Four games midweek sets the scene for another round of ultra-competitive football in the NPL NSW Men’s 2 competition.
While positions at the top end of the table shifts game by game, our feature match this weekend will focus on the two tailenders, Sydney University and Mounties Wanderers, who meet at Lambert Park.
Sydney University v Mounties Wanderers Saturday 7:30pm, Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Sydney University can consider themselves unfortunate not to take something away from Spirit on Tuesday. They gave a good account of themselves especially after playing for over half the match with only ten. A few minutes of madness just before half time, when they conceded two goals, and received a red card, really cruelled their chances but even so, they almost pinched a draw at the death after a huge effort. Rewards must surely come if such hard work continues. Five of their losses have been by just the odd goal, so they are not that far away.
Mounties Wanderers come visiting on Saturday and they are not in much of a better position. Still winless and with just a single point to their tally, they are, like Uni, desperate for a victory. Something must give this weekend. The two clubs combined have scored just eight between them but conceded thirty two. Which club will finally have something to shout about after Saturday night?
Mount Druitt Town Rangers v St George Saturday 7:30pm, Popondetta Park, Emerton
Mount Druitt Town will be full of confidence heading into this week’s match against St George after hammering five past Fraser Park on Wednesday night. It was their biggest win of the season and a nice return to form but continues their rather topsy turvy record nonetheless. Winning two on the trot will be their aim come this weekend.
St George are looking to improve on their current position, and head out west with two recent victories under their belts. They will be without keeper Aaron Liddell who broke his jaw against the Berries so David Hamilton will return between the sticks. Lenox Tweneboa made his first start of the season last match and he will have appreciated getting game time. The Saints kept a clean sheet for the first time last week too, so it is looking more positive after a slow start.
Spirit FC v Northern Tigers Saturday 7:30pm, Christie Park, Marsfield
Spirit recorded their fourth win on Tuesday night to go second and will meet the table toppers Northern Tigers this Saturday, with the chance to go top if they win. It won’t be easy to do though as the Tigers are on a roll as well, Wednesday apart, so this match has all the hallmarks of a classic. With both clubs playing midweek, the extra day’s rest may suit the home side who will surely be nursing some soreness after a tough match against Uni.
Northern Tigers hit a solid Lions wall on Wednesday, losing for only the second time. The loss would have been welcomed by many clubs who were in danger of seeing the Tigers slip six points ahead. As it stands now, there is little between the top eight, points wise. A win here for the Tigers will still see their lead remain intact.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Macarthur Rams, Saturday 7:30pm, Hensley Field, Pagewood
Prior to the midweek matches, Hakoah were the only club to have completed all of their fixtures, and they will appreciate the less strenuous schedule. Even so, they dropped to fourth after Spirit’s win on Tuesday, their lowest position since the start of the season. They will be eager to recover their higher position, especially following their loss last Sunday to Northern Tigers. They will be without the influential Deklan Gilmartin, serving a suspension, while concerns must be held for the fitness of the front pair, Neil Jablonski and Michael McCrory, both substituted last week, due to injury. Should this duo not start, we may see Gavin Rae involved at some stage.
Macarthur will be stern opponents, coming off a close win against Mounties on Wednesday. It is the first time this season that they have recorded successive victories and they will be looking to make it a hatrick at Hensley.
Fraser Park v Bankstown City, Sunday 3:00pm, Fraser Park, Sydenham
Fraser Park finally hit the field during the week but may well wish that they hadn’t. Not having played for almost three weeks, Fraser went down 5-2 to Mount Druitt Town Rangers on Wednesday, a result which doesn’t auger well for the visit of Bankstown City this Sunday. They now sit third from bottom and, although they have played the least amount of games, a positive result against the Lions will be needed.
Bankstown City will be cock-a-hoop after leaving Mills Park with all three points. The result did a favour for many clubs and has really shown what a competitive, and open, league it is this year. Their two star signings were on the scoresheet on Wednesday and from accounts, it could have been more. The Lions will be more than happy if a similar result is taken from Fraser.
Central Coast v Bankstown Berries, Sunday 3:00pm, Pluim Park, Lisarow
This is the only game of the weekend in which neither side were involved midweek although the Berries have at least been active over the past ten days, playing two games for a win and a loss. They did exceptionally well to come away last Saturday with the points, considering the conditions and will travel to Pluim Park looking to carry on from that result. They have been sharing the goals around so far, with the competition’s top scorer from last year Gerard Ouffoue, scoring his second on the weekend, while Nicholas Paras and Aleksandar Lekoski also have netted twice. It will be a difficult task up the Coast but the Berries should be up for the challenge.
Central Coast, like most clubs, were out of action last weekend and will be keen to hit the paddock once more, no more so than to keep Northern Tigers in their sights. Having lost to their nearest neighbours last time round, the Coast can ill afford another setback here.
Spirit FC v Sydney University
Spirit FC overcame a gutsy Sydney University 3-2 on Tuesday evening to move into second on the ladder, on goal difference.
It was a closer result than might have been fair to expect after the home side headed into the sheds 3-1 to the good at half time, with Uni also having been reduced to ten men.
