And Hills Brumbies, who suffered a nightmare 8-1 loss to Spirit FC back in round four, overturned that result at Christie Park, beating their hosts 4-2.
The ladder remains unchanged with Bankstown City FC and Northern Tigers maintaining the status quo and it looks to be a race in two now, following that loss by the Rams.
The bottom of the league looks to be shaping into a real dogfight with everybody from Spirit FC down, being in danger.
Macarthur Rams v St George
Bottom placed St George performed a herculean task to down the high flying Macarthur Rams 3-0 at Lynwood Park, putting lie to their lowly table position.
Adding to the strength of the result was that St George did so with just ten men for the majority of the game, following the early dismissal of David Smith for a second bookable offence, in the twelfth minute.
This could not have been a scoreline envisaged by Macarthur, who were keen to put last week’s thumping by Bankstown City out of their mind, and keep themselves in the title race. And while they were without Adam Wither, sent off in that game, it was still a strong Rams side which started the match.
But even early on, it was St George who looked the goods. They certainly started brightly, taking the game to Macarthur. They looked strong in attack with Sam Messam and Pablo Cardozo up front while Matt Sadler was relishing his return to Lynwood Park with some dashing runs down the left.
Smith’s early red card, though, looked to upset things for the visitors. Within a couple of minutes, Reuben Agyei-Danso had a good chance for the Rams but shot wide before Cardozo almost surprised Chad Taylor, who did well to tip over a direct free kick. Joel Craig’s effort from long distance rose over the bar.
It was Michael Yarnold, for St George, who firstly shocked the Rams. Yarnold went on a dazzling run, taking on the defence, skipping past tackles, before slotting away in off the left post. It was his first league goal of the season, and a fine one at that.
The goal seemed to stun Macarthur, who looked to lose their way following the goal. The St George defence was holding firm, with Michael Smith and Mark Bariamis strong at all times. It was difficult for the Rams to break through as the undermanned Saints countered their attacks.
And if one goal was bad enough to concede, the Rams went 2-0 down just prior to half time. Some quick passing from Cardozo, to Yarnold and then Messam, saw the giant striker stride clear. From outside the area, the shot curled away from Taylor, into the top right.
Macarthur made a half time switch, bringing on Stefan Donevski, a midweek illness preventing his start, in an attempt to recover. But try as the Rams might, they never really looked like breaching the St George goal. They certainly had the possession, dominating territory, but St George, desperate for a win, weren’t going to let this one go.
The result was effectively sealed ten minutes after half time, a quick break by St George punishing Macarthur. Again it was Yarnold, showing great control in the middle, who put Messam clear. A turn inside his defender, and Messam shot past Taylor for his fifth of the season.
It was a gallant victory by St George, who showed their form of old, while Macarthur, in what seems the blink of an eye, have now dropped to eight points below top.
“It comes down to a sense of belief”, said Saints’ Kory Babington. “And after that game tonight, we certainly should have that now”.
Macarthur Rams 0 St George FC 3 (Michael Yarnold 27’ Sam Messam 44’, 54’)
Saturday 30 June 2012
at Lynwood Park
Referee: Adam Weir
Assts: Robert Nieuwenhuis and Laken Ledden
Macarthur Rams: 1. Chad Taylor 2. Craig Cooley (c) 5. Callum Fleming (6. Stefan Donevski 46’) 7. Peter Halstead 3. Emmanuel Elali 14. Ryan Marchant (16. Josh Karpes 70’) 15. Joel Craig 22. Alan de la Cuadra (11. Daniel Duarte 70’) 8. Michael Brown 33. Reuben Agyei-Danso 9. Shannon Hankin.
Subs not used: 18. Scott Madden 20. Ben Needham
Yellow Cards: Nil
Coach: Claudio Canosa
St George: 1. Daniel Nash 12. Matt Sadler 2. Michael Smith 14. Mark Bariamis 15. Simon di Natale 3. David Smith 5. Simon Verrender (c) 8. Michael Yarnold (16. Lucas Gonzalez 83’) 7. George Lagoudakis (19. Brendan McLean 78’) 9. Pablo Cardozo (17. Josh Gersbach 89’) 10. Sam Messam.
