Round 8 – National Premier League NSW Men’s 2 Preview

With each passing round we get closer to the end of the season and competition points start to mean more and more.

They can set you up for glory, they can rescue you from danger, or they can cruelly elude you as you sink deeper and deeper into trouble.

Which teams will claim three precious points in another blockbuster round of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s?

 

Match of the Round:

Mt Druitt Town Rangers vs Blacktown Spartans – Saturday 21st April – 7pm – Popondetta Park

“This town ain’t big enough for the two of us!”

It’s a line at the centre of any great western drama.

As we get set for another classic western drama between Mt Druitt Rangers and the Blacktown Spartans, it’s a line that once again resonates.

Two teams that – for very different reasons – are finding that the town of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s competition may not be the right size for them after all.

So far this season, the NPL 2 has seemed far too small for a Mt Druitt team with ambitions to dine at the top table of NPL football in NSW.

The undefeated Rangers sit atop both the Club Championship table and the competition ladder after 7 rounds – having won six of their opening seven games.

Unfortunately, for a Spartans side devoid of confidence and languishing at the wrong end of the table, the NPL 2 seems a town far too daunting.

The lights of Blacktown Football Park once shone brightly on a team performing admirably in the NPL 1 but there is an increasing fear that these light will be forced to flicker over NPL 3 football next season.

Propped up by a promising under 20s team, the Spartans sit 5th from bottom in the Club Championship table, but their worrying form in first grade is of grave concern for the fans of the men in orange and black.

Squaring up to their local rivals is an ominous task for the Spartans but in many great western dramas, the underdog finds a way to win.

Can the Spartans upset the odds to steal a point off Mt Druitt on Saturday night?

Or will the Rangers prove they’re the only sheriffs in this town?

 

St George FC vs Rydalmere Lions – Saturday 21st April – 7pm – Ilinden Sports Centre

With 24 goals scored in just 7 games, St George FC’s attack is the most lethal in the league.

Just ask Hills United keeper, Luke Turnbull.

The experienced shot-stopper has been having Juan Carlos Heras Romero shaped nightmares all week after the Spanish superstar put on a clinic at Lily Homes Stadium last round.

Turnbull is a quality keeper and has shown as much with a string of top-draw saves this season; but his expertise only serves to highlight how incredible the exploits of Romero was last weekend.

Stopping the St George attack will be the focus of the Rydalmere coaching staff all week, but providing an answer to the St George question seems to be a task too difficult for many teams in the league.

Can Rydalmere find the answer?

Perhaps the answer doesn’t lie in the Rydalmere defence, but attack.

In the five games the Lions have scored in this season, they have won four of them.

This is largely due to the fact that Rydalmere are a team fuelled by confidence.

If the Lions manage to score an early goal in this game, they will surge in self-belief and it could lead to a very spectacular upset on Saturday night.

 

Western Sydney Wanderers vs Central Coast Mariners – Saturday 21st April – 7pm – Sydney United Sports Centre

With the curtain drawn disappointingly over the season of both of these club’s senior A-League teams, all eyes will now be fixed on the fortunes of their NPL 2 sides, hoping…dreaming, of better.

Will the abrupt end of the Western Sydney Wanderers A-League campaign mean Keanu Baccus returns to the NPL 2 side?

Depending on the regulations surrounding his availability, it could be the spark the red & black faithful crave.

The return of the three-musketeers.

Abraham Majok, Lachlan Scott and Keanu Baccus.

It’s a sentence to drive fear into the heart of all their NPL 2 rivals.

The Wanderers aren’t alone in the boast of future talent, however.

The Central Coast Mariners can conjure up names to rival the reputation of the Wanderers trio.

Jordan Smylie, Matias Paz and Alec Vinci are three young men all driven in pursuit of an A-League jersey.

With two teams able to boast such a wealth of talent, this clash promises to be a fascinating battle between two of Australia’s footballing powerhouses.

 

Canterbury Bankstown FC vs Northern Tigers FC – Saturday 21st April – 7pm – The Crest Athletic Centre

The competition table and form guide tell two very different stories as Canterbury Bankstown and Northern Tigers clash on Saturday night.

Sitting in fourth on the table on 11 points, the Tigers look far more comfortable than their opponents, the Berries, who are 5 points adrift in 12th place.

Although that’s not what the form guide says.

Canterbury Bankstown are currently one of the form teams in the competition.

With seven goals and two wins from their past two games, Branko Culina’s men are in season-best form.

Compare that with the Tigers who have only picked up one point from their past two games, scoring just one goal.

Is recent form or the competition table a more accurate indication of how this game will play out?

Find out on Saturday night at The Crest Athletic Centre.

 

North Shore Mariners vs Mounties Wanderers – Sunday 22nd April – 4pm – Northbridge Oval

New coach, new fortunes?

The Mounties Wanderers have underperformed so far this season.

They lie in 11th place on the table, far below the top-six aspirations many at the club held at the beginning of the season.

Will Terry Palapanis be able to wave his magic wand at Mounties to a similar effect it had at St George? Or will the inconsistent form of his new crop of players be a spell too difficult to resolve?

Hoarding similar disappointments for the season so far is the North Shore Mariners. Their three wins and three defeats suggests a year of mid-table mediocrity awaits but that falls well short of the goals the club established for themselves at the beginning of the campaign.

Despite both teams desperately needing a win to get their unsatisfactory seasons back on track, three points must belong to one team on Sunday afternoon.

Who will it be?

 

Hills United FC vs Macarthur Rams – Sunday 22nd April – 7pm – Lily Homes Stadium

One team hoping to forget the misery of last week, the other hoping to harness the confidence gained meet in Round 8 of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.

Hills United’s demoralising defeat against St George last round sent them crashing back to earth, after their early season form suggested the Brumbies could start to dream of an unlikely finals’ position.

Macarthur, by contrast, erased much of the early season pain suffered by their fans, with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Spirit FC.

Mark Symington and Sam Onana (what’s my name?) Awono were superb in that match and Rams’ fans will be praying these two can replicate their efforts on Sunday afternoon.

It’s often been said that a week is a long time in football, it’s time for Hills United and Macarthur Rams to prove to us just how true that statement is.

 

Parramatta FC vs GHFA Spirit FC – Sunday 22nd April – 7pm – Melita Stadium

They’re two of the most iconic teams in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.

Parramatta FC and GHFA Spirit FC.

But they’re also two teams whose status in the league is under serious threat.

With the confirmed three team relegation in place for the NPL 2 this season, the relegation battle for season 2018 is shaping up as the most merciless of all time.

As Parramatta FC lie in second last on 39 points on the Club Championship ladder, and Spirit FC sit in 11th on 46 points, both clubs are well within the sights of the relegation sword.

A case can be made for these teams lacking their fair share of luck in the early rounds, but that argument only gets you so far.

After seven league rounds, both of these teams are in the bottom half of the table – not where they need or want to be.

The time for talking has stopped and the time for action has come.

Who is going to step up and make the first move?

Find out in the final game of what promises to be another spectacular round of NPL 2 NSW Men’s football.

Form Guide:

↑ St George (W,W,W)

↓ Mt Druitt (W,W,D)

↑ Bankstown Berries (W,W,L)

↑ Western Sydney Wanderers (D,W,W)

↓ Central Coast Mariners (D,W,D)

↓ Parramatta FC (D,W,D)

______________________________________________________________________________________

↑ Macarthur Rams (W,L,D)

↓ Hills United (L,W,D)

↓ Northern Tigers (D,L,W)

↓ Rydalmere Lions (D,L,W)

↑ North Shore Mariners (D,L,L)

↑ Blacktown Spartans (L,L,D)

↓ Spirit FC (L,L,L)

↓ Mounties Wanderers (L,L,L)

Source FNSW website-By Ryan Latty

Round 7 – National Premier League NSW Women’s 2 Preview

Headline clashes highlight another fascinating round of National Premier Leagues 2 action. We have the Match of the Round headed out to Christie Park, Sydney Olympic hosting the exciting SD Raiders and seeing if APIA Leichhardt can remain undefeated just to name a few.

