ROUND 19 – NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES 2 NSW WOMENS PREVIEW

Madonna had only four minutes to save the world, thankfully National Premier League 2 Womens sides have four weeks to either save, improve or maintain their seasons. With another exciting weekend of action forthcoming, let’s get into the preview.

St George FC vs UNSW FC, Sunday 15 July, 3pm, St George Stadium

Down where the city meets the sea, UNSW FC and St George FC will come together at St George Stadium, looking to continue their recent purple patch of form.

The students aced their test at Valentine Sports Park last week, UNSW went on a scoring spree as they blasted eight goals past finals hopeful, Gladesville Ravens. For St George FC, they came up against a raging Stallions side and conceded five in their loss.

Whilst both these teams are out of the finals contention, there is still pride and points to play for as the teams aim to finish the season with the trademark momentum. UNSW FC will be looking to make it a season double over the hosts as they triumphed 3-nil back in Round eight.

Renato Jelen will want his side to continue to play their style of football with striker Amy Altman being the vocal point for their attack. The pacey striker netted a hat-trick last weekend and might have an eye for a similar haul against the Saints.

For St George FC goals have been a feature of all their contests this season. Whether it has been going into their net or the opponents, we are guaranteed entertainment. Grace Ha and Marissa Nicopoulos have been standouts for the home side and will play vital roles in trying to secure three points in a tight contest.

Western NSW Mariners vs Sydney Olympic FC, Sunday 15 July, 3pm, Majorie Jackson Field

Following their detour to Nowra last weekend, Western NSW Mariners return home to the mammoth task of breaking Sydney Olympic FC’s undefeated streak, at Majorie Jackson Field in Lithgow.

Powered by donuts, Sydney Olympic FC dispatched SD Raiders, one of their possible finals challengers 4-1 to move a step closer to promotion whilst Western NSW squeaked past Southern Branch in a high tempo encounter.

Two figures will be central to Western NSW causing the upset. Jess Daymond between the sticks needing to quell an Olympic side that has scored in all 17 of their games thus far. Second is Poorsha Mcphillamy in marshaling the defense to not allow the broken pieces of play that allow the premiers to thrive.

For the blue and white, they just need to keep doing what they have been. Tireless work from their defense and midfield find room for lethal marksmen Lieke De Bever and Madelaine Costanzo, if the former can find the net again, it might be a long afternoon for the Mariners.

Gladesville Ravens vs Southern Branch FC, Sunday 15 July, 3pm, Christie Park

In the unfamiliar seventh place, Gladesville Ravens want to soar back into the finals calculations as they host last place, Southern Branch, Sunday afternoon at the pristine Christie Park.

Once Gladesville has got over the horror show that was their heavy defeat to UNSW FC which took a mallet to their goal difference, they to re-find their defensive structures led by central figure Alex Beattie, that helped them into this position. If they get that right, and find Emily Diaz on the counter it might turn their nightmare into a sweet dream.

Southern Branch has shown that on their day, the team from the south coast has the energy to surprise any side, and if they can spoil the Ravens finals aspiration, with a repeat of the performance against UNSW FC in their sole win of the campaign.

Central Coast Mariners vs Inter Lions, Sunday 15 July, 3pm, IFS

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Mariners, as they come back to IFS looking to re-establish second position against eight placed Inter Lions on a wonderful coastal Sunday afternoon.

After their dominant start to the season, a pair of losses to Nepean FC and SD Raiders with a Mariners derby success sandwiched between, has the Mariners only two points ahead of the Raiders in second making for a tense run home.

Further to this, the Mariners were kept scoreless for the first time all season against Nepean. Candice Phelan is being closed in for the top-scorer by De Bever. These two played out a tense clash last time out but if the Mariners can fix their finishing, they can rebound successfully.

Inter Lion’s upswing might have been a false dawn. Three victories were followed by the same amount of defeats, and now, finals football might be out of reach. The Lions have the talent led by Natasha Pentecost and Kirilee Cook to possibly pile onto the Mariners misery.

SD Raiders vs Nepean FC, Sunday 15 July, 6pm, Ernie Smith Reserve

For our first night time kick-off, we have a tasty encounter between two electric sides as SD Raiders host Nepean FC, at Ernie Smith Reserve on Sunday night.

Nepean FC produced probably the shock of the season, as they edged past Central Coast, 1-nil off the back of Desiree Vassallo whilst SD Raiders put up a strong effort but were swept aside by Sydney Olympic 4-1 in last weekend’s Match of the Round.

Being able to be at home in successive weeks must be a refresh for SD Raiders. After their hectic travel over the last month, across NSW, the Raiders can freshen up their side, as they continue life without their star striker. Although Kasia Wojtowicz and Hannah-Rose Davey have filled in valiently but will be tested against a stoic Nepean FC side.

Alan Tasses will be pleased with the return of four points against APIA and Mariners. Nepean FC seem to have found their consistency at the right time of year, Stefanie Trovato has started to bang in goals again and their defensive solidity can lead them back into the top five on the home straight.

APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs Marconi Stallions, Sunday 15 July, 7pm, Lambert Park

Finishing off a marvelous round of action, is a mouth-watering clash between two historic names in football – APIA Leichhardt Tigers hosting Marconi Stallions underneath Lambert Park lights.

Coming into the weekend – both teams were victorious in their last outings; APIA Leichhardt 3-1 over Inter Lions while Marconi turned on their scoring boots as they put five goals away against St George FC to move back into fifth.

Marconi Stallions need all that attacking talent to fire once again, to halt a vibrant APIA Leichhardt side. Jess Beale has led the way up front with her 10 goals ably assisted by Demelza Howard and a fluid structure has the Stallions prone to attack from any angle.

For APIA, they need to get their side healthy for the run-in. Hopefully they may get some of the seven missing starters from last weekend. Whilst there is an Ash Palombi, there is a way. Palombi scored the winner last time they met and if she repeats that feat, the Tigers will go close in what will be a tense night at Lambert Park.

Source FNSW Website - By Justin Davies

ROUND 20 – NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES 2 NSW MEN’S PREVIEW

Football supporters have often been labelled the ‘twelfth man’.

 Their support so potent it translates to an extra physical presence on the field.

 So as we turn the corner and charge into the final straight of the 2018 season, which team’s support will truly become their twelfth man and inspire their team to achieve incredible feats?

 Be sure to get down and support your club as they enter another epic round of football in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.

 

Match of the Round: Western Sydney Wanderers vs Northern Tigers FC – 7pm, Saturday 14th July – Sydney United Sports Centre

The Western Sydney Wanderers have fallen down the competition table faster than Tony Popovic’s stint in Turkey went down the toilet.

Three losses in their past four games, winless in eight.

Since their last victory – all the way back in Round 11 – the woeful Wanderers have watched numerous teams climb above them in the standings, as their own finals’ chances have steadily slipped away.

One of those teams benefiting from the Wanderers’ decline has been the Northern Tigers.

Jason Eagar’s side have steadied the ship in recent weeks, collecting four points from their past two games to sit just two points outside the top six.

