There was no change at the top of the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 2 competition, with the top four all claiming victories, with Spirit FC’s six point lead staying intact with two rounds to go, after their comprehensive 4-1 win over Macarthur Rams.
Hakoah Sydney City East, Central Coast and Northern Tigers also won, leaving only fifth place to be decided, where Bankstown City, Bankstown Berries and Fraser Park remain in contention.
Match of the Round
Hakoah Sydney City East vs Bankstown Berries
Hakoah Sydney City East have kept up the pressure on Spirit FC with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Bankstown Berries. There may only have been one goal in it at the end, but both goalmouths led a charmed life, and how the scoreline remained at just the single goal remains a mystery.
Hakoah gave a first grade debut to keeper Jair Fernandez, a chance for the young keeper to gain some first team experience, with the regular incumbent, Matthew Symes attracting some A-League interest, while the Berries were without the injured Jake Bradshaw, but otherwise it was business as usual for both teams.
A slow start didn’t render much in the way of goal mouth action, both clubs feeling their way, although Hakoah shaded the early exchanges. It was perhaps no surprise that they took the lead, midway through the first half and a well-executed goal it was. The Berries who had been relying on counter attacks to that point were caught on a quick counter themselves. Deklan Gilmartin, receiving the ball near half way, sprayed an inch perfect pass cross field to Neil Jablonski, out on the right. Jablonski returned serve across the face of goal with Berries keeper Michael Frost doing well to parry, but the loose ball fell back to the continuing Gilmartin, who collected the rebound.
That goal set the scene for an opening of the game, a loss to the Berries, no matter how narrow, clearly of no use. And they almost equalised immediately, a low strike from outside the box saved by Fernandez, but with the result that the ball miraculously spun over the bar from ground level.
That was a narrow escape for Hakoah, but the half finished with the Berries narrowly escaping a second goal. Right on forty five minutes, Jablonski lobbed Frost with the ball heading for goal, but instead rebounded against the post. Frost hardly knew where to look before gratefully diving on the loose ball in the nick of time. Michael McCrory, having come on for the injured Federico Kertscher, had a chance to double the lead as well, in time added on, but despite rounding Frost, found himself too wide with little support and the chance came to nought.
It was an improved Berries in the second period, and they took their turn to dominate possession. But despite that possession, a shot on goal remained elusive with Hakoah defending stoutly. Dimitri Zakilas had come on just before the break, Ilkay Gurbuz leaving the field following a clash with the Hakoah keeper, and the noted goalscorer worked hard to bring the Berries back into it. But chances were few, and in fact, it was Hakoah who almost claimed a second. A turnover from Milan Zoric gave Jablonski the chance but again, the club’s leading goalscorer, and just one behind in the Golden Boot, was denied. Frost got down well to save.
The Berries then brought on Nicholas Paras with just over twenty minutes to go, and the spark up front increased. Within minutes of coming on, Paras had his first opportunity. Fernandez was adjudged to have carried the ball outside the area, and Paras lined up. A hard drive across goal was headed clear, but only for a corner. The Berries kept up that pressure, but Hakoah handled it well, clearing away after some tense moments. Zakilas next had a chance after Fernandez parried. But despite turning and getting a shot on, the ball fell wide of the mark.
Then came the goal miss to beat all goal misses.
After surviving that Berries pressure, Hakoah had worked well down the right. A cross from wide went straight across goal, finding its way to the unmarked Brad Paikin inside the six yard box. Presumably getting ready to celebrate, the ball instead was hit against the cross bar, with an empty goal at the mercy. Another escape for the Berries whose goal frame had come to the rescue yet again.
It wasn’t over. The Berries have been renowned lately for finishing strongly and they have claimed many points in the final minutes of matches. It looked possible again here, Paras and Kyle Ewart having good chances but without reward. There were some nervous moments for Hakoah with Paras, particularly at free kicks, always in with a chance.
But the home side stayed the distance and the final chances of the night fell their way. McCrory with the first, Frost again to the rescue, before Jablonski’s final opportunity went just wide.
Hakoah Sydney City East 1 (Deklan Gilmartin 25’) v Bankstown Berries 0
Saturday 8 August 2015
at Hensley Field, Pagewood
Referee: Adam Susz
Assts: Lance Greenshields and Janush Adabjou
Hakoah Sydney City East: 41. Jair Fernandez 2. Remy Wolanski 4. Bradley Walker 8. Paul Orgad 9. Neil Jablonski (c) 10. Deklan Gilmartin (29. Harry Jones 71’) 11. Gavin Rae 16. Brad Paikin 17. Jacob Dingwell 19. Jacob Esposito 26. Federico Kertscher (5. Michael McCrory 30’)
Subs not used: 1. Matthew Symes 44. Nicholas Mouzourakis
Yellow Cards: Gavin Rae 15’, Neil Jablonski 15’, Deklan Gilmartin 69’, Jair Fernandez 73’, Bradley Walker 89’
Coach: Mark Robertson
Bankstown Berries: 1. Michael Frost (c) 2. Andrew Vitucci (14. Nicholas Paras 67’) 3. Liam McKenna 7. Kyle Ewart 10. Jun Kato 11. Joel Anscomb 12. Mitchell Davidson 16. Milan Zoric 17. Ilkay Gurbuz (19. Dimitri Zakilas 43’) 18. Matthew Trotter 21. Peter Dimitropoulos.