Match of the Round: Gladesville Ravens vs UNSW FC, Sunday 22nd April 2018, 6pm, Christie Park #2

This week’s Match of the Round takes us to the newly refurbished Christie Park as fourth placed Gladesville Ravens take on UNSW FC Sunday evening.

Gladesville had their wings clipped in a close loss which dropped them down to fourth, as UNSW FC turned around a 5-1 loss in round 5 to a 5-1-win last weekend against bottom placed Southern Branch FC.

UNSW FC has been proactive both on and off-field with their intent in NPL2. They have tried to play a fluid style which is helped by the signing of Tasmanian marksman Paige Ayton, bolstering a strong attacking core of Amy Altman and Christine Tanaka Lucantonio.

The Ravens have been tough for teams to break down. They take punches like Homer against Tyson and look to land the final blow through Annalise Schiraldi or Eleanor Lidbetter making for a mesmerising contest this weekend.

Sydney Olympic FC vs SD Raiders, Sunday 22nd April 2018, 3pm, Peter Moore Field

The pick of the 3pm kick-offs, Sydney Olympic FC welcome SD Raiders to Peter Moore Field, as the latest challengers to their undefeated streak as Olympic look to be more Goldberg than Asuka.

Olympic FC has been shouting ‘who’s next’ after they swept aside Central Coast Mariners while a disappointed SD Raiders fell to a surprising single goal loss out in the golden west.

Raiders boss Mark Constantini admitted the visitors were disappointing out in Mudgee. The return of Cassidy Chidgey hopefully will help them overall, as they will need goals against an Olympic outfit that has speared the competition.

Last week Lieke Bever took the headlines. The Olympic forward scored a brace and gave the Mariners defense headaches – the combination between her, Bozanic and Costanzo has Olympic streets ahead as favourites this season.

Central Coast Mariners vs Nepean FC, Sunday 22nd April 2018, 3pm, Pluim Park

Two sides firmly in the middle cluster of the table, Sunday’s fixture shapes up to be a vital yardstick for their prospects for the rest of the season.

Both teams come off losses last weekend, Mariners were put to the sword by premiers, Sydney Olympic, as Nepean FC were pipped by a rampaging APIA Leichhardt Tigers side in their first loss of the season.

Despite their loss, Mariners continue to be one of the league’s highest scorers. Candice Phelan stretched her golden boot lead to three, aided by the energiser bunnies that are Jordan Evans and Gabrielle Blanch down the wings make them a tough prospect for defenses.

Nepean FC would’ve had extra finishing practice after it cost them against APIA. Their attack should be fine so it is down the other end starting goalkeeper Danielle Bartels and her defenders will be under pressure against the equal top-scorers of NPL2 Womens.

Western NSW Mariners FC vs Southern Branch FC, Sunday 22nd April 2018, 3pm, Sir Jack Brabham Park

National Premier Leagues 2 Womens has its own version of the Distance derby, as Southern Branch rack up the kilometres, heading to Orange for Sunday’s clash with Western NSW Mariners.

The pain continued for Southern Branch as they succumbed 5-1 to UNSW FC as Western NSW Mariners claimed a big scalp in three points against SD Raiders which gave them space on the bottom two.

Teegan Courtney continues to find the net with her narrow finish last week taking her to six for the season. The Mariners showed impressive work rate through their defensive work marshalled by Chloe Anlezark.

Southern Branch may enjoy getting away from home, as they conceded eight in their last two games. Them and St George FC remain the two win-less teams and victory for either might spark some life going into the rest of the season.

St George FC vs Marconi Stallions, Sunday 22nd April 2018, 3pm, St George Stadium

The gap between the top and the bottom is starting to become a chasm. If St George FC aim to soar rather than meet the same fate as Homer Simpson jumping Springfield gorge it starts against Marconi.

Conversely, Marconi has galloped to the front of the pack, sitting third after their 2-1 victory against Gladesville Ravens. St George FC went from Saints to sinners with their 5-3 capitulation against Inter Lions.

St George were left to rue some defensive mistakes that saw them have three points snatched from them but there were some positive signs, Grace Ha and Marissa Nicopolous showed the Saints can compete.

For the Stallions, it is about maintaining their impressive form. Coach Mark Turvey has the side firing that even the defense, through Hannah Voloder is finding the net making a marked improvement from their 2017 first half of the season.

APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs Inter Lions, Sunday 22nd April 2018, 7pm, Lambert Park

Following their sojourn out west, APIA Leichhardt Tigers head back home to Lambert Park as they take on a revived Inter Lions side Sunday night.

The Lions found their roar against St George FC with an emphatic comeback as they finally turned their potential into points moving off the bottom. APIA continued their perfect start to the season with a tough 2-nil victory over Nepean FC.

Ash Palombi is more efficient than a Sydney train with her strike rate this season – the striker has an impressive nine goals already with the impact of partner Karen Saavedra, it makes for nightmare fuel for opposition teams.

Inter possess some fine attacking threat of their own, in the style that Danny Abboud likes to play the Lions will try to find space for Dominique Caridad and Sarah Mandile to test APIA custodian Courtney Halpin in a contest predicted to have goals!

Source FNSW website - By Justin Davies

Round 7 – National Premier League NSW Men’s 2 Review

Round 7 of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s competition surprised all, as teams at the bottom of the table secured crucial wins to pile the pressure on the teams above them.

This is shaping up to be one thrilling season.

Match of the Round: Hills United vs St George FC

This was supposed to be the game that Hills United proved they were the real deal this season.

The game where they made the league sit up and take notice.

Unfortunatley, as so often has been the case this season, the headlines were stolen again by one man.

The ‘special Juan’.

Juan Carlos Heras Romero has proved again that he is different class.

With as much control, invention, and amazement as a magician weaving his magic wand, so too does Romero cast his spell on helpless defences across the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.

And, as fans gathered in number on Saturday night at Lily Homes Stadium, expecting to see a tight match between two in-form teams, they were united – irrespective of whether they were dressed in gold or red – in both admiration for the skill of Romero and in sympathy for the poor Hills backline exposed to the merciless brutality of his skill.

Romero scored his and his team’s first goal of the game midway through the first half.

Christopher Arditti made a mazy run through a sea of Hills’ defenders, weaving inside from the right wing. A desperate tackle knocked the ball loose, but before it could be gathered by recovering Hills’ players, Arditti lunged at it, squirting the ball towards the path of Romero who drove a low shot that fizzed across the surface and slid under the diving keepers’ arms and into the net.

A deserved lead for St George, but one they wouldn’t be satisfied with for long as they found their second of the game on 28 minutes.

More incisive wing-play from the Saints, this time on the left flank, as Jordan Morfitis raced to the by-line before cutting the ball back, aiming for his awaiting striker. However the ball was cut out by a Hills’ defender, whose clearance cruelly fell into the path of Ali Nasreddine who cut across the ball on the half volley, sending it spinning fiercely into the roof of the net.

The two goal lead was one St George fans enjoyed throughout the half-time break as, by stark contrast, Hills United fans spent the interval scratching their heads at how they could nullify the attacking threat of the Saints.

Whatever answers the Hills’ fans and coaching staff came up with at half-time didn’t seem to work however as in the 68th minute, Romero scored his second of the game.

The Spanish wizard chipped a ball out wide into the path of his winger, who danced his way towards the edge of the box. Looking up, he saw Romero in acres of space, almost as if the semi circle on the 18-yard line acted as some forcefield, preventing Hills’ players getting close to Romero.

The wingers pass was inch perfect for Romero to let it run between his legs, nudging the ball out of the path of the oncoming defender, and calmly stroke the ball into the corner of the net.

If it wasn’t certain already, the third goal looked to have sealed all three points for the Saints and the despondent dropping of Hills United heads looked to confirm that.

With the outcome confirmed, the only question left unanswered was, ‘by how many?’

The answer to that question became clearer on 76 minutes when Romero sent the crowd back to 2002, and a famous Ronaldinho/David Seaman moment.

A nonchalant free-kick from Romero drifted further than perhaps he intended, sailing towards the top corner of the goal. Luke Turnbull in goals began to backtrack rapidly, fearing the ball crashing embarrassingly into the net. However, in all his panic, Turnbull managed to fumble the ball onto the post, causing the ball to fall invitingly into the path of Aleksandar Lekoski who had what golfers call ‘a gimme’.

