PS4 NPL Men's - Round 13 Preview

Round 13 of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues' 2 NSW Men's competition kicks off this weekend, with Western Sydney Wanderers' clash with North Shore Mariners headlining what will be yet another interesting round of football.

With so much congestion on the table at the moment and just nine points separating second place from 13th, points have become priceless commodities as the second round of the competition beckons.

In other matches, Mt Druitt Town Rangers host Bankstown Berries; Northern Tigers travel to Blacktown Spartans; Marconi host St George; Central Coast visit Spirit FC; Bankstown City entertain Macarthur Rams, and Hills Brumbies journey to Mounties Wanderers.  

Match of the Round

Western Sydney Wanderers vs North Shore Mariners, Sydney United Sports Centre, 7pm, Saturday 27 May

Western Sydney Wanderers host the in-form North Shore Mariners in Saturday night's PS4 NPL 2 NSW Match of the Round at Sydney United Sports Centre.

The Wanderers haven't enjoyed the sweet taste of victory since their 3-1 win over Central Coast in Round 9 but after last week's one-all draw with Mounties, coach Trevor Morgan is confident his young side is on the right track.

"I'm very happy with their effort (against Mounties) because it was an improvement on recent weeks and we're still in second place on the ladder," Morgan told Football NSW. "I was disappointed for the boys but pleased with certain aspects of the performance, which were excellent."

Western Sydney have played some scintillating football this season. In virtually every match they've dominated possession and left teams chasing shadows with their fitness, mobility, and creativity. But the one area in which they could do with some polish is their finishing.

Yes, they've scored a staggering 28 goals in 12 matches, but given the number of chances they've created, that tally could be so much more.

Western Sydney this weekend face a Mariners side that has some similar stats to their own: 28 goals for and 11 against, a goal difference of nine as opposed to the Wanderers' 11. But while the teams may be similar on paper, the difference on the field is vast.

While Western Sydney is technically excellent and play a possession-based game with lots of speed and movement, the Mariners' go-to is a more direct in-your-face approach, a style that is effective and has the potential to damage.

Just ask Marconi, who were on the receiving end of a 4-0 thrashing in Round 5, a result that remains one of the biggest upsets of the season.

North Shore will arrive at Edensor Park fresh from a 5-0 annihilation of Bankstown Berries, so their confidence will be sky high.

But coach Joe Haywood won't make a big fuss about the importance of the Wanderers game, nor will he make any outlandish statements. He'll just take things one step at a time and prepare as best he can.

The same can be said of Trevor Morgan. No fuss, just business as usual.

This is shaping as quite an interesting battle, one of contrasting styles between two teams that have the ability to score a bagful of goals.

Mt Druitt Town Rangers vs Bankstown Berries, Popondetta Park, 3pm, Saturday 27 May

Mt Druitt Town Rangers tackle Bankstown Berries at Popondetta Park on Saturday afternoon and they'll be looking to continue on their winning way after a 1-0 victory over Macarthur Rams last weekend.

Macarthur were on an unbeaten streak of six matches and being at home, had a golden opportunity to extend that run to seven. But in a tight struggle, a Brian Griffin-Colls penalty gave Mt Druitt the spoils, allowing them to leap-frog the vanquished into fifth spot on the ladder.

Mt Druitt coach Aidan Desmond said there was minimal difference between the two teams, just a bit of luck and a goal that saw his side get the better of a tenacious, never-say-die opponent.

Mt Druitt's season has so far been a topsy turvy one. In the past month they've beaten Northern Tigers, St George and Macarthur, strong teams with plenty to offer. Admittedly, they also copped a 3-0 hiding from Central Coast Mariners; but that setback was a few days after they'd turned in what was perhaps their most impressive display of the season, a 2-1 FFA Cup loss to Blacktown City in extra time. Quite a feat given the quality of the opposition.

If Rangers can lift to the same level against Bankstown Berries this Saturday, they'll be a dangerous proposition for a side still coming to terms with an horrific 5-0 defeat to North Shore Mariners, a result that had pundits scratching their heads in confusion.

Until then, Berries' player coach Perry Moustakas had his side humming a winning tune, with consecutive victories over premiership contenders Western Sydney Wanderers and Mounties.

So by the time Moustakas and his merry men arrive at Popondetta Park this Saturday, the inspirational player-coach will be hoping his men are primed for action and that last week's effort was nothing more than an anomaly.  

Blacktown Spartans vs Northern Tigers, Blacktown Football Park, 7pm, Saturday 27 May

 

Blacktown Spartans will need to be at their very best when on Saturday night they host giant-killers Northern Tigers at Blacktown Football Park.

The Spartans are doing it tough at the moment. Winless in their last three matches and battling injuries and the psychological blow of losing six points for playing a suspended player, coach Luis Contigiani will need to be at his nurturing best in the leadup to Saturday.

The affable mentor has done a wonderful job this season. Despite having a limited budget, a complete cleanout of personnel from last year, and a young team with an average age of 20, Contigiani has had everyone sharing his belief that through hard work and passion, good things would happen. And good things did happen.

In the first eight rounds, the Spartans only lost once, a close 2-0 result at Western Sydney. And with their robust counter-attacking style of football, they created havoc with their pace and mobility in transition, not to mention their ability to play with width when required.

But after recent events, Contigiani and his young side know that this weekend's clash against the Tigers is critical and they also know they need to be fired up big time to stop a side that last week romped away to a 5-2 smash and grab over premiership favourites Marconi.

"We've got to be realistic about who we are and where we're at," Contigiani told Football NSW. "We have to focus on being clinical in attack and defence, and if the boys show the same determination and discipline as they have previously, I believe we can give ourselves a shot in the arm. Again it'll just be how well we execute our gameplan on the day. This Saturday will answer a lot of questions."

Meanwhile, Mark McCormick's fledgling side shocked the competition when last week they dominated the Stallions from start to finish. And despite conceding the first goal, showed enough grit and determination to steal the points.

But McCormick won't be resting on his laurels. Despite suffering from an horrendous injury toll, the Scot has never whinged or used injuries as an excuse. Instead, he has simply prepared well and made sure that whatever team he puts on the field goes out there focused and ready to play. He'll expect them to dig deep and to pressure the Spartans from start to finish, just as they did to Marconi.

He'll also be relying on the likes of hat-trick hero Ryan Peterson and inspirational skipper Michael Rolston to lead by example.

While the spotlight has been on others, the fourth-placed Tigers have quietly gone about their business without any fuss, collecting points and developing a strong team culture along the way.

They have a golden opportunity to reinforce their position on Saturday. 

Marconi Stallions vs St George, Marconi Stadium, 7pm, Saturday 27 May

Marconi's shock 5-2 loss to Northern Tigers last weekend should be a wakeup call for the premiership favourites when they host a tough St George outfit at Marconi Stadium on Saturday night.

The Stallions crashed and burned at North Turramurra and coach Tony Candy will be hoping his side can bounce back quickly against a confident Saints team that sits in second-equal place on the ladder.

Marconi were completely outplayed by a tenacious Tigers outfit, their recent white-hot form falling by the wayside as they encountered a workaholic opponent willing to fight to the bitter end.

Prior to the defeat, the Stallions had smashed home 10 goals in two matches. They played to their strengths and they played with purpose. They finally looked like the real deal, a team that valued teamwork and consistency. But all that disappeared in one fell swoop when they faced a side that wanted victory more than they did.

Everybody knows that Marconi has quality. They have players like Beauchamp, Pavlovic, Rooney and Jesic, experienced players capable of turning a game on its head with a flash of brilliance. Indeed, Rooney's touch inside the box has been phenomenal in recent weeks, and his 12 goals a just reward for his instinct and determination.    

But despite that collective brilliance, Marconi cannot afford to take St George lightly. The team from Sydney's south may not be one of the competition's most fashionable side's but one thing they 'can' do is score goals.

"We're confident we can score goals against anyone," St George coach Terry Palapanis recently told Football NSW. "We know we've got goals in us. I think that belief is what makes us tick."

Indeed, with Spanish import Juan Carlos Romero's seven goals and another five to Stevan Ilic, Saints' ability to finish has been their saviour.

Regardless, Saints will need to be on-song this weekend if they're to condemn Marconi to a second boilover in as many weeks.

Spirit FC vs Central Coast Mariners, Valentine Sports Park, 7pm, Saturday 27 May

Spirit FC will need to be at their very best when they host a Central Coast Mariners side fresh from an eight-goal thumping of Bankstown City Lions at Valentine Sports Park this Saturday.

Spirit suffered a 3-1 defeat at St George last week and they face a young Mariners outfit that has finally discovered how to score goals.

Despite struggling for results this season, Mariners coach Ben Cahn has constantly praised his side's performances, even when they were languishing near the foot of the table. They may not have been finishing their opportunities but they were creating them by the bucket load.

"We've played really well and created a lot of chances this season," Cahn told Football NSW. "But in this case (against Bankstown City) we took all of our chances."

But despite winning by the highest margin of any team so far this season, Cahn wasn't getting carried away.

"There were still some mistakes made, there were still some things that we can improve on massively," he said. "We're just still trying to strive for that consistency in the level of performance."

Meanwhile, Spirit FC were disappointing in their 3-1 loss to St George last weekend, so they could do worse than look to their 3-1 victory over Northern Tigers in Round 11 as some form of inspiration before they take on the young Coasters.

On that day, coach David Perkovic was delighted with his side's performance, one that proved that they have the ability to trouble anyone.

And with his side a measly six points outside the top four, Perkovic would welcome with open arms a win and more importantly, three points for their efforts.  

Bankstown City vs Macarthur Rams, Jensen Park, 3pm, Sunday 28 May

Bankstown City Lions must regroup quickly after last week's horrendous 8-0 thrashing to Central Coast Mariners and with the second round almost upon us, they need to start winning games, beginning with Macarthur at Jensen Park this Saturday.

With a record of two wins, one draw and nine losses, it's no surprise that the Lions languish in last place on the ladder.

But what is a surprise is that apart from the Central Coast massacre, their performances have been quite good.

In Mile Todoroski, Bankstown has a coach who has done everything in his power to address the slide. It's not that his side has played badly because they've had their moments and completely dominated opponents, only to lose at the death. It's not that Todoroski has a poor squad either. A small one yes, but a poor one, no. It's a squad full of experience but for some reason, the results just haven't fallen their way.

Macarthur however, will be gunning for the Lions. They'll be looking to bounce back from a 1-0 loss to Mt Druitt and they'll be looking at their struggling opponents as an opportunity to regain the mojo that saw them race to an unbeaten streak of six games before Mt Druitt crashed the party.

Indeed, after an horrendous start to the season, Macarthur have battled, fought and chased their way to respectability, their current standing of fifth-equal proof that they have the goods to trouble anyone. Just ask Western Sydney Wanderers and North Shore Mariners, teams that have suffered at the hands of the dreaded Rams.

"I think they believe in themselves more now and their confidence is building," Rans coach Eddie Briscoe told Football NSW. "They know they've got to dig in; they know they've got to give it 90 minutes plus and they're digging in for each other.

"We've been lucky in certain areas but we're making luck as well. It's positive but it's still hard work."

Mounties Wanderers vs Hills Brumbies, Valentine Sports Park, 3pm, Sunday 28 May

 

Mounties Wanderers face Hills Brumbies at Valentine Sports Park on Sunday and given the way the two sides like to play, this could be quite an entertaining game of football.

Mounties coach Lee Sterrey was happy with his side's one-all draw with Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend, a match in which his side fought back from a 1-0 deficit at halftime.

Unhappy with his side's performance in the first half, Sterrey changed tactics and formation, changes that worked a treat.

"I made some changes in the second half and at halftime gave the boys some stick about showing some character and pride in the shirt and playing for Mounties," Sterrey said. "It worked. Our comeback and our determination to get something out of the game was fantastic.   

"We've played some beautiful football this season and we've created opportunities, but our finishing has been a major problem. If we can fix that, we can beat anyone."