Although with so many teams trying to squeeze into the finals’ places, the pressure is on the Tigers to win this match to ensure they fend off the challenge of rival teams.

With the finals looking unlikely for the Wanderers, can Samuel Silvera and co. k.o. the Tigers’ own top six chances by stealing all three points on Saturday night?

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

 

Canterbury Bankstown vs Blacktown Spartan – 7pm, Saturday 14th July – The Crest Athletic Centre

Don’t be fooled.

Just because neither of these teams will be playing finals’ football this season, doesn’t mean this game isn’t important.

In fact, it’s arguably more important than if these teams were trying to qualify for the finals.

This game is all about survival.

With Canterbury Bankstown and the Blacktown Spartans both threatened by relegation on the Club Championship table, this game is vitally important for both sides as they look to secure their status in the NPL 2 for at least another season.

 

Parramatta FC vs Central Coast Mariners – 3pm, Sunday 15th July – Melita Stadium

Speaking of the Club Championship.

These two teams are at totally opposite ends of the table which decides who gets promoted to the promised land of NPL 1 and who gets relegated to the depths of the NPL 3.

Right now, the Central Coast Mariners are in poll position for potential promotion whilst it’s the unfortunate Eagles who occupy the potential relegation spot.

Melita Stadium has witnessed some incredible feats down the years, is there enough magic in the old girl to produce one more?

With some of the most passionate supporters in the NPL set up, get down and support your team on Sunday afternoon as they attempt to pull one final rabbit out of an ageing hat.

 

Mt Druitt Town Rangers vs Mounties Wanderers – 7pm, Saturday 14th July – Poppondetta Park

Mt Druitt are having a party and so far, the Mounties aren’t invited.

Come the conclusion of Round 26, the finals will kick-off, and as things stand, it’s the Rangers, not the Mounties who stand the best chance of taking out the greatest prize in NPL 2 football.

The only way for the Mounties to get themselves an invite to the finals’ party is to continue winning games.

And three points at the home of the league leaders will be the perfect opportunity to show the rest of the league that they deserve to be invited for the big dance in October.

 

St George vs Hills United – 7pm, Saturday 14th July – Ilinden Sports Centre

Throughout a season, each team is likely to endure a difficult spell with injuries and suspensions.

However, for a select unlucky few, these injuries and suspensions seem to occur all at once.

And, right now, it’s happening to St George.

Perhaps then, it’s no surprise the Saints have suffered two crippling defeats in a row.

These defeats have seen St George lose pace with the top 3, falling into an unfortunate middle-ground between the top of the top six and the bottom of it.

A ‘no-man’s land’.

A place, in war-time, any man who ventured into was likely to die.

Although the perils of no-man’s land still persist for the Saints.

With no immediate threat of dropping out of the top six, nor motivation to win the Premiership, the Saints could become complacent.

And the curse of complacency is not a welcome guest when the football becomes do-or-die.

Can Savor’s Saints shake off the threat of complacency as they welcome a top-six rival in Hills United to the Ilinden Sports Centre on Saturday night?

We’ll have to wait and see.

 

Rydalmere Lions vs North Shore Mariners – 7pm, Saturday 14th July – Valentine Sports Park

Rydalmere can hear the thumping footsteps of the Mounties and the Northern Tigers beating behind their backs.

Their getting closer.

Every week, closer.

And if Rydalmere don’t keep winning, the footsteps will quickly overtake them.

The North Shore Mariners have been in superb form recently, and with their eyes set on a top-two finish, Joe Haywood’s team may well be the team that knock Rydalmere out of the top six.

Can Tony Basha’s team hold on for another week, or is the pressure too much for his lion cubs to handle?

 

GHFA Spirit FC vs Macarthur Rams – 7pm, Saturday 14th July – Christie Park

The Rams provided us with the shock of the season last weekend, defeating St George 4-3 in a thriller at the Ilinden Sports Centre.

Although the question is, can they repeat that performance?

In each of the two games the Rams have won this season, they have followed up that result with a defeat.

What will fill the Macarthur faithful with belief is the fact that they have already beaten Spirit FC this season – a 4-1 thrashing at Lynwood Park in Round 7.

Spirit FC have evolved into a different beast since that game, rising up the competition table to sit on the cusp of finals’ qualification.

With revenge on their mind, plus ambitions to make the top six, David Perkovic’s side won’t be lacking any motivation in what promises to be a fiery encounter on Saturday night.

 

Source FNSW Website - By Ryan Latty

Round 18 – National Premier Leagues 2 Womens Review

For ages it seemed like the National Premier Leagues 2 Womens table was set; now everything has been turned upside down in a matter of a week, with the weekend’s results opening up the race for a final dash to the 2018 finals

Let’s get into the review.

 

Match of the Round: SD Raiders 1 defeated by Sydney Olympic FC 4

A donut-inspired performance has helped Sydney Olympic FC make it 18 undefeated as the Premiers knocked four past a flat SD Raiders side, in a 4-1 win this afternoon at Ernie Smith Reserve.

Homer Simpson once remarked – “donuts is there anything they can’t do?” well the sugary treat helped inspire Sydney Olympic as a brace each to Lieke De Bever and Madelaine Costanzo got them their reward. Another three points continued to move Sydney Olympic FC to their goal of promotion to National Premier League Womens 1.

SD Raiders might have felt the remarkable distance they have covered in recent weeks as they turned in a flat performance that frustrated coach Matt Constantini. Their lone goal came from mid-season signing Kasia Wojtowicz as the Raiders need to regroup before the big challenges in the finals.

In a contest between two of NPL2 womens most attacking side. It wasn’t surprising that the first chance produced a goal. Last year’s top scorer Madelaine Costanzo strode through, finished well in the sixth minute to kick the contest off in style.

Olympic continued to press – Lieke De Bever tried an optimistic shot from deep then her strike partner Danielle Calvi snuck behind the Raiders defense, but only found the side netting.

SD Raiders have shown character across the season with their performances and struck back in the 14th minute. A free-kick near halfway was lifted into the box as Kasia Wojtowics pounced on the loose ball to fire home, making it 1-1.

Logan Garard buzzed around the midfield for the home side. On several occasions she cut through the Olympic FC defense, but her final touch deserted her as the Raiders probed for a second goal with Elizabeth O’Reilly almost flicked one home before the half hour mark.

The visitors showed their superior edge in later stages of the first half. Costanzo was already celebrating her header from a fine De Bever cross as it rapped the post then Calvi thrashed an effort against that same left post.

Olympic weren’t kept waiting for their second goal longer though. A diagonal ball cut through the heart of the SD Raiders defense, which allowed De Bever to finish smartly and restore Olympic’s lead. 2-1 at half-time.

The visitors made it three not long into the second half. Calvi nicked the ball off a defender then cushioned the ball perfectly for De Bever to reunite with the post, although this one bounced inside for a 3-1 Olympic lead.

From there it was all Olympic FC. Kristy Kunovski sprung free but rolled her effort softly to the keeper. The visitors once again cut through in the 63rd minute with a sequence of one touch passes that ended with Costanzo’s brace, 4-1 and three points for Olympic.