Uni had taken the lead after eighteen minutes, when Jake Bradshaw was put through by Santiago Rodriguez, and neatly pushed his shot past David Lowery. It was a fillip for Uni, and maybe a shock for Spirit, considering their respective ladder positions, but it was certainly deserved.
But it all started to go wrong for Uni in the minutes leading up to half time. Firstly, Nick Trimble headed in at the far post to draw Spirit level, before disaster struck for Uni. Rodriguez picked up a second yellow card two minutes before the break, Lord Darkoh was brought down in the box two minutes after that allowing Daniel Cunningham to convert, and then Trimble scored again, in first half stoppage time.
From 1-0 up, to 3-1 down and minus a man in all of eight minutes.
Uni could have been excused for thinking this was another game all but gone, but to their credit, they fought against the odds in a tough second period, bringing a goal back through Gyubeon Kim, with a quarter of an hour left.
They rallied and almost pulled off a remarkable comeback, when Gavin Forbes was just wide in the dying moments. It wasn’t to be though leaving Spirit to gratefully receive the points.
Spirit FC 3 (Nick Trimble 37’, 45+3’, Daniel Cunningham 45’ pen) v Sydney University 2 (Jake Bradshaw 18’, Gyubeon Kim 74’)
Tuesday 5 May
at Christie Park, Marsfield
Referee: Adam Weir
Assts: Janush Adabjou and Peter Liaros
Spirit FC: 41. David Lowery 2. Daniel Cunningham (c) 3. Henry Wells (Ossama Zaki 60’) 4. Nick Trimble 8. Grant Cornwell 11. Abraham Majok (7. Jacob Harris 60’) 13. Lord Darkoh 14. Ryan Johnstone 19. Tom Lovell 21. Kuag Reec (Adam Savetta 69’) 22. Gosue Sama.
Subs not used: 6. Ross Kethel 50. Corey Finch.
Coach: John McLafferty
Sydney University: 1. Marko Bozic 3. Nathan Sansom (c) 4. Gyubeon Kim 6. Jeremy Butnaru (8. Khushaba Khushaba 84’) 7. Ammar Alyassen (15. Victor Anyimba 45’) 9. Gavin Forbes 10. Santiago Rodriguez 11. Jake Bradshaw 14. Daniel Mifsud (Adrian Porcu 75’) 18. Philip Bures 46. Phillip Boceski.
Subs not used: 12. Dario Borovickic 21. Patrick Ferrara.
Red Card: Santiago Rodriguez 43’
Coach: Raul Blanco
Northern Tigers v Bankstown City
An early goal by Michael Beauchamp set up Bankstown City for a vital win at Mills Park, toepoking home to give the Lions the lead after seven minutes, after combining well with Brima Kamara.
Bankstown had started brightly, and before Northern Tigers could do too much about it, the scoreline had doubled to 2-0 after a Dean Heffernan shot snuck under Matt Nemes.
It was a very welcome win for the Lions at a difficult venue, and who had drawn their previous two matches. They now lie fifth, pushing local rivals Bankstown Berries out of the five.
Northern Tigers 0 v Bankstown City 2 (Michael Beauchamp 7’, Dean Heffernan 23’)
Wednesday 6 May
at Mills Park, Asquith
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Assts: Joon Park and Danny Horstead
Northern Tigers starting XI: 1. Matt Nemes 3. Lucas Dawson 4. Michael Rolston 5. Samuel Porter 9. Liam McConaghy 12. Russell Farrell 15. Hayden Krha 17. Braden Cheng 18. Tai Smith 19. Daniel Stuart 23. Julian Lim
Subs: 2. Samuel Ryder 7. Matthew West 10. Shervin Adeli 16. Steven Baveas 21. Harrison Devenish-Meares.
Coach: Steve Hurd
Bankstown City starting XI: 1. Dion Shaw 2. Todd Halloran 3. Grant Lynch 4. Aaron D’Mello 5. Michael Beauchamp 7. Brima Kamara 8. Dean Heffernan 10. Domenic Hudap 11. Huseyin Jasli 20. Alvaro Malmierca 23. Damir Prodanovic.
Subs: 7. Reuben Lagos 9. Chris Gomez 14. Jason Park 15. Billy Darwich 30. Nicholas Carosi
Coach: Leo Carle
Mount Druitt Town Rangers 5 (Bryan Soane, Kojiro Hori, Osadolor Edosomwan, Luke Clifford, Daniel Vellonio) v Fraser Park 2
A huge result for Mount Druitt Town saw them score more goals in one game than they had scored all season and they didn’t mind sharing the glory around.
Bryan Soane and Osadolor Edosomwan each scored their second of the season while Kojiro Hori, Luke Clifford and Daniel Vellonio also got in on the act.
The win sets them up nicely for the visit of St George on Saturday.
Macarthur Rams 1 (Asmir Kadric) v Mounties Wanderers 0
A single goal to Asmir Kadric helped the Rams to the three points at Lynwood Park, but heaping further misery on Mounties Wanderers, who are still to record their first win.
In what is becoming a very congested table, Macarthur remain in seventh, but only five points from the leaders, and with a game in hand.
Source FNSW Website- by Peter Rowney, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men's 2 Reporter