Meanwhile Hills coach Dan Sheppard was delighted to earn three points after their 4-1 victory over Blacktown Spartans, but he conceded that the scoreline wasn't a true reflection of the game.

"The scoreline flattered us because we scored two late goals," Sheppard told Football NSW. "The difference between the two sides was we were better with our chances in front of goal.  

"I also think we have to take a big reality check because they still opened us up a couple of times and should've scored. (Hills goalkeeper) Josh Stancic made a couple of excellent saves that kept us in the game and the last two goals we scored were very late, so that blew the scoreline out."

Hills haven't changed their style from last season, they still try to keep the ball on the ground, play through the numbers and to the feet, and try to score more goals than the opposition. But given the congestion on the competition table at the midway stage of the season, Sheppard is wary of thinking too far ahead.

"Every week you need to be focused and you can't turn up and play half a game because other teams have got enough to beat you," he said.

"Our own personal expectation is we do the best we can and see where we sit at the middle point of the season when we've played everyone."

-By Derek Royal, Football NSW Reporter

PS4 NPL 2 Men's - Round 12 Review

Round 12 of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues' 2 NSW Men's competition proved yet again just how unpredictable and competitive this season has turned out to be, with more upsets and more talking points to mull over until Round 13 kicks off next week.

In the upset of the round, a young Northern Tigers outfit beat a white-hot Marconi 5-2 at North Turramurra, totally discarding the form guide that had in the past fortnight seen the Stallions score 10 goals in two games. 

The Tigers played out of their skin to lead 4-1 at the break and as hard as they tried, the Stallions just couldn't bridge the gap in the remaining 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, Central Coast Mariners scored eight goals to nil in an annihilation of bottom-placed Bankstown City, a performance that showed just how potent the young Coasters can be when the stars align and opportunities are taken.  

In another surprising result, North Shore Mariners slaughtered  Bankstown Berries 5-0, a side that in the past fortnight had beaten title contenders Western Sydney and Mounties.

In other matches, St George beat Spirit 3-1 in the match of the round to climb up to second-equal with Western Sydney; Mt Druitt Town Rangers beat Macarthur 1-0 to end the Rams' unbeaten run at six matches; Western Sydney and Mounties shared the spoils in a one-all draw; and Hills Brumbies beat Blacktown Spartans 4-1 at Lilys Football Centre.

Match of the Round

 

St George 3 Spirit FC 1

A contender for Goal of the Season helped St George to a 3-1 win over Spirit FC on Saturday night, the victory moving the Saints into joint second on the PS4 NPL 2 ladder.

It is the first time this season that St George has managed to win two on the trot, and similarly to last week’s come-from-behind win against Bankstown City, again the Saints had to recover after going a goal down early.

But it was David Ilic’s strike right before half time which was the talk of the game. With the score at 1-1 and parity likely heading into the break, Ilic spotted the Spirit keeper James Webb off his line, and with a strike from well on half way, let fly with a thunderbolt which flew over the defence and the keeper to nestle under the bar. It was so sweetly hit, and accurate, that a goal seemed likely the moment it left the boot. It drew roars from the crowd in the stand, lifting many to their feet.

It was a goal which put St George in front for the first time on the night, and not without just reward.

Spirit had taken an early lead in under two minutes after a free kick was spilled by Daniel Sadaka in the Saints goal, leaving Louis Bozanic to get to the loose ball first, and put Spirit one up.

But despite the early loss of a goal, St George recovered well and set about the task of notching one or two of their own. They dominated much of the play, with Nicholas Paras influential in the middle of the park, his distribution as he looked to set up Juan Carlos Romero, or Rino Zenari out wide, a telling factor. An equaliser duly came, even if a scramble in the end, but Robbie Deasy headed home at the far post, after sustained pressure.

There was plenty of attacking intent from St George, not happy with just the one, and Paras missed by a whisker with a direct free kick from twenty five metres out.

Chris Godoy Bascur had a flick on which was held by Sadaka, as Spirit looked to make some ground, but with the time running out, for the first half at least, David Ilic struck.  

But if St George had the run of the first half, Spirit took control of the second.

For a good thirty minutes, the visitors had the Saints largely pinned in their own half, and came close on a couple of occasions, even if it is fair to say they were half chances at best. Grant Cornwell had a cross which flashed across the face of goal, skimming just wide of the far upright and Yuya Samba struck with a direct free kick which drew a decent save from Sadaka,

Sadaka was to show a safe pair of hands for much of the game, cleanly taking plenty that Spirit attempted, and along with a backline which was defending stoutly, the Saints were able to keep Spirit at bay.

Their chances to increase their lead arose late in the game, a quick counter attack almost paying dividends when Stevan Ilic, on only minutes earlier, almost put clear Juan Carlos Romero, but with just a trifle too much on the ball.

But when Ali Nasreddine was brought down in the box by Zoran Kolundzic, with twelve minutes left on the clock, the Saints had their chance to seal the result. And Stevan Ilic, not to be outdone by his younger sibling, converted promptly from the spot for 3-1.

He almost made it four in the dying moments, but the three goals proved sufficient.

It was a timely win for St George, only their first at home this season, on the field at least, while not since July 2011 have the Saints beaten Spirit FC, the past eight attempts having proved winless. This victory will have least set that record to rights.

Match Stats

St George 3 (Robbie Deasy 22’, David Ilic 45’, Stevan Ilic 78’ pen) beat Spirit FC 1 (Louis Bozanic 2’)

At Seymour Shaw Park, Miranda

Saturday 20 May 2017

Referee: Scott Edeling

Assistant Referees: Nikola Tatalo and Chris Wells

St George: 68. Daniel Sadaka 2. Thomas Menton 3. Ali Nasreddine 7. Robbie Deasy 10. Nicholas Paras (9. Stevan Ilic 72’) 14. Jacob Bandur 17. Rino Zenari (19. Anthony Morabito 86’) 18. David Ilic (16. Daniel Loe 67’) 20. Juan Carlos Heras Romero 24. Tarik Ercan (c) 34. Daniel Mitwali.

Subs not used: 4. Johnathan Kontalis 21. Matthew Williamson

Yellow Cards: Nil

Coach: Terry Palapanis

Spirit FC: 26. James Webb 5. Andrew Robertson 7. Jacob Harris 8. Grant Cornwell (c) 9. Chris Godoy Bascur 10. Chris Gomez 12. Louis Bozanic (22. Adrian Epifanino 27’, rep by 19. Ivan Separovic 78’) 17. Yuya Samba 18. Brad Gibson (6. Alexander Doyle 69’) 20. Tim Porter 21. Zoran Kolundzic.  

Subs not used: 1. Murray Nelson 14. Sidhya Malhotra.

Yellow Cards: Grant Cornwell and Andrew Robertson

Coach: David Perkovic

By Peter Rowney

Central Coast Mariners 8 Bankstown City 0

Central Coast Mariners sent a warning shot to the rest of their PS4 NPL 2 rivals in a stunning 8-0 thrashing of Bankstown City Lions at Pluim Park on Saturday.

In a sublime effort, Brenton Fox scored four goals, while Lachlan Wales and Duncan Stewart grabbed two each.

Despite struggling for results this season, Mariners coach Ben Cahn has constantly praised his side's performances, even when they were sitting in second-last place on the table. Indeed, a couple of weeks ago the Central Coast mentor suggested that it wouldn't be long before his side led someone 6-0 at halftime, such were the amount of opportunities they were creating in the front third.

Cahn's words proved to be prophetic on Saturday as the Mariners hit Bankstown early with an up-tempo, intense start to the game, racing ahead to a 6-0 lead at the break.  

"A couple of weeks ago I said it won't be long before we're 6-0 up at halftime against someone," Cahn laughed when speaking to Football NSW.

"But I'm under no illusions that Bankstown are doing it really tough at the moment. We knew that if we could start well and score early that would be a big dent in their confidence and belief. So we focused really hard on executing the gameplan right from the start: playing with a high tempo and being really positive.

"Strangely enough it wasn't too different to a lot of our first half performances this season where we've played really well and created a lot of chances. In this case though we took all of our chances and like I said it wouldn't be long before we're six-nil up against someone at halftime."

After racing to such a significant lead, the Mariners cruised in the second half and were still rewarded with two good goals. But despite winning by the highest margin of any team so far this season, Cahn refused to get carried away.

"We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves because there were still times in yesterday's game where I don't think we played very well. There were still some mistakes made, there were still some things that we can improve on massively. It's just still trying to strive for that consistency in the level of performance."

When asked who stood out for his side, Cahn replied: "Brenton Fox scored four and Duncan Stewart grabbed two and they were a constant threat all night and caused problems every time we went forward. Lachie Wales was good; we had young central defender Michael Glassock make his debut for us and he played himself into the game very well. He was very composed and a threat from setpieces for and against. Obviously when you score eight goals the front players will get the accolades, but really it was just a nice, complete team performance."

Central Coast Mariners 8 (Brenton Fox 4, Duncan Stewart 2, Lachlan Wales 2) beat Bankstown City Lions 0

At Pluim Park

Saturday 20 May 2017

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Adam Pearce (GK), 2. Shelford Dais, 4. Michael Glassock, 5. Jake McGuinness, 6. James Enticknap, 7. Lachlan Wales, 8. Thomas Lyons, 9. Brenton Fox, 10. Duncan Stewart, 11. Peter Kekeris, 12. Yerasimakis Petratos, 14. S Kamara, 16. Gianni Stensness, 17. Jack Kuipers, 18. Steve Whyte, 20. Aidan Munford (GK), L Wilson.

Coach: Ben Cahn

Bankstown City: 1. Dion Shaw (GK), 3. A Bercerra, 5. Jeffrey Issa, 6. Aaron D'Mello, 7. Bruno Pivato, 8. David McMurray, 9. Nikola Todoroski, 10. Hussein Akil, 11. Huseyin Jasli, 12. Steven Veleski, 13. S Tarazona, 14. Mate Lucic, 17. Davide Talone, 21. Harry Timms, 22. D Jakimovski, 26. J. Gorgovski, 27. Antonio Gauci, 28. A Tanevski, S Tarazona

Yellow Cards: Dion Shaw, S Tarazona

Coach: Mile Todoroski  

Northern Tigers 5 Marconi Stallions 2

Northern Tigers scored the upset of the round with a 5-2 victory over a Marconi Stallions side that has been in white-hot form in the past fortnight.

Tigers' striker Ryan Peterson scored a hat-trick and Ally Brown scored twice; while for Marconi Sean Rooney grabbed both his side's goals.

Marconi had scored 10 goals from their last two matches but that meant nothing to the young Tigers outfit who ripped home four to lead 4-1 at halftime.

Hampered by some serious injury concerns and fielding an inexperienced lineup, the Tigers were expected to face an uphill battle against a side considered to be the most talented in the league.

But someone forgot to tell coach Mark McCormick and his band of merry young men.

"We dominated from start to finish and although they scored first we led 4-1 at halftime," McCormick told Football NSW. "We just moved them around and played our game and it worked for us. Our lead at halftime was deserved."

But despite leading 4-1 at the break, McCormick knew the Stallions would "throw the kitchen sink" at his side in the second half.

"They came out and played direct in the second half, and we went toe to toe with them," McCormick said. "We had the domination but we also had the steel and the grit when it was required. That was definitely what was most pleasing."

McCormick also stressed that while striker Ryan Peterson scored a hat-trick and Ally Brown grabbed two goals, the victory was based on a solid team performance, one that not only impressed the Tigers' coach, but also the opposition.

"When you're opposing a team that has a former international (Michael Beauchamp) and six former A-League players, players who've played at the highest level of the game, and they come up to me and our players and say that we thoroughly deserved the win and we were better than them all over the field, is fantastic," McCormick said.

"The biggest compliment to me was when Beauchamp came up and said he could see that our boys all work for each other and he could tell we were a team of young players. That's the best compliment we can have. When people who've been around the game like him are saying things like that, it's fantastic. It was a proud day to be associated with my boys."   