Subs not used: 41. Stefan Giglio 4. Omar Saadi.
Yellow cards: Nil
Coach: Wally Savor
Central Coast FC vs Mounties Wanderers
Central Coast maintained their grip on third spot with a 2-1 win over Mounties Wanderers, keeping two points ahead of Northern Tigers with two rounds left to play.
Goals to Steve Whyte and Trent Bugahiar helped secure the points with Mounties’ sole reply coming from substitute Dragan Savic. It was a good effort from Buhagiar particularly, who, along with team mates Lachlan Wales and Daniel McFarlane, all saw game time for Central Coast Mariners in their friendly against Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night.
It was a good day all round for Central Coast who claimed wins in all three grades, moving to within five points of Hakoah Sydney City East in the race for the Club Championship.
Central Coast 2 (Trent Buhagiar, Steve Whyte) v Mounties Wanderers 1 (Dragan Savic)
Central Coast FC: 1. Blake Tuxford 2. Liam O’Dell 3. Joshua Forbes 5. Brian Jamba 8. Joel Hardwick 10. Alexander Arbelo (6. Matthew Crowell) 11. Louis Boaznic (28. Chris Hurley) 12. Trent Buhagiar 14. Steve Whyte 16. Daniel McFarlane 17. Lachlan Wales.
Subs not used: 40. Beyhan Irmako 9. Adam Woodbine 23. Connor Wilkinson
Mounties Wanderers: 30. Ali Akbal 3. Neftali Gonzalez 6. Aleksander Tomic 15. Shane Webb 18. Mark D’Alessandro 23. Nathan Attard (14. Dragan Savic) 26. Jacob Carluccio 27. Gongjun Lee (24. Mitchell King) 28. Leon Faria 29. Jake Ingle 32. James Letta.
Subs not used: 1. James Stojcevski 11. Daine Merrin 16. Tiano Boutoubia.
Fraser Park vs St George
Fraser Park kept their finals hopes alive with a narrow 1-0 win over St George, to move to within two points of Bankstown City in fifth.
A penalty put away by Aleksander Veljanovski, seven minutes before half time, was the only goal of the game, in a match which was evenly contested.
St George’s best chance of an equaliser fell to Matt Sadler, whose goal bound header was turned away by a superb reflex save from Wayne Estavao.
Fraser Park 1 (Alex Veljanovski 38’ pen) vs St George 0
Fraser Park: 1. Wayne Estavao 3. Davide Talone 4. Aleksandar Veljanovski (9. Filip Tipcevski 91’) 5. Nicholas Dimitropoulos 11. Stefan Jovanovski 12. Adem Kir (16. Rocci Gabey 68’) 13. Pat Cappuccio 15. Marko Micevski (6. Domenic Nevin 88’) 17. Nikola Todoroski 18. Aleksander Todoroski 20. Daisan Kim.
Subs not used: 42. Ben Needham 2. Dejan Zecsvic
St George FC: 1. Aaron Liddell 3. Emmanuel Elali 5. Daniell Zeleny 6. Ali Nasreddine (10. Michael Yarnold) 7. Matt Sadler 11. Wassim Hijazi (45. Thomas Menton 53’) 13. Lenox Tweneboa 14. Andrija Petkovic (33. James Togias 90’) 15. Peter Pelekanos 18. Anthony Abi-Arrage.
Subs not used: 1. Daniel Axford 42. Stevan Ilic.
Spirit FC vs Macarthur Rams
Spirit moved another step closer to claiming the title with a strong 4-1 win over Macarthur Rams, the victory keeping Hakoah at bay to the tune of six points.
Kuag Reec, Ossama Zaki, Henry Wells and Jacob Harris all hit the scoresheet for Spirit, with three of the goals coming in a second half blitz. A send off to Blake Brooker didn’t help the Rams, whose lone goal came from Gavin Forbes.
No doubt there will be a keen eye kept on proceedings at Popondetta Park on Wednesday, when Hakoah have the chance to reduce the gap when they meet Mount Druitt Town Rangers, in the last remaining catch up game.
Spirit FC 4 (Kuag Reec, Ossama Zaki, Henry Wells, Jacob Harris) v Macarthur Rams 1 (Gavin Forbes)
Sydney University vs Bankstown City
Bankstown City have sneaked into the top five after a 1-1 draw at Sydney University lifted the Lions over neighbours Bankstown Berries on goal difference.
A first half goal to Aaron D’Mello put the Lions in front at the break, but Uni, with plenty to play for, equalised in the second period through captain Nathan Sansom. With just six minutes remaining, a through ball from Nathan Preston found Sansom, who drove home from close range.
Sydney University 1 (Nathan Sansom) v Bankstown City 1 (Aaron D’Mello)
Mount Druitt Town Rangers vs Northern Tigers
Northern Tigers have all but assured themselves of a top five spot after defeating Mount Druitt Town 1-0 away on Saturday night. Matthew West, with a superb header, got the only goal in the first half to claim maximum points.
The Tigers focus will now close in on a top three position, that competition now the preserve of the Asquith based side and Central Coast FC.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers 0 v Northern Tigers 1 (Matthew West)
Source FNSW Website-by Peter Rowney, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men's 2 Reporter