There was a feel of after the Lord Mayor’s show late from SD Raiders. The contest was done but, Yasemin Genc created two fantastic opportunities then O’Reilly tried to find a late consolation goal but Olympic held firm to make it eighteen unbeaten.

Following the victory Olympic FC coach George Beltsos delighted in another three points and the sugary reward that helped prompt it.

“I thought in the first half we edged them. I was upset that we conceded the goal, made some adjustments at half-time and got some goals in the second half,”

“Credit to SD Raiders. They are a tough side, probably one of the best we’ve come up against so they’ll cause problems against any team in the finals,”

“We’re still not at our best. There is plenty of improvement left in us, and football is a funny game. You can’t keep winning, so every one might bring us closer to a loss but we’ll see how it goes.” finished Beltsos.

For Matt Constantini on the SD Raiders bench, he was disappointed in a flat performance but remained upbeat about their chances down the road against Olympic FC.

“To turn up like that today was disappointing. We had a few good moments, and the effort was definitely there. They caught us on an off day and I don’t think it will happen again for the rest of the season,”

“For our first year in NPL2, I am happy with our return. We’ve played some good football and now, hopefully get some of our injured people back for the rest of the season.” finished Constantini.

MATCH STATS

Sunday 8 July 2018 – Ernie Smith Reserve, Moorebank

Referee: S. Hilton

Assistant Referees: R. Haddad & J. Haddad

SD Raiders 1 (Wojtowicz ‘ )

Sydney Olympic FC 4 (De Bever ‘ , ‘ , Costanzo ‘ ,

SD Raiders: 4. GENC Yasemin, 6. SHERMAN Morgan (32. KROPE ‘83), 7. FALLAH Jessica (20. DENNIS ‘74), 9. GARARD Logan, 10. PACE Gabriela, 11. WOJTOWICZ Kasia, 12. BUTLER Kathleen, 16. DAVEY Hannah-Rose (45. COSCIA ‘54), 18. SKINNER Tamara (14. HAMILTON ‘54), 29. O’REILLY Elizabeth, 99. HILL Regan

Subs not used: 19. GRIMBILOS Stephanie

Yellow cards: Sherman

Red cards: nil

Sydney Olympic FC: 2. TAYLOR Eloise, 3. MIRKOVIC Madeleine, 4. BARHAM Diedre, 6. HALASKA Kate, 7. CALVI Danielle (15. TSOUPIS ‘82), 9. COSTANZO Madelaine (43. DOWSE ‘82), 10. DE BEVER Lieke (12. CHEN ‘85), 11. ROHRER Kristy, 17. KHOURY Hannah Lea (16. JOHNSON ‘85), 18. KUNOVSKI Kristy, 20. HORAFIOS Amanda

Yellow cards: Costanzo and Mirkovic

Red cards: nil

APIA Leichhardt Tigers 3 defeated Inter Lions 1

The APIA Leichhardt Tigers had to dig deep but were able to receive some much-needed relief, in a 3-1 victory against a downbeat Inter Lions side on an important afternoon at Concord Oval.

Missing seven of their regular starters, the Tigers knew it was going to be a tough contest. Olivia Cicco and Christina Ferreyra gave them the perfect start, with a 2-nil half-time lead. Debutant Hannah Macri scored the third after the break to give them a buffer.

Inter Lions made sure it wasn’t all their own way, hitting back through Sarah Mandile with 20 minutes to play, but APIA were able to see out the rest of the contest that will soothe APIA coach Matteo Maiorana after a rough couple of weeks and results.

Maiorana was also able to hand debuts to two talents coming through the grade in Moya Denford and Alina Stojcevski both from the 17s that were able to mark those debuts with three points that should confirm their finals appearance, which was their aim at the start of the season.

Southern Branch FC 0 defeated by Western NSW Mariners FC 1

In a contest between two of the furthest apart sides in National Premier Leagues 2 Womens, it was decided by the slimmest margins, Western NSW Mariners triumphed 1-nil today in Nowra.

Western NSW Mariners put their rough patch behind them with three big points. Poorsha Mcphillamy fired home the only goal of the contest in the first 45 minutes, after Southern Branch FC failed to clear a corner properly.

The rest of the game was played at a high tempo between the two teams on a fine afternoon for football down the south coast. Both keepers were called upon on regular intervals and the scoreline could’ve inflated if the sides finished their chances.

Marconi Stallions 5 defeated St George FC 2

Marconi Stallions moved back into the comfort of 5th position, putting a tough St George FC to the sword this afternoon, to the tune of 5-2 at Marconi Stadium.

The hosts looked much like their usual selves as they confidently strode out to a 2-1 half-time lead. Summar Richardson with the opener before captain Hannah Voloder doubled the delight before the Saints showed their spirit clawing one back.

In the second half, it was one-way traffic. It was a day for defenders in the south west. Mia Connors registered her maiden goal of the season while Jess Beale went to double digits for the season and Angelina Parkes rounded out a solid hitout for the Stallions in their chase for finals football.

UNSW FC 8 defeated Gladesville Ravens 1

Through the course of the season there are results you see coming, then some you don’t. This definitely was the latter.

UNSW FC took out all their recent frustration out on Gladesville Ravens, thrashing them 8-1, tonight at Valentine Sports Park.

The sheer joy that emanated from UNSW FC coach, Renato Jelen afterwards was matched by the enthusiasm from his side across the 90 minutes. Amy Altman, who has been a standout in recent weeks for the students and netted a hat-trick, taking her season tally to eight.

Rio Darlaston got herself a brace while Eleni Tsintominas, Sarah Blaydon and Georgina Bannister rounded out the cathartic afternoon for the home side. Jelen’s side stuck to their gameplan and picked up three priceless points and a huge scalp of a finals contender.

For Gladesville, after the high of the late, late show the last few weeks they surrendered fifth spot back to Marconi Stallions, as star striker Emily Diaz continued to add to her solid goal return this season with their sole consolation.

Nepean FC 1 defeated Central Coast Mariners 0

The fight for fifth has turned into a slugfest, as Nepean FC edged out Central Coast Mariners, 1-nil to keep their chances of finals football alive on a cold Cook Park evening.

Last season Nepean FC were known to take a few big scalps, and this season, while they have had some issues they added another to their list – beating second place Central Coast Mariners, thanks to a superb strike from Stefanie Trovato.

Blunting a dangerous attack like Central Coast isn’t an easy task, the yellow and navy have weapons across the park, so Nepean FC needed some heroic performances from Narmin Malas between the sticks and again, Desiree Vassallo was a rock in defense as an overjoyed Alan Tasses soaked up a priceless win with his team.

For the Mariners, tonight was the first time the rampaging team was kept scoreless this season. Their loss has also opened up the race for second spot between them and SD Raiders coming into the final month.

Source FNSW - website By Justin Davies

 

Round 19 – National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s Review

We learnt three things in Round 19 of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s:

  1. Draws are dangerously infectious.
  2. Don’t bother trying to predict the outcome of a match in this competition.
  3. And the Premiership crown is edging ever closer to being decorated in gold and green for 2018.