Northern Tigers 5 (Ryan Peterson 3, Ally Brown 2) beat Marconi Stallions 2 (Sean Rooney 2)

At North Turramurra Recreation Area

Saturday 20 May 2017

Northern Tigers: 1. Harrison Devenish-Meares (GK), 3. Jamie Craig, 4. Michael Rolston, 5. Ally Brown, 6. Jordan Ferrier, 7. Joel Hardwick, 10. Lucas Dawson, 11. Lachlan Hughes, 13. Paul Turrin, 17. Kyohei Kimura, 19. Ryan Peterson, 26. John Bachelard, 29. Jordan Smylie, 40. Benjamin Taylor.

Yellow Cards: 11. Lachlan Hughes, 26. John Bachelard

Coach: Mark McCormick

Marconi Stallions: 1. Nenad Vekic (GK), 4. Dhari Alsaad, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 7. Mirjan Pavlovic, 8. Sean Rooney, 10. Marko Jesic, 11. Sam Perre, 14. Peter Pelekanos, 16. Aron Berg, 18. Peter Triantis, 19. Eros Bergamin, 21. Kristian Sekuthoski, 22. Brandon Vella, 23. Christopher Nunes, 25. Sam Burfoot.

Yellow Cards: 14. Peter Pelekanos

Coach: Tony Candy

Macarthur Rams 0 Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1

Macarthur Rams' unbeaten run came to end when Mt Druitt Town Rangers beat the locals 1-0 at Lynwood Park on Saturday night.

Mt Druitt's Brian Griffin-Colls scored from the penalty spot just on the stroke of halftime.

Macarthur hadn't been beaten in six matches and according to disappointed Rams coach Eddie Briscoe, their unbeaten run should have been extended to seven.

"We played well and we were the better team," Briscoe told Football NSW. "We created some good chances but we couldn't score. We hit the post with an open goal at our mercy and their keeper pulled off a great save from close range. They got a penalty which I don't think was a penalty, and that changed the game. But at the end of the day if you don't score goals you don't win games."

Briscoe added that while his side carved Mt Druitt up out wide and created some good opportunities, Rangers' half-chances were from Rams mistakes.

"It's very disappointing and I feel sick because the boys worked so hard," Briscoe said. "Every game's a battle in this league and you've got to be on your game to get a result. Unfortunately, it wasn't our night."

Meanwhile, Mt Druitt coach Aidan Desmond said the game was a tight one with nothing between the sides.

"I don't think there was any difference between the two sides," Desmond told Football NSW. "If anything I'd say a little bit of luck went our way last night and we scored a goal. 

"Lynwood Park is always a difficult place to get a result and the Rams are always a good side. They work very hard and they've got plenty of pace across the park. It's never easy out there.

"Our boys just worked hard, they ground it out and got a clean sheet. We just went back to basics and worked solid across the park."

Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1 (Brian Griffin-Colls) beat Macarthur Rams 0

At Lynwood Park

Saturday 20 May 2017

Macarthur Rams: 1. Nikola Matic, 2. Craig Cooley, 3. Danny Lazarevski, 4. Simon Valastro, 8. Matthew Trotter, 10. Ben Cornish, 11. Damien Travis, 13. Alex Lazarevski, 14. Kurdvan Abduljabbar, 15. Mason Versi, 16. Mitch Di Pietro, 17. Sho Arakawa, 19. Jordan Ward, 27. Regan Suters.

Yellow Cards: 4. Simon Valastro, 15. Mason Versi

Coach: Eddie Briscoe

Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 1. Carlos Saliadarre (GK), 2. Hiten Satoh, 3. Brian Griffin-Colls, 6. Alexander Vlismas, 7. Chriss Loucos, 8. Matthew Clowes, 9. Kuag Reec, 10. Nathan Ralph, 11. M McLintock, 13. Lord Darkoh, 14. Daniel McCann, 15. A Guzman, 17. Aram Tayebi Derazkala, 18. Jamie Dib, 21. Joel Tinker (GK)

Yellow Cards: 7. Chris Loucous, 8. Matthew Clowes, 9. Kuag Reec

17. Aram Tayebi Derazkala

Coach: Aidan Desmond

Bankstown Berries 0 North Shore Mariners 5

North Shore Mariners pumped Bankstown Berries 5-0 in a scintillating performance at The Crest Athletic Centre on Saturday night.

Marquin Smith and Mitchell Smith scored two goals apiece, while Brayden Cheng scored one.

Both sides entered the match equal on 14 points on the ladder but such is the unpredictability of this season's competition that it's a difficult task predicting the outcome of games on a weekly basis.   

The Berries have provided shock value in recent weeks, defeating contenders Mounties and Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 in successive games, while the Mariners had only won one game in their last six. Nobody saw a 5-0 scoreline coming. 

Mariners coach Joe Haywood made a few changes to his starting eleven and implemented a new gameplan. The changes worked a treat.

"I made a few changes just to keep everyone on their toes," Haywood told Football NSW. "We're a squad, there's no superstars and we all work together as a group. The boys compete well for places at training every week, which I think is great."

When asked what impressed him the most about his side's five star performance, Haywood replied: "I think it was our attacking intent. The score was five but it could've been more. We had two definite one-on-ones that we should've scored from.

"In recent weeks we've been conceding goals but we also knew that we had a good defensive structure for the previous eight games before that, so overall what inspired the group was to keep a clean sheet. We know we can score goals but we wanted to keep a clean sheet and we're happy we did that."

Haywood added that while each of the goalscorers performed well, he believed it was his side's collective excellence that won the day.

"The goal-scorers always get the plaudits but the boys at the back and the goalkeeper obviously played their part in keeping the clean sheet, which was our goal. As a group I think we all reached our aims for the game."

North Shore Mariners 5 (Marquin Smith 2. Mitch Smith 2, Braden Cheng) beat Bankstown Berries 0

At The Crest Athletic Centre

Saturday 20 May 2017

Bankstown Berries: 1. Chad Taylor (GK), 3. D. Di Ruocco, 4. T Raftopoulos, 5. James Combes, 6. M. Farmer, 7. Kyle Ewart, 8. Domenic Hudap, 9. B Cook, 10. V. Giannini, 11. A. Vais, 12. Jake Bradshaw, 15. Perry Moustakas, 17. D. Fornito, 19. H. Tomohiro, 20. N. Mouzourakis, 21. J. Dimitrakas.

Yellow cards: 17. D. Fornito, 8. Domenic Hudap 19. H. Tomohiro

Player Coach: Perry Moustakas 

North Shore Mariners: 1. D. Maunder, 3. Chris Lindsay, 4. James Scott, 6. Ricky Woodward, 8. Mitch Arcosa, 9. S. Tonkin, 10. Brayden Cheng, 11. Freddy Ankumah-Sey, 12. S Toth, 13. Marquin Smith, 18. Mitch Smith, 21. Aaron Davis, 23. C Desa, 27. Robbie Kerr, 28. Michael Stojanovski, 36. Stefan Giglio (GK)   

Coach: Joe Haywood

Hills Brumbies 4 Blacktown Spartans 1

Hills Brumbies bounced back from last week's 5-1 defeat to Marconi to put the sword to Blacktown Spartans 4-1 at Lilys Football Centre on Saturday night.

Hills coach Dan Sheppard was expecting a tough match from a Spartans team that had started the season with a hiss and a roar only to be broadsided by a deduction of six points for playing a suspended player in the opening two rounds of the competition.

The teams went to the sheds with the score locked at one-all and while the final scoreline may have given the match a one-sided look, the margin actually flattered the winners.

"The scoreline was very flattering for us and on another day it could've been a draw to be honest," Sheppard told Football NSW. "Two of our goals were penalties and the Spartans will be very unhappy and feel very unfairly treated."

The Spartans started the game well and opened the scoring in the ninth minute. Hills equalised in the 37th minute and took the lead through a Greg Giovenali penalty midway through the second half. Giovenali struck from the spot again in the 87th minute before Peter Cejka grabbed a late goal in stoppage time.

"The scoreline flatters us because we scored two late goals," Sheppard said. "The difference between the two sides was we were better with our chances in front of goal."   

When asked what impressed him the most about his side's performance, Sheppard replied:

"We weren't playing well in the first half, we were down 1-0 and we'd suffered some bad results in recent weeks, so we could easily have lost our confidence and dropped our heads. But we didn't. We dug deep and got the equaliser and from there things just literally worked for us.

"But as good as we were at times, the result was still very harsh on Spartans. I think we have to take a big reality check because they still opened us up a couple of times and should've scored. (Hills goalkeeper) Josh Stancic made a couple of excellent saves that kept us in the game and the last two goals we scored were very late, so that blew the scoreline out. A lot of praise needs to go to Spartans."

Hills Brumbies 4 (Greg Giovenali 2, Peter Cejka) beat Blacktown Spartans 1

At Lilys Football Centre

Saturday 20 May 2017

Hills Brumbies: 1. Josh Stancic (GK), 5. M Zarantonello, 6. Bradley Robertson, 7. Wade Giovenali, 8. Eoin Montford, 9. Sean Mitchell, 11. Daine Merrin (C), 14. V Anyimba, 15. Matias Toro Suazo, 16. Greg Giovenali, 17. Brendon Hoyer, 19. Glenn Kelshaw, 21. Nick Dimitriadis, 24. Nathan Rayner, 69. Alastair Bruce, 91. Peter Cejka.

Yellow Cards: 16. Greg Giovenali, 21. Nick Dimitriadis, 8. Eoin Montford

Coach: Dan Sheppard

Blacktown Spartans: 40. Jacob Forster (GK), 2. Daisan Kim, 4. Tiano Boutoubia, 5. James Letta, 6. Mohamad Rahimi, 7. Michael Konestabo, 8. Aaron White, 10. Kojiro Hori, 11. Mitchell Cross, 12. Richard Blanco, 13. Brendon Bezzina, 15. A Gioiosa, 18. Alex Boyadijan, 23. O Dullak, 50. H Brown

Coach: Luis Contigiani

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 Mounties Wanderers 1

Western Sydney Wanderers and Mounties Wanderers shared the spoils in a one-all draw at Sydney United Sports Centre on Saturday night.

Wanderers' Kyle Cimenti opened the scoring in the 39th minute while Noah Chianese equalised for Mounties just shy of the hour.

Western Sydney coach Trevor Morgan was hoping his side could get their season back on track after two losses in as many weeks, and was pleased with the result against a Mounties side that parked the bus in the first 45 minutes.

"Mounties played very deep in the first half and were very content to drop off which presented problems for our boys and they had to solve that," Morgan told Football NSW. "In the second half Mounties changed tactics and pressed us hard and they got a goal, which opened up the game.

"I think we did very well. Again we faced someone who employed different tactics during a game. An experienced coach like Lee (Sterrey) is always going to make some changes during the play and it's good for us. It gives us different things to respond to."

"I was disappointed for the boys but pleased with certain aspects of the performance, which were excellent.

"I'm very happy with their efforts because it was an improvement on recent weeks and we're still in second place on the ladder."

Meanwhile, Mounties coach Lee Sterrey was pleased with the result, especially after losing playmaker Neftali Gonzalez to a back injury before kickoff.

"We sat deep in the first half and played a 5-2-3 which for different reasons I thought would hurt Western Sydney," Sterrey told Football NSW. "To be fair they probably had 80 per cent possession in the first half but we never conceded until the 39th minute."

Sterrey added that sitting deep requires the ability to break quickly but due to a turnover rate that he described as "terrible for a first grade side", Mounties' efforts were ineffective.

"Our retention of the ball where we setup, where we wanted to play, wasn't good enough," Sterrey explained. "We spoke about that at halftime and I gave the boys a bit of stick about showing some character and pride in the shirt and playing for Mounties. It worked."

Mounties reverted to a 4-3-3 formation in the second half and the side rallied brilliantly, equalising just shy of the hour.

"I was really proud of their effort," Sterrey said. "Everybody stood up and everybody pressed their players. They pressed high up the field and their movement that led to our goal was excellent. In the second half, our comeback and our determination to get something out of the game was fantastic."   