St George scored their fifth and final goal of the game on 83 minutes when a sloppy giveaway in the middle of the park allowed Saints’ players to pounce.

Romero latched onto the loose ball and fed it immediately through to Patrick O’Shea who skilfully back heeled the ball into the path of Lekoski who found himself unmarked standing on the penalty spot. Lekoski’s shot was well saved by Turnbull but, in a sign of how the fortune of the night was turning out, the ball spilled to the diminutive Anthony Morabito who converted from close range.

Hills United did add a consolation goal late in the game after Bradley Robertson scrambled the ball into the net from a corner but, in truth, it was a frustratingly long night for all men in yellow.

Regardless of the result, it’s been a positive start to the season for Hills United and they can take solace from the fact they aren’t and won’t be the only team to endure a tough night at the hands of St George.

The Saints continue to keep pace with Mt Druitt at the top of the table, in what is fast becoming a two horse race for the premiership crown.

 

MATCH STATS

Saturday 15th April 2018

Lily Homes Stadium

Hills United 1 (B. Robertson)

St George FC (J. Heras Romero x2, A. Lekoski, A. Nasreddine, A. Morabito)

Hills United: 1. L. Turnbull, 2. K. Pace, 5. M. Zarantonello, 6. B. Robertson, 7. W. Giovenali, 8. E. Montford, 11. D. Merrin, 13. C. Jeong, 14. C. Langan, 15. P. Gatt, 16. G. Giovenali, 19. G. Kelshaw, 44. D. Fogarty, 91. P. Cejka

St George FC: 2. D. Loe, 3. A. Nasreddine, 4. H. Akil, 5. J. Bandur, 6. P. O’Shea, 7. J. Heras Romero, 8. T. Ercan, 12. A. Morabito, 15. C. Arditti, 16. J. Morfitis, 17. A. Lekoski, 19. T. Norval, 20. R. Beneit Romero, 21. A. Costa

 

Blacktown Spartans 1 vs Canterbury Bankstown 3

These Berries are ripe!

Back-to-back wins for the first time this season has lifted Canterbury Bankstown out of the relegation gloom and into a cluster of mid-table teams.

It’s a testament to how tight this competition is.

For weeks the Berries struggled to score, they struggled to win and they struggled to find any form of confidence.

But there’s a renewed spirit within the dressing sheds at Canterbury Bankstown and all the ‘struggling’ seems to have shifted over to the men clad in orange and black.

The Spartans, after their opening round win against Macarthur, have fallen down the ladder like a bungee-jumper whose cord has malfunctioned.

And whilst the relegation shaped rocks at the bottom of the gorge still seem a way off, they grow closer and closer with every defeat.

This defeat came courtesy of some astute high-press from the Berries’ team, pressuring a Spartans defence that has been lacking in confidence for weeks.

On 20 minutes, Jake Bradshaw nipped in to dispossess a Spartans’ defender, Bradshaw tip-toed into the box and finished from an acute angle.

The home fans believed their side could get back into the game, but all hope evaporated in a 10 minute period midway through the second half.

Perry Moustakas rose highest to head home a Dominic Tripodi free-kick, and shortly after, Bradshaw was at it again – this time turning provider – as Richard Darko swept home from close range.

The Spartans rallied and found their way back into the game thanks to Alex Boyadijian whose devilish shot dipped sharply in front of the keeper and snuck home.

However the Berries showed resilience to remain secure at the back and collect an important three points for Branko Culina and his men.

 

Mounties Wanderers 1 vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers 5

The race for the premiership title is shaping up as a two horse race.

And, on the weekend Winx claimed her 25th straight victory, it’s clear to see which horse is Winx in this race.

Mt Druitt are on fire and defences in the NPL 2 are well and truly terrified.

Another 5 goal thumping of a hapless Mounties in this clash has cemented the Rangers’ place on the summit of the NPL 2 Men’s table.

There was some debate over the first goal, many believed Nicholas Trimble got the last touch, some believed it was Harry Kane who should be credited with the goal, but the official match report has chalked it down as a Pasqualino Cappuccio own goal.

There was no doubt over the second however, Brian Griffin-Colls snuck in behind his defender and finished neatly inside the far post.

It seemed Mounties fans were going to be in for a long afternoon at the Sydney United Sports Centre as the Rangers raced to a two-goal lead inside 10 minutes.

However Mounties responded with a goal of their own moments later through Mitchell Davidson.

It was Davidson’s third goal of the season and a strike that looked to inspire confidence in a Mounties team that desperately needed something to lift their spirits,

Sadly for Mounties fans, the goal was a momentary reprieve from Rangers’ dominance, and normal business resumed just 5 minutes later.

Making the most of the strong breeze in their backs, Mt Druitt played a more direct brand of football in the opening period, and on 15 minutes, Emmanuel Gonzalez latched onto a long ball in behind the defence to cooly finish past the keeper.

It was that man again shortly after half-time, as Gonzalez had too much pace for his defender, darting in behind the defensive line, rounded the keeper and tickled the ball into the net.

Eager to get in on the double-act, Brian Griffin-Colls added his second and his side’s fifth late in the second half, sealing some magnificent looking icing on one rather large green and yellow cake.

When asked about how far his side can go this year, Mt Druitt coach, Aidan Desmond replied, “from the beginning of the season, there’s been a feeling amongst the playing group that something special could happen this year”

However Desmond was quick to reiterate the need for his side to remain focussed on the here and now rather than be swept away by dreams of September.

It is only Round 7 but dreams of September aren’t too far away if the Rangers continue in the manner they’ve begun

 

Macarthur Rams 4 vs GHFA Spirit FC 1

Fresh off seeing the Berries break their duck last week, the pressure really piled onto the collective shoulders of Macarthur Rams ahead of their home clash against Spirit FC.

Knowing they couldn’t afford to drop any more points, or risk losing touch with the teams above them, the Rams responded in the best way possible with an emphatic win over a disappointing Spirit FC outfit.

Fans at Lynwood Park were left singing “Onana, what’s my name?” as the classy forward scored two slick goals to fire his team to their first victory of the season.

Not to be outdone, Mark Symington continued his solid start to the season, bagging a tasty McDouble to the sheer delight of all Rams’ fans on Saturday night.

Spirit FC striker, Kevin Lopes, kept up his perfect goal-to-game ratio, scoring his side’s first goal of the game during the second half, but in truth it was never going to be enough on a poor night for David Perkovic’s men.

“Credit to Macarthur. They scored the early goal and didn’t allow us to get back into the game. We need to get back to the training ground and rectify where things went wrong”.

It’s been a tough week for Spirit FC.

Two straight defeats. Seven goals conceded. One goal scored. It’s worrying form.

They will need to bounce back quickly next week against a resurgent Parramatta side or risk seeing a precious finals’ spot slip swiftly out of their grasp.

 

Northern Tigers 1 vs Western Sydney Wanderers 1

Two new names found their way onto the score and assist sheet this week for the Western Sydney Wanderers whose second half dominance wasn’t enough for them to secure all three points against a dogged Tigers’ side.

There was very little to separate these two sides in the early exchanges of the match.

The Wanderers tried to assert themselves through incisive wing-play, whilst the Tigers robust style looked to rattle the youth of the Red & Black.

But it was the Wanderers who opened the scoring, benefitting from the wing-play that they had begun the game so promisingly with, as Tass Mourdoukoutas slammed home a header from a wonderful Abdelrahman Kuku cross.

Though shortly after taking the lead, the Wanderers would allow the Tigers to sneak back into the game, Alexander Brown snatching an equaliser for Jason Eagar’s side.

An evenly contested first half made way for a second dominated by Red & Black.

The Wanderers pushed hard for a winning goal but each time were met by a desperate diving body from a Tigers’ defender who deflected the shot inches wide.

In the end, an important point for the Tigers who demonstrate their defensive resolve – an important quality to have in any team harbouring finals’ ambitions.

The Wanderers will be disappointed to miss out on collecting all three points but will be buoyed by the fact their unbeaten streak continues as they host the Central Coast Mariners next week.

 

Central Coast Mariners 2 vs Parramatta FC 2

The one that got away.