 

Match of the Round: Rydalmere Lions vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers

Mt Druitt were the winners on the night but they were also the winners for the round as they benefited from an unprecedented amount of draws and dropped points, to kick clear of their closest rivals.

The Mt Druitt Rangers were the only team in the top six to claim victory over the weekend, but they were made to work hard for the three points by a resilient Rydalmere side.

Aidan Desmond’s team cruised to a 3-0 victory the last time these two teams met in Round 6, however there seemed no chance of that score-line repeating itself in this match.

What did seem likely to repeat itself though, was the performance of Hiten Satoh.

The last time these two teams met, Satoh scored twice and had a hand in the third, and it looked as though the Japanese playmaker was up to his old tricks again, mesmerising the Rydalmere defence on numerous occasions early in the match.

Satoh is a key figure in the Rangers’ side – when he plays well, so do the rest of his teammates.

The Satoh-effect was working its magic on Luke Clifford.

The Rangers’ number 7 had the game’s first real chance, muscling his way through defenders before firing a shot off from the edge of the 6 yard box which the Rydalmere keeper managed to parry away.

Clifford will not want to see the replay of the chance, as the footage shows an unmarked Emmanuel Gonzalez standing unmarked, metres away, screaming for the ball to be squared so he could tap it into the empty net.

To Clifford’s credit, it was a mistake he wouldn’t make again.

On 35 minutes Hiten Satoh rode a challenge in the centre of the park before slipping a delicate pass through the high defensive line. Clifford burst onto the pass, but this time, instead of shooting from an acute angle, he squared a pass into Emmanuel Gonzalez, who tucked the ball away.

Clifford’s confidence soared following the assist and, if it wasn’t for an acrobatic finger-tip save by the Rydalmere keeper, the winger would have added his name to the scoresheet.

On 43 minutes, Clifford sent the Rydalmere defender one way before stepping the other and firing a powerful 5-star weak foot strike on goal.

The ball looked destined for the top corner of the net before the Rydalmere keeper sprang from nowhere to touch it onto the crossbar and out for a corner.

Mt Druitt fully deserved their lead as both teams trudged off for half-time.

Although early in the second half, Rydalmere should have struck level.

Duncan Stewart poked his nose through a hole in the Rangers’ defence and then, seeing Saliadarre anticipate a low driven shot, Stewart tried to lift the ball over him, but Saliadarre was sprightly enough to push the ball over the bar.

This sparked a period of domination from Rydalmere.

They forced 4 corners in the space of 10 minutes but every time there seemed to be an opening on goal, it was blocked by a desperate Mt Druitt defender.

That was until the 89th minute when Stewart peeled off the back of his defender, and then rose through the air to glance a headed shot on goal. But his effort lacked any real conviction and the golden chance to snatch a late draw went begging.

After 6 minutes of injury-time, the referee finally brought the match to an end as Mt Druitt reflected on three points earned courtesy of clinical finishing, and three points that extends their lead at the top to 4 points.

Rydalmere maintain their position in the top six thanks to the Mounties, Northern Tigers and Spirit FC being held to draws.

 

Match Stats:

Saturday 7th July – Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood

Rydalmere Lions 0

Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1 (Emmanuel Gonzalez 35’)

Rydalmere Lions: D. Ortega Roman, A. Sayan, M. Gibbs, V. Anyimba, A. Mckie, F. Kondo, E. Stewart, B. Cook, A. Fofanah, H. Sinpraseuth, Y. Al-Taay, D. Stewart.

Mt Druitt Town Rangers: C. Saliadarre, H. Satoh, B. Griffin-Coles, K. Vlismas, D. Gullo, L. Clifford, M. Clowes, O. Edosomwan, A. Vlismas, N. Trimble, L. Darkoh, D. O’Leary, E. Gonzalez, J. Veljovic, J. Mamone, L. Grima.

 

Blacktown Spartans 3 vs Western Sydney Wanderers 3

3 goals for each but 3 points for neither, as the points are shared between the Spartans and Western Sydney Wanderers.

Wanderers’ fans had been pleading with the coach to start Samuel Silvera in recent weeks – the youngster’s form has been a shining light in an increasingly dark sky for the red and black.

And Samuel Silvera repaid the faith of those championing his name after just 5 minutes, combining with Adrian Valenti to set up Marley Peterson for an easy tap in.

However less than 5 minutes after scoring, the Wanderers were picking the ball out from their own net after super Spartan Alex Boyadjian beat the keeper with an exquisite finish.

Two goals inside 10 minutes and this game showed no signs of slowing down as both sides came within inches of taking the lead.

The Spartans would eventually take the lead to the break however, when Dau Akol made the most of an opportunity to convert past Greenwood in goals.

Determined to not taste defeat for the fourth time in a row, the Wanderers emerged from the break with tangible motivation.

And they were rewarded for this intent on 53 minutes when Samuel Silvera got on the end of a through ball and slid a shot past the keeper.

Although again, the Wanderers would concede shortly after scoring, this time Peter Crevani was on hand to make it 3-2.

With less than 20 minutes remaining, it looked like the home side would hold on for the victory, but Marley Peterson blasted a shot past the despairing Spartans’ keeper to steal a late, but crucial point for the Wanderers.

 

St George FC 3 vs Macarthur Rams 4

At first I thought there was a problem with the app on my phone.

Macarthur Rams lead St George 4-0 after 44 minutes.

Surely that’s an error.

It must be St George, the team in 3rd place, not the team in last with only 2 wins to their name all season, who are winning by 4 goals.

But, the Rams prove once again why the NPL 2 NSW Men’s is unmatched when it comes to drama in NPL football.

After benefiting from two goal keeping errors that had many wondering if Fernando Muslera or Loris Karius was masquerading as Bailey Kubecka in the St George goal, and then two defensive errors to compound Wally Savor’s misery, the Rams looked like heading into half-time with an unassailable 4-0 lead.

However a late Anthony Morabito strike gave St George fans a glimmer of hope as the two teams emerged for the second half.

Thunder boomed during the interval, but the clear night sky showed no evidence of a present storm.

Suddenly it became clear the roar was coming from the St George dressing room as Wally Savor implored his players to wake from the slumber that was threatening to cost them all three points.

His players responded, piling immense pressure on the Rams’ defence.

The pressure paid off, as the Rams conceded an own goal on 69 minutes.

A nervy final 20 minutes ensued.

And when Jason Romero converted a spot-kick in stoppage time, belief grew that the Saints could steal a draw from the jaws of defeat.

Although the Rams held firm for a famous victory, one that doesn’t change their positioning on the competition table, but one that gives them new hope on the Club Championship one.

 

Northern Tigers 1 vs Parramatta FC 1

Tigers’ coach Jason Eagar cut a frustrated figure as the referee blew his whistle for full-time in this fixture.

Knowing the scores from around-the-grounds, the Tigers’ coach knew this was a massive missed opportunity to make up ground on the top six.

After a dominant first half, in which Liam Mcconaghy opened the scoring following a delightful team move down the left flank, Jason Eagar sent his players out after half-time with a simple message:

More of the same, please.