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Kyle Cimenti) drew with Mounties Wanderers 1 (Noah Chianese)

At Sydney United Sports Centre

Saturday 20 May 2017 

Western Sydney Wanderers: 2. Lachlan Campbell, 5. Mathieu Cordier, 6. Cameron Devlin, 8. Charles Abou Serhal, 9. Kyle Cimenti, 15. Blake Currey (3. Abdelrahman Kuku), 18. Oliver Puflett (10. Emmanuel Gonzalez), 20. Daniel Axford (GK), 22. Matthew Lecce (14. Mohamed Najjar), 24. Tate Russell, 50. Tariq Maia

Unused Subs: 16. Joshua Bartolotto, 30. Mackenzie Syron

Coach: Trevor Morgan

Mounties Wanderers: 1. Jair Fernandez, 4. Todd Halloran, 6. Anthony Schmidt, 9. Michael Gaitatzis (11. Mitchell Davidson), 13. Pasqualino Cappuccio, 14. Noah Chianese (34. Mickael Abanoub), 18. Michael Cklamovski, 20. Reid Taylor (7. Josh Viera), 28. Hiroto Tokuichi, 29. Jake Ingle, 33. Zac Zfiligoi

Unused Subs: 22. Taewoo Jung, 30. Alexander Josipovic

Yellow Cards: 29. Jake Ingle

Coach: Lee Sterrey   

-By Derek Royal, Football NSW Reporter

Round 8 Preview - Women's State League

Round 8 of the Women’s State League again provides some exciting and interesting fixtures to look forward to.

The in-form UNSW welcome Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC while SD Raiders play host to St George FC and APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC play host to the Western NSW Mariners FC in the late kick off on Sunday.

UNSW vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC, Sunday May 28th3pm, David Phillips Complex

The in-form UNSW play host to Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC as they look to continue their recent string of positive results.

UNSW will be full of confidence after a hard-fought win away at Western Mariners last weekend and will be eyeing off another three points this weekend.

Mt Druitt on the other hand will be looking to bounce back from two successive defeats including a rescheduled round 1 clash against UNSW where they were defeated 3-1 mid-week.

UNSW coach Renato Jelen will be conscious of maintaining the momentum his team has been able to gather over the last few weeks which sees them sitting third and the importance of picking up three points at home.

Mt Druitt though will provide a stern test and will be keen to bounce back after a couple of disappointing results.

SD Raiders FC vs St George FC, Sunday May 28th 3pm, Ernie Smith Reserve

SD Raiders FC will be looking to bounce back after their surprising draw against bottom placed Parramatta FC last round. Raiders inability to finish their chances against Parramatta cost them three points and they will be looking to rectify this against a St George FC team which itself is coming off a disappointing loss against APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC.

Raiders coach Catherine Cannuli will be wary of the importance of bouncing back in a positive manner at home as they look to maintain the pace alongside APIA at the top of the table. Carlo Tini admitted his team was outplayed by APIA in every department and will be looking for a more resolute and competitive performance from his St George team.

APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC vs Western NSW Mariners FC, Sunday May 28th 5pm, Lambert Park

In the late-kick off top of the table APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC welcome Western NSW Mariners FC to Lambert Park.

APIA will be looking to continue their free scoring ways after completely overwhelming St George last round to run out 7-0 winners.

The Mariners on the other hand had one of their most disappointing performances last outing in their defeat to UNSW as coach Jason Payne described it as the flattest performance of the season from his team.

Western Mariners will be conscious of the challenge facing them and will be aware they must bring a greater energy to the game if they are going to compete against the defending premiers.

Matteo Maiorana seems to have his APIA team clicking into gear and will be wanting to continue the form they have showed over the last few weeks so as to maintain their position at the head of the table.

-By Sebastian Kalos

Round 7 Review - Women's State League

In yet another exciting round in the Women’s State League SD Raiders FC welcomed a pointless Parramatta FC while Western NSW Mariners FC faced UNSW and APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC welcomed St George FC.

Western NSW Mariners FC 3 (Kallie Sargent, Tegan Courtney, Jasmin Courtenay) vs UNSW 4 (Christine Lucantonio x2, Cassandra Christopher, Tahlia Nolan) Sunday 21st May, 3pm, Glen Willow Stadium

In what proved to be a highly entertaining clash UNSW came away with three points in their game against Western NSW Mariners FC.

UNSW’s win was even more impressive due to them playing three games in the space of seven days.

UNSW started the better of the two teams as they found themselves 2-0 up barely 10 minutes into the contest as Christine Lucantonio and Cassandra Christopher found the back of the net for UNSW.

In what was an even game, both teams looked to push forward and create chances as Western Mariners looked to get back into the contest which they did before half time.

Two individual mistakes from UNSW allowed the Mariners to pull level 2-2.

First Kallie Sargent grabbed one back for the Mariners after a defensive lapse for the Saints. Tegan Courtney then levelled the scores as she hit a shot from about 35 yards which looped over the UNSW goalkeeper.

Barely five minutes into the second half though UNSW went 3-2 up as Christine Lucantonio grabbed her second of the game.

In a free flowing game, the Mariners pulled level for a third time mid-way through the second half after a handball call. Goal scoring machine Jasmin Courtenay continued her free scoring ways as she converted the resulting penalty.

The action had not finished yet as UNSW then grabbed a winner with barely five minutes left on the clock as Tahlia Nolan secured the three points for UNSW.

SD Raiders FC 0 vs Parramatta FC 0, Sunday 21st May, 3pm , Ernie Smith Reserve

In what proved to be the most unexpected result of the weekend Parramatta FC picked up their first point of the year against top of the table SD Raiders FC who were left frustrated in taking a solitary point from the game.

Parramatta FC will take a lot of confidence from this performance as now look towards building into a more positive second half of the year.

SD Raiders will see this as two valuable points dropped and with the tightness of the competition will be aware they cannot afford to many more slip ups as we enter the second half of the year.

SD Raiders certainly had their chances but lacked the clinical finishing of previous weeks.

SD Raiders coach Catherine Cannuli will now be looking to get her team up for next week as they play a dangerous St George outfit.

APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC 7 (Dana Buttegeigx2, Lucy Gilfedderx2, Carla Canini, Rebecca Watts, Rachelle Wang) vs St George FC 0Sunday 21st May ,7pm, Lambert Park

In the late Sunday kick off APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC flexed their Premiership muscles as they dismantled St George FC 7-0 at Lambert Park.

St George FC had no answers for the power and speed of APIA as they were completely overrun all over the field.

APIA Leichhardt had five different scorers as Dana Buttegeig and Lucy Gilfedder both helped each other to braces while Rebecca Watts, Carla Canini and Rachelle Wang who was playing against her former team all chipped in with one each to round out the scoring.

In a clear sign of intent from the defending premiers they raced to a 4-0 half time lead as they blew St George away early on.

APIA coach Matteo Maiorana was understandably pleased with his sides performance.

“I’m extremely proud of my team, any team coached by Carlo are tough to beat and St George have always been a team we have struggled against and today coming into the game we knew we needed our best and we were”.

St George coach Carlo Tini on the other hand conceded today that his team were just not good enough against a very strong APIA team. The inability of his team to be able to handle the pace of APIA was shown in the final score-line as Carlo must now pick his team up for next Sunday’s challenge of SD Raiders FC.

-By Sebastian Kalos

Round 7 Preview - Women's State League

Round 7 serves up some tasty fixtures as in form Western NSW Mariners FC host the improving UNSW while APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC welcome a dangerous St George FC to Lambert Park with SD Raiders FC hosting Parramatta to complete round 7.

SD Raiders FC vs Parramatta FC, Sunday May 21st 3pm, Ernie Smith Reserve

In what looks a lopsided contest on paper SD Raiders FC will be confident of gaining another three points this weekend as they host the out of form Parramatta FC.

The Raiders have been consistent as always this campaign and will be looking to assert their dominance against a Parramatta outfit which is still looking for its first point of the campaign.  SD Raiders coach Catherine Cannuli though will be wary of complacency within her group and will be looking for a polished and professional performance from her team.

SD Raiders will be wary of the chasing pack as they look to keep their two-point lead at the top of the table intact.

Parramatta on the other hand will be just hoping for an improved performance and one which they can build on going into the second half of the year.

Western NSW Mariners FC vs UNSW, Sunday May 21st 3pm, Glen Willow Stadium

In what should prove to be a highly competitive contest UNSW make the trip out to face the in form Western NSW Mariners FC.

The Mariners of late have found their scoring boots led by the impressive Jasmin Courtenay who grabbed five last round against Mt Druitt.

UNSW though have been steadily improving and their positive performances this year have not always been rewarded with the three points. UNSW coach Renato Jelen will be conscious his team must start converting performances into points as they look to climb the table.

The Mariners who sit third will head into this game confident of continuing their recent winning ways as they look to keep pace with the top two. Coach Jason Payne though will be aware of the tough assignment his team face this week and will be looking again for a high-quality performance from his team if they are to take all three points.

APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC vs St George FC, Sunday May 21st 7pm, Lambert Park

In the late kick-off APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC welcome St George FC to Lambert Park.

APIA will know the importance of three points as they look to maintain the pressure on leaders SD Raiders.

St George will take heart from the battling point they earned against UNSW the previous week but coach Carlo Tini will know his young squad will have to battle even harder against a clinical APIA side.

APIA top scorer Christy Ferreyra will be looking to continue her scoring form as she bagged eight against Parramatta last outing.

Coach Matteo Maiorana will also be hoping two of the clubs youngsters Alina Stojevski and Abbey Harrison who both made their senior debuts last week will continue their positive starts to senior football if and when they are given the opportunity.  

-By Sebastian Kalos

PS4 NPL 2 Men's -Round 12 Preview

Round 12 of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues' 2 NSW Men's competition kicks off this weekend and given the unpredictable nature of the season so far, there are sure to be more surprises to mull over late on Saturday night.

St George and Spirit clash at Seymour Shaw Park in the match of the round; while in other matches, Central Coast Mariners host Bankstown City, Northern Tigers entertain Marconi Stallions, Mt Druitt Town Rangers travel to Macarthur, Western Sydney clash with Mounties, Bankstown Berries host North Shore Mariners and Blacktown Spartans journey down the road to Hills Brumbies.

St George vs Spirit FC, 7pm, Saturday 20 May, Seymour Shaw Park

St George and Spirit FC will be hoping to continue on with their winning ways when they clash in the PS4 NPL 2 NSW Men's match of the round at Seymour Shaw Park on Saturday.

Saints last week came back from a two-goal deficit to beat Bankstown City Lions 3-2; while Spirit rejuvenated their campaign with a 3-1 victory over the fancied Northern Tigers.

St George may be one of the unfashionable clubs in the league, but, courtesy of their fighting spirit and ability to sniff out a goal, they sit in outright third on the competition table.

"We're confident we can score goals against anyone," St George coach Terry Palapanis told Football NSW. "We know we've got goals in us. I think that belief is what makes us tick."

Indeed, with Spanish import Juan Carlos Romero's seven goals and another four to Stevan Ilic - who hasn't been a regular starter for most of this season - Saints are the envy of many sides in the competition who have the ability to create opportunities but struggle to finish.

Saints have amassed 22 goals this season but their Achilles heel is their defence, where they've conceded a whopping 24 goals, an issue that could come back to bite them as the season progresses.

"We've conceded some silly goals, goals that wouldn't be out of place on the comedy channel," Palapanis added. "It's individual mistakes in moments, a lack of concentration or something clumsy that's been hurting us."

Palapanis was pleased with last week's result against Bankstown but he was far from impressed with the performance.

"We couldn't string together two passes and for whatever reason our midfield couldn't get it together," he said. "So I changed tactics and played direct, taking advantage of the weapons we have up front. That worked."

When asked what he expected of Spirit this weekend, Palapanis replied: "Spirit coach David Perkovic is a mate of mine, he coached at St George. It's going to be a tricky game. It's going to be a tactical game. I expect it to be a very tight game. I've got a lot of respect for David, he's a good coach."

Meanwhile, Perkovic told Football NSW that the Round 12 clash was a crucial one for his side.