Parramatta FC took the lead twice in this match, and even had a numerical advantage for 18 minutes at the end of the match, but they weren’t able to translate opportunity into reality.

The ever reliable Neram Yalda opened the scoring for the Eagles in this match, but their joy was short-lived as a lapse in concentration allowed the Mariners to equalise just two minutes later through Emmanuel Peters.

It was a tight affair, between two teams that, despite the distance between them on the table, looked evenly matched.

But as it looked like the sides would march off for half-time all square, Abuzar Awaz stepped up in the fourth minute of added time to steal his side a half-time lead.

It was a smart ploy from the Eagles, who realised that scoring so close to half-time means there is no chance for the opposition to score just minutes later – as they did for the first goal.

Despite tangible effort, neither side could fashion a genuine goal-scoring opportunity in the second half.

That was until Alec Vinci stepped up with just 20 minutes to go to blast past the keeper to level the scores.

The home crowd erupted, eager to spur their side on to an important victory.

But their cheers turned to fears just two minutes later when Emmanuel Peters got an basic lesson in football math: one yellow plus one yellow equals a red.

Suddenly the momentum shifted again, this time in favour of the away side.

The Eagles soared, hunting a winning goal.

But one would never arrive, as a stubborn Central Coast Mariners defence held firm to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

A frustrating night for Parramatta who would have felt they deserved all three points, but overall a promising performance for a team that is slowly finding its feet in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s competition.

 

North Shore Mariners 1 vs Rydalmere Lions 1

The late kick-off for Round 7 and arguably the one with the most pressure.

With the knowledge of the results that have gone before, this game took on even greater significance for both sides.

Rydalmere saw both Macarthur Rams and Canterbury Bankstown pick up maximum points in their matches over the weekend, cutting the gap between the Lions and the bottom of the table to just one win.

North Shore had seen all the teams around them fail to win and knew that a win in this game could propel them above a cluster of teams in the middle of the competition table.

But for all the optimism and heightened sense of importance, neither side were able to secure the three points they so desperately craved.

The North Shore Mariners opened the scoring through a powerful finish from Chris Lindsay. In truth, it was a goal the Mariners merited after some slick passing in the opening half.

Lindsay’s strike was enough to separate the two teams at the break, but it was a different Lions’ side that emerged in the second period.

And they were rewarded for their positive second half performance, as Mitchell Gibbs kept his composure to guide the ball into the back of the net.

Both sides pushed hard for a winning goal, aware of how significant a winning strike could be for their position on the ladder.

Despite their efforts, a winning goal eluded both sets of strikers, and the referee’s whistle brought to an end an entertaining but frustrating match for both sets of fans.

 

Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty

 

Next week’s fixtures:

St George FC vs Rydalmere Lions

Mt Druitt Town Rangers vs Blacktown Spartans

Western Sydney Wanderers vs Central Coast Mariners

Canterbury Bankstown vs Northern Tigers

North Shore Mariners vs Mounties Wanderers

Hills United vs Macarthur Rams

Parramatta FC vs GHFA Spirit FC

1st grade mens coaching position

Hello Coaches,
SGFC is seeking expressions of interest from qualified coaches who have interest being the head 1st grade coach & to become part of our  dynamic and progressive  1st grade squad.
If you feel you have the drive , ambition and motivation, please provide us with some detail at the link  Coach Enquiry and we will be in touch.
If you have any further inquiries please contact Arthur Kontalis on 0418258165
Regards,
SGFC Board

 

St George FC Media Release

St George FC Media Release

14th April 2018

Dear Terry,

The SGFC Board takes this opportunity to thank you for your contribution to the
growth and development of the SGFC Brand and Development Pathways.

The Club is supportive of your choice to further your career and development and
acceptance of a role outside the St George FC pathway. You leave SGFC a better organisation and on a strong footing for those who follow and its our pleasure to thank you for your dedication and what you have
accomplished in your term as Technical Director and wish you all the very best
in your future endeavours.

Kind regards,
SGFC Board

Round 6 – NPL 2 NSW Women’s Preview

Round six brings us a series of intriguing contests in another excellent chapter of the National Premier Leagues 2 Womens 2018 book highlighted by two undefeated teams clashing and a Match of the Round dripping with goals between Sydney Olympic FC and Central Coast Mariners.

Match of the Round: Sydney Olympic FC vs Central Coast Mariners, Sunday 15th April 2018, 3pm, Peter Moore Field

This week’s Match of the Round pitches two of the top attacking sides of National Premier Leagues 2 Womens together as Sydney Olympic FC host Central Coast Mariners at Peter Moore Field on Sunday.

Both sides come into the weekend sitting in first and fourth respectively, Mariners thrashed Western NSW 8-1 while APIA Leichhardt Tigers were the first side to take points off Olympic in a 3-3 draw.

Mariners boss Dan Barrett has preached the coastal side being a slow building side but it helps having such a prolific scorer like Candice Phelan, that has banged into ten goals thus far alongside a superb supporting cast in Jordan Evans, Jade Mcatamney and Melissa Swinfield to tackle the defending premiers.

The home side whilst they didn’t collect all three points at Lambert park, they continue to be the standard bearer for the division. In their own sharpshooter, Madelaine Costanzo, they can find the goals supplied by Siahn Bozanic, Lieke Bever and talent at Olympic.

All those elements thrown together make for some mouthwatering football and a clash that fans definitely should head to Peter Moore Field to enjoy.

Inter Lions SC vs St George FC, Sunday 15th April 2018, 3pm, Concord Oval

Two desperate sides come together at Concord Oval, looking for their first win of the campaign on Sunday afternoon.

The Saints look to have hit rock bottom with their 8-nil loss against Nepean FC as the project at Inter Lions stumbled in their close loss to a solid Gladesville Ravens side, making the three points vital for their chances this season.

Inter Lions have been unlucky, both on and off field thus far, only playing three games in which they have had a draw and two losses. Their staff has admitted they hope this domination with results won’t be a trend throughout the season but with the talent available they should find some form soon enough.

For the Saints, getting something from this game is paramount. They sit rock bottom and will look to the experienced members of the squad highlighted by Carla Smith and Yadira Renfigo to get themselves off the bottom.

Western NSW Mariners FC vs SD Raiders, Sunday 15th April 2018, 3pm, Glen Willow Stadium

There’s no place like home. Western NSW Mariners clicked their boots together and now are back on home soil against the SD Raiders in Mudgee on Sunday afternoon.

SD Raiders seem to have found their groove in recent weeks, after their 3-2 defeat to APIA a few weeks ago, they have piled on 14 goals with only a single one conceded. Against a Mariners side that conceded eight last weekend, the Raiders will be keen to continue that trend.

Samantha Nagy stole all the headlines last week with her six-goal haul for the Raiders, the forwards combination with poacher Cassidy Chidgey will keep Mariners custodian, Jessica Daymond on her toes through the contest.

The Mariners form has resembled a Welsh town name rather a side looking to chase higher honours this season, so coach Josh Ward will lean on performances from Tegan Kilby, Jasmin Courtenay and goalscorer Teegan Courtney to reverse their fortunes in a tough to pick contest in Mudgee.

Marconi Stallions vs Gladesville Ravens, Sunday 15th April 2018, 3pm, Marconi Stadium

A resurgent Marconi Stallions look to move within striking distance of the top four as they take on Gladesville Ravens at the historic Marconi Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Stallions swept aside UNSW FC 5-1 for back to back victories after their slow start to the season. Gladesville Ravens swooped on their rivals at the start, registering a pair of victories before a dip, although they still share first with the two undefeated sides in APIA and Olympic FC.

The star for the Ravens has been striker Annalise Schiraldi with her three goals this term as the visitors have been resolute defensively with only half a dozen conceded through five completed fixtures.

For the Stallions, they have the confidence to challenge any side in NPL2 Womens, but it is putting it together consistently which has dogged them in recent times. The attacking weapons across the park headlined by Demelza Howard may test the defensive solidity of the Ravens this weekend.

Southern Branch FC vs UNSW FC, Sunday 15th April 2018, 3pm, South Nowra Football Complex

It’s been a tough few weeks for Southern Branch, after some heavy defeats they welcome eighth place UNSW FC looking for some respite.

The students themselves head south on a sour note, after their heavy loss to Marconi last weekend. It was the first big loss for them this season and how they respond without Tahlia Hanslow, due to a red card, will be paramount.

Southern Branch FC were the late bloomers of last season, so they might use this game as a launch pad for keeping themselves from hanging around the bottom of the ladder too long.

Nepean FC vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC, Sunday 15th 2018, 6:30pm, Cook Park

Akin to an action movie, round six finishes with a bang as high-flying APIA Leichhardt Tigers take their undefeated streak out to the foot of the mountains against Nepean FC.

Goals were in high supply last weekend, as Nepean piled eight on St George while APIA showed heart in their 3-3 draw against Premiers Sydney Olympic. Put that all together and this contest is almost guaranteed to have goals and possibly one unbeaten streak ending.

Nepean FC were given a task by their coach Alan Tasses after their lapses in previous weeks to complete a full 90 minutes, which they did against St George. Added to that is the return of their talisman, Stefanie Trovato, has them primed to take on the talented APIA Leichhardt side.

Besides possibly giving their coach some heart palpitations, APIA has made a smooth transition into NPL2 Womens. The shrewd signing of Ashleigh Palombi has returned eight goals in five rounds, helped by spirit the Tigers have in their squad steels them for another important clash for two teams searching for higher accolades this season.

Source FNSW website -By Justin Davies

Round 7 Preview – NPL 2 NSW Men’s

At the end of the season, every coach and fan looks back at one round that changed it all – for better or for worse. They look back at that one fixture where, from then on, everything was different.

This could be that round.

With battles at both the top and bottom of the table, there is everything to gain and everything to lose in Round 7 of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s competition.

 

Match of the Round:

Hills United vs St George FC – Saturday 14th April – 7pm – Lily Homes Stadium

Hills United are making a serious case to be counted amongst the leading contenders this season.

Their fantastic form in recent weeks has made many of the competition’s big boys sit up and take notice.

Chief of the pack, looking alarmingly over their shoulder, is St George FC.

The Saints were crowned by many as likely champions of the NPL 2 in season 2018 – before a ball was even kicked.

Although serious assaults on their crown have come from the likes of Mt Druitt Rangers and the Central Coast Mariners, but now, Hills United are ready to siege the Saints’ castle and lay claim to their crown.

However, this castle is defended by two of Spain’s most fearsome guards.

Juan Carlos Heras Romero and Raul Beneit Romero – and these two won’t relinquish the crown easily.

This match sure promises to be one to remember as Hills United’s premiership credentials are put to the sternest test against a highly fancied St George FC side.

 

Blacktown Spartans vs Canterbury Bankstown – Saturday 14th April – 7pm – Blacktown Football Park

Not since Leonidas and his legion of 300 men faced the ruthlessness of the Persian army in 480 BC have the Spartans faced this level of peril.

The statistics don’t make pleasant reading.

The fewest goals scored of any team in the league. 360 minutes since their last goal. Without a goal since the opening round. Lost three games out of their last four.

Like I said, these are dark days for the men in orange and black.

Furthermore, after Canterbury Bankstown secured their first victory in emphatic fashion against Mounties last round, I’m sure the Berries seem every bit as formidable as the might of Xerxes’s army.

Branko Culina’s assessment of the Berries when he took over was simple:

“This is a team lacking confidence”.

So the root of all Berries’ problems was an absence of confidence. Not ability.

With the Berries securing their confidence back, how far can they go?

With both teams desperate for a victory on Saturday night to escape the clutches of a relegation battle, this match promises to be a battle for the history books of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.

 

Macarthur Rams vs GHFA Spirit FC – Saturday 14th April – 7pm – Lynwood Park

I wonder if you know how it really feels to be left outside alone?

There’s a party going on in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s at the moment and it seems everyone’s been given an invitation, except for the Rams.

Macarthur sit bottom of the league, on their own, with just one point to their name after six rounds.

It’s the loneliest place to be, especially when the teams around you – Canterbury Bankstown and Parramatta FC – are running off into the horizon without you.

Macarthur will be buoyed by the fact their opponents in this match, Spirit FC, come into this game in similarly poor form.

After a promising start to the season, Spirit FC have lost their last two games, against Northern Tigers and a heavy defeat to Central Coast Mariners.

The defeat against the Mariners stung particularly hard as the debut match at Christie Park turned into a cremation rather than a christening.

Although David Perkovic is an astute coach, his discipleship of Pep Guardiola, has crafted him into a savvy tactician of the game.

Perkovic can only hope the Macarthur Rams head coach doesn’t channel his inner Jurgen Klopp, otherwise Spirit FC could be in for a difficult night at Lynwood Park on Saturday.

 

Northern Tigers FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers – Saturday 14th April – 7pm – North Turramurra Recreation Area

Were the Wanderers so confident in their own ability that they decided to give the other teams in the competition a head start this season?

After three defeats in the opening three rounds, this seemed like the only explanation to justify a bemusingly poor start.

Since those opening three defeats, the Wanderers have begun to look more like themselves, collecting maximum points in their next three games – thanks largely to the form of Lachlan Scott and Abraham Majok.

These two football stars of tomorrow (what a show that was) have been responsible for 11 of their side’s 15 goals this season.

Although it hasn’t just been goals these two are responsible for.

The Wanderers look a more confident side when these two are on the pitch. The other players on the pitch look expectantly at the deadly duo, hoping, believing, that they will get the Wanderers out of trouble.

Undoubtedly, the pair will be salivating at the chance to attack a Northern Tigers defence that have conceded more goals than any other side in the top nine. Thirteen goals conceded in just six games, at a rate of more than two per game, is a worrying statistic for Jason Eagar’s men.

The Tigers will need to rectify the defensive problems that have plagued them in the early rounds of this season if they are to stand any chance of overcoming a Wanderers side playing with renewed spirit and confidence.

 

Mounties Wanderers vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers – Sunday 15th April – 1pm – Sydney United Sports Centre

On paper, Mounties Wanderers have one of the most lethal attacks, and teams, in the league; but, as the old saying goes, football isn’t played on paper.

As Mounties are finding out, talent on a team sheet does not necessarily translate to results on the field.

Last week’s defeat to Canterbury Bankstown was another example of the diabolical depths Mounties can, and have plunged to this season.

At their best, Mounties can beat anyone in the league. Just ask Spirit FC and Parramatta FC.

At their worst, Mounties can be beaten by anyone in the league.

Their inconsistency is proving a hurdle that the Wanderers continue to trip over this season.

They sit 9th in the league, with the teams above them rapidly slipping out of reach.

One team who are almost out of reach, not just of the Wanderers but of many others in the competition, is Mt Druitt.

The Rangers have raced to 16 points this season, winning 5 of their opening 6 games.

Aidan Desmond’s team look to have struck a balance between attacking prowess and defensive solidarity – Hiten Satoh and Alexander Vlismas up front, with Carlos Saliadarre in goals.

Two teams that love to attack is a recipe for one sumptuous cake that will be served up for football fans on Sunday afternoon at Sydney United Sports Centre.

 

North Shore Mariners vs Rydalmere Lions FC – Sunday 15th April – 7pm – Valentine Sports Park No. 2

Loss, win, loss, win, loss.

It doesn’t take a genius to see a pattern there, or to know what should come next.

The pattern above is Rydalmere’s form over the past 5 games and if they are to keep to script, their defeat last round should be followed up with a win this week.

If Rydalmere are going to continue with their loss/win formula, then they need Zak Elrich to continue his scintillating form.

The elusive playmaker has danced around defenders for fun this season, contributing two goals in the opening five games.

However the burden of Rydalmere’s season is far too heavy for Elrich to shoulder on his own and Lions’ fans will be hoping Amaury Gauthier and Michael Konestabo come to join the Elrich party.

There have been no parties at North Shore Mariners’ headquarters in recent weeks. Two defeats on the bounce have seen the Mariners slip back down into the cluster of teams in mid-table obscurity.

Another defeat here would make it three in a row for the Mariners’ side and create on steep hill for the North Shore boys to climb for the rest of the season.