However his players delivered the total opposite.

Misplaced passes, lethargic legs too tired to press the opponents on the ball – the Tigers looked nothing like the team that owned much of the first 45 minutes.

Whilst the Tigers let their grip slip, Parramatta FC took full control of the second half.

Typically slick on the ball, the Eagles combined possession with pace in the final third, forcing the Tigers’ keeper into multiple sharp saves.

Although the Eagles would get the goal their second-half performance deserved when Zak Elrich added another to his burgeoning highlight reel, with a cracking effort that sailed into the goals from 25 yards out.

There was one final chance in the game for the Tigers to reclaim their lead and the three points, but Stefan Giglio grew wings to fly into the top corner and push a goal-bound shot wide of the post.

In the end, an important point for the Eagles considering Macarthur’s win.

Whilst the Tigers may well look back at this match if their season ends after 26 rounds.

 

Hills United 1 vs North Shore Mariners 1

After four wins in a row, the North Shore Mariners looked to be on their way towards a fifth successive victory when talisman, Mitchell Smith, opened the scoring in sensational fashion early in this fixture.

Although with 7 draws to their name this season, Hills United are a team that know what it takes to fight for a precious point.

Luke McGuire’s men wrestled back both the momentum and possession in this match, deservedly drawling level through Wade Giovenali on 30 minutes.

Unsurprisingly the goal came courtesy of a Daniel Fogarty cross, who should really open his own courier business due to the amount of goals and assists he delivers the Hills United faithful.

Despite the attacking talent on show, neither side were able to find the breakthrough, as the points were shared on Saturday night.

The result hurts Hills more than the Mariners as a cluster of teams hovering just outside the top six grow increasingly closer in the rear vision mirror of the Hills United bus.

 

Central Coast Mariners 1 vs GHFA Spirit FC 1

Spirit FC couldn’t have asked for a worse start after they made the journey up the M1 to Pluim Park.

Conceding to an Emmanuel Peters goal after just 6 goals.

However David Perkovic’s side were unperturbed by the formidable fortress that Pluim Park has become this season, working their way back into the game and finding the equaliser just 20 minutes later.

Andre Carle fired a shot that proved too hot for Munford to handle and the ball dribbled over the line and into the back of the net.

Surprisingly it was Spirit FC who dominated possession in the second half as they continued their search for a winning goal.

Although the best defence in the league dealt confidently with Spirit’s threat, never really looking like allowing David Perkovic’s side to head home with anything more than a solitary point.

A frustrating night for the Mariners as the Rangers slip out of their immediate reach in the race for the Premiership.

 

Mounties Wanderers 0 vs Canterbury Bankstown 0

It hurts for one.

Whilst it heals for another.

Mounties’ 0-0 draw against Canterbury Bankstown has put a dent in their top six aspirations, on a weekend that victory would have seen them overtake Rydalmere to occupy a finals’ spot for the first time since Round 4.

Even more frustrating for Terry Palapanis is the fact their next three games are against top four opposition, making their inability to collect three points against Canterbury Bankstown potentially season defining.

Branko Culina will see this game very differently.

There were moments either side could have won the game, but the important point continues to breathe life into the NPL 2 lungs of Canterbury Bankstown.

 

Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty

 

Round 19 – National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s Preview

It’s the NPL 2 NSW Men’s very own Game of Thrones.

With Mt Druitt having occupied the throne for so long, two new challenges to their kingdom have arisen with the Central Coast and the North Shore Mariners forming a dual assault on their crown.

Can the Rangers withstand the challenge or will we have a new king on the throne as we enter Round 19 of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s?

Match of the Round

Rydalmere Lions vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – Poppondetta Park

Except for charcoal chicken and garlic sauce, there are few things the Rydalmere faithful love more than a challenge.

And the challenge to overthrow the team that has led the competition from week one, is a challenge Tony Basha and his lion cubs will not want to miss.

After two defeats in a row, Aidan Desmond and his Rangers bounce back to winning ways against Hills last week.

But they look far from the impregnable force that struck fear into the heart of the competition for the first 10 rounds.

However when Aidan Desmond is still able to submit a team sheet that includes the names of Emmanuel Gonzalez, Hiten Satoh and Alexander Vlismas, the Rangers will still be a force to be reckoned with.

Is this the week Mt Druitt lose their grip on the Premiership crown?

Or can the Rangers lock Rydalmere’s finals’ chances up for good?

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

Hills United FC vs North Shore Mariners – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – Lily Homes Stadium

If either club is looking for some half-time entertainment during this game on Saturday night, bring out Daniel Fogarty, Joshua Mbakwe and Frederick Ankumah-Sey for a 100m sprint race. These lads are truly electric.

Just as the AFL do at their Grand Final, a sprint race of the fastest players from each team in the NPL 2 would be a sight to see.

And surely, the aforementioned names would feature amongst the podium finishers that day.

North Shore Mariners are arguably THE form team in the competition.

During their match against St George last weekend, the Mariners produced a 10-minute spell of relentless attacking prowess.

It’s no coincidence that period coincided with the reintroduction of Lee Jones and Quinny Smith into the team. Jones might not be able to produce the km’s in the legs anymore but he covers more ground with his mouth than anyone can with their legs. His experience and organisation are an invaluable asset to Joe Haywood.

Quinny Smith, boasting the brawn of an Andrew Nabbout but the skill of a Tom Rogic, is the perfect link between Mitchell Smith and the rest of the Mariners’ side.

Hills United have an equal measure of fire power up front, but their recent dip in form has been largely due to lapses in concentration at the back.

Both goals conceded against Mt Druitt last weekend revealed a lack of structural organisation at the back – particularly the second goal – as Emmanuel Gonzalez almost walked his way through to goal.

With pace to burn and points up for grabs, this shapes as an unmissable game on Saturday night.

Blacktown Spartans vs Western Sydney Wanderers – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – Blacktown Football Park

Blacktown Football Park.

It’s where the Western Sydney Wanderers’ players want to be.

Except the jerseys they dream of wearing are adorned with the words ‘Hyundai A-League’.

But it’s impossible to be what you can’t see, and for many of these Wanderers players, the opportunity to play well at Blacktown Football Park is just another step towards achieving their dream.

Whilst it’s nice to dream, the Spartans will be grounded in the reality that they need to keep winning football matches or risk playing with an NPL 3 badge upon their sleeve next season.

With neither side short of motivation, this game promises to be an enthralling encounter on Saturday night.

Central Coast Mariners vs GHFA Spirit FC – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – Pluim Park

So far, Spirit FC’s season has been defined by streaks.

Thankfully the type of streak where your clothes stay on.

But, unhelpfully, the type of streak that saw them go 8 games without winning a match.

They rectified that by going 5 games undefeated.

So last week’s heavy defeat against the Northern Tigers will have David Perkovic hoping it won’t be another 8 games before they taste three points again.

The Central Coast Mariners always get a vociferous gathering of supporters at Pluim Park and expect this to be no difference as they aim to steal the throne off Mt Druitt in the race for Premiership glory.