"This week is a crucial game and if we manage to get the three points then we'll definitely climb up a few spots," he said.

"Knowing that we're only three points off the top six, we have to try and remain optimistic. Having said that we're going to be tested in terms of player availability this week, which will make things more difficult against St George. But I'm sure the team will be up for it and continue the good work they put in last weekend."   

When asked what he expected of St George, Perkovic replied: "I know (St George coach) Terry Palapanis very well and they've got quality in the front. They can hurt you if you're not on your guard.

"They're third in the league at the moment but they've been inconsistent in terms of performance. But they are where they are and we have to make sure we turn up and put on a great performance."         

Central Coast Mariners vs Bankstown City, 6pm, Saturday 20 May, Pluim Park

Central Coast Mariners have the opportunity to increase the gap at the foot of the table between them and Bankstown City Lions when the two sides meet at Pluim Park on Saturday.

The young Coasters stunned Mt Druitt Town Rangers 3-0 last weekend and confidence will be high when they host a Bankstown team anchored to the foot of the table.

The Mariners played most of the Mt Druitt game with 10 men after the dismissal of Reece Papadimitrios and the youngsters were still feeling the physical effects of the effort early in the week.

"There's some physical tiredness given that they played with 10 men for three quarters of the game," Mariners coach Ben Cahn told Football NSW. "But they're level headed and they're quite a positive group so the belief has never dwindled. 

"The way the players are working at training and the way they're coming together trying to improve themselves, you'd think we were unbeaten this season and not languishing near the bottom of the table. I'm sure we'll only improve more as the season progresses."

Cahn added that while he was confident his side could do the damage against Bankstown, he was wary of a wounded Lions team and believed their league position was deceptive.

"We had two really tough games against them last year, they have some really good players and they're a difficult club to play against," Cahn said. "It'll be like any other game in this league. It'll be tough, it'll be physical, it'll be competitive. I'm sure we'll create chances and if we can take them I'm sure we'll have a good chance of winning the game. Obviously we need to build on the clean sheet against Mt Druitt and score some goals at the other end."  

Meanwhile, Bankstown City would have been gutted by their 3-2 loss to St George last week. They led 2-0 through goals to Huseyin Jasli and Aaron D'Mello and completely dominated the first half. But somehow they allowed Saints to grind their way back into the game and to steal the spoils.

Coach Mile Todoroski has used all his experience and know-how to try to steer the team away from the foot of the ladder, and while they've performed well, the results just haven't fallen their way.

Northern Tigers vs Marconi Stallions, 6.30pm, Saturday 20 May, North Turramurra Recreation Area

Northern Tigers will need to be at their very best to compete against a Marconi Stallions side that has scored 10 goals in their last two games and hold a six-point lead at the top of the table.

The Tigers have some serious injury concerns and given the inexperience of their squad, they face an uphill battle against a Stallions outfit that boasts the most talented team in the competition.

Tigers coach Mark McCormick refused to use injuries as an excuse but he admitted that his side needed to play their best football and that Marconi needed to suffer an off-day when the two sides clash at North Turramurra on Saturday.

"We've got a lot of players out but I'm not going to make excuses, we just have to deal with it," McCormick told Football NSW.

"Everyone knows Marconi's quality. Everyone knows where their players have played and the money they've spent. That's the reality. But it's a great challenge for our young team because some of their guys have played at the highest level and we want to be challenging ourselves against those boys.

"We're going to have to be at our best and we're going to have to hope that they have an off day. That's what it's going to be about. They play direct and they like to get the ball in behind early to the players who are the difference-makers for them, so they can do what they get paid to do."

Meanwhile, Marconi coach Tony Candy said that after last Saturday's 5-1 victory over Hills Brumbies, his boys were in high spirits and looking forward to facing the Tigers on Saturday.

"I think the Tigers will be fit, they'll be full of running and they'll be direct," Candy told Football NSW. "I think they'll try to get behind us and it'll be a tough game. They won't stop running for 90 minutes."

Impressed with his side's effort against Hills last Saturday, Candy added that his side's improvement in recent weeks has been due to a tougher mental approach and attitude.

"We're moving the ball forward a bit quicker than we were at the beginning of the season, that's probably the reason we've scored more goals. But the team's playing with a better attitude and mentality."  

Macarthur Rams vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers, 7pm, Saturday 20 May, Lynwood Park

Macarthur Rams will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches when they host Mt Druitt Town Rangers at Lynwood Park on Saturday night.

After a nightmare start to the season, where they couldn't win a match in five rounds - and even lost to Illawarra outfit Bulli in the opening round of the FFA Cup - the Rams have somehow turned their season around to become the form team of the competition.

Coach Eddie Briscoe has wielded his magic and created something special from a small group of players who simply fight tooth and nail for one another and, most importantly, get results. 

When asked what he expected of Mt Druitt this weekend, Briscoe replied: "They're going to be tough. Every team's tough in this league and to lose 3-0 (to Central Coast) on the weekend they're going to come out fighting."

Briscoe added that Danny Lazarevski, Kurdvan Abduljabbar and Regan Suters were under injury clouds and unlikely to play this weekend, making life extremely difficult for his small squad of players.

"They know they've got to dig in," Briscoe said of his players. "There's no reserves coming in, only under 20s players that have already played a game. So they know they've got to give it 90 minutes plus and dig in for each other."

Meanwhile, Mt Druitt will be hoping they can replicate last week's monumental FFA Cup effort against PS4 NPL Men's front-runners Blacktown City, a match they were unlucky to lose 2-1 in injury time.

"I was extremely proud of the boys," coach Aidan Desmond told Football NSW. "To compete with the best team in the state the way we did was outstanding. Unfortunately for us though, by the time Saturday came around and we had to play Central Coast, we'd run out of legs. No excuses because Central Coast played some nice football, but we weren't as sharp as usual and were battling fatigue."

Western Sydney Wanderers vs Mounties Wanderers, 7pm, Saturday 20 May, Sydney United Sports Centre

After two shock losses in as many weeks, Western Sydney Wanderers will be hoping to get their season back on track when they host Mounties Wanderers at Sydney United Sports Centre this Saturday.

Regarded by many as the only team that can deny Marconi premiership honours, the Red and Black have been playing some scintillating football, but a lack of ruthlessness in the front and rear thirds has proved costly.

Despite last week's upset loss to Bankstown Berries, Western Sydney coach Trevor Morgan said his side had moved on and they looked forward to facing a tough Mounties side.

"We try to move on from things fairly quickly and try and learn our lessons," Morgan told Football NSW. "Obviously the boys disappointed with the result on the weekend because they felt they played well enough to get more out of it. But that's the way it goes.

"Mounties are a very good side. They've given us tough games every time we've played them. Neftali Gonzalez is in a different class and he's the one player who makes them tick. I'm sure (Mounties coach) Lee (Sterrey) will have them well-drilled and he'll have a game plan to beat us because he's a very experienced coach.

"I expect every game from here to be just as tough as they have been the last few weeks and we've just got to prepare as best we can."

On the injury front, Kosta Grozos and Henry Davies have niggles and will be unavailable for selection this weekend.

Meanwhile, Mounties coach Lee Sterrey was pleased with his side's 2-1 victory over Blacktown Spartans last weekend but he'll be hoping his side treat their possession with a bit more respect against a very talented Wanderers side.

"We turned the ball over badly last Saturday and Spartans hit us on the counter and scored," Sterrey said. "We dominated territory and they hadn't even had a shot on goal at that point. But they pounced and led the game."

Western Sydney is also a side that can cause plenty of damage in transition, their mobility and ability to create opportunities in the blink of an eye will be a danger that Mounties will need to cope with for the full 90 minutes.

"Western Sydney are a top shelf side and while they've dropped a few games this year, they're structured well and they've got good young players coming through their system," Sterrey said. "They're always going to be a top two side and from my point of view I just expect a really good young football side that moves the ball well and creates opportunities from doing that. I expect them to be a very tough opponent."

Bankstown Berries vs North Shore Mariners, 7pm, Saturday 20 May, The Crest Athletic Centre

Bankstown Berries host North Shore Mariners at The Crest on Saturday and with both teams equal on 14 points, their matchup is critical as jostling for positions on the league table gathers momentum.

The Berries have provided shock value in recent weeks, defeating contenders Mounties and Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 in successive games, proving that regardless of positions on the table, any team is capable of winning on a given day.

The unfashionable club from Sydney's southwest press hard and play with a spirit and desire that is difficult to beat. They're also a mobile side and with player coach Perry Moustakas controlling things at the back, the formula is a potent one.

"We've had a strange year (so far) but we've been (competitive) in every game," Moustakas told Football NSW. "We have a great team spirit and the boys have fought hard all season."

Meanwhile, Mariners coach Joe Haywood was far from impressed with his side's loss to Macarthur last week but he expected improvement against the Berries.

"The Berries in recent years have been a good team," Haywood told Football NSW. "They've played some good football and been competitive. But I'm not too sure about them this season because they've had indifferent results. But I know that everyone at the moment can beat anybody. It'll be an interesting game to see who can get the next step up the ladder if you like. We've stuttered a little bit in the last couple of games and we need to get back on track and I'm sure they feel the same."

Haywood added while his side was disappointed with last week's loss to Macarthur, they remained upbeat and in good spirits.  

Hills Brumbies vs Blacktown Spartans, 7.30pm, Saturday 20 May, Lilys Football Centre

Hills Brumbies and Blacktown Spartans will be looking to put their respective campaigns back on track after suffering losses last weekend.

The Brumbies copped a 5-1 thumping from Marconi; while the Spartans suffered a narrow 2-1 loss to Mounties Wanderers.

Despite the setback against the Stallions, Hills coach Dan Sheppard said his team was proud of their efforts against the competition heavyweights.

"The scoreboard wasn't a true reflection of the game against Marconi," Sheppard said. "It was an interesting game, a game of two halves. We were disappointed with the result and we were disappointed with how little football Marconi actually played. It was a case of death by a thousand balls in behind. It wasn't pretty but it got them the result."

When asked what he expected of the Spartans, Sheppard replied: "Spartans will be a tough opponent, they don't have that many points and that many wins by luck. Every game is a tough game, everyone's winning and losing to everyone."

Meanwhile, Spartans coach Luis Contigiani was bitterly disappointed with his side's 2-1 defeat to Mounties last weekend.

"We were very competitive, had chances and played well. But individual errors cost us," Contigiani told Football NSW.

"We competed well against Mounties but individual mistakes cost us," Contigiani said. "My midfield turned over too much possession and because of that, changes will have to be made this week. I'm going to have to make some tough decisions."

When asked what he expected of Hills, Contigiani replied: "(Hills coach) Dan Sheppard's a positive coach and he wants to play a good brand of football. They've got a very experienced midfield and they've got speed out wide. They're not a bad team and they can play. I think it's going to be a big challenge for us because we've got a lot of key players out. It's going to be a hard one." 

Contigiani said he's expecting the next few weeks to be tough but he was hopeful his side would rise to the challenge.

The affable Spartans coach added that his side has done it tough in recent weeks. The club had six points deducted for playing a suspended player earlier in the season, a penalty that saw them drop from second equal to mid-table, while they suffered consecutive defeats for the first time; firstly a 5-0 thrashing to Marconi; followed by the 2-1 reversal against Mounties. The Spartans have also lost several players to injuries, suspension and unavailability, including Emmanuel Elali, Alessandro Pecora and Garang Awac.

"We're really on skeleton staff but we're just going to do our best, which is all we can do. As they say, you can't cry over spilt milk."

-By Derek Royal, Football NSW Reporter

PS4 NPL 2 Men's - Round 11 Review

After eleven rounds, the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues' 2 NSW Men's competition couldn't get any tighter with only eight points separating second placed Western Sydney from second-last placed Spirit FC.

With such congestion on the table, wins and losses are crucial as the midway point of the season looms large on the horizon.

Marconi Stallions extended their lead at the top of the table to six points after a 5-1 victory over a courageous Hills Brumbies at Marconi Stadium on Saturday night. The Stallions held a tenuous 2-1 lead early in the second half but with Sean Rooney and Mirjan Pavlovic in fine form, the boys in blue were good enough to capitalise on the chances that came their way.

