There were a number of thrills, spills and action in round 4 of the Westfield FFA Cup as the state was gripped with Cup fever.
The featured match pitted Illawarra Premier League outfit Picton Rangers taking on PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s outfit Balmain Tigers.
Featured match Balmain Tigers v Picton Rangers
Picton Rangers went behind early, dragged themselves level by half time, before running away and putting Balmain Tigers to the cleaners with a clinical second half performance in the Westfield FFA Cup Fourth Round match at 5 Sports Caringbah.
The match between the Balmain Tigers, from the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition, and Picton Rangers, recently promoted to the Illawarra Premier League, promised much and delivered plenty for the faithful fans who ventured out to Caringbah for the Thursday night fixture.
It was Balmain Tigers indeed who experienced a fairy tale run in this competition in 2015, losing in the main draw proper against A League giants, Melbourne Victory, after a history making run through the earlier rounds. But twelve months is a long time in football, and this time it was Picton’s turn to triumph and possibly dream of an exciting Cup run in the 2016 competition.
It was Balmain who settled the better in the early stages, and Marcelo Turdera took advantage of a defensive mix up in the 14th minute to tap in to an empty net and edge the Tigers in front.
There was some confusion in the 24th minute, with the officials needing to convene on the sideline before granting Picton their equaliser. Ben Roberts was adjudged to have been onside when he slipped through the Balmain defence before stroking his low shot in to the net off the Tiger’s custodian, Jacob Madden.
A few minutes later and Picton’s Mitchell Hall raced away down the right flank, his low cross shot speeding across the face of the posts, begging to be dispatched.
Balmain responded in the 35th minute when Sangyu Park snapped a shot from 20 yards that was heading just under the crossbar, only for Picton’s keeper, Brad Jones, to finger-tip it over for a corner.
The intensity across the middle third was not only evident, but it was increasing as both sides tried to wrestle the ascendancy from the other.
Hyundai A League referee, Kris Griffith-Jones had to issues a few cautions, both of the yellow and verbal variety, just to keep the emotions in check.
Picton’s busy midfielder, Nick Mugridge, almost gave his side the lead on 42 minutes, his flick header from an out swinging corner cleared off the line by Balmain’s Domenic Grasso, who was guarding the right hand upright.
Mugridge kept at it, and only a minute later had his low effort tipped on to the post by a scrambling Balmain keeper, Jacob Madden.
The half time whistle shrieked with the game evenly poised, but it was to be a very different story after the break.
Picton had settled by now, familiarising themselves with both the surface and their opponents, and absolutely came out firing in the second stanza.
But before that path took its course, Sangyu Park almost scored once again for Balmain, his superbly struck free kick from 25 yards tipped over the cross bar by Picton’s keeper, Brad Jones.
On 56 minutes it was Picton who got their noses in front. Both keeper and defender were sluggish in clearing a bouncing ball inside the Balmain box, and Picton’s Ben Roberts pounced, darting between them to lob the ball into the net from an acute angle.
Balmain replied with a swift movement down the left flank on the hour, with Turdera somehow managing to skew his point blank header wide when it looked easier to score.
Picton Rangers extended their lead in the 67th minute to 3-1. A half-hearted clearance from Balmain down the middle of their own half was seized upon by Picton’s Aidan Matthews. The sturdy midfielder controlled the leather before striking from 20 yards, his shot taking a slight deflection before looping over the head Balmain’s stranded replacement keeper, Gareth Jamieson.
A minute later and the Balmain defence was caught high in their own half, with Ben Roberts first to a perfectly weighted through ball before the striker finished with aplomb, half volleying wide of Balmain’s keeper, Jamieson, for 4-1.
Picton at this stage were running riot in the final third, opening up the Tigers at will, and managed two further goals in the final minutes to bring up the even half dozen.
A far post cross in the 86th minute was headed back across the goal, where an unmarked Nick Mugridge was waiting to loop his header over Jamieson in the Balmain goal.
