change in a matter of moments. The home side took the lead after Loe whipped in a cross to find the head of Romero who nodded home, just reaching 28 minutes.

The opening goal increased the flow of the game and the Tigers struck back soon after when Tayebi Derazkala was the fastest to react in the box from a dangerous corner, putting the ball in the back of the net to make it 1-1.

The momentum seemed to continue to favour the visitors however as half time was just around the corner Morabito fired a golden opportunity wide which would have handed the hosts the advantage heading into the sheds.

Returning to the field, the match continued in similar fashion, both sides building up well and the opportunities kept coming.

Passing two thirds into the match, the Tigers grabbed the lead. Dawson was on the end of a Hardwick cross, poking the ball inside the post and into the net.

Now in the ascendancy the Tigers began to take more control of the game however they just couldn’t convert their chances.

It would prove costly as the Saints dug deep and went in search of an equaliser. Morabito coming to the hosts rescue in the dying moments of the game, firing home in the 90th minute to end the match in stalemate 2-2.

 

 

Hills United 1 vs. Blacktown Spartans 0

Hills were out to dominate the game and keep in the mix for the finals, whilst the Spartans were searching for a way to piece everything together and get themselves off the bottom of the ladder.

The home side did dominate the match for long periods, however they couldn’t show for it on the scoreboard.

Spartans were proving resilient and they had their man between the posts to keep them in the game, denying the Hills frontline again and again.

With frustration beginning to take over, it could have proved costly as Hills gave away numerous free kicks within range of Spartans dead ball specialist Crevani. Testing the home side’s defence, chances on the night did not fare well enough for the visitors.

Finally the dead lock was broken with less than 20 minutes to play.

Welch was on hand to turn home a Fogarty cross and give Hills the lead. Welch should have had a second late in the game but his shot was desperately cleared off the line.

 

 

Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1 vs. GHFA Spirit FC 2

Having secured the Premiership in odd circumstances mid-week, it was a bit of a strange game for the hosts whereas Spirit were on the charge to move up the ladder.

The match was played on an arguably uneven conditioned pitch which caused the game to become a very tight affair and in layman’s terms a bit of a scrap.

Spirit came out firing and took early dominance on the game with Ireland going close whilst Carle had an opportunity to smash home from inside the box but just couldn’t connect well enough with the strike.

Mt Druitt began to overcome the mental hurdle and grew into the first half but weren’t able to take their chances, the teams leaving the pitch for half time in dead lock.

10 minutes into the second half Spirit won a corner and after recycling possession and attacking once again, Cornwell netted to give the visitors the lead.

As they so often have down throughout the year, Rangers fought back and mid-way through the second half it was game on. Some brilliant combination play down the right wing eventually led to a ball finding their man at the back post and firing home, 1-1.

Not happy with conceding their lead, Spirit went on the attach and found their winner 10 minutes from time. This time Rangers were unable to clear the ball from the box with Spirit firing a shot back in, taking a deflection and just out of reach of the keeper’s hands and into the net. Attributed as an own-goal, the visitors rejoiced in taking out the league leaders 2-1 and raced up to 5th on the ladder.

 

 

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 vs. Macarthur Rams 2

It was a case of tired legs for the Wanderers, playing their 3rd match in 7 days and as the game began, the Rams looked to take advantage and fired a shot off early, a warning sign for what lay ahead.

Despite this, the home-side shook out the cobwebs and began to find their feet in the game, lining up a few chances which eventually led to them taking the lead.

Kumsuz was looking threatening and after a few impressive attacking runs, he weaved his way through the defence and tucked a shot away.

Not wanting to be left behind to battle for the wooden spoon, the Rams struck back in the optimal moment. Just before heading into the sheds, Awono scored and levelled up the match.

The first half was an even contest, but the visitors poked their noses in front shortly after resuming play, this time Sheerin was on hand to grab the goal.

Still the Wanderers were in the mix and Silvera looked to be the spark to swing the game into balance again with his flair and creativity.

Unfortunately for the home-side they were reduced to 10 men with almost 20 minutes to go and fight they would, any chance they could muster was repelled by the Rams, who grabbed the win and jumped further away from the wooden spoon.

 

Rydalmere Lions FC 3 vs. Mounties Wanderers FC 4

The Lions and Wanderers battled out a classic mid-table fight to the finals, the game giving both coaches a heart attack as the result was decided in the dying moments of the game.

Back at home the Lions got on top early within the first 15 minutes, pinching the ball in the middle of the park and releasing a clinical counter attack, Anyimba was on the end of it to cap off the move.

For the remainder of the first half it was an even affair, neither side doing much to create any real chances and it was the hosts still in the lead as the players marched into the sheds.

Whatever coach Palapanis said in the Mounties locker room worked, as his men came out firing, banging in 3 goals within 20 minutes and changing the complexion of the game completely.

Smith was the first in the mix of the goals for the visitors, just reaching 10 minutes into the second half, he lobbed the keeper after being found in space behind the Lions defence.

The Mounties kept on storming the Lions’ den.

After just missing out on going ahead from some dangerous corners, Smith was on the end of a great cross to nod the visitors into the lead 6 minutes after grabbing his first.

Then 4 minutes after the second goal Smith turned provider for Chianese, tapping in after a great pass.

Despite the game seeming to be all over, the excitement would not relent.

Mounties gave the Lions a sniff to get back into the game when they coughed up possession when their man was sent off after taking down the Lions attacker as last defender with 25 minutes to go.

The extra man advantage paid dividends just minutes later for Rydalmere who hit back through Stewart. And just like that, 2 minutes later the game was all even at 3-3 as Fofanah netted. The Lions fired up and kept pressing with the man advantage but couldn’t take their chances.

Mounties held off the Lion’s attacks well and young debutant Jeffrey almost made himself the hero of the night, going achingly close to giving the visitors the lead.

Football being a funny game, Lions had a chance with a 91st minute penalty to snatch the win, but the shot was fired well over the bar.

Finally the winner was found deep into injury time when Pivato turned brilliantly inside the Lions box and fired his shot into the back of the net ending the madness 4-3 to Mounties.

 

North Shore Mariners 4 vs. Central Coast Mariners 2

Finally the weekend’s fixtures were capped off with little brother taking out big brother on Sunday afternoon.

North Shore took the lead after 6 minutes when Central Coast turned the ball over which proved costly as the hosts raced to the by-line cutting back for Smith who tapped in.

The early goal woke up the visitors and William evened up the match just 10 minutes later. Great build up play lead to William firing a great shot from outside the box and into the net.

A moment of madness struck when Central Coast again gave up possession cheaply and North Shore raced in and fired home restoring their lead.

Again the players made the man on the scoreboard work when William stepped up to bang home a penalty after 33 minutes, the score now reading 2-2.

Arguably the biggest moment of the game came just on the stroke of half-time. Central Coast were awarded another penalty, this time the nerves got the best and the shot was put over the bar.

The goals kept being fired in and 7 minutes after the restart, North Shore had taken the lead once again. Losing possession deep in their own half proved costly for Central Coast and they found themselves now chasing down the game.