In other matches, Central Coast Mariners humbled Mt Druitt Town Rangers 3-0; Spirit FC beat Northern Tigers 3-1; Macarthur Rams extended their unbeaten run to six matches with a 3-2 win at North Shore Mariners; Mounties Wanderers outlasted Blacktown Spartans 2-1; and in the upset of the round, Bankstown Berries edged Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0.  

Marconi Stallions 5 Hills Brumbies 1

Marconi Stallions remain on top of the PS4 NPL 2 NSW Men's competition after a 5-1 victory over a courageous Hills Brumbies at Marconi Stadium on Saturday night.

For the victors, Sean Rooney and Mirjan Pavlovic scored two goals each, while Marko Jesic grabbed one. Michael Beauchamp meanwhile, scored an own goal early in the second half.

The scoreline probably flattered the home side, who led 2-0 at the break, only to see Hills hit back a minute after the restart. That goal inspired the Brumbies, who hounded and harassed their more fancied opponents and enjoyed a brief period of dominance that lasted around 15 minutes.

Marconi looked good in the early stages of the match, but the crowd had to wait until the 13th minute for the first shot on goal, with Mirjan Pavlovic clearing the bar from just outside the box.

Hills had a half-chance four minutes later when goal-scoring ace Peter Cejka rose to head a beautifully floated corner, only to see Nenad Vekic pull off a fine save.

Hills striker Sean Mitchell then got in on the act after some good leadup work, but Vekic had no trouble dealing with his low shot.

Marconi then started to assert some authority, playing with confidence and seemingly penetrating the Brumbies defence at will. 

Peter Pelekanos rose to head a corner towards the target, only to be denied by keeper Josh Stancic.

Pavlovic then flicked on the perfect through-ball for Rooney, whose lob over Stancic went wide.

Then it was Pavlovic's turn to run onto a through-ball but again, Stancic couldn't be beaten. The Brumbies' keeper was proving to be a thorn in the Stallions' side.

Despite Stancic's heroics, Marconi finally opened the scoring in the 25th minute when Pavlovic pounced on a Hills error in midfield, before beating Stancic in a one-on-one.

Five minutes later, Hills showed some bottle and responded with strikes by Cejka and Greg Giovenali, but both efforts flew wide.

Rooney and Pavlovic continued to show their class for the Stallions; Rooney split the Hills defence with a delightful pass, but Pavlovic couldn't beat Stancic for a second time.

In the 36th minute Marko Jesic had a golden opportunity to extend Marconi's lead, but he opted to pass when he should have pulled the trigger from close range.

But it wouldn't be long before Marconi extended their lead to two goals. Peter Triantis chipped a freekick into the box from the left, Beauchamp leapt high to head across the goalmouth and Rooney volleyed home brilliantly to give the Stallions a 2-0 advantage, a lead they'd hold until halftime.

During his halftime team talk, Brumbies coach Dan Sheppard told his side that they were giving Marconi too much respect and he demanded they start the second half with aggression and intent.

The players responded brilliantly and within a minute, had bridged the gap to 2-1 after Beauchamp was pressured into conceding an own goal.

The Brumbies' confidence rose and they continued to press. Wade Giovenali unleashed a shot from long range, while brother Greg fired a freekick over the bar. The visitors began to play with composure and turned on some delightful free-flowing football.

But despite their mini-revival, Pavlovic and Rooney continued to cause mayhem.

In the 53rd minute Pavlovic unleashed a brilliant shot on goal, only to see Stancic pull off an equally brilliant save. Pavloic v Stancic had become something of a battle within the battle.

Just on the hour mark, the Brumbies came within a whisker of equalising when a delightful low cross from the left breached the Marconi defence. An unmarked Cejka stretched for the ball just outside the six yard box but unfortunately the Number 91 was unable to touch the leather past Vekic and into the back of the net.   

The Brumbies' revival continued when Matias Toro Suazo dispossessed Dhari Alsaad, only to narrowly miss the opportunity to equalise.

But after a short period of dominance, the Brumbies couldn't stop Marconi from extending their lead to 3-1 when Jesic tapped home after brilliant leadup work by Rooney, whose ability to create and finish had become a significant feature of the game.

Despite the quality of the finish, Brumbies coach Dan Sheppard was adamant that the goal was scored from an offside position and the decision to allow it ultimately cost his side the game.

In the 79th minute Rooney was at it again, threading a perfect low cross for Pavlovic, who hooked his shot wide.

But five minutes later Rooney capitalised on a poor mistake by Stancic, who inexplicably rolled the ball into the path of the Stallions ace who slotted home one of the easiest goals he'll score this season.

The error was a blow to Stancic but it didn't take away the fact that the brave Brumbies keeper had kept his side in the game with his heroics between the sticks.

The keeper made amends for his blunder in the 90th minute, diving bravely at Pavlovic's feet, but he couldn't deny Marconi a fifth goal when Pavlovic finished yet another inch-perfect pass from Rooney two minutes into stoppage time.

The scoreline may have flattered Marconi and the Brumbies were definitely not a four-goal inferior side, but the Stallions' ability to create opportunities and score goals proved to be the major difference between the two teams.

"I thought we were pretty positive in our approach to the game," Marconi coach Tony Candy told Football NSW. "I thought we played with lots of speed, lots of energy. I thought Pav and Rooney were very good today, they've been in good form the past couple of weeks especially with Rooney coming back the last two weeks. He scored a hat-trick last week and grabbed another two tonight. The team's playing with a good mentality.

"We're probably moving the ball forward a bit quicker than we were at the beginning of the season; that's probably the reason why we're scoring more goals. It's just our mentality and the attitude of the players.

Candy added that Hills were "quite positive in the early part of the second half", a time when his side didn't control the midfield. "Conceding a goal was disappointing but I think that after we scored the third goal their heads dropped a little bit and we regained control of the game."

Meanwhile, a disappointed Brumbies coach Dan Sheppard thought the contest was a game of two halves.

"I thought it was an interesting game, a game of two halves," Sheppard told Football NSW. "The scoreline flatters the home team a little bit and isn't a true reflection of the game.

"The money they've spent on the players they've got was probably the biggest difference between the two sides. In the crucial moments some of those players have just got that little bit better experience and better quality.

"It was a case of death by a thousand balls in behind. It's tough to play football and impress when you're defending a ball that's always behind you or the referee doesn't pick up an offside in what was probably the biggest moment that changed the game."

Marconi Stallions 5 (Mirjan Pavlovic 2, Sean Rooney 2, Marko Jesic) Hills Brumbies 1 (Michael Beauchamp o.g.)

Marconi Stadium

Saturday 13 May 2017

Referee: Adam Naylor

Marconi Stallions: 1. Nenad Vekic (GK), 2. Stefan Dubocanin, 4. Dhari Alsaad (16. Aron Berg 84'), 5. Michael Beauchamp, 7. Mirjan Pavlovic, 8. Sean Rooney, 10. Marko Jesic (11. Sam Perre 78'), 14. Peter Pelekanos, 18. Peter Triantis (19. Eros Bergamin 75'), 22. Brandon Vella, 23. Christopher Nunes, 25. Sam Burfoot.

Subs: 21. Kristian Sekuthoski, 40. Fabian Monge

Yellow Cards: Peter Pelekanos 72'

Coach: Tony Candy

Hills Brumbies: 1. Josh Stancic (GK), 6. Bradley Robertson (24. Nathan Rayner), 7. Wade Giovenali, 8. Eoin Montford, 9. Sean Mitchell, 11. Daine Merrin (C), 15. Matias Toro Suazo (21. Nick Dimitriadis 79'), 16. Greg Giovenali, 17. Brendon Hoyer, 19. Glenn Kelshaw (3. Nicholas Pradenas Meza 82'), 91. Peter Cejka.

Subs: 28. Kieran Pace, 69. Alastair Bruce

Yellow Cards: Daine Merrin 45', Glenn Kelshaw 53', Matias Toro Suazo 72', Wade Giovenali 85'

Coach: Dan Sheppard

Mt Druitt Town Rangers 0 Central Coast Mariners 3

Central Coast Mariners showed their true colours when they beat Mt Druitt Town Rangers 3-0 at Popondetta Park on Saturday night.

Peter Kekeris, Duncan Stewart and Lachlan Wales scored the goals that gave the young academy side their victory. 

Kekeris opened the scoring in the 30th minute but just when the Mariners began to establish some control, Reece Papadimitrios was dismissed from the field five minutes later after receiving a second yellow card.

Surprisingly, rather than struggle with a man short, the Mariners found an extra gear and played with a joie de vivre that delivered a much-needed victory.

Striker Duncan Stewart extended his side's lead to 2-0 just shy of halftime and Lachlan Wales completed the scoring with a 65th minute penalty, earning the Mariners a result that delighted coach Ben Cahn.

"We've been playing really well all season and I always believed it was only a matter of time before the results started coming," Cahn told Football NSW. "Mt Druitt had a tough midweek FFA Cup game (against Blacktown City) so we knew that if we played a high tempo game with good intensity it would be difficult for them to back up and compete with us.

"The game started pretty even and we scored without being too dominant. But when we went down to 10 men we lifted and they didn't threaten us at all."

The Mariners went into the match second-last on the competition table but for weeks Cahn has been proud of his side's performances and their potential. 

"I've over the moon with the boys because despite some bad results and some negative comments from outside (the Mariners group), we've been outstanding," Cahn said. "Given the morale, belief and positivity amongst the group at training, you'd think we were unbeaten this season and not languishing near the bottom of the table. 

"The way the players are working, the way they're coming together trying to improve themselves, they've worked really hard on balancing their individual career prospects and developing a really positive team environment, and they've taken a lot of leadership and a lot of accountability for themselves. I'm sure we will only see more improvement for the rest of the season."    

Meanwhile, Rangers coach Aidan Desmond admitted that his side struggled after taking a full strength Blacktown City side to extra time in their midweek FFA Cup match. But he wasn't using that as an excuse.

"We had some good patches through the game against Central Coast but we struggled to get back up after (playing for) two hours on Wednesday night," Desmond told Football NSW. "The boys weren't as sharp as usual and they were battling fatigue. But credit to Central Coast, they exploited that and did what they had to do. They played some nice football. You couldn't fault our desire and commitment but we just didn't have the legs."

Mt Druitt Town Rangers 0 Central Coast Mariners 3 (Peter Kekeris, Duncan Stewart, Lachlan Wales)

Popondetta Park

Saturday 13 May 2017

Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 1. Carlos Saliadarre (GK), 2. Hiten Satoh, 3. Brian Griffin-Colls, 5. David Mavisa, 6. Alexander Vlismas, 7. Chriss Loucos, 8. Matthew Clowes, 9. Mitchell Mclintock, 10. Nathan Ralph, 12. Nicholas Trimble, 14. Daniel Mccann, 16. Scott Goodwin, 17. Aram Tayebi Derazkala, 18. Jamie Dib, 21. Joel Tinker (GK), 23. Lachlan Roberts, Kuag Reec

Yellow Cards: Matthew Clowes Nick Trimble

Coach: Aidan Desmond

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Adam Pearce (GK), 4. Reece Papadimitrios, 5. Jake McGuinness, 6. James Enticknap, 7. Lachlan Wales, 8. Thomas Lyons, 9. Brenton Fox, 10. Duncan Stewart, 11. Peter Kekeris, 12. Yerasimakis Petratos, 14. Sean Pratt, 16. Gianni Stensness, 17. Jack Kuipers, 18. Steve Whyte, 20. Aidan Munford (GK)

Red Cards: Reece Papadimitrios

Coach: Ben Cahn

Spirit FC 3 Northern Tigers 1

Spirit FC came back from a goal down to snatch a brave 3-1 victory over Northern Tigers at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday night.

Chris Godoy Bascur, Christopher Gomez and Brad Gibson scored for the home side, while Ally Brown grabbed one for the visitors.