Mounties Wanderers vs Canterbury Bankstown – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – Cook Park

This is a must-win game for Mounties.

Their position in the competition table has improved drastically after back-to-back wins; and with a superior goal difference, Terry Palapanis’s side could enter the top six if Rydalmere lose against Mt Druitt.

But the reason this game is a must-win, is because of the Mounties’ fixture list.

In their next 5 games, they play Mt Druitt, North Shore, St George, Hills United and Rydalmere Lions – 5 teams directly above them in the table.

These matches will prove how seriously the Mounties should be considered if they are to qualify for this year’s finals.

Canterbury Bankstown continue to defy the odds.

Despite a decimated playing roster, Culina’s men have won their past two games – both against top six opposition.

Can they throw another spanner in the works and upset another team’s finals’ ambitions?

St George FC vs Macarthur Rams – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – Ilinden Sports Centre

Macarthur Rams have been bottom of the league table for a while now.

But it’s the fact they now sit bottom of the Club Championship that will cause great concern within the Rams’ camp.

With 8 games still left to play in the regular season, the Rams’ players need to start collecting points if they are to avoid a dramatic relegation.

The Ilinden Sports Centre is not the most charitable of venues and the Saints will be in no mood to drop points after they squandered a 2-1 lead last week to go down to the North Shore Mariners.

The battle at the top is tighter than ever and St George will see this as the perfect opportunity to reclaim the ground they lost from last weekend.

Northern Tigers vs Parramatta FC – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – North Turramurra Recreation Area

Parramatta are off the bottom of the Club Championship table.

But don’t get the champagne out yet.

The Eagles’ victory over the Spartans last weekend brought an end to a spell that had seen them lose three of their past four games.

But Leo Carle’s team haven’t found collecting points away from home an easy feat this season.

In the 9 away games the Eagles have played, they’ve only won once.

The Tigers are a proud club who won’t be keen to see that trend change this weekend as they go in search of another three points to keep their faint finals’ chances alive.

Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty

Round 17 – National Premier League 2 Womens Review

The National Premier League 2 Women’s competition might not be the fait accompli we might have thought; the bottom two carved out a pair of stunning results which included a maiden Southern Branch victory, as SD Raiders & Gladesville Ravens continued their winning ways, while APIA Leichhardt went DIY in their thrilling draw against Nepean FC.

Let’s get to the action!

 

Match of the Round: Gladesville Ravens 1 defeated Marconi Stallions 0

It was another late show for the Ravens, Emily Diaz headed home in the 77th minute to collect three priceless points, in a 1-nil success over a resurgent Marconi Stallions on a miserable night at Christie Park.

Gladesville Ravens have revived their season in recent weeks, and Emily Diaz’s goals has contributed greatly, alongside a never-say-die attitude that has been instilled in them. They took the Stallions best shot, absorbed it and moved swiftly into fifth.

Football can be decided on such slim margins. Marconi Stallions are well in tune with that with another close defeat, where they dominated but couldn’t find the net. It becomes a massive missed opportunity as they fall back into the pack.

On a crisp night in Sydney’s north, the Stallions buoyed by their three-game winning streak bolted out of the gates, as Jessica Beale glanced a header wide in the fifth minute from some excellent Summar Richardson hustle.

The chances kept coming for the visitors. Both Michelle Dalbon and Amanda Lauric tested Gladesville’s Japanese keeper, Eri Arikawa, who was definitely the busier of the custodians throughout the contest.

A pair of half chances for Demelza Howard flashed wide as frustration grew for the Stallions. They started brightly but didn’t have a goal to show for it, and Gladesville wisely used the pace of Emily Diaz down the flank to counter.

Diaz found joy down the flank on several occasions in the first half. She found herself in good positions but the final polish was lacking for the Ravens, as the ball fizzed through the area several times without a touch.

The best chance came right on the whistle, Diaz broke free at a corner then volleyed a fierce effort narrowly past the post, as the two sides sought the warmth of the changerooms, while locked at 0-0.

As the weather worsened in the second half, the chances remained at a premium. Diaz continued to be a threat for the Ravens while Marconi got into the right positions but again, couldn’t find the finish.

Less than a quarter of the contest to go, Gladesville did put one in the back of the net. Carlie Ikonomou sailed a pin-point free-kick into the area where Diaz craned her header past Stallions keeper, Kira Maggio for 1-nil.

Desperation urged the Stallions forward in search of an equaliser but bar a knuckeball free-kick from Beale that swung in the air, Ravens remained stout in their defensive block, seeing out the remaining time for a priceless victory.

Marconi captain Hannah Voloder reflected on a disappointing night as the Stallions failed to turn their pressure into goals.

“It’s unfortunate because we played pretty good football the whole game and to get caught like that sucks. When we’re under pressure we rush ourselves and gotta work on that.” said Voloder.

For Gladesville Ravens coach Albert Disciacio it was a triumph of their spirit and showed that his side can compete against the bigger sides in NPL2 Womens.

“As usual we like to leave it late. Slowly though, we are getting in form. We’ve had some injuries and positioning problems but we’ve just got to work hard in the next couple of weeks to get in there [the finals]” finished the Ravens coach.

MATCH STATS

Sunday 1 July 2018 – Christie Park, Macquarie Park

Gladesville Ravens 1 (Diaz ‘77)

Marconi Stallions 0

Gladesville Ravens: 4. KINCHINGTON Annabelle (14. SEETO ‘81), 5. LIDBETTER Eleanor, 17. ARIKAWA Eri, 18. BEATTIE Alex (31. BLAIR ‘62), 20. SMITH Ashleigh, 28. BAKER Liana (6. BAKER ‘78), 29. DONALDSON Anabel (11. MOORE ‘65), 33. IKONOMOU Carlie, 37. DIAZ Emily, 39. SCHIRALDI Annalise, 44. BREUKELAAR Isabella

Subs not used: 78. HARDAKER Oliva

Yellow cards: Ikonomou

Red cards: nil

Marconi Stallions: 1. MAGGIO Kira, 2. VOLODER Hannah, 4. CONNORS Mia, 9. HOWARD Demelza, 10. VOLODER Emma, 11. DALBON Michelle, 12. CIABATTI Vanessa (7. USHERWOOD ‘75), 13. BEALE Jessica, 14. LAURIC Amanda (19. HOFF ‘63), 24. RICHARDSON Summar, 28. VUCKOVIC Klara

Subs not used: 15. WALTON Talie, 21. PARKES Angelina, 30. CROUCH Jasmine

Yellow cards: nil

Red cards: nil

Western NSW Mariners 0 defeated by SD Raiders 4

SD Raiders seventh straight victory, a 4-nil success at the tricky Sir Jack Brabham Park against a stubborn Western NSW Mariners, as they may have lost their star striker for the season.

Despite losing Cassidy Chidgey in the tenth minute, the Raiders kept their foot on the Mariners throat for the whole ninety minutes. Sophia Hamilton’s penalty opened the scoring before a ten-pass movement finished with Hannah-Rose Davey fired home from the edge of the box.

Once SD Raiders got into their rhythm, Western NSW Mariners wilted. Another long sequence of passes ended with Davey through ball found Rebecca Dennis to lash home her maiden goal of the season then Davey made it a brace with a poacher’s effort at the back post for the fourth.

That result claws the Raiders closer to the Mariners in second, they are now two points behind while the home side can put away thoughts of finals football after their latest defeat.

Southern Branch FC 2 defeated UNSW FC 1

BINGO! That is a full card of National Premier League 2 Womens sides being victorious after Southern Branch FC produced a magnificent effort to beat UNSW FC, 2-nil this afternoon at the South Nowra Football Complex.

The victory came off the back of a wonderful brace from Shaylee Meehan in either half as the three points was due reward for the effort the home side. Southern Branch FC has toiled hard in recent weeks and could play spoiler for the next few weeks.

It was another weekend of disappointment for the Students, they are deep in the mire with this losing streak, as Amy Altman’s first half strike was scant consolation for their tenth straight week of being on the losing side.

St George FC 1 drew with Inter Lions 1

The Saints are coming! St George FC took home their eighth point of the season in a spirited 1-1 draw against a dominant Inter Lions side, today at historic St George Stadium.

In recent weeks, many have commented that St George FC has improved and may cause some upsets in the final few rounds. This afternoon they fell behind to Kirilee Cook’s sixth goal of the season, as the Lions dominated possession and peppered the Saints keeper with chances.

When you don’t take those chances though, you leave yourself open for a counter attack. St George FC found an equaliser in the second half through Georgia Ha, one of their prominent performers this season, as they took home a fighting point against a tough Inter Lions side.

APIA Leichhardt Tigers 2 drew with Nepean FC 2

A point has never felt so good. APIA Leichhardt Tigers threw everything including the kitchen sink at Nepean FC and came away with a 2-2 draw on a tense evening under the Lambert Park lights.

The bounce continues to bounce against the Tigers. Nepean FC swept to a 2-nil half-time lead on the back of goals from Annie Halls and Stefanie Trovato as a young desperate side looked to claim a huge scalp.

APIA’s luck turned in the second half as they pushed forward while Nepean lost both their goalscorers to injury. All the kitchen utensils came out as the hosts struck twice through Eliana Vatcky and Ash Palombi but they couldn’t find the third as the teams shared the points.

Nepean FC coach Alan Tasses praised the effort of his young side that probably has some learning to do while his opposing number, Matteo Maiorana, singled out Nepean defender Desiree Vassallo for her mammoth performance at the back to repel the Tigers.

Central Coast Mariners vs Sydney Olympic FC was washed out

 

Source FNSW website - By Justin Davies

ROUND 18 – NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES NSW MEN’S REVIEW

It’s the league you have to see to believe.

So let us be your eyes and ears and take you through another enthralling round of football in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s.

 

Match of the Round: North Shore Mariners vs St George FC

The scene was set.

A capacity crowd crammed together on the stoney ridge above Northbridge Oval, the pitch lowered beneath their collective gaze – a Colosseum awaiting its gladiators for another epic battle.

Although sadly, before a quarter of the contest had even transpired, one of the most prized fighters was forced to bow out.

St George captain Tarik Ercan hobbled off the field after just 21 minutes, unable to recover from the injury sustained in a tackle moments after kick-off.

Without their general, organising and leading his men, it came as little coincidence when the North Shore Mariners opened the scoring three minutes after Ercan limped off.

Mitchell Smith latched onto a hopeful long pass, before cutting inside on his right foot and curling a shot-turned-cross towards the back post. Joshua Mbakwe zipped in behind the covering defender, and with an out-stretched leg, poked the ball across the keeper and into the side netting.

The home fans cheered wildly inside the Northbridge colosseum.

However their cheers turned to tears just seconds later as Hussein Akil pounced on a long ball and scooped a shot over the onrushing keeper and into the back of the net.

The local chiropractors in the Northbridge area will be getting worked overtime this week as the fans huddled on the stoney hill craned their necks back and forth, trying to keep up with the incessant long balls being played by both teams.

And with neither side offering more than a game of force-em-back, the referee blew his whistle for half-time with the scores locked at 1-1.

When the players emerged from the interval, the twilight sky had morphed into a blanket of purple and black as the feeble floodlights tried earnestly to light up the ground.

Thankfully cricket rules don’t apply and the game wasn’t abandoned due to poor light.

Perhaps North Shore’s Chris Deblaere was blaming the poor light when, 5 minutes after the break, he lost the ball coming out of trouble, allowing Nicholas Paras to collect possession and lift the ball over the top to find his unmarked teammate, Patrick O’Shea.

Showing immense patience, O’Shea waited for the ball to drop into his lap before firing a fierce strike into the bottom corner of the goals.

Mariners cach, Joe Haywood, responded immediately, thrusting Marquin Smith and Lee Jones into the action.

And the substitutes combined almost immediately to draw the Mariners level.

‘Quinny’ Smith, adored by the Northbridge faithful, caressed a ball over the St George defenders’ heads, before a collision of bodies left the referee pointing to the spot.

Lee Jones stepped up confidently and powered his shot into the bottom left corner of the goal.

The goal instilled tangible belief and confidence in the Mariners who began a 10 minute onslaught on the Saints’ goal.

The North Shore side peppered the St George back line with long balls, looking to get in behind, or win the knock-down from which they could attack.

St George looked rattled, and with arguably the only man who could sail them through such rocky seas sitting injured on the bench, Wally Savor looked on anxiously.

The brutal onslaught from the Mariners showed no signs of stopping until they had got their winning goal and it finally came through Frederick Ankumah-Sey.

Again, Mitchell Smith raced through the hapless St George defence, before delivering an inch-perfect cross for the affectionately named, ‘Fred’ to finish from close-range.

The waves of Mariners attacks mercifully eased after the third goal, but the firm grip Haywood’s men had on the match never looked like loosening as the clock ticked towards full-time.

In the end, a 10 minute spell of ‘blitzkrieg’ pressure was enough for the Mariners to run out deserved winners and firmly entrench themselves in the competition’s top four teams.

St George coach, Wally Savor will be sweating on the fitness of Ercan, whose absence left a three-point shaped hole in the Saints’ defence.

 

Match Stats: Northbridge Oval – Sunday July 1, 2018

North Shore Mariners 3 (J. Mbakwe, L. Jones, F. Ankumah-Sey)

St George FC 2 (H. Akil, P. O’Shea) 

North Shore Mariners: D. Maunder, C. Lindsay, J. Scott, R. Woodward, B. Jamba, M. Smith, F. Ankumah-Sey, J. Mbakwe, C. Deblaere, M. Smith, A. Davis, M. Arcosa, L. Jones.

St George FC: B. Kubkecka, D. Loe, A. Nasreddine, H. Akil, P. O’Shea, M. Da Silva Santos, T. Ercan, J. Romero, N. Paras, A. Morabito, C. Jeong, A. Lekoski, T. Norval, A. Costa, L. Tweneboa, A. Kyriacou.

 

Macarthur Rams 0 vs Central Coast Mariners 3

They say the sign of a true champion is being able to win when you’re not at your best.

If that saying is true, we may well be looking at a potential champion here.

The Central Coast Mariners weren’t at their brilliant best on Saturday night but three goals was enough to secure another three points and take Ken Schembri’s men to within two points of the top of the table.

Matthias Paz scored his first goal since the 11th April when he lost his marker inside the box and smashed the ball home from point blank range.

It was the ideal start for the Mariners who haven’t lost a game in which they’ve scored first in all season.

Knowing they’d have to overturn this ominous statistic, and knowing they’d have to breach the best defence in the league, the Rams looked bereft of confidence as the half drew to a close.

Conversely, the Central Coast boys oozed composure as they emerged for the second half, and it was little surprise when they doubled their lead on 50 minutes.

Matthias Paz, who had waited 810 minutes for his 5th goal of the season, only had to wait 25 minutes for his 6th of the campaign, when he latched onto a Michael Glassock cross and drove the ball into the back of the net.

Trailing by two, Macarthur threw men forward in search of a way back into the game, but as they committed numbers to attack, they forsook their defensive responsibilities, ultimately affording Amer Abdullah space to run in behind, dance around the keeper and roll the ball into an unguarded net.

Groans from the home fans met the sound of the referee’s whistle at full-time as the Rams’ board look to make room in the trophy cabinet for the dreaded wooden spoon that seems destined to make its way to Lynwood Park for 2018.

 

Mt Druitt Town Rangers 2 vs Hills United 1

Aidan Desmond set out his Rangers players with one simple plan on Saturday night:

Stop Daniel Fogarty and you stop Hills.

As simplistic as that plan might sound, it proved to be an effective one as Desmond’s Druitt looked as though they had cruise control switched on as they coasted to a much needed victory.

Nicholas Trimble opened the scoring as he rose through a cloud of fog to glance a header home from a well-worked corner move.

Moments before half-time Emmanuel Gonzalez doubled the home side’s lead, after a mazy run in the box saw Gonzalez drop his right shoulder, sending the keeper to the floor, before strolling past him and flicking the ball into the back of the net.

Classy.

There was time for Hills to snatch a late goal through Pete Cejka as Mt Druitt lost concentration for a brief moment, but that momentary blip was only a small blemish on a thoroughly impressive performance by the home side who fend off the advances of the Central Coast Mariners for another week.

 

Canterbury Bankstown 1 vs Rydalmere Lions 0

So often in football, strikers get all the plaudits.

The ones who score the goals are typically the ones whose names end up in lights.

However football is a team game, and sometimes, the man between the sticks can be as important as the one who puts the ball in the back of the net.

This was one of those games.

Chad Taylor defied age and physics on multiple occasions to deny Rydalmere, pulling off some stunning saves en-route to a man of the match performance that certainly pleased Branko Culina.

Taylor’s heroics were complimented by tireless performances across the park for Canterbury Bankstown; indeed it was the dogged determination of Richie Darko that secured the game’s only, decisive goal.

Darko pounced on a loose back pass from a Rydalmere defender, before converting past a deserted keeper.

Rydalmere coach, Tony Basha reflected on the game as, ‘one of those nights’, where you huff and you puff but simply can’t blow the opposition’s house down.

Luckily for the Lions, teams around them on the table dropped points meaning they maintain their place in the top six – but for how long?

 

GHFA Spirit FC 1 vs Northern Tigers 4

After not scoring for three games, the Northern Tigers put four past a resurgent Spirit FC to prove to the rest of the competition two important facts:

They do know where the back of the net is.
Their chances of making the top six are still alive.
With both Spirit FC and the Northern Tigers hovering just outside the finals’ places, this match shaped as a fantastic opportunity for one team to extinguish the hopes of a genuine top six rival, whilst also re-igniting the flame of their own final’s chances.

Lucas Dawson doesn’t often get his name on the scoresheet but he showed great persistence on 26 minutes, following up his first effort that proved too hot for Tomi Romic, to thump the ball home.

The defence that had earned Spirit FC two clean sheets in a row seemed to have abandoned them in this match as the Northern Tigers struck again moments before the interval, this time through Will Foristal, after a slick passing move.

David Perkovic’s message at half-time highlighted the importance of his team being the next to score, if they were to get anything from this match.

Although just 8 minutes into the second half, the Northern Tigers looked to have sealed all three points.

After seeing an example of how to finish from Foristal and Dawson, Mcconaghy leapt through the air to meet a cross and guide an exquisite header past Romic in goals.

Jason Eagar is blessed with two distinctly different strikers.

Mcconaghy, the experienced aerial threat, with bullishly hold up play, he brings teammates into the game with astute touches and movement.

Rory Spiers, his blistering pace and determined running is a nightmare for opposition defences and Eagar has often used Spiers late to test the weary legs of tiring defenders.

And it proved another masterstroke as Spiers burst in behind, and finished cooly past Romic once more.

The home fans at Christie park did have something to cheer when captain Grant Cornwell scored a late consolation, but the muted celebrations from Perkovic’s players told you all you needed to know as a disappointing performance dealt a significant blow to Spirit FC’s finals’ chances

 

Parramatta FC 1 vs Blacktown Spartans 0

A week is a long time in football.

Just 7 days ago, Jack Musgrave rolled the ball across the centre of the park, only for it to be intercepted by Juan Carlos Romero, who raced through on goal and scored one of the simplest goals of his career.

Fast forward to today and Jack Musgrave is rising

One moment you’re making a horrible error in front of goal, allowing the opposition to score a crucial goal and ultimately win the game.

The next you’re scoring an incredible goal in the final 10 minutes of a match to seal a priceless three points for your team.

This win sees Parramatta leapfrog the Spartans into 12th, but more importantly, it gives the Eagles   much needed points on the Club Championship table.

The great escape may yet be on for the Eagles and their faithful fans, but Leo Carle’s men will need another potent performance when they travel to the Northern Tigers next weekend.

Blacktown were brave but ultimately fell short at Melita Stadium.

Although for Nick Porreca, the objective is nothing loftier than to simply stay in the division.

The Spartans will quickly switch their attention to their clash with the woeful Wanderers next weekend.

 

Western Sydney Wanderers 0 vs Mounties Wanderers 2

Games are decided by moments, and in the moments that mattered, it was Juan Carlos Romero who stepped up to seal all three points for Terry Palapanis and his Mounties’ side.

The Sydney United Sports Centre has been kind to the Mounties in recent weeks as the black and gold boys have secured back-to-back victories on the hallowed astro turf to shoot right back into finals’ contention.

And a key figure in their finals’ chances is superstar striker, Juan Carlos Romero.

After a difficult early spell at Mounties, Romero has now scored four goals in two games as he begins to emulate the dazzling form he displayed earlier in the season at St George.

In a tight match against their fellow ‘Wandering’ rivals, Romero truly was the difference as the Western Sydney side saw numerous efforts roll inches wide or even rebound off the post, whilst the Mounties’ clinical edge secured them a precious three points that all but ends Western Sydney’s chances of playing finals’ football, and breathes new life into Mounties’ own top six ambitions.

 

Source FNSW website By Ryan Latty