 

Central Coast Mariners vs Parramatta FC – Monday 16th April – 7:15 – Pluim Park No. 1

Monday night football is coming to the NPL 2 NSW Men’s – for this week.

A shift in kick-off times and field availability has meant the re-schedule of this clash to the Monday night, giving fans a long weekend of football to feast on.

The Central Coast Mariners are shaping as a genuine Premiership contender this season, alongside St George and Mt Druitt.

Whilst Mt Druitt and St George blow teams away with a glut of goals, the Mariners are building their success off a foundation of defensive resoluteness.

Having only conceded three goals in five, the Mariners have the best defence in the league and are one of only two teams who remain undefeated.

Consider they’ve played one less game than the teams around them and the Mariners could potentially be in second, just two points behind leaders Mt Druitt.

Cast your eyes further down the table and it feels like a long time before you see the name ‘Parramatta FC’ appear.

The Eagles finally got a rather heavy monkey off their back last round, winning their first league game at Melita Stadium since the 11th March 2017!

Eagles’ fans will be hoping it’s not quite as long before they see their team win again this season, but expecting three points against a magnificent Mariners side could be a wish no magician could grant.

 

Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty

Article on a St George Junior

St George FC’s Nicholas Paras has the unusual mantle of being the club’s chiropractor whilst also being a member of the first grade squad, currently riding high in second spot on the National Premier Leagues NSW 2 ladder.

Paras is a Saints junior, whose football career commenced in the St George district with Hurstville Glory before moving to the St George youth grade squads from the Under 11s. Most recently at the Bankstown Berries, prior to his move back “home” before the start of the 2017 season, Paras has combined his football duties with that of completing a chiropractic degree at Macquarie University, a task completed last year, with “Nico” graduating with a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science and a Masters of Chiropractic.

Renowned as a set piece specialist, both at the Berries and St George, Paras knocked in a tally of seven goals last season in all competitions, a rate of a goal approximately every three games, a not unreasonable strike rate for a midfielder.

With one eye on his career outside of football, Dr Paras, to give his more formal title, has the enviable job of also ensuring that the youth players of St George, concentrating on the 13 to 16s squads, are provided with the expert knowledge of the recently graduated chiropractor.

With Paras tasked with looking after the welfare of the Saints’ young guns, while helping the first team to challenge for the title, it will be a very busy, and football focussed, 2018.

Outside of the football world, Paras can be seen working at Macquarie Place Chiropractic Centre in Mortdale, so if you are nearby, pop in and say “Hi”…

National Premier Leagues 2 Womens Review – Round 5

Goals. Goals. Goals were the theme of the weekend as 42 found the net across the six National Premier Leagues 2 Women’s competition.

Match of the Round: St George FC vs Nepean FC

Nepean FC put the mistakes of the last two weeks behind them as they thrashed St George FC 8-nil in this weekend’s Match of the Round at St George Stadium Sunday afternoon.

The scoring was shared evenly between the Nepean side, as Alix Waddell and Erin Connell netted braces supported superbly by a superb strike from youngster Imogen Lane that shot them to a 3-nil half-time lead.

Coach Alan Tasses preached discipline as Nepean FC kept the foot on the throat and added five more goals in the second half. Those included a return to scoring for Stefanie Trovato while Bianca Galayini and Aisling Davidson also found the back of the net.

The first fifteen minutes of the match, saw the Nepean side guilty of being wasteful of their chances. Galayini and Connell had some prime chances to open the scoring but couldn’t find the target.

Erin Connell found the cure for their wastefulness in the 16th minute. A delightful cross from the returning defender Desiree Vassallo allowed the striker to slide in at the near post to make it 1-nil.

Nepean FC continued to thrust forward as Imogen Lane was denied by a brave leg save from Saints shotstopper Selen Santoro. The youngster wasn’t to be denied a second time though.

Lane found a pocket of space on the right-hand side, strode forward and unleashed a shot that sailed through the clear blue skies above St George Stadium and left Santoro frozen to the spot as the visitors made it 2-nil.

The Saints worked themselves into the contest and fired their first effort through Leanne Sharp. She whistled an effort within range but it sailed harmlessly wide.

Nepean FC completed the first half with a surprise third goal. Energetic midfielder Galayini was gifted enough space which she gleefully accepted floating in a cross that fooled everyone making it 3-nil to them going into the break.

In the second half, it was all Nepean FC. Five minutes after the restart, Stephanie Haaring released Connell down the right wing well, the striker completed her brace with a powerful effort that arrowed into the net.

Tasses sent on the dynamic duo of Stefanie Trovato and Britney Pelle to remind the visitors to keep focus for the whole 90. Trovato almost made an instant impact as she cut inside before rifling an effort just wide of the post.

Waddell scored her first as the shade started to engulf St George Stadium when two-goal hero Connell cushioned the ball for the forward to knock home as they made it five.

Trovato got herself a goal in the 68th minute with a well-placed finish before Nepean FC brought out the party tricks. Their sixth and seventh were chips of differing varieties as Waddell spied Santoro off her line and chipped her before Aisling Davidson completed the rout with a late free-kick.

Afterwards Nepean FC coach Alan Tasses was delighted for a comfortable result after the frustrating finishes of the last few weeks.

“It was a lot better today. The girls stayed disciplined for the whole ninety as it would be easy to have gone away from that after going into the break, up 3-nil,”

“We spoke about that pre-game, the girls had lacked the discipline in previous weeks and it was good to do that this afternoon,”

“Being able to bring on someone like [Stefanie] Trovato shows that the club has some serious depth which will allow them to possibly challenge this season.” Finished Tasses.

For Mark Cupitt and St George FC it was another disappointing afternoon which hopefully rock bottom for them and they rebound next weekend.

MATCH STATS

Sunday 8th April 2018

St George Stadium, Rockdale

Referee: T Brown

Assistant Referees:  J Garcia and A Phipps

St George FC 0

Nepean FC 8 (Connell ’18, ’50 Lane ’33 Galayini ’36 Waddell ’66, ’72 Davidson ’90 Trovato ’68)

St George FC: 3. SMITH Carla, 6. BENNETT Amy, 10. RENFIGO Yadira (18. REGAN ’58), 11. ORR Helen (24. MARJANOVIC ’83), 12. ABEL Danielle, 15. HA Grace (16. NICHOLLS ’45), 20. SANTORO Selen, 21. DANES Tyler (28. CUPITT ’78), 29. SHARP Leanne, 30. WEBSTER Hayley (8. SHRESTHA ’67), 33. DIAVATIOTIS Jasmine

Yellow cards: nil

Red cards: nil

Nepean FC: 1. BARTELS Danielle, 3. DAVIDSON Aisling, 4. CONNELL Erin (26. CLARKE ’69), 6. BALLARD Monique, 7. HAARING Stephanie (9. PELLE ’58), 8. LANE Imogen (21. TROVATO ’58), 10. GALAYINI Bianca (2. JACKSON ’72), 11. STEDMAN Madeline, 12. WADDELL Alix (20. MALAS ’87), 13. VASSALLO Desiree, 15. WHEELER Cassandra

Yellow cards: nil

Red cards: nil

Central Coast Mariners 8 defeated Western NSW Mariners FC 1

In the Mariners derby it was the coastal variety that showed a clinical edge as they breezed past Western NSW Mariners this afternoon.

One again, Candice Phelan topped the charts with a four-goal haul to take her season tally into double digits. Melissa Swinfield treated herself to a double in a five-star first half for the Mariners.

The Mariners continued to push forward as Jordan Evans and Jade Mcatamney completed the scoresheet as the Coast head the chasing pack in second after five weeks.

On a forgettable afternoon for Western NSW Mariners, Teegan Courtney scored her fifth goal in as many games for some consolation.

SD Raiders 12 defeated Southern Branch FC 0

In a weekend filled with big scorelines this was one to send a message as SD Raiders demolished Southern Branch FC at Ernie Smith Reserve.

Six goal hauls are a rare occurrence much like a shooting star. On a bright afternoon Samantha Nagy soared through the Southern Branch FC defense on several occasions to confirm the haul and launch her into the top goal-scorer discussion.

Cassidy Chidgey got herself a hat-trick making it eight goals for the season while Logan Garard, Jessica Fallah and Tamara Skinner sent the Raiders faithful home happy. The back to back victories that sees them join a whole host of sides in equal second position.

Marconi Stallions 5 defeated UNSW FC 1

The Stallions hot scoring form continued as they downed ten-woman UNSW FC 5-1 this afternoon at Marconi Stadium.

In a tightly packed mid-table, Marconi joined the congestion with their victory. Since their opening round defeat to Sydney Olympic FC, the Stallions have piled on 15 goals since.

Ceyda Cambaz got herself a brace for the home side while Jessica Beale continued her fine form with another goal making it three in consecutive weeks for the striker.

Rounding out the Stallions scoring was Crystal Richardson and Summar Richardson. For UNSW despite being reduced to ten after Tahlia Hanslow’s red card, Harley Johnston gave them some solace with her second half strike.

Gladesville Ravens 1 defeated Inter Lions SC 0

We have a new contender as a tightly contested single goal win saw Gladesville Ravens propel themselves right into the conversation at Christie Park this afternoon.

In contrast to most of the contests this weekend, this game was close and not decided until late in the second half. Annalise Schiraldi netted her third goal of the season that gave the home side all three points.

The Ravens have found their feet in National Premier Leagues 2 after a stuttering first season and have built themselves the perfect platform to launch for the rest of the season.

APIA Leichhardt Tigers 3 drew with Sydney Olympic FC 3

APIA Leichhardt Tigers may have earned themselves a new nickname as the ‘cardiac kids’ after a frantic three-all draw against Sydney Olympic FC under the bright lights at Lambert Park.

The Tigers held a surprising 2-1 lead at the break after a brace of goals from Ashleigh Palombi after the visitors had dominated the first twenty minutes. Olympic FC would fnp; [,+ind a route back into the contest from a spot kick as the two sides caught their breath at the break.

After the break, the game turned into a swinging pendulum as an unfortunate own goal from Sam Scarlato brought Olympic level then the premiers turned to their sharpshooter, Madelaine Costanzo, who fired them into the lead, destined for victory.

The Tigers dug deep after Olivia Hardaker was shown a red and remarkably found a late equaliser through Jess Martinez. That late goal meant the points were shared in a superb and scintillating encounter to round off a weekend of goals.

Source FNSW - By Justin Davies

Round 6 Review – NPL 2 NSW Men’s

The drought is finally over!

But who’s left singing in the rain and who’s left out in the cold after Round 6 of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s competition?

Match of the Round:

Spirit FC vs Central Coast Mariners

Central Coast Mariners continued their undefeated start to the National Premier Leagues 2 season as they swept aside GHFA Spirit FC 3-0 on a cool Saturday evening at Christie Park.

The coastal side looked much improved from last week’s effort, thanks largely to getting their ‘Smylie’ back. The local hero returned after making his debut in the A-League last round and it looked to give his side renewed optimism in the opening stages.

Both sides looked to assert their dominance in the opening period, as the two sides fizzed the ball across the fresh synthetic pitch at Christie Park.

However, it was the visitors that landed the first jab when Matias Paz scuffed his shot right into Spirit FC custodian, Tomislav Romic’s, grateful hands.

They wouldn’t have to wait long for the opener, though.

From a well flighted corner, it created, as Ned Zelic coined, ‘chaos in the box’, as the ball pin-balled around obstinate before Alec Vinci turned it home for the 1-nil lead.

On the touchline, Perkovic urged his Spirit side to be patient with the ball and get it moving. Their slower approach opened up space for Mason Ireland, as the winger constantly found a pocket of room out wide in the first half.

Ireland had a trio of chances in the first half, but was each time denied by the cat-like reflexes of the keeper or by the post.

The Mariners looked to play on the counter, using newly minted A-League player, Jordan Smylie and Paz as focal points. In the centre of the park, Charles William was pulling the strings for the academy side to find the pair.

After the break, Spirit continued to push the ball around quickly. Some tiki-taka play prised open the stout Mariners defence, but crucially, the final touch evaded Spirit all night.

Down the other end, the Mariners found their second of the game from the spot.

After a foul in the box, Kyle Johnson stepped up and sent Romic the wrong way for a 2-nil Central Coast lead.

And the Spirit FC misery was compounded moments later when the Mariners broke quickly and added a third.

An inch perfect pass found Paz in wide open space, the striker rounded Romic, before sliding an effort home to confirm the three points.

For Spirit FC, they never gave up the fight. Andre Carle forced the Mariners keeper into a diving save in the 69th minute in their best chance of the second half.

Frustratingly, it was the tale of the home side’s night – getting into the right positions but failing to find the cutting edge.

After the match, Mariners boss Ken Schembri was delighted to take the spoils against a tough Spirit FC side.

“It was good to win against such a strong side. Today’s performance was accomplished, working in a good direction and playing some good football,” said Schembri.

“In particular I think it [3-nil] is a good scoreline. To come here and win is great. I think our youngsters, in particular, Charles William were fantastic tonight,” said a bullish Mariners’ boss.

Spirit FC coach David Perkovic lamented three regrettable mistakes that cost them tonight but overall remained positive about their start to the season.

“It was three defensive errors that cost us. We gave them three goals tonight and you can’t do that and win games in this league. Now we move forward with the FFA cup and a game on Saturday to fix those errors”, stated a defiantly optimistic Perkovic.

Match Stats

Saturday 7th April 2018

Christie Park #1

Referee: Roberto Mattei

Assistant Referees: John Garcia and Shoryu Doas-Zaman

GHFA Spirit FC 0

Central Coast Mariners 3 (Vinci ‘8, Johnson ’55, Paz ’58)

GHFA Spirit FC: 1. ROMIC Tomislav, 4. STREETER Michael (6. SHERLOCK ’64), 7. HARRIS Jacob, 8. CORNWELL Grant, 10. BOZANIC Louis (12. APPIAH ’57), 14. CARLE Andre, 15. MALHOTRA Sidhya, 20. MANOS Emilio, 21. JOHNSTONE Ryan, 22. DE OLIVEIRA Samuel (9. LOPES ’45), 23. IRELAND Mason

Subs not used: 17. SWEEDON Ahmed 80. JONSSON Jade

Yellow cards: Carle ’72, Romic ’89, Johnstone ’56 Sherlock ’93

Red cards: nil

Central Coast Mariners: 2. CHENG Quentin (12. BELKADI ’84), 4. GLASSCOCK Michael, 5. KULPERS Jack, 6. NISBET Joshua, 8. SMYLIE Jordan, 9. PAZ Matias (3. MILLER ’70), 10. WILLIAM Charles, 15. JOHNSON Kyle, 19. ABDULLAH Amer (7. PETERS ’56), 20. PEARCE Adam, 23. VINCI Alec

Subs not used: 16. HATCH Matthew 30. MUMFORD Aidan

Yellow cards: Smylie ’35

Red cards: nil

-By Justin Davies

Canterbury Bankstown 4 vs Mounties Wanderers 2

Berries’ fans – the wait is over!

Canterbury Bankstown have finally broken the shackles that have held them down for so long, thumping the Mounties Wanderers in a classic match at The Crest Athletic Centre.

Branko Culina has promised that it’s a case of ‘when’, not ‘if’ his team could turn around their early season misfortune and the master coach is proving he can turn water into wine once more.

It truly was an incredible performance from the Berries who, in one game, scored double the amount of goals they have scored all season.

The scoring got underway through Jake Bradshaw, who skipped over to a loose ball on the edge of the area before hitting a sweet volley that blasted into the net.

But, in frustratingly Berries’ fashion, a defensive error allowed Mounties back into the game.

Mounties’ Matthew West capitalised on an inaccurate pass in the middle of the field to convert past the keeper to level the scores.

It seemed like the ghost of old Bankstown had come back to haunt the Berries when moments after conceding an equaliser, they conceded a penalty.

However, this time, on this night, things were different.

Veteran keeper Chad Taylor turned back the clock to leap low to his left, his desperate finger tips pushing the ball to safety.

That moment turned the game for the Berries.

“The boys lifted after that moment – we sensed it was going to be our night”, exclaimed Culina.

And it started to look like their night when Berries were awarded a penalty of their own and Domenico Tripodi stepped up to seize the lead for his team.