Spirit languished in second-last place on the league ladder before kickoff, but they were too good for a third-placed Tigers side that has been decimated by injuries. With no fewer than five starters from their first team unavailable, the Tigers struggled to compete against a Spirit side that finally played somewhere close to their full potential.

"We haven't won three points for a number of weeks so it was a great result for us, a much needed result," Spirit coach David Perkovic told Football NSW.

"I knew how Northern Tigers would set up and we tried to prepare for that during the week. But despite our preparation, it was still a bit of a surprise when we actually faced them in the game."

An Ally Brown free kick gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead midway through the first half, but within 10 minutes goal poacher Chris Godoy Bascur equalised for Spirit.

"Chris's goal was a good reward for our efforts and we slowly crept back into the game," Perkovic said. "In the second half, neither side really asked too many questions of each other but unlike previous weeks we capitalised on our opportunities." 

Chris Gomez gave Spirit a 2-1 lead before Brad Gibson sealed the victory with a late goal.

"I was really happy for Chris Gomez to score in only his second game back from serious injury, which will give him a lot of confidence," Perkovic said.

When asked to name his standouts, Perkovic replied: "It was really a group effort but Chris Godoy Bascur was always dangerous on the ball, while Chris Gomez worked really hard defensively and got his reward with a goal. I thought Yuya Samba played really well in the middle of the park and closed down the opposition really well. Our backline also played well. Those little lapses in concentration still need to be addressed but overall I was very pleased with our performance and very pleased that we converted our chances."

Meanwhile, Northern Tigers coach Mark McCormick said that after controlling the game for the first 25 minutes, his side lost concentration and let Spirit back into the game.

"We were in control of the game in the first 25 minutes and looked comfortable," McCormick told Football NSW. "We just dropped concentration and allowed Spirit to get back into the game. The second half they were the better team for the first 10-15 minutes and they got a goal. They scored their third in injury time when we were pushing forward for an equaliser."

When asked what the difference was between the two sides, McCormick replied: "Spirit took their chances and we allowed them to come back into the game. That was the difference.

"We played really well in patches but we also lost concentration in patches, but with a young team you're always going to get these inconsistencies."  

Spirit FC 3 (Chris Godoy Bascur, Chris Gomez, Brad Gibson) Northern Tigers 1 (Ally Brown)

Valentine Sports Park

Saturday 13 May 2017

Spirit FC: 1. Murray Nelson (GK), 3. Jack Musgrave, 4. Michael Streeter, 5. Andy Robertson, 7. Jake Harris, 8. Grant Cornwell, 9. Chris Godoy Bascur, 10. Chris Gomez, 12. Louis Bozanic, 16. Sidhya Malhotra, 17. Yuya Samba, 18. Bradley Gibson, 20. Adrian Epifanino, 21. Zoran Kolundzic, 26. James Webb (GK)

Northern Tigers: 1. Harrison Devenish-Meares (GK), 3. Jamie Craig, 4. Michael Rolston, 5. Ally Brown, 6. Jordan Ferrier, 7. Joel Hardwick, 10. Lucas Dawson, 11. Lachlan Hughes, 13. Paul Turrin, 16. M Wyatt, 17. H McAlister, 19. Ryan Peterson, 23. W Foristal, 26. John Bachelard, 29. Jordan Smylie, 40. Benjamin Taylor.

Yellow Cards: Jamie Craig, Jordan Ferrier, W. Foristal

Coach: Mark McCormick

Bankstown City 2 St George 3

In a tale of two halves, a courageous St George came back from two goals down to beat Bankstown City Lions 3-2 at Jensen Park on Sunday.

Huseyin Jasli and Aaron D'Mello scored for the Lions while Ali Nasreddine, Daniel Loe and Stevan Ilic replied for St George.

Bankstown were by far the better side in the first half and it came as no surprise when Jasli opened the scoring in the 20th minute. D'Mello then extended Bankstown's lead to 2-0 in the 39th, but Nasreddine struck a blow a minute into stoppage time, giving St George hope and the psychological advantage that comes with scoring just before the break.

Down 2-1 at the halftime, Saints coach Terry Palapanis made some substitutions and decided to play a more direct style in the second half. The tactical change worked a treat as Loe equalised in the 81st minute before goal-poacher Stevan Ilic stole the winner three minutes before fulltime.

Palapanis was delighted with the win, but not so impressed with his side's performance.

"It was a really tight game but we weren't having much joy in the first half so I changed my philosophy and played a bit more direct," Palapanis told Football NSW. "Steve Ilic came on at halftime and I played two up top and it actually worked.

"But to be fair we didn't deserve to win. I thought they were unlucky and missed more chances than we did. It was just a good old fashioned grind and we went all out for a win. At two-all I felt that Bankstown wanted to settle for a draw but we believed we could score and we did.

"We weren't great. Take away the goals and we weren't good at all. But I'll take the points. We had a bit of desperation about us and now we're third on the ladder. We can score goals and that's what you need to do, especially when you're not playing well."

Bankstown City 2 (Huseyin Jasli, Aaron D'Mello) St George 3 (Ali Nasreddine, Daniel Loe, Stevan Ilic)

Jensen Park

Sunday 14 May 2017

Bankstown City: 1. Dion Shaw (GK), 2. Adem Kir, 5. Jeffrey Issa, 6. Aaron D'Mello, 7. Bruno Pivato, 8. David Mcmurray, 9. Nikola Todoroski, 10. Hussein Akil, 11. Huseyin Jasli, 12. Steven Valeski, 14. Mate Lucic, 21. Harry Timms, 26. J. Gorgovski, 27. Antonio Gauci

Coach: Mile Todoroski  

St George: Matt Lynch (GK), 3. Ali Nasreddine, 4. Jonathan Kontalis, 5. Jayden Mcleod, 6. Zac Ribeiro, 7. Robbie Deasy, 8. Tarik Ercan (C), 9. Stevan Ilic, 10. Nicholas Paras, 11. Orman Okunaiya, 14. Jacob Bandur, 16. Daniel Loe, 17. Rino Zenari, 18. David Ilic, 19. Anthony Morabito, 20. Juan Carlos Romero, 34. Daniel Mitwali, 38. M. Kotzambasis, 45. Anthony Barca.

Yellow Cards: Rino Zenari, R Deasy, T Ercan

Coach: Terry Palapanis

Mounties Wanderers 2 Blacktown Spartans 1

Mounties Wanderers came back from a goal down to defeat Blacktown Spartans 2-1 in a tight struggle at Valentine Sports Park on Sunday.

Alex Boyadjian opened the scoring for the Spartans in the 42nd minute, only for Michael Cklamovski to equalise two minutes later. Mitchell Davidson then sealed victory for Mounties in the 70th minute. 

"I'm having a beer and it's tasting a lot better than it did last week (after a 1-0 defeat to Bankstown Berries)," Mounties coach Lee Sterrey told Football NSW.

"It was a good performance and it was a pretty even game. We had two good chances in the first 30 minutes and we probably controlled the tempo of the game and the pace of the game.

"The Spartans sit pretty deep and wait for you to play a bad ball and they pounce on the counter. They're a good young team on the break. But you've just got to control the football in certain areas and not turn it over."

Unfortunately for Sterrey his words proved to be prophetic as his side turned the ball over in midfield and in a flash the Spartans pounced to score the opening goal of the game.

"We turned the ball over badly on the halfway line and because we'd committed people forward, they hit us on the counter and scored," Sterrey said. "We dominated territory and they hadn't even had a shot on goal at the point. But they pounced and led the game."

Mounties bounced back immediately through Michael Cklamovski just before the halftime break, allowing the home side to go to the sheds with the score locked at one-all.

"It was good to go into the break at one-all," Sterrey said. "And at halftime I talked to them about not turning the ball over because of the Spartans ability to counter. I respect Spartans for that. They're young and they're quick on the break.

"I brought Mitchell Davidson on and he finished a good movement to give us a 2-1 lead in the 70th minute. We then sat pretty deep and controlled the game and held on for the result.

"We missed some chances to be honest but the turning point was the equaliser which allowed us to go into halftime at one-one."

Sterrey said there were some good individual performances from his side, with Noah Chianese having a strong game up front and working hard for the team; while captain Neftali Gonzalez and Japanese Hiroto Takuichi were excellent.

Meanwhile, Spartans coach Luis Contigiani was bitterly disappointed with the result.

"We were very competitive, had chances and played well," Contigiani told Football NSW. "But individual errors cost us.

"When Mounties took the lead they put five at the back. They're big, they're strong and they're aggressive players. We tried but we just couldn't break them."

"Today we competed well and in my mind the game was destined for a draw. But individual mistakes cost us. My midfield turned over too much possession and because of that, changes will have to be made this week. I'm going to have to make some tough decisions."

To make matters even more difficult, the Spartans have been without Garang Awac, who has been on holiday for the past fortnight, while Emmanuel Elali faces a five-week suspension after being red carded against Marconi in Round 10, a decision the club will appeal.

"That's big blow for us and we've had to bring up under-20s players because we're short of players. We don't have the luxury that other clubs have where we can replace good players with players of equal quality off the bench. With what I have we're trying to be as competitive as we can. But when we shoot ourselves in the foot like we did today, we make it so hard on ourselves.

"I play the way I play because with what I have and the players' inexperience, it's a system of football that can win you games. You sit deep and you're very compact and very structured and you hit quickly on the counter. You push numbers forward and once you lose the ball you get back again. This style frustrates teams and we let them have the ball. Eventually they make a mistake and we push forward and punish them.

"Everything was going to plan today but as I said, individual errors cost us the game. So we're going to have to review player lineups and personnel. But I'm going to be as positive as I can be and we start all over again next week."      

Mounties Wanderers 2 (Michael Cklamovski, Mitchell Davidson) Blacktown Spartans 1 (Alex Boyadjian)

Valentine Sports Park

Sunday 14 May 2017

Mounties Wanderers: 1. Jair Fernandez, 4. Todd Halloran, 6. Anthony Schmidt, 7. Neftali Gonzalez, 9. Michael Gaitatzis, 11. Mitchell Davidson, 13. Pasqualino Cappuccio, 14. Noah Chianese, 17. B. Ansah, 18. Michael Cklamovski, 20. Reid Taylor, 21. Alexander Josipovic, 28. Hiroto Tokuichi, 29. Jake Ingle, 33. Zac Zfiligoi

Coach: Lee Sterrey   

Blacktown Spartans: 42. Jacob Forster (GK), 2. Daisan Kim, 3. Emmanuel Elali, 4. Tiano Boutoubia, 5. James Letta, 6. Mohamad Rahimi, 7. Michael Konestabo, 8. Aaron White, 10. Kojiro Hori, 11. Alex Boyadijan, 12. Alessandro Pecora, 13. Brendon Bezzina, 16. Alessandro Pecora, 20. Mitchell Cross

Coach: Luis Contigiani

North Shore Mariners 2 Macarthur Rams 3

Macarthur Rams extended their unbeaten streak to an amazing six games with a 3-2 defeat of North Shore Mariners at Northbridge Oval on Sunday.

Damien Travis (2) and Frank Martey scored for the Rams while Mitch Smith and Toth replied for the Mariners.

Travis opened the scoring for the Rams in the 14th minute but the Mariners equalised from a set play just on the stroke of halftime.

Rams coach Eddie Briscoe wasn't impressed with his side's lapse in concentration - a trait that has hurt them in previous weeks - but his boys responded well on the hour mark, striking twice in quick succession.

Frank Martey slotted home a penalty and Travis tucked away his second goal after some nice interplay.

Chasing the game, North Shore then pushed forward and played very direct, pumping long balls into the penalty area. The tactic worked and they bridged the gap to 3-2 with just four minutes remaining, making for a rather frenetic ending. But try as hard as they did, the home side couldn't equalise, giving the Rams yet another victory and their highest placing in the league so far this season.

"The boys battled, they fought, they chased. They played a good team and got a result so we're doing something right," Rams coach Eddie Briscoe told Football NSW.

"We've still got the same players with the same problems but I think they believe in themselves more now and their confidence is building. They know they've got to dig in; there's no reserves coming in, only under 20s that have already played a game so they know they've got to give it 90 minutes plus and they're digging in for each other.

"We've been lucky in certain areas but we're making luck as well. It's positive but it's still hard work."

North Shore Mariners 2 (Smith, Toth) Macarthur Rams 3 (Travis 2, Martey)

Northbridge Oval

Sunday 14 May 2017

North Shore Mariners: 1. D. Maunder, 3. Chris Lindsay, 4. James Scott, 6. Ricky Woodward, 7. Joe Esposito, 8. Mitch Arcosa, 9. S. Tonkin, 10. Brayden Cheng, 11. Freddy Ankumah-Sey, 13. Marquin Smith, 18. Mitch Smith, 21. Aaron Davis, 27. Robbie Kerr, 28. Michael Stojanovski, 33. Tadgh Purcell, 36. Stefan Giglio (GK)         

Yellow Cards: Mitch Arcosa, Tadgh Purcell

Coach: Joe Haywood

Macarthur Rams: 1. Nikola Matic, 2. Craig Cooley, 3. Danny Lazarevski, 8. Matthew Trotter, 10. Ben Cornish, 11. Damien Travis, 13. Alex Lazarevski, 14. Kurdvan Abduljabbar, 15. Mason Versi, 16. Mitch Di Pietro, 17. Sho Arakawa, 19. Jordan Ward, 27. Regan Suters.

Yellow Cards: Danny Lazarevski, Frank Martey, Simon Valastro

Western Sydney Wanderers 0 Bankstown Berries 1

Bankstown Berries continued their good run of form with an upset 1-0 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers at Lilys Football Centre on Sunday.

The win follows last week's 1-0 win over Mounties Wanderers and sees the Berries join North Shore Mariners, Hills Brumbies and Blacktown Spartans in sixth-equal position on the ladder.

Wanderers coach Trevor Morgan praised Bankstown for their approach to the game and their ability to adhere to a gameplan.

"The Berries are capable of playing some very good football," Morgan told Football NSW. "So congratulations to them on the win. We didn't make enough of our opportunities so we can't cry about it. We have to improve. There were some chances we shouldn't have missed but we did and we were punished. These are lessons that the kids are playing in this league for. Against kids of their own age the picture is very different. That's the whole point of us doing what we're doing. These are the games we need and the kids are learning some lessons."

Despite the loss, Morgan said his young side played some excellent football.

"Some of the football was very proactive, some good combination play, some excellent football," he said. "They're learning the way the club wants to play but you have to have an end product and that's what this season's all about.

"The Berries had a gameplan and they took their chance. They used the ball effectively when they had it. They played to their strengths and they played with great character and determination. That's what football's about at senior level. They had a plan and they stuck with it.

"I think in previous weeks (Berries coach) Perry (Moustakas) has said they've probably deserved more than they've got and today they got a result that they've been deserving for a while. So good for them."

Indeed, Moustakas has been saying all season that results haven't been fair on his side but with their fighting spirit and commitment to the cause, the Berries have showed that on their day, they can trouble anyone.

"We have a great team spirit and the boys have fought hard all season," Moustakas said. "There's still a long way to go but we'll take the three points and move on."

Western Sydney Wanderers 0 Bankstown Berries 1

Lilys Football Centre

Sunday 14 May 2017

Western Sydney Wanderers: 2. Lachlan Campbell, 5. Mathieu Cordier, 6. Cameron Devlin, 8. Charles Abou Serhal, 9. Kyle Cimenti, 10. Emmanuel Gonzalez, 15. B. Currey, 16. Jerry Skotakis, 18. Oliver Puflett, 20. Daniel Axford (GK), 22. Matthew Lecce, 24. Tate Russell, 26. Jackson Bandiera, 40. Nick Suman (GK), 50. Tariq Maia

Bankstown Berries: 1. Chad Taylor (GK), 2. Dominic Tripodi, 3. D. Di Ruocco, 5. James Combes, 6. M. Farmer, 7. Kyle Ewart, 8. Domenic Hudap, 10. V. Giannini, 11. A. Vais, 12. Jake Bradshaw, 14. J. Bittar, 15. Perry Moustakas, 17. D. Fornito, 19. H. Tomohiro, 20. N. Mouzourakis, 21. J. Dimitrakas.

-By Derek Royal - Football NSW Reporter

Round 6 Review - Women's State League

n another intriguing round UNSW made the tricky trip out to face St George FC while Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC made the long journey to face Western NSW Mariners FC and APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC squared off against bottom of the table Parramatta FC.

Match of the Round

St George FC vs UNSW

UNSW made the trip out to face St George FC with both teams knowing the importance of three points.

In overcast conditions, UNSW started in a confident mood as they maintained the early possession.

St George FC though opened the scoring barely two minutes in as Amy Bennet used her pace to latch onto a threw ball which she slotted with aplomb past UNSW goalkeeper Bronte Finegan.

It was an ideal start for the young St George team as they looked to utilise their pace on the break especially through the always dangerous Bennet.

UNSW looked to maintain possession and fired their shot on target through midfielder Miranda Summersby-Mitchell which the St George goalkeeper did well to get down to.

St George provided a constant threat on the break and some lovely interplay between Bennet and Marissa Nicopoulos ended in Nicopoulos forcing a good save out of UNSW keeper Finegan as she lashed a shot in from a tight angle.

Chances were at a premium though as the first half went on as both teams struggled for any real fluency.

UNSW for all their possession failed to really test the St George keeper as St George’s defence held resolutely.

UNSW ‘s only real goal threats occurred from shots outside of the box as they struggled to get around the St George rearguard.

The final chance of the half fell to St George as Antonia Sarikakis held off the UNSW challenges to create enough space to hit a shot from the edge of the box. Her shot failed to test Finegan in goals though as it was hit straight at the UNSW goalkeeper.

The second half nearly started in horrible fashion for UNSW as an errant cross field pass nearly presented St George the chance to extend the margin if not for some desperate scrambling defence.

UNSW as in the first half quickly started to dominate possession and territory though as St George again looked to counter on the break.

St George’s counter attacking formation nearly paid dividends in the 53rd minute as Jess Fearns broke through only to see her heavy touch well smothered by Finegan in goals.

The game slowly began to stretch as UNSW continued to search for an equaliser which they nearly found in the 62nd minute through the head of Cassandra Christopher as she jumped to meet a cross only to see hear goal-bound header palmed wide.

UNSW continued to ramp up the pressure as Lara Campbell saw her free kick well saved in the 67thminute.

The equaliser though eventually did come in the 69th minute via the boot of UNSW number 10 Christine Lucantonio as she ran onto a superb threw ball before slotting her effort into the far corner.

UNSW pressed for a winner but St George continued to battle and scrap as they held on for point.

St George coach Carlo Tini was proud of his team for the courage they showed considering the injuries his team has had to contend with over the last few weeks.

“Score was 1-1, in true fairness it was a victory for us”.

Renato Jelen on the other hand was disappointed his UNSW team could not convert their possession and territorial dominance into three points.

Match Stats

St George FC 1( Amy Bennet 2’)

UNSW 1( Christine Lucantonio 69’)

Sunday 14th of May, 2017

St George Stadium

St George FC: 6. Amy Bennet, 3. Lauren Gardner, 17.Jacobi Kitchen-Gurney, 23. Peta Koinis, 24. Julia Mamo, 26. Ashley Miller, 9. Marissa Nicopoulos (2.Serena Bornze 69’), 4. Antonia Sarikakis, 12. Paloma Shrestha, 7. Carla Smith (30.Hayley Webster 50’), 5. Theoni Thimakis. 15. Jess Fearns

Substitutes not used: 22. Anastasia Lathouras O’ Sullivan, 21.Monica Bomze

Yellow Cards: 24.Julia Mamo 85, 17.Jacobi Kitchen-Gurney 89

UNSW: 3. Charlotte Bridson, 35.Lara Campbell, 4.Tara Casserly, 21.Cassandra Christopher(7.Ashlee Sutherland 83), 22.Heidi Cummings, 11.Summer Dann, 1.Bronte Finegan, 5.Donna Helm, 10.Christine Lucantonio, 36.Miranda Summersby-Mitchell, 8.Nicole Zwahlen

Substitutes not used: 2.Nicole Adam, 6.Claudia Bruno,20.Emma Mccarthy, 9.Tahlia Nolan

Western NSW Mariners FC 9 (Jasmin Courtenay 5, Tegan Courtenay 1, Chloe Lanham 1, Christie Collingridge 2) vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC 1 (Stephanie Trovato 1)

In a game of contrasting halves Western NSW Mariners FC ran out 9-1 victors over visitors Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC as Jasmin Courtenay continued her outstanding form by helping herself to five goals for the Mariners.

In what was a disappointing afternoon for Mt Druitt, the away side were unable to continue their positive performances of late as the loss of key players to injuries seemed to disrupt their flow.

In saying this Mt Druitt did create chances but were unable to convert a number if one-on-one opportunities which may have changed the direction of the contest.

The Mariners in contrast, continued their recent good run as they overran Mt Druitt in the second half.

Mariners coach Jason Payne was pleased with his teams application especially in the second half.

The first half was a tight affair as the Mariners found themselves 2-0 up at the break before running away with the contest in the second half.  

Parramatta FC 0 vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC 13 ( Christy Ferreyra 8, Dana Buttegeig 2, Alina Stojevski 2, Lucy Gildfedder 1)

APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC continued their impressive unbeaten start to the year as they comprehensively defeated Parramatta FC 13-0.

In a game where APIA were never really challenged, last years golden boot winner Christy Ferreyra helped herself to 8 goals, while 15 year old debutant Alina Stojevski helped herself to a second half double.

In more positive news for APIA, 16-year-old Abbey Harrison also made her first half debut as a second half substitute.

Parramatta FC on the other hand continue to struggle and will be hoping for a better second half of the season.

-By Sebastian Kalos

Round 6 pReview - Women's State League

Round 6 again showcases some intriguing matches as Western NSW Mariners FC host Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC while St George FC host an in form UNSW and Parramatta face a tough assignment at home as they host APIA Leichhardt Tigers a FC.

Western NSW Mariners FC vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC, Sunday 14th May 3pm, Proctor Park

In what shapes as an interesting contest Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC make the long trip out to face an in form Western NSW Mariners FC.

The Mariners will be full of confidence after a come from behind victory against St George FC last week. Mariners coach Jason Payne though will be wary of a Mt Druitt team which is improving each week under the tutelage of Danny Abboud.

 

The importance of 3 points be high on the priority list as they sit 3rd and 4th respectively and will see this game as an opportunity to continue the positive starts to the year.

In what should be a close and competitive contest both teams should provide plenty going forward in a game that should produce plenty of entertainment.

 

St George FC vs UNSW, Sunday 14th May 3pm, St George Stadium

The match of the round, St George FC welcome UNSW with both teams coming off contrasting results. UNSW found their scoring groove against Parramatta as they slotted 7 and coach Renato Jelen will be hoping his team can continue this goal scoring spree.

St George FC in contrast will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 3-2 loss against Western NSW after finding themselves 2-0 up early. Coach Carlo Tini will be hoping for a more clinical showing from his girls this time around as their wastefulness proved to be costly against Western NSW.

 

The teams find themselves level on 3 points each and will be both looking to keep in touch with the top 4. The ability of both teams to find the back of the net has been highlighted early on this season with this game promising to bring about plenty of goal mouth action.

 

Parramatta FC vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC, Sunday 14th May 4.30, Melita Stadium

In the late kick-off APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC travel to Parramatta FC and will be expecting to continue their unbeaten start to the year.

Parramatta FC have struggled throughout the start of this year and will be again in for a tough afternoon against the defending Premiers.

 

APIA on the other hand will be refreshed after the bye and coach Matteo Maiorana will be expecting his team to continue the form which has them in second spot. There only looks like one winner from this game but Parramatta supporters will be hoping their team can show some improvement and at least be competitive against very well drilled and highly effective APIA outfit.

-By Sebastian Kalos