Subs not used: 33. Jacob Madden, Matt Mackowski
Yellow Cards: David Smith
Red Card: David Smith
Coach: Kory Babington
Bankstown Berries v Dulwich Hill
Bankstown Berries moved into third spot, above Macarthur Rams, courtesy of a very late strike by Kodjo Adjassou. In the dying moments, Adjassou collected a loose ball inside the area, in virtually the last attack of the game, to snare the three points for the Berries.
Dulwich Hill had taken an early lead, after Robbie Shields was brought down in the area, following a tremendous run by Fabio Ferreira. Shields picked himself up to knock home the penalty.
But just after the quarter hour, the Berries were level, Steve Wright bringing it back to 1-1. The scores remained tied at the break but then Dimitri Zakilas put the Berries in front, with fifteen minutes left. Dulwich Hill weren’t done though, Shields getting his second only two minutes later.
It seemed that the points would be shared, in what would have been a good point for Dulwich Hill, but that final attack was to prove costly. A high ball pumped into the box, with just seconds left, fell to Adjassou.
“I’m gutted for the players”, said Paul Carter. “We put on a very good display, and that result is heartbreaking. It was a bit like the Bankstown City Lions game, when we conceded late. It was almost a replica of that”.
“A draw would have been fair result, although having said that, we conceded three which is not good enough. They did cause us a lot of issues in the air and we were punished by some very good players”.
It promises to be a big week for Dulwich Hill who will play Hills Brumbies on Tuesday before their return gig against Fraser Park next weekend. With a visit to Mounties the Tuesday after that, it will be a crucial eight days.
Bankstown Berries, with their seventh win of the season, are now clear in third and have climbed the ladder at just the right time.
Bankstown Berries 3 (Steve Wright 17’ Dimitri Zakilas 74’ Kodjo Adjassou 93’) Dulwich Hill 2 (Robbie Shields 5’ pen, 76’)
Bankstown City FC v Mounties Wanderers
Bankstown City FC maintained their number one position with a 2-0 defeat of Mounties Wanderers at Jensen Park.
A goal in each half to Robbie Mileski, and the league’s leading scorer, Gosue Sama did the damage as the Lions kept their grip on top spot.
Mounties, though, weren’t helped by a red card to defender Mark D’Alessandro just before half time. Despite the loss, the Mounties stay in fifth, on goal difference ahead of Granville Rage.
Bankstown City Lions 2 (Robbie Mileski 38’ Gosue Sama 77’) Mounties Wanderers 0
Fraser Park v Sydney University
There were no goals at Fraser Park as eighth placed Fraser and ninth placed Sydney University battled it out for supremacy.
Goals have been hard to come by for both these sides lately and a slide down the table has been the result. It proved no better on Saturday as both teams only garnered the single point each.
“We are battling at the moment”, said John Calleja. “There weren’t a lot of clearcut chances in this one, though we are certainly trying. Maybe we had a chance with David McMurray’s header, but really, our chances were minimal. There was a lot of effort from both teams, and commitment, and I feel that the draw was the fair result”.
“It was good to break our duck”, said David Perkovic. “And to keep a clean sheet, as we have conceded a few goals lately”.
“I am happy with the overall performance though, as we have had to change our style of football recently. The pitches have been heavier, and we have had to be more direct than we would normally like to play. We have needed to adjust to the conditions but I feel that we have now turned the corner with our performances”.
Fraser Park FC 0 Sydney University 0
Northern Tigers v Granville Rage
Northern Tigers kept up their unbeaten streak, defeating Granville Rage 4-2 at Mills Park, coming from 1-0 down at half time to overrun the semis contenders.