With the lead North Shore kept Central Coast at bay as the game drew farther out of reach for the visitors. With less than 10 minutes to go they had scored their 4th and claimed bragging rights on the day.

 

Round 25 Review:

Western Sydney Wanderers 0 vs. 2 Canterbury Bankstown FC

It was a mid-week fixture that came at a tough time of the year with both teams depleted with injuries and suspensions and of course the mid-week peak hour traffic.

Wanderers began the game in the ascendancy with some solid possession but the abundance of flair in their ranks were just not breaking through.

After the game began to settle, Berries capitalised and took the lead midway through the first half, Haddad giving the visitors a lead with a tidy finish.

The advantage eased the tension for the Berries and instead of allowing Wanderers back into the game they kept composure and pressed on.

After fine tuning their set-pieces from the previous matchup, Berries put practice into action and Haddad was on the end of it yet again and gave the visitors a comfortable advantage with 10 minutes until the second half.

Opportunities were fewer once the players returned and the fatigue of having played only 3 days prior was beginning to get the best of both sides.

With the result all wrapped up, Berries secured a well earnt win, maintaining their spot in the NPL 2 for another season whilst Wanderers will be a bit disappointed they couldn’t build from their win just 3 days prior.

 

Source FNSW Website - By Marcus Flottman

Round 24 – National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Preview


The race for the glory of the Club Championship has got a whole lot hotter.

Whilst beneath, spots on the ladder are as thin as ice, one wrong step can cause things to come crushing down.

How will your team fare when the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s returns this weekend?

 

Match of the Round: Canterbury Bankstown FC vs. Parramatta FC – 7pm Saturday 11th August, The Crest Athletic Centre

The Berries have a tough run of fixtures this week. They kick off with a mid-week game against Western Sydney Wanderers (see preview below) and then back up again at home against Parramatta on Saturday.

Add to the mix suspensions and injuries, the ambitious Berries may be spread too thin to chase down a spot in the finals. The lads will still be up for the fight, putting misery on Parramatta will be a great way to cap off their run of fixtures this week.

The result against Western Sydney Wanderers this past weekend, shot another arrow through the wings of the Eagles.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Now may be the best time to throw all caution to the wind and go down fighting.

Will we see the Eagles soar one last time?

 

St George FC vs. Northern Tigers FC – 7pm Saturday 11th August, Ilinden Sports Centre

Based on recent form, St George are arguably the current team to beat in the league.

The Saints have found a great balance in each of their last games, combining patience with precision, striking at the optimal moment whilst the iron is hot.

Onward they march to the finals, will they strike again?

Tigers have been wounded somewhat through the past few fixtures but are still lurking. They still pose a threat and will be unwilling to relinquish their spot on the ladder.

Converting their chances will be critical in this fixture.

The mission is simple, take out number 2 on the ladder and maintain in a place for the finals.

 

Hills United vs. Blacktown Spartans – 7pm Saturday 11th August, Lily Homes Stadium

Hills must have felt they stepped on a black cat this past week after twice giving up the lead in the draw to Mounties plus losing players to injuries and suspension.

Football.

They return to home this week with a chance to leapfrog into a finals spot. It’s a positive outlook that may give them the edge in this one.

Can they muster enough and inflict some pain on lowly Spartans?

Spartans fought valiantly against St George but on the night just couldn’t convert their opportunities.

5 teams are still battling to avoid the wooden spoon and Spartans are currently candidate number one.

Building on their performance from last week, will the threat of the spoon whip them into gear?

 

Mt Druitt Town Rangers vs. GHFA Spirit FC – 7pm Saturday 11th August, Popondetta Park

The Rangers defeating Central Coast this past weekend has put them in prime contention to grab the Premiership and Club Championship double. With a singular point this weekend, the yellow and green of Mt Druitt can be flown proudly off the prized Premiership.

Expect more no-nonsense football from Rangers in this one. Sticking to the game plan and playing effective football has seen them come this far and it is not about to stop now.

Spirit grabbed a winner deep into a hard-fought game against Berries which takes them within a point of the last finals place. This weekend they can spoil the league leaders party and squeeze into the top 6.

They will be fuelled by their recent winning form and now is the perfect time to claim they belong in the mix for the big dance.

 

Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Macarthur Rams – 7pm Saturday 11th August, Sydney United Sports Centre

At last the Wanderers connected all the dots in their performance and got a well-deserved win. It had been coming for some time and the young lads in red and black must feel a huge sigh of relief.

With the double fixture this week, it will be a challenge this late in the season, but a chance to knock back the Rams into bottom spot will certainly be a boost to keep the spirits lifted.

Macarthur refuse to be crowned with the wooden spoon. They formed up stopping the Lions, and with their singular point they managed to climb off the bottom of the ladder.

It will be a feeling of liberation for the Rams and now they will only be looking onwards and upwards.

Can they take advantage of the Wanderers playing the additional mid-week game and find themselves even further up the table?

 

Rydalmere Lions FC vs. Mounties Wanderers FC – 7pm Saturday 11th August, Valentine Sports Park

After being unable to snatch a win against the Rams, the Lions return to their den and will be on high alert to ward off any incoming threat.

That threat is coming from every angle.

One word of advice, don’t back a Lion into the corner.

Mounties have been looking promising and after finding their shooting boots this past week they will be full of confidence.

A final few tweaks could see them hunt down the hunter and really spice things up in the finals mix.

Will the roar of the Lions fend off Mounties, or can the visitors make a raid and push for top 6?

 

North Shore Mariners vs. Central Coast Mariners – 4pm Sunday 12th August, Northbridge Oval

Little brother versus big brother.

North Shore take on counter parts Central Coast this weekend.

After grinding out to a draw in the derby against Tigers last weekend, it did little to liven the spirits heading into the last 3 rounds. Now, North Shore will be focused and itching to get some revenge for the heavy defeat they suffered earlier in the year at the hands of big brother.

They could inflict some serious damage in this fixture, expect some heavy blows to be thrown.

Central Coast hold on to the Club Championship by the finest of margins and there is no way they will give little brother a chance to let that slip.

A trip away from home might be just what the yellow and navy need to find the winning formula.

Expect this one to be like the old rough and tumble in the backyard.

 

Round 25 Preview: Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Canterbury Bankstown FC – 7:30pm Wednesday 8th August, Valentine Sports Park

Mid-week fixtures are amongst the toughest a competition such as the NPL 2 has on offer.

When squads are now on the verge of looking like skeletons, it’s a tough ask for any team who have the ambition of chasing down a spot for the finals.

If last week’s results weren’t a tell-tale sign, a mid-week fixture this late in the season will be.

One goal is all it takes.

With both sides wanting to conserve as much energy as possible, it could be an early goal that seals the deal in this one.

 

Source FNSW website - By Marcus Flottmann

Round 23 – National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s Review

Mt Druitt has coms within a whisker of securing the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s 2018 Premiership.

Further down the table, tragedy would strike.

Plus the race for the finals has now become as congested as peak hour traffic.

All in a weekend’s work for the game of football.

 

Match of the Round:

Who would have seen this result coming?

Especially after how the game started, the final result tells a very different tale.

It was an atmosphere that screamed excitement as Pluim Park was a packed house on Saturday afternoon. The locals skipped on down, getting away from afternoon chores to spur on the young lads and there was a wave of yellow and green everywhere you looked from the travelling fans from Mt Druitt.

The result was perhaps foretold as smoke still lingered in the air from local burn-offs.

A bright start from the home side saw them take an early lead within 15 minutes much to the delight of the home supporters.

Displaying the power of youth, Kekeris was released down the left wing, beating his man for pace he drove hard into the box, cutting inside his defender then rifled his shot into the bottom left corner.

It seemed to be an ominous sign for the visitors as they coughed up possession immediately from the kick off and looked to be in trouble as the Marines played in William, who got inside the box and fired a low shot. Reacting fast to keep the game alive, Saliadarre got down well and made a great save.

The momentum continued in the home-sides favour making several chances however they couldn’t capitalise on some great build up play.

It seemed to come almost out of nowhere but the balance of power would shift to favour the Rangers.

Up top Gonzalez’s presence and threat on goal grew throughout the first half, having several shots on goal saved and firing a wicked volley only just wide into the side netting.

Back and forth the game would roll until the visitors began to trouble the Mariners with some direct play. Pressing the home side deep into their territory, consecutive crosses were fired in, with the last looked to have been headed clear.

Controversy would strike.

Despite a call of play on, the linesman flagged for an infringement. The play was stopped and on referral the referee awarded a penalty for handball.

With his eyes firmly set on goal, Gonzalez stepped up and neatly tucked away the spot kick levelling up the tie.

5 minutes later it was a case of double trouble for the Mariners.

After the home side clear the ball short, Rangers launched an immediate counter catching them off guard. Vlismas battled his way past his defender and was pulled down.

Penalty!

Worse for the Mariners, captain Glassock was shown a red card and sent for an early shower.

With mind games at play, Gonzalez converted again sending the keeper the wrong way and giving Rangers the advantage as half-time beckoned.

Then a saying you often hear as a football fan became reality.

Football is a funny game.

You wouldn’t believe it, but as the first half injury time looked to be up, another penalty, contentious yet again, was awarded to Rangers completing the hattrick.

Up stepped the now giant shadow of Gonzalez. He showed nerves of steel and pulled off the cheekiest of finishes, firing a Panenka into the net and sent the travelling fans absolutely wild.

It would now be a mountain to climb for the Mariners to get back into the game and within 10 minutes of returning to the field, they found themselves only tumbling further and further down.

After a collision with his defender and a referral from the linesman, Peters was given his marching orders, shown a red card for endangering the opposition player.

9 men. It seemed game was done.

It almost was when Gonzalez, having a match and a season to remember, was wheeling away celebrating number 4 for the day when he curled a free kick into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

The cheers were cut short as the referee called the play back and ordered a re-take.

Pearce would not be beaten this time, he parried the second attempt and the follow up shot to ensure some sliver of hope for the yellow and navy.

Now a numbers game, the Mariners couldn’t maintain their usual periods of possession and looked to get back in the game on the counter.

The never give up attitude instilled in the history of the club shone through in the young side, as they pressed on never giving up the fight. Close they would come, however covering the extra space, tired legs began to take a-hold and the Rangers stood firm.

In cruise control the league leaders found acres of space and kept up the threat on goal dominating the remainder of the match.

With less than 10 to go, the deal was well and truly sealed. Vlismas latched onto a parried shot and tapped in number 4 for Rangers, completing the demolition job.

Match Stats:

Saturday 4th August, Pluim Park

Central Coast Mariners 1 (P. Kekeris)

Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC 4 (E. Gonzalez 3, A. Vlismas)

Central Coast Mariners: Q. Cheng, M. Glassock, M. Hatch, K. Johnson, P. Kekeris, J. Kuipers, L. Miller, J. Nisbet, A. Pearce, E. Peters, J. Smylie, A. Vinci, C. William, A. Munford

Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC: M. Clowes, C. Coskerie, O. Edosomwan, J. Gomez, E. Gonzalez, B. Griffin-Colls, L. Grima, D. Gullo, D. O’Leary, L. Roberts, H. Satoh, N. Trimble, J. Veljovic, A. Vlismas, K. Vlismas, C. Saliadarre

 

 

Blacktown Spartans 0 vs. St George FC 2

Blacktown Spartans came into the game just a singular point above last place and needed to find a win to give them some breathing room whilst the Saints have been in sublime form and keep marching towards the finals.

The home side however found themselves behind early as the Saints netted after just 2 minutes. Romero fired a ball over the top catching Spartans sleeping, Lekoski always a threat on goal, got in behind and made no mistake slipping the ball past the keeper and into the back of the net.

A team struggling to pull all the pieces together and with injuries taking hold, Spartans regrouped and fought their way into the contest.

On a day where things just didn’t seem to fall into place, Spartans could have been back in the contest as chances from Donatiello and Boyadjian missed the mark.

St George were looking the more composed side and kept any threats at goal to a minimum as they headed into the sheds for half time.

The second half seemed to turn in favour of the Saints who began to win the little battles over the pitch and the match itself. Spartans keeper Brown making his debut made some fine saves to deny Romero and Lekosi as the pressure began to build on the hosts.

Finally with 10 minutes to go St George doubled their lead and effectively ended the contest. Good build up play from Paras and Da Silva lead to a neat finish from Akil.

 

GHFA Spirit FC 1 vs. Canterbury Bankstown FC 0

It was a tight contest with both sides in the mix, and yet another case of one goal proving the difference.

With each side working hard and creating opportunities in both halves of the game, they just lacked the last touch to convert, thus the scoresheet could have read different.

Spirit had the presence of West up top and were finding some success with direct play to him causing concern for the Berries defence.

Berries were unlucky and reduced to thin pickings as their captain came off after 20 minutes into the game only making the visitors work harder.

The home side had a great chance to go up after the restart when Bozanic peeled off to the back post from a cross but fired over the bar.

Deep into the second half, the only goal of the game came from a case of the strangeness of football.

Berries thought they had taken the lead when a shot on goal from Bradshaw was heading in but slammed into the inside of the post, it fell to the Spirit defender who launched an immediate counter attack with a direct ball finding West in space then played to Carle who no mistake and fired home putting Spirit in the lead.

The hosts held on to the slim advantage and took the spoils on the day.

 

Macarthur Rams 0 vs. Rydalmere Lions 0

Sitting at the bottom of the table, the Rams back at home planned out how to prevent the Lions from raiding the herd.

Seal everything up and make it as difficult as possible for the Lions to make their presence known.

Early in the game it was proving to be quite promising for the home side as Symington snatched the ball off his defender and was in one on one. Rydalmere shot-stopper Sinpraseuth was aware and made a nice save to deny the hosts a lead.

It seemed to be one of the few chances that the Rams would have in the match as the Lions outfit found their feet and began to launch attacks forward.

Al-Taay was a menace for the Lions, racing up and down the right wing creating havoc throughout the match. The visitors were fuelled by his energy and fired off numerous shots at goal, it seemed it would only be a matter of time before they would break through.

Yet the Rams stood strong, with Fernandez in goal, he made sure his side kept a clean sheet, marking his territory and making save after save.

The game took an unexpected turn with just over 20 minutes left when the Rams were reduced to 10 men. It seemed they would be in dire straits leaving space all over the park for the Lions to press forward.

Smelling blood, Tony Basha’s young pride surged in for the kill.

This time, though, there would be no glory for either side. Holding out for the remainder of the match, the hosts held off the visitors and each side left with zero next to their name and a single point shared.

 

Northern Tigers 0 vs. North Shore Mariners 0

The North Shore derby may not have delivered on the scoresheet this time around, but it did cause some troubles on the ladder.

It was a game of few chances and on the day neither side could make good once the rare occasion popped up.

Tigers had arguably the best of the opportunities, twice from a corner they thought to have struck gold. However, North Shore kept their nerves clearing one of the line and another saved by the keeper.

Back to the drawing board for both these teams as the result only puts more pressure on themselves in the race to the finish.

 

Parramatta FC 0 vs. Western Sydney Wanderers 3

It looks like the inevitable is beginning to creep over Melita Stadium. Relegation.

The game started with both sides well in the contest, each side making some threatening chances through great wing play. The defence at either end of the park stood firm and kept to their duties keeping the score sheet empty.

Wanderers found the spark they desperately needed in the shape of Aquilina who was making his presence known all over the park. He caused havoc in attack and if not for a deflected shot or the keeper making a great save, he would have been wheeling away in celebration.

Just 5 minutes into the second half, the knock of relegation beckoned at Parramatta’s door. From a dangerous corner Peterson flicked his shot past the keeper and into the net.

Before you could get settled again, Silvera displaying his trademark flair, beat his defenders to float in a cross to Majok who smashed home.

Though they now found themselves behind by two goals, Parramatta almost got back into the game. A well struck free kick looked to be destined for the net and getting the hosts the boost to chase down the game. Wanderers keeper Axford had other ideas and dived full length to parry away the shot.

All in the space of less than 10 minutes the boys in red and black had a third goal and the win in the bag. Majok turned provider, firing a cross in for Peterson who connected well on the volley and netted his second for the match.

Silvera not wanting to be outdone by his teammates went on the attack and only just missed the mark on several occasions.

Finally, as if the match hadn’t rubbed enough salt into the wounds, Parramatta were reduced to 10 men with 10 minutes to play.

 

Mounties Wanderers 3 vs. Hills United 3

Mounties started the game strong and maintained the possession, finding their feet early they were able to conjure up some good chances. They were penetrating well down the left flank with Heras Romero looking sharp and it was from his boot that led to the opening goal.

Edging toward a quarter of the way through, he fired in a free kick that was headed in from Smith.

After the goal Hills began to take control of the ball and the match. Finding space in behind the Mounties defence, they launched their attack.

After releasing a ball down the left wing, it was cut back to Welch who struck it well to even up the score for the visitors.

The score wouldn’t change again heading into the sheds and with a point separating the sides on the ladder, each team wanted to get the result.

As play returned for the second half, it was more of Hills dominating the ball. 15 minutes after the restart they were in the lead. After a brilliant passing sequence, Kelshaw was on the end of the move to strike his shot into the back of the net.

Mounties didn’t wait long to respond. The visitors jubilation of just taking the lead was cut short just 2 minutes later. The Mounties set piece routines were proving deadly as another free kick fired in led to another goal, the scoreboard now reading 2-2.

The game was now wide open and all to play for.

Just 7 minutes later, Kelshaw was the man again, putting Hills in the lead. Another passing move found him one on one with the keeper, he kept his composure and bagged his second on the night.

The home side would not relent, making some changes they went after the game. Showing character and determination they scored as the game headed towards injury time. Chianese laid off the ball beautifully for Smith who made no mistake in hitting the net, levelling the score at 3-3 and making the race to the finals interesting for both sides.

Source FNSW website

Round 22 – National Premier Leagues 2 Womens Preview

We’ve reached the fork in the road for National Premier Leagues 2 Womens. From here, five teams will continue on into the finals series whilst the other seven end their season, possibly on a high note in our last regular season round of exciting action.

 

Gladesville Ravens vs Central Coast Mariners, Sunday 5 August, 3pm, Christie Park

Sitting in the catbird seat, Gladesville Ravens welcome Central Coast Mariners knowing their finals fate rests in their own hands this weekend at Christie Park.

The Ravens sit fifth as we soar into the final round courtesy of a hard fought 1-1 draw against APIA Leichhardt Tigers whilst Central Coast flexed their premiership muscles in a 7-2 demolition of UNSW FC at home.

2018 has been a banner year for Gladesville. After their dismal showing in their first season, the Ravens have soared at points this season, with the lethal Emily Diaz up front with the talented Isabella Breukelaar and Carlie Ikonomou behind make them a tough prospect. Also, only a win would guarantee their position.

For the Mariners – they have been a model of consistency through the season, and we’ve almost run out of superlatives for the young squad. Candice Phelan looks set to nab the golden boot but her side will want another complete performance to take into the finals against a tough Ravens side.

Inter Lions SC vs Sydney Olympic FC, Sunday 5 August, 3pm, Concord Oval

Fresh from their first loss of the season, Sydney Olympic FC want to finish their regular season in style as they travel to Concord Oval, to face a slick Inter Lions side on Sunday afternoon.

These two sides head into the weekend in contrasting emotions. Sydney Olympic stung by losing their undefeated streak against the Mariners, scraped past Nepean FC whilst Inter Lions bustled their way past the Western NSW side, 3-nil.

Sydney Olympic FC haven’t been at their fluid best in recent weeks, but bar their loss to Central Coast, they still have been piling in some goals. Lieke De Bever and Danielle Calvi will make it a busy afternoon for Inter keeper Natasha Pentecost as the league’s best attack look to pass the 100-goal mark.

The home side won’t be a pushover though, Inter has rediscovered their mid-season form that had them challenging for the top five. Kirilee Cook has been their talisman with 10 goals and if she fires again, Inter could finish their season with a final scalp in an intriguing match-up.

Western NSW Mariners vs Marconi Stallions, Sunday 5 August, 3pm, Glen Willow Stadium

Two sides that won’t feature in the finals but have plenty of pride as Marconi Stallions make the trip out to Mudgee to face Western NSW Mariners in their final bow of the NPL2 womens season.

Following losses from both sides last weekend – Marconi found themselves on the wrong side of a 5-2 score line against SD Raiders whilst Western NSW Mariners second-last home game ended in a 3-nil loss to Inter Lions, the two sides aim to finish on a high.

Marconi Stallions had a rollercoaster 2018. They had patches of good form which saw them briefly sit in the top five, although lately, their three straight losses saw them concede 12 goals. On their day, the Stallions can be a potent attacking force as shown in the five-goal thriller this two played last time out.

Much like the visitors, Western NSW Mariners have had their own bright spots this season, with wins over SD Raiders and Gladesville Ravens, both finals contenders, so the Mariners want to add another victim possibly with a famous name like Marconi headed west.

Southern Branch FC vs Nepean FC, Sunday 5 August, 3pm, South Nowra Football Complex

Nepean FC head down the coast knowing a successful road trip against Southern Branch FC in their final game at South Nowra Football Complex this season might mean finals football.

The ladies from the foot of the mountain are on the outside looking in after their close loss to Premiers Sydney Olympic FC at home whilst Southern Branch FC banked another point in their eventful 2-2 draw against St George FC.

A series of unfortunate efforts cruelled Nepean FC last weekend, and their season has been inconsistent but they’ll need to pull the right rein on Sunday to add another finals appearance. Tasses will be looking to the experience of Stefanie Trovato, Annie Halls and Desiree Vassallo to put them in the right spot regardless of results elsewhere.

St George FC vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Sunday 5 August, 3pm, St George Stadium

The Saints look to finish their season on a high, as they host APIA Leichhardt aiming to move themselves into third on an exciting afternoon at St George Stadium.

Both sides come into the contest off draws, APIA Leichhardt were pegged back late by Gladesville Ravens as St George FC showed their character in a pulsating 2-2 result against fellow strugglers Southern Branch FC.

St George has shown some spirit in the second half of the season, picking up some handy results, and boast some talented attackers. Those include Amy Bennett, who netted a double and goal machine Lara Nicholls that could pose some issues for the visiting Tigers.

Regarding the visitors, Matteo Maiorana will want another performance like the second half last week. APIA returned to their slick style, and their barometer of form usually comes through captain Lucy Gilfedder, and she is ticking over, the Tigers can move back into third position.

UNSW FC vs SD Raiders, Sunday 5 August, 3pm, Valentine Sports Park #3

SD Raiders head to Valentine Sports Park aim to consolidate third position as they take on UNSW FC on Sunday afternoon

Much like Sydney buses, SD Raiders goals all came at once, in a 5-2 thrashing of Marconi Stallions that propelled them into third position while UNSW FC wretched run resumed in their 7-2 loss against Central Coast.

Their coach Matt Constantini will look for a similar performance against a students side that has leaked goals like a sieve in the last few weeks. Knowing a big performance will see them face a Mariners side they have beaten twice already this season, will be motivation for the Raiders, a team that thrives on the finals atmosphere.

This weekend is a farewell for UNSW FC’s coach Renato Jelen, who is taking over the head coach role at Fraser Park. Can UNSW FC muster up one big final performance to send off Jelen in style and finish what has been a disappointing season on a high note.

Source FNSW website - By Justin Davies

ROUND 23 – NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES 2 NSW MEN’S PREVIEW

It’s not over just yet, the midtable madness has only just begun.

The National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s is back again, and the action will be non-stop from kick-off ‘til full-time.

It’s like a game of snakes and ladders, will your team get lucky when it’s time to roll the dice?

 

Match of the Round: Central Coast Mariners vs. Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC – 4pm Saturday 4thAugust, Pluim Park

As the season heads toward the penultimate round, we are gifted the top of the table clash that we have been waiting for.

The Premiership now looks to be tinged in yellow this season, but whether it’s with a shade of green or navy, this game will surely decide.

But more than the Premiership is at stake in this one.

The glory of the Club Championship is still glimmering within reach for both clubs.

Form would suggest the league leaders are the slight favourites in this one, however, the Mariners with returning players and back at home will be out to prove the old adage “form is temporary, class is permanent”.

 

Blacktown Spartans vs. St George FC – 7pm Saturday 4th August, Blacktown Football Park

Spartans may well have thought they were on the path to stun the North Shore Mariners last week after levelling up the match with a man down. At the end of the day it was a case of you win some, you lose some.

If anything, the result will give them the kick to jump away from last place and taking down 3rd place will be all that sweeter once the final whistle sounds.

Since being stunned by the Rams in Round 19, it has been one-way traffic for the Saints with a run of 3 consecutive wins. When they come marching in to meet the Spartans, the league’s most prolific team will look to exploit the league’s leakiest defence.

Their form has seen them race up to 3rd on the ladder and with a win they have the chance to climb even further up to 2nd this week.

 

GHFA Spirit FC vs. Canterbury Bankstown FC – 7pm Saturday 4th August, Christie Park

Both sides grabbed much needed wins in their late push to make the finals last week and another win for either team would keep the pressure on the heels of those above.

Spirit have been firing on all cylinders in front of goal the last two rounds, netting seven in the process. With Berries tugging on their shirt in the finals race, a return home could give them the edge.

Expect to see a constant presence in the final third from Spirit, lining up to fire dead on target.

Berries put in a hard slog against the Mariners and were well rewarded for their efforts.

With four rounds left some would call it now and cruise towards the end of the season.

Not the Berries.

Ambition is the driving force that has kept them alive and the confidence from a big win last week will have the lads rallied and ready to rumble.

 

 

Macarthur Rams vs. Rydalmere Lions – 7pm Saturday 4th August, Lynwood Park

Talk about dramatic!

The Rams left it to the eleventh hour to save their skins in last week’s episode of the NPL 2 Men’s wooden spoon and relegation battle.

Grabbing a point with a last-minute equaliser, kept them within a whisker of jumping off the bottom of the ladder. If they can take down the ambitious Lions this week, we may finally see another team occupy last place.

In last week’s round, the young Lions displayed an impressive performance well beyond their years of experience. On the road again will be tough this late in the competition when there are battles all over the ladder. Can they build upon an already fantastic season, and make a claim the finals is their destiny?

 

Northern Tigers vs. North Shore Mariners – 7pm Saturday 4th August, North Turramurra Recreation Area

It’s a battle for supremacy on the North Shore when the Tigers take on North Shore Mariners this weekend.

After displaying some great form in the past few matches, the Tigers took a blow on the ladder and in the dressing room in their loss last week. Will losing 2 players to injury in the game against Rangers prove costly or can coach Jason Eagar rally the lads and spur them to victory?

The North Shore Mariners returned to winning ways in impressive fashion netting six goals to cement their spot in 4th on the ladder.

Knowing there is breathing room beneath them, plus their strike force dialled in on goal, they will look to knock off the Tigers and return to 3rd on the ladder.

Be warned though, a wounded Tiger is a dangerous beast.

 

Parramatta FC vs. Western Sydney Wanderers – 3pm Sunday 5th August, Melita Stadium

Who says games at the lower end of the table don’t matter?

Four games left and there is everything to play for, mainly survival!

Parramatta looked to have grabbed a win against the Rams which would have done wonders for them in climbing out of relegation. It was not to be and now they look to take advantage of a Wanderers side that has slipped down the ladder and into the fray of the wooden spoon.

The boys in Red and Black need to get back to winning ways and fast.

Having been well in the contest over the last few matches, they need to convert solid periods of possession play into goals and start taking it to the opposition.

It will require some discipline from the young side to get over the line in this one, but with pressure mounting on Parramatta, they will look to take advantage and spoil the survival hopes of the home side.

 

 

Mounties Wanderers vs. Hills United – 3pm Sunday 5th August, Sydney United Sports Centre

1 point separates the sides as we head into the last 4 matches.

You get the feeling this will be an old arm wrestle.

It will be a hard, fast and physical encounter with neither side willing to give up their chances of grabbing number 6 on the ladder.

Mounties were impressive all over the park in last week’s loss and the key for them in this match will be making sure their shooting boots are laced up. If they continue their great interplay in the final third they will surely be rewarded.

Hills currently occupy the spot above Mounties and could make a return to the top six with a win this weekend.

They may be made to work and a little short-handed with a couple of injuries, however, that won’t stop them from saddling up and looking to trample over their hosts on their way towards the finals.

 

Source FNSW website - BY Marcus Flottman

ROUND 21 – NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES 2 WOMENS REVIEW

Another week of furious action in the National Premier Leagues 2 Womens competition, as the top three continue to find themselves in the winner’s circle whilst results for those around the middle of the table mean we are set up for a huge final weekend of football. Let’s get into the review.

 

Match of the Round: APIA Leichhardt Tigers 1 drew with Gladesville Ravens 1

A late bomb has given the Gladesville Ravens a vital point in their 1-1 draw with a disjointed APIA Leichhardt Tigers on a still night at Lambert Park.

It wasn’t the most fluid of games and it took well past the hour mark to find our first goal. APIA Leichhardt Tigers substitute Dione King with a delightful chip that looked to have delivered them another three points but they have shunted down to fourth following other results.

Alas the late late show Gladesville Ravens reared their head again. Another substitute made their mark as Eliana Balicki smashed in a long-range bomb that gave the Ravens a lifeline, as they maintain fifth for another week.

After the euphoria of the APIA Leichhardt Tigers men’s emphatic victory, the women’s side looked to match their effort in front of a healthy crowd at Lambert Park on a calm Sunday evening. The first half was more a midfield battle as the two sides tried to find rhythm.

Gladesville had the best of the chances that were carved out. Liana Baker found space before she flayed an effort wide then quickly followed by Annabelle Kinchington thrashed wide from a corner as APIA inhaled deeply.

Eliana Vatcky is a spark plug for the APIA Leichhardt attack. She had their two best chances of the half – firstly a dipping shot that was denied superbly from Ravens keeper Eri Arikawa then a rare incisive move in the first 45 Vatcky smashed the post as the groan rippled across Lambert Park.

The Ravens continue to probe in the first half. In the same movement Hannah Gestier went near post with a fierce effort that APIA stopper Courtney Halpin had to save then the resulted corner was nodded over as the half ended deadlocked.

Following some slight remodeling in the APIA locker room, the Tigers came out roaring in the second half. Karen Saavedra nodded a header over as the home side looked much more comfortable on the ball against a desperate Ravens side.

There was still chances for the visitors though. Carlie Ikonomou stretched forward to fire an effort right at Halpin that the APIA keeper dived down to tip the ball past the post.

The majority of the chances came for the home side. Christina Ferreyra strode forward from a perfect slide rule pass but couldn’t put her effort past Arikawa then a corner routine fell to Lucy Gilfedder and Ferreyra who couldn’t profit.

Matteo Maiorana rang the changes, and they took immediate effect. Substitute Dione King brought the house down with the opening goal. The ball pinged across the area before the striker chipped an effort over Arikawa making it 1-nil.

Next it was Gladesville’s turn to turn on the pressure. They swarmed forward in search of an equaliser to keep their season alive. As the clocked ticked it seemed like it wasn’t coming but salvation came in the 89th minute.

From a failed clearance from Halpin, the ball fell to Eliana Balicki, the substitute had threatened a few times from long range which were collected. This time, the direction, pace and power was perfect as it crashed into the net, making it 1-1 and sending the Ravens bench into huge celebrations.

Afterwards Ravens boss Albert Disciacio was proud of his side’s effort and knows they need to repeat that dose next weekend to confirm their finals place.

“It was a big game for both teams, fighting for finals positions. It was all out there for both teams, it was going to come down to who could score,”

“Things don’t always go your way but this result is a positive for us. We’re onto the Mariners and whatever result comes then, we can be proud of how the club has done this season.” Finished the boss.

Frustration. That was the word that underlined Matteo Maiorana’s comments post-match as the Tigers were below their usual best tonight, but he remained hopeful that it was a once off.

“First half the players were doing things that we’re unaccustomed to then it resulted in us being dominated in the first half. The table and bin in the changing room bore the brunt of frustration at half-time which seemed to wake our team up,”

“We dominated them in large parts of the second half, and I think a draw is a fair result from tonight. The frustrating thing when you find the goal is the lack of game management then we copped a goal. Overall though, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and we will hopefully learn from this headed forward.” Finished Maiorana.

MATCH STATS

Sunday 29 July 2018

Lambert Park, Marion

Referee: Laureano Villarroel

Assistant Referee: Amber Morris

APIA Leichhardt Tigers 1 (King ’72)

Gladesville Ravens 1 (Balicki ’89)

APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1. HALPIN Courtney, 5. CICCO Olivia (32. KING ’58), 6. GILFEDDER Lucy, 7. VATCKY Eliana, 9. FERREYRA Christina, 12. LATHAM Madeline, 15. MANIAS Kylie (2. GLANVILLE-FYFE ’84), 16. BENNETT Jennifer, 17. URQUHART Sarah, 19. SAAVEDRA Karen, 24. MACRI Hannah (21. CARMICHAEL ’58)

Subs not used: 25. COZENS Kim 43. STOJCEVSKI Alina

Yellow cards: Gilfedder

Red cards: nil

Gladesville Ravens: 4. KINCHINGTON Annabelle (4. SEETO ’92), 5. LIDBETTER Eleanor, 17. ARIKAWA Eri, 18. BEATTIE Alex (117. Balicki ’58), 19. GESTIER Hannah, 20. SMITH Ashleigh, 33. IKONOMOU Carlie, 37. DIAZ Emily, 39. SCHIRALDI Annalise, 41. BAKER Liana (29. DONALDSON ’81), 44. BREUKELAAR Isabella

Subs not used: 6. BAKER Katie 24. HOPKINS Isabella

Yellow cards: nil

Red cards: nil

 

Nepean FC 0 defeated by Sydney Olympic FC 1

Nepean FC’s finals hopes hang by a thread as they battled hard, but fell to a single Sydney Olympic FC goal, on a blustery afternoon at Cook Park (St Marys).

Fresh from having their undefeated streak ended on the coast during the week, Sydney Olympic FC relied on the familiar face of Danielle Calvi. The striker scored the only goal in the contest as the premiers got themselves back in the winner’s circle.