Mitchell Hall had been an absolute handful all night for the Balmain defence with his strength and application to the job at hand. He received his just rewards when he netted superbly in the final minute, racing through down the left before opening up his body and smacking his shot inside the far post to round off the scoring.
Picton’s coach, Brett Morley, was understandably buoyant post-match… “We were rather hesitant early on, but once we became used to the surface, we settled down and starting pushing the ball around.”
“I was happy with the team performance, and the boys in the front third took advantage and were clinical when the chances came their way,” Morley added.
“The FFA Cup is good for us, it gives us something exciting to play in that it is separate to our weekly league football, and results like this will only help in putting our profile out there in the football community.”
Picton Rangers can now look forward to a Round Five clash against PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 1 NSW Men’s side, Hakoah Sydney City East FC.
Thursday, April 7, 2016
5 Sports @ Caringbah
Referee – Kris Griffith-Jones
Assistant Referees – Samuel Grasso and Matt Wright
BALMAIN TIGERS 1 (Turdera 14’)
PICTON RANGERS 6 (Roberts 24’ / 56’ / 68’, Matthews 67’, Mugridge 86’, Hall 90’)
BALMAIN TIGERS FC; 01.J.Madden (1.G.Jamieson 50’), 14.M.Casali (22.G.Silvestro 14’), 6.D.Grasso, 5.T.Kamon, 20.D.Kartel, 12.A.Kosoko, 8.V.Leto (26.T.Panuccio 51’), 23.S.Ljuboja (capt), 7.R.Moniaci, 11.S.Park, 9.M.Turdera.
Substitutes Not Used – 15.F.Calcagno, 16.J.Grozdanovski.
Yellow Cards – Nil
Red Cards - Nil
PICTON RANGERS FC; 1.B.Jones (01.D.Ackon 83’), 3.D.Nicol, 4.D.Goodhew, 5.B.Durrant, 6.N.Mugridge, 7.M.Hall, 8.A.Matthews (16.C.Hall 80’), 10.C.Dymond (9.J.Morley 64’), 12.C.Sheerin, 13.S.Miranda, 14.B.Roberts.
Substitutes – 15.J.Howard, 16.C.Hall.
Yellow Cards – 8.Matthews 37’, 5.Durrant 45’.
Red Cards - Nil
In the solitary match played between two teams from the PlayStation®4 National Premier LeaguesNSW Men’s competition, Sydney United 58 FC repeated their recent result in Round Three of the league by replicating the exact scoreline in Round Four of the Westfield FFA Cup, beating Sutherland Sharks 4-0, but this time at their opponents’ home ground of Seymour Shaw Park.
Panni Nikas inflicted pain on his previous club with a well taken hat-trick, and Robbie Mileski also got on the score sheet as Mark Rudan’s men continued their promising form in 2016 in both the league and the Cup.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers made light work of Rydalmere Lions on Wednesday night at Lambert Park when they accounted for Tony Basha’s side by 5-0.
After a few close chances in the opening minutes, Matthew Fsadni was upended in the box, with APIA’s Jordan Murray converting the spot kick to open up the scoring.
Soon it was 2-0, with APIA’s Tasuku Sekiya intercepting a pass from the Rydalmere keeper, squaring to Murray for his second goal from point-blank range. Sean Symons made it 3-0 before half time when his low free kick hit the bottom left corner of the Rydalmere net.
APIA extinguished any chance of a Rydalmere comeback early in the second stanza.
Fsadni retrieved possession in his own half before finding Murray, who in turn was able to set up Sekiya to complete a brilliant APIA counter-attacking move.
Murray was determined to complete his hat-trick, and it finally arrived midway in the second half. A quick throw in allowed Adrian Ucchino to find Sekiya, whose cross was met by a diving header by Jordan Murray, APIA’s fifth for the evening.
In other matches, St George FA came from behind to overcome Sydney University on Tuesday night at Lambert Park.
Sydney University took the lead inside 3 minutes, when Johnny Gowdy was fouled in the box, and he dusted himself off to duly convert the spot kick. St George equalised on 20 minutes with a spot kick of their own. Uni's young keeper, Simon Leech, was adjