It’s as you were at the top of Super League with the top three all winning, Northern Tigers leading by the one point from Bankstown Berries.
Macarthur Rams stay third after a 4-0 win over Dulwich Hill with Bankstown Lions moving into fourth following their second consecutive win, this time over Granville Rage.
St George v Sydney University
It was the fourth draw in six games for St George as the visiting Sydney University scored a late equaliser to deny the Saints what would have been their first league victory of the season.
A scramble in the area saw substitute Nick Nesbit fire home in the 83rd minute, cancelling out an earlier Matt Sadler goal.
This was an open affair with plenty of chances but keepers Daniel Nash and Jonathan Faeber were in superb form, saving at times what seemed certain goals.
The Saints started the brighter with Faeber being the first to be drawn into action, tipping over a George Lagoudakis drive. Lagoudakis then hit the corner of post and bar as St George settled into the game. Sydney University took a little while to get going but came into the game as the first half progressed. In their best chance of the half, Matt Demetriou found himself clear on the keeper, but Nash saved well to deny what seemed a certain opener.
Just moments after the break and Nash again saved the Saints, tipping over a bouncing shot, but it was at the other end that the first goal finally arrived. Faeber did well in saving from Sam Messam, but the ball fell to Matt Sadler, who composed himself well before slotting the ball past the despairing keeper.
St George almost went two ahead immediately afterwards but Mark Bariamis, on a rare foray into the opposing goalmouth, drew another excellent save from Faeber and then Juan Chavez set up Michael Yarnold whose header was again knocked away by the Uni keeper.
A flurry of substitutions occurred as each side looked to get that all important goal, St George wanting to make the game safe, and Uni for that equaliser. Within a ten minute period, Stephen Grbevski and Pablo Cardozo were introduced for St George and Alex Crane and Nick Nesbit for Uni, but it was Sadler again, from a Yarnold free kick, and Chavez, who skimmed the post, who came closest for St George.
But with just seven minutes left, as Uni served up some pressure, it was Nesbit who ensured a share of the points.
It was a disappointing result for Kory Babington, who saw his side have plenty of chances.
“That is the difficulty in this league. There are so many 0-0 and 1-0 results, it is that tiny little chance that can make all the difference. And tonight, we just didn’t put them away”.
But John Calleja was content with his point.
“It was a fair result I thought. We started off slowly though the later period of the first half saw us improve a lot, and Matty [Demetriou] had that great chance. But we could have gone two down quickly, after they got the first, but to our credit, we battled away and deserved the equaliser”.
St George 1 (Matt Sadler 54’) v Sydney University 1 (Nick Nesbit 83’)
Saturday 5 May 2012
at St George Stadium
Referee: Leslie Foster
Assts: Luke Burley and Alex Mouawad
St George: 1. Daniel Nash 16. Jason Tack 4.Mirko Jurilj 14. Mark Bariamis (c) 2. Michael Smith 7. George Lagoudakis (30. Pablo Cardozo 75’) 8. Michael Yarnold 6. Daniel Fallico 12. Matt Sadler 10. Sam Messam (70. Stephen Grbevski 69’, replaced by Simon Di Natale 84’) 11. Juan Chavez.
Subs not used: 19. Brendan McLean 33. Jacob Madden
Yellow Card: Daniel Fallico
Coach: Kory Babington
Sydney University: 1. Jonathan Faeber 3. K Kurihara 4. Aaron Morley 6. David McMurray (c) 5. David Talone 7. Shaun van Rooyen 10. Matt Demetriou 11. Mojtada Mohebbee (Nick Nesbit 78’) 12. Alvaro Malmierca (17 Alex Crane 69’) 14. Jason Garrido 18. Paolo Cianci (13. Yaw Billy 81’)
Subs not used: 15. Ihsan Savran 21. Costa D’Addona
Yellow Card: Shaun van Rooyen
Coach: John Calleja
Northern Tigers v Hills Brumbies
Another impressive display from Northern Tigers saw the leaders overcome Hills Brumbies 3-2, though not without some effort.
The Tigers started extremely well, going up 2-0 inside a quarter of an hour. A Brendan Salameh cross was inadvertently pushed home by the Brumbies defence for an own goal before Travis Cooper put away a cross from Rhys Williams to make it two.
But Hills recovered and brought the game back to 2-2 before half time, Eros Bergamin letting fly from twenty five yards to make it 2-1 before Dragan Savic was upended in the box for Terry Pannowitz to convert the resultant penalty.
But some extensive second half pressure by the Tigers paid dividends when Cooper got his second, scoring from a Liam McCreash cross, with fifteen minutes left.
It was a goal which brought much relief to Jason Eagar, after another impressive game from his team.
“We must have had about twenty shots in the second half, so it was a relief when that went in. We definitely dominated after the break, even though Hills had done very well to come back into it”.
“But we played our best football of the season in that first fifteen minutes and it was very difficult for them”.
Mark Abi-arrage agreed.
“Northern Tigers are very good,” he stated. “They are very quick and opened us up a bit at the start. But we changed a few things around and got back into it. But to be honest, they were camped in our half in the second period, kept pushing us back, and there was enough pressure for us to make a mistake”.
“They have the best defence in the league too, well drilled, and not too many teams will take points away from Mills Park. I am a little bit disappointed though not to hold out at 2-2, as we came for a point and at half time, we had one. But had you asked me a few weeks ago if we would have only lost 3-2, I would have said no way. So we have improved too”.
Northern Tigers 3 (Own goal 11m Travis Cooper 14’, 74’) Hills Brumbies 2 (Eros Bergamin 34’ Terry Pannowitz 42’ pen)
Macarthur Rams v Dulwich Hill
Three goals in the final ten minutes saw Macarthur Rams eventually down Dulwich Hill 4-0, but the game was closer than the scoreline suggests.
Stefan Donesvki had scored the first, an easy tap in after fifty three minutes, but it was only late on that the floodgates opened.
Joel Craig got two, sandwiched between an effort by Shannon Hankin, to stretch out the score to 4-0. A late send off to Dully’s James O’Rourke, given a straight red for what was deemed a dangerous tackle, didn’t help but the game by that stage was already lost.
Dulwich Hill were missing four first teamers, in Robbie Shields, Matt Toogod, Callum McGrouther and Fabio Ferriera, but coach Paul Carter was impressed with their young replacements.
“I am very proud of the way the kids went. We had to have a different game plan, and for the first sixty minutes or so it was working. But once we conceded that first goal, we had to try and pull one back. To the Rams’ credit, they took advantage of the changes and punished us”.
“It is a bitter pill to swallow, as we had played well to that point, but in the end the result just blew out”.
Macarthur Rams 4 (Stefan Donevski 53’ Joel Craig 79’, 91’ Shannon Hankin 84’) Dulwich Hill 0
Bankstown Lions v Granville Rage
Bankstown Lions moved ominously into fourth spot, and with a game in hand on the top three, with a 4-1 win over Granville Rage on Friday night.
The Lions were 3-0 to the good before half time, Reuben Lagos scoring after fifteen minutes before Angelo Petratos and Nathan Ristevski also hit the back of the net.
Amir Dizdaric, proving to be a regular scorer for the Rage, got his fourth of the season, but any hopes of a comeback were extinguished four minutes later when Gosue Sama made it 4-1.
Bankstown City Lions 4 (Reuben Lagos 15’ Angelo Petratos 25’ Nathan Ristevski 28m Gosue Sama 70’) Granville Rage 1 (Amir Dizdaric 66’)
Bankstown Berries v Spirit FC
Bankstown Berries, now led by Tony Pace, kept the pressure on Northern Tigers, defeating Spirit FC 2-1 at the Crest.
2011 Golden Boot winner Dimitri Zakilas, continuing on from last year, leads the way in this year’s goalscoring stakes and notched his seventh of the season to put the Berries one up, after twenty minutes.
A poor clearance allowed Spirit to equalise through Brima Kamara but David Gardiner’s score just after half time, earned the Berries all three points.
Bankstown Berries 2 (Dimitri Zakilas 20’ David Gardiner 50’) Spirit FC 1 (Brima Kamara 35’Fraser Park v Mounties Wanderers
It was scoreless at Fraser Park when the Mounties Wanderers came visiting, the result leaving both sides in midtable, with a third of the season now gone.
While it was a fairly even affair in the first half, Fraser did dominate the second without really being able to take advantage of that dominance, as David Perkovic explained.
“We had a number of half chances but we struggled to find that final pass, in the last third. But having said that, there are definitely plenty of positives to come out of the game. We battled for the full ninety minutes, which we haven’t always done this year and we also kept our first clean sheet of the season.”
As far as the season goes so far, there is plenty to like, too.
“If you asked at the start of the year, that we would only have lost one game in six, I would have taken that. But we have high expectations of where we want to go and how we want to play, and we are trying to meet those expectations. It is not just about results, and if we concentrate on how we play and get that right, the results will look after themselves”.
Fraser Park FC 0 Mounties Wanderers 0
7 - Dimitri Zakilas (Bankstown Berries)
5 - Tom Spencer (Northern Tigers)
4 - Akwasi Agyei (Spirit FC)
Amir Dizdaric (Granville Rage)
Max Glanville (Northern Tigers)
Shannon Hankin (Macarthur Rams)
Wassim Hijazi (Fraser Park)
3 - Juan Chavez (St George)
Stefan Donevski (Macarthur Rams)
Jason Garrido (Sydney University)
Robbie Shields (Dulwich Hill)
Henry Wells (Spirit FC)
Northern Tigers and Spirit FC maintain the top two spots in the Under 20s, leaders Tigers defeating Hills Brumbies 4-2 at Mills Park while Spirit won at the Crest, over third placed Bankstown Berries.
A lone goal by Sydney University’s Jermaine Gittany was enough to see off St George as Uni climb to sixth while Granville Rage also improved their position, securing their second win in a row, with a 3-0 away victory at Bankstown Lions.
Reece Iredale scored Mounties’ only goal as they succumbed to Fraser Park 3-1.
Full results: Bankstown City Lions 0 Granville Rage 3, Bankstown Berries 0 Spirit FC 1, Fraser Park FC 3 Mounties Wanderers 1, Macarthur Rams 3 Dulwich Hill 1, Northern Tigers 4 Hills Brumbies 2, St George FC 0 Sydney University 1.
-By Peter Rowney