For Nepean FC, it was another of those frustrating afternoons. They battled hard through the contest but a series of unfortunate events in conceding a goal, having their keeper sent off and a series of missed chances has them with it all to do in the final weekend, against Southern Branch FC.

 

Central Coast Mariners 7 defeated UNSW FC 2

Central Coast Mariners finished off an impressive week with a ruthless display. The yellow and navy knocked seven past UNSW FC in a 7-2 thumping on a beautiful afternoon at IFS.

Candice Phelan wrestled the golden boot back from Lieke De Bever. The striker netted five goals in the large victory whilst youngster Iona Snape continued her impressive form, the 15 year old scored the first two goals to follow her brace from Thursday night.

Mariners boss Dan Barrett praised the “clinical, confident performance” in what has been a tough run of fixtures for the yellow and navy which saw them end Sydney Olympic’s impressive streak. Their glut of goals today takes their season tally up to 89 goals only behind the aforementioned premiers as they get ready for the finals crucible.

The students are looking to the end line of the season. Captain Rio Darlaston and Gabrielle Burns found themselves on the scoresheet in the result which has them 90 minutes away from putting the season to bed after their promising start turned sour.

 

Western NSW Mariners 0 defeated by Inter Lions 3

Can’t touch this, the popular MC Hammer song took on a new meaning as Inter Lions were ruthless in a 3-nil defeat of Western NSW Mariners at Sir Jack Brabham Park today.

Inter coach Danny Abboud proudly labelled his side’s style “the best in the competition” and his statement was backed up by the performance. Kirilee Cook added two more goals for her tally whilst Taylor Mikaelian added the other in the victory that lifts the Lions into seventh.

Cook has been the driving force in the late season surge for Inter Lions but she has some superb talent around her in tenacious defender Angela Gardener and goalkeeper Natasha Pentecost, the custodian has a huge highlight reel for her impressive saves for Inter this season.

 

Southern Branch FC 2 drew with St George FC 2

It was a stalemate in Nowra as Southern Branch FC picked up a valuable point in a 2-2 draw against fellow strugglers, St George FC on a picturesque afternoon at South Nowra Football Complex.

St George FC looked to repeat the dose of their victory over their southern neighbours and got the best possible start, Amy Bennett fired home to hand them a 1-nil half-time lead. Bennett doubled the dose in the second half to complete her brace.

Southern Branch FC showed their steel in the second 45 though, they battled back through captain Meredith Cheyne and Shaylee Meehan that split the points. Both sides now look to finish their season off in positive fashion next week.

 

SD Raiders 5 defeated Marconi Stallions 2

Welcome to the shootout at the Ernie Smith corral. SD Raiders got a morale boosted 5-2 success against Marconi Stallions that sees them rise to third place on the NPL2 Womens table as well.

Matt Constantini had bemoaned the lack of goals for his side in recent weeks. This afternoon the Raiders delivered them in spades, Yasemin Genc opened the scoring from an Elizabeth O’Reilly cutback before the former w-league star fired home herself for 2-nil.

The hits kept coming for the home side, as Kasia Wojtowicz, Logan Garard and Sophia Hamiltion piled home efforts to make it a five-star Sunday for SD Raiders. Garard’s effort was the pick of the contest with a long-range rocket that sailed into the net.

For the Stallions their finals hopes hung on a thread before the weekend but this result has them not even a mathematical chance to qualify now. They did find some joy in scoring twice through Demelza Howard and Louise Dal Bon as another season in NPL2 Womens looms.

 

Source FNSW website  By Justin Davies

Round 22 – National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s Review

The Premiership looks to have been decided whilst things only heat up as you head down the ladder.

By now there must be cocktail named after those battling in the finals mix whilst the wooden spoon still beckons at the heels of 3 clubs.

If you were looking for excitement and perhaps a little shock, one had to look no further than the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s this weekend.

 

Match of the Round:

It was a night where Mounties stormed into the Ilinden Sports Centre but left wondering where they placed their shooting boots as St George showed too much composure, grabbing the win and are now racing towards securing a top 2 finish.

Mounties from the outset immediately made their impression on the game, pushing forward hard and fast creating numerous chances. Within the first 5 minutes they found some space early in the box but the resulting shot was pushed wide.

Unfortunately, that would be the tale of the game.

Mounties would build up fantastically but just couldn’t find the answer as they were bearing down on goal, lacking the finishing touch.

Throughout the first half the visitors maintained the majority of possession and were clearly the dominant side. With classy and effective combinations in the final third, Davidson, Pivato and Heras Romero all took turns to fire at goal, though neither striking cleanly enough to hit the net.

St George couldn’t seem to find their groove, despite this, they grew in confidence knowing shot stopper Costa was standing firm at the back, watching the ball like a hawk, reading every shot, making the save, and denting the confidence of the opposition.

St George then took the lead against the run of play just after crossing the midpoint of the first half.

After clearing a corner, Saints fired a quick counter attack down the left wing, finding a lightning run from Morabito in space. As he looked to take advantage of his position wide on the box he was fouled. Up to the dead ball stepped Romero, who had no trouble hitting the target with a wicked curling shot to the near post. Shaw in goals reached to get a glove to it, but the shot carried too much power rebounding off and rippled the back of the net.

Once St George got their goal, the confidence seemed to ooze from the home side, every player stepping up another notch, touch that much cleaner, every pass that much crisper, winning the battle whilst never looking like they had to work hard.

Yet Mounties were very much still in the game with Mijic coming agonisingly close with a header from an excellent corner routine, just sending it skimming over the bar. Then pressing to get an equaliser before half time, Beneit Romero received the ball and turned brilliantly to find space in the box. With every spectator on the edge of their seat sensing a goal, he unleashed his shot destined for the net, though again Costa denied the visitors making a great diving save to maintain his side’s lead.

The battle continued in the second half, this time, Saints would show supremacy and doubled their lead early.

Some quick possession play through the middle and a delicate ball into space behind caught Mounties off guard. Stretching to recover Mijic jumped high but only nodded his header into the path of the forward run from Lekoski who took a fantastic first touch to nod it forward into space and then one on one, calmly slotted it into the bottom corner, much to the elation of the home fans.

The Saints were now in the box seat and if they looked confident before, it showed even more so now.

If there was any way back into the game for Mounties it would have come from the boot of Pivato and Heras Romero, though the pair continued to fire at goal, their shots would be sent either wide or Saints keeper Costa would step up and make a save.

The game probably should have ended with St George scoring more when Morabito was played in behind and rounded the keeper only to make his angle too tight rocketing his shot into the post. Then late in the game, Saints swung in a corner dangerously to the front post, taking a deflection off the Mounties defence and hitting the far post, only for the rebound to fall to Norval, who on the edge of the six yard box surely could not miss, but rifled his first time shot well wide of the goal.

Mounties had the last chance to grab consolation for their efforts, Beneit Romero shaped a beautiful free kick from just outside the box, up and over the wall but just skimmed past the wrong side of the post and out.

That’s the way the game would end, St George making the most of their chances with Mounties displaying positive signs they are still in the fight to make finals.