It may have been worse, with Almir Dizdaric having his early penalty saved by Stuart Page, before Johnathan Ekehov did put the Rage in front.
But Tigers’ captain Paul Davies brought the teams level four minutes after half time, before Tom Spencer gave the Tigers the lead they needed, picking up the rebound from an Adam Biddle effort. Jamie Lobb then increased that lead to 3-1, giving the title challengers some breathing space.
Dizdaric then made amends for his earlier miss, bringing the Rage right back into the game, still with twenty minutes left to play.
But as Granville pressed for that all important equaliser, a Tigers break saw Travis Cooper brought down in the area and up stepped Daniel Cunningham to make the game safe and sure.
“We need to keep winning”, said Jason Eagar. “As Bankstown keep winning, so we need to do the same. Even though we were down at halftime, we scored three fairly quick goals and played some very good football during that time. But Granville fought on with it all the way, and made it tough”.
It was a disappointed Mauricio Islas, following that result.
“We really wanted something from this game. We knew they would fight to the end, and they are a very tough team. But we made some mistakes, and gave away three goals and that is disappointing. Losing Phil Pyliotis to injury after just a few minutes didn’t help either, but we pressed them hard, and they got us on the counter, right at the end”.
Northern Tigers 4 (Paul Davies 49’ Tom Spencer 62’ Jamie Lobb 65’ Daniel Cunningham 90’ pen) Granville Rage 2 (Jonathan Ekehov 44’ Almir Dizdaric 68’)
Spirit FC v Hills Brumbies
Hills Brumbies did themselves very proud in coming away from Christie Park with a 4-2 win over Spirit FC, a side who had defeated them 8-1 earlier in the season.
“It is a massive turnaround for us”, said Mark Abi-Arrage. “We did a lot of soul searching after last week, but today, we showed a lot of spirit”.
After it was scoreless at the break, Spirit FC took the lead through Akwasi Agyei before a flurry of goals in fourteen minutes saw the Brumbies stretch out to a 4-1 lead. Russell Farrell got the equaliser in the 70th minute before an Eros Bergamin cross was met by Brad Robertson at the back post with Dragan Savic knocking home, five minutes later.
Robertson then got the third before Anthony Abi-Arrage put away the Brumbies’ fourth, his direct free kick from twenty five metres eluding Murray Nelson.
Grant Cornwell reduced the arrears somewhat as the clock ticked down, but there was no coming back from that scoreline.
Spirit FC 2 (Akwasi Agyei 50’ Grant Cornwell 90’) Hills Brumbies 4 (Russell Farrell 70’ Dragan Savic 75’ Brad Robertson 80’ Anthony Abi-Arrage 83’)
13 - Gosue Sama (Bankstown City FC)
11 - Almir Dizdaric (Granville Rage)
Dimitri Zakilas (Bankstown Berries)
9 - Tom Spencer (Northern Tigers)
8 - Robbie Shields (Dulwich Hill)
7 - Max Glanville (Northern Tigers)
Wassim Hijazi (Fraser Park)
Spirit FC continue to lead the way in the Under 20s competition accounting for Hills Brumbies 2-1 while Northern Tigers, with two wins over the week, stay second, six points off the pace.
There was plenty of action at Lynwood Park where John Nassif put St George in front before a late equaliser by Macarthur’s John Fahmi made sure the points were shared. A penalty save by the Saints’ Jacob Madden also helped the visitors.
A goal by Klime Sekutkoski in the eighth minute put the Mounties on the road to victory against Bankstown City FC before Nathan Scicchitano sealed the victory.
Bankstown Berries 2 Dulwich Hill 0, Fraser Park FC 2 Sydney University 4, Bankstown City Lions 0 Mounties Wanderers 2, Macarthur Rams 1 St George FC 1. Spirit FC 2 Hills Brumbies 1, Northern Tigers 1 Granville Rage 0
RESCHEDULED GAME: ROUND 11: GRADE 20: Northern Tigers 3 Fraser Park 0
-By Peter Rowney