Not happy with a one-goal lead, Culina urged his side to press forward, looking for a killer blow.

And it arrived shortly after courtesy of cult-hero, Perry Moustakas.

All three points looked to be wrapped up for the Berries midway through the second half when Tomislav Mijic saw red and marched off for an early shower.

But despite their numerical disadvantage, the Wanderers would find their way back into the match courtesy of Tai Smith, who squeezed the ball between the keeper and his near post.

Mounties believed they could find an unlikely equaliser and pushed men forward in hope.

But all hope for the Wanderers evaporated when Huseyin Jasli converted a swift counter attack to sink the final nail into the Mounties’ coffin.

At full-time, a tangible release of tension and worry lifted from the collective shoulders of the Berries’ players as they embraced each other in celebration of their first victory of the season.

In the dressing sheds after the match, laminated copies of the team song had to be passed around for some of the Berries’ players, who had forgotten the words in the weeks and months since they had sung it last.

A proud day for the Berries players who have finally rid themselves of one very heavy monkey off a weary back.

For the Wanderers, their season of inconsistency continues. But their task doesn’t get any easier next week with a pivotal match against top-of-the-table Mt Druitt.

Macarthur Rams 0 vs St George 4

Better late than never for St George who remained patient in pursuit of three points against a stubborn Macarthur side.

St George would have to wait until the 54th minute to take the lead in this match after Christopher Arditti benefited from some beautiful lead up work from Raul Benit Romero who fizzed in a low cross for Arditti to slam home.

The lead settled the growing nerves of the St George fans who were beginning to wonder whether Macarthur would hold firm for the full 90 minutes.

But all fears subsided on 75 minutes when Aleksander Lekoski rose highest following a Juan Carlos Heras Romero free-kick to glance his header just inside the post to make it 2-0.

Macarthur looked deflated.

All the effort that had seen them match St George for large parts of the game had resulted in nothing.

The mental and physical fatigue of the Rams’ players became apparent in the dying moments of the game when Hussein Akil and Raul Beneit Romero added two further goals to their team’s tally.

Akil’s goal was a simply enough finish from inside the box after a cheeky dummy by Beneit Romero.

Romero would add his name to the score sheet two minutes from time when he cooly converted a penalty after Scott Goodwin had brought him down in the box – who received his marching orders following the challenge.

An important win for St George served up on a platter by the Spanish Bandidos.

Macarthur’s defeat is made all the more difficult to swallow following Berries’ first win of the season – meaning the Rams now sit bottom of the table, all alone.

Mt Druitt Rangers 3 vs Rydalmere FC 0

At this level, mistakes get punished.

Rydalmere learnt that lesson the hard way on Saturday night.

Two crucial defensive errors either side of half-time, allowed a clinical Rangers side to punish the Lions and secure three points to maintain their lead at the top.

The first goal arrived on 30 minutes after a merciless Mt Druitt press, reminiscent of a ravenous pack of lions hunting a vulnerable antelope on the open planes, pounced on a misdirected pass from the Rydalmere defence which afforded Hiten Satoh the chance to tuck the ball away.

Unfortunately for Rydalmere, they didn’t learn their lesson.

The second goal of the game came in similar fashion to the first.

This time, Brian Griffin-Colls swarmed on the Rydalmere defence, stealing the ball from the timid defender, before delivering the ball on a plate for Hiten Satoh to tuck into a delicious McDouble for the game.

All three points were secured in the 70th minute when Mt Druitt scored their third, after a cruel and comedic bounce of the ball off the goalkeeper’s head trickled into the goal following a fiercely struck Emmanuel Gonzalez shot.

Rangers coach, Aidan Desmond, was extremely proud of his team’s performance, especially after their 120 minute marathon against NPL 1 side Manly in midweek.

For Rydalmere, the match will be reflected on as a painful learning curve.

If you’re going to make a mistake at this level, you can bet it’s going to be punished.

North Shore Mariners 0 vs Hills United 1

What are they putting in the water at Hills United?

The Brumbies have started the season in superb form and, after this away win over the North Shore Mariners, now sit comfortably inside the finals’ places on 11 points.

But, I’ve a strange feeling we’ve been here before.

A quick glance at the table from last season and you’ll see that, indeed, lightning has struck twice.

After Round 5 last year, Hills sat in 3rd place on 9 points.

But fast forward to the end of the season and Hills stumbled their way to 11th place, way outside the finals.

Luke McGuire is well aware of last year’s fall away and isn’t getting ahead of himself – despite their good start – this season.

“We’ve begun well and that’s pleasing but we need to remain focused on one match at a time”, stated McGuire.

Focusing our eyes on this match – Hills’ fans would be very pleased with the way their team rose to the challenge of an impressive North Shore team.

The Mariners started the stronger in the early exchanges, dominating field position and possession.

But Hills maintained concentration, refusing to relent under the weight of pressure from the Mariners.

This resolve can be largely attributed to the outstanding work of Luke Turnbull in goals, who swatted away the aerial barrage of the Mariners like swatting flies on a summer’s day.

And the Brumbies’ resilience was rewarded late in the match when substitute Chanhwee Jeong rocketed a low-driven shot that sailed into the net from 30 metres out.

Another late goal for Hills who have become the late goal specialists of the league.

It’s a tough defeat for the Mariners who have now lost 2 in a row and will be desperate to bounce back against Rydalmere Lions next weekend.

Western Sydney Wanderers 3 vs Blacktown Spartans 0

Let’s play a game.

I’ll give you a clue as to what happened in this game and you have to guess the rest.

Ready?

A _ _ _ h a _ M _ j _ o _

And

L _ c _ _ a _ S _ _ t t

______________________________________________________________________________________

If you guessed Abraham Majok and Lachlan Scott then you’d be right.

These two super stars have been the standout performers for the Western Sydney Wanderers this season. And, in recent weeks, the duo have been truly unstoppable.

And, really, one has to wonder, where would the Wanderers be without these two?

Red & Black fans hope we never find out the answer to that question.

Lachlan Scott got the scoring underway in this match as he intercepted a sloppy pass before firing the ball past the despairing keeper.

And the Wanderers didn’t have to wait long before finding their second goal of the game, this time Abraham Majok converting after being teed up by Daniel Wilmering.

Blacktown Spartans could’ve found their way back into the match moments before half time when they won a penalty, but Wanderers keeper Nicholas Suman made a terrific save to keep his clean sheet intact.

A flurry of chances fell the Wanderers’ way before the break; most notably with Grozos hitting the crossbar and Scott firing just over from close range.

Shortly after the break, the Wanderers would find their third goal of the game, delivering a knockout blow to the struggling Spartans’ side.

John Roberts played in a delightful through ball to Majok who showed terrific pace and composure to finesse the ball into the back of the net.

The Wanderers could’ve extended their lead even further in the final moments of the match but were again denied by a stubborn crossbar.

An important victory for the Wanderers who now make it 3 wins in a row and surge right up the competition table.

For the Spartans, concerns grow over their side’s attacking quality as they again failed to trouble the scorers – incredibly, the boys from Blacktown haven’t scored a goal since Round 1.

Things need to turn around quickly for the Spartans if they are to avoid the slippery slope down to the depths of the competition table.

Parramatta FC 3 vs Northern Tigers FC 0

Three goals and three points for Parramatta FC who finally send their fans home with a smile on their face after the team’s first win of the season.

The rumoured curse of Melita Stadium had begun to be believed by many fans who had seen their team fail to secure three points in any of the four games played there this season.

But goals to Charles Abou Serhal, Abuzar Awaz and Aleksandar Najdoski secured a crucial three points for Parramatta FC who will be keen to utilise the momentum gained from this match to charge back up the table and into finals’ reckoning.

It was a disappointing match for the Tigers.

Their typically ferocious defence lacked any bite in this match, struggling to contain the relentless attacks of the home side.

And whilst their defence struggled to prevent the attacking onslaught of the Eagles, their attack struggled in equal measure to convert any of the chances they created.

At full-time, the Parramatta players bounded over to thank their loyal supporters who have endured tough times in the stands of Melita Stadium in recent seasons but are hoping this victory is a catalyst to a much improved season in 2018.

Source FNSW website -By Ryan Latty