 

Match Stats:

Saturday 28th July, Ilinden Sports Centre

St George FC 2 (J. Romero, A. Lekoski)

Mounties Wanderers FC 0

St George FC: H. Akil, S. Ali, J. Bandur, M. Da Silva Santos, C. Jeong, A. Kyriacou, A. Lekoski, D. Loe, A. Morabito, A. Nasreddine, T. Norval, N. Paras, J. Romero, L. Tweneboa, A. Costa

Mounties Wanderers FC: L. Austin, R. Beneit Romero, D. Brischetto, N. Chianese, M. Davidson, J. Heras Romero, J. Ingle, T. Mijic, B. Pivato, A. Schmidt, A. Schroeder, D. Shaw, T. Smith

 

Hills United 0 vs. Rydalmere Lions 2

Another match of end to end football, both keepers were clear standout performers but the Lions would convert their chances and end victorious.

Hills looked to make the most of home ground advantage and took charge immediately in the match. Throughout the first 20 minutes they found themselves almost camped in Lions territory, probing and testing the defence.

Rydalmere would stand resolute and at the back end of the first half started to get on top of the game and create opportunities only just unable to convert.

The half-time scoreboard reflected a well contested affair with both sides easily capable of producing the goods.

Reaching two thirds into the match, the Lions were asking how they did not have the lead after Stewart missed a sitter from 5 yards.

Hills looked to have found the solution in going ahead with threatening wing play in behind the defence only to lack the last piece of the puzzle in front of goal.

Stewart though, would make up for his earlier disaster and put the visitors ahead with 7 minutes left to play. On the end of a well built attack, he fired a shot forcing the save and then was quickest to react, following up the rebound and finding the back of the net with his second attempt.

The Lions would then seal the deal in injury time when they sent an attack racing down the left wing, crossed into Fofanah who kept his composure and put it past the keeper making it 2-0.

 

Mt Druitt Town Rangers 2 vs. Northern Tigers 1

An early goal from the travelling Tigers looked to put them in pole position to keep on with their great form and take down the league leaders.

A dangerous low cross from Stewart was parried by Saliadarre but it rebounded into his shoulder and into the goal.

Rangers would keep their heads and stick to their game plan, getting back into the match at the midpoint through the first half.

Getting stuck in and doing the work, Rangers equalised from a well worked set piece routine which saw Clowes level it up and break his goal scoring duck for the season.

Each side stepped up the intensity, though there would be no more changes to the scoreboard as the half time whistle blew.

Not being intimidated by the league leaders, Tigers pressed on and kept up the attack. They were very unlucky to lose not one but two players to injury which looked to have changed the complexion of the match.

Each side competed well and there were decent chances begging to be taken but again the score would remain the same.

That was until Rangers took the lead late in the game. With fatigue beginning to set in, Gonzalez was played in behind and finished well to give the league leaders the 3 points and now a second hand reaching for the Premiership.

 

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 vs. GHFA Spirit FC 3

Venturing away from home, Spirit continued their goal scoring form from last week and took another stride towards playing finals football.

The visitors grabbed the lead a third into the match after Bozanic was played in behind and fouled in the box. West made no mistake and struck the penalty cleanly and into the back of the net.

Wanderers would keep the ball well and find periods of promising possession but couldn’t find a way through and make any real threatening goal scoring opportunities.

Spirit looked to have grabbed another 5 minutes after taking the lead when main threat on the night Bozanic rifled a shot which rattled the crossbar and the Wanderers defence.

Just before half time it was 2-0. After winning the ball high up the pitch, Whitlock released West who turned supplier angling the ball back to Whitlock who fired home.

With plenty left still to play for in the game, the home side continued to form up attacks through controlled possession. It would eventually lead them to a chance to get back into the game.

Looking to go a little more direct the Wanderers found success from a cross as Spirit gave away a penalty. The visitors keeper Romic dived well and made the save only it was pulled up as the assistant referee judged that he had come off his line early. Bartolotto would win the second round and put the hosts back in contention tucking away the spot kick with just over 10 minutes to play.

It was not to be for the hosts as they conceded late in the game.

Bozanic who had continued his threat all evening got his name on the score sheet after being played in and firing past the keeper to earn Spirit a 3-1 win.

 

Canterbury Bankstown 1 vs. Central Coast Mariners 0

Despite the gap between them on the ladder, suggesting this may be a one-sided affair, the game turned out to be a hard slog and it was a singular goal that made the difference.

Having previously struggled to gain points on the road against Berries, the Mariners looked to use the result from last week as motivation to focus solely on collecting 3 points.

The home side though from the kick off took it to the Mariners which caught the high flyers a little off guard. Pushing more numbers through the midfield, Berries found themselves creating promising chances, building the confidence throughout the team.

The match was evenly contested and the arm wrestle would swing one way then the next, each team making chances but neither converting.

With an ambition for a top 6 finish, each Berries player put in the extra work and with almost 15 minutes to play they got their reward. McMurray played in Paradanta who neatly created space for his shot which he fired hard and low from outside the box and into the bottom corner.

 

North Shore Mariners 6 vs. Blacktown Spartans 2

Those who say the NPL 2 isn’t exciting for the neutral clearly haven’t been down to many matches this season.

North Shore Mariners and Spartans called to the skies and whipped up yet another game where goals rained down.

The home side took the early advantage scoring after 6 minutes and would continue to press on and net another by the midpoint of the first half.

It could have spelled out an impending doom for Spartans however they rallied and kept themselves in the game grabbing a goal back to head into the sheds definitely still within the mix.

Shortly after the restart Spartans levelled up the affair and it looked to make the game interesting with most of the second half still to play.

Unfortunately it would turn out quite the opposite.

The home side quickly restored their lead after conceding, giving them the confidence that would eventually lead them to victory.

With less than 20 minutes to go, it began to rain goals. North Shore Mariners scoring twice within the space of 2 minutes midway through the second half put the game to bed.

They topped off their strong performance in front of goal by scoring number 6 late in the game.

 

Parramatta FC 1 vs. Macarthur Rams 1

Relegation.

It is a battle.

That is exactly what was played out at Melita Stadium on Sunday evening.

With both sides taking the extra step of caution, chances were few and far between, neither side venturing too far to risk the chance of conceding.

Parramatta looked at one point to have gained the upper hand and actually had the ball in the back of the net only for the referee to overrule the decision and give the visitors a free kick.

As the game wore on, it became obvious that only 1 goal would make the difference.

Finally with 10 minutes left the game got its goal.

Macarthur giving away a penalty and going down to 10 men, it seemed Parramatta had been given a lifeline. Abou Serhal kept his head from the spot, sending the keeper the wrong way and tucking it into the bottom corner.

Macarthur though, not willing to give up that easily, did not relent and piled on the pressure in the battle for the wooden spoon and relegation.

In a time of dire need Zahra saved the visitors with a peach of a free kick.

2 minutes from time, he stepped up and curled his shot around the wall and past the outstretched arms of the keeper levelling it up and ending the game in stalemate.


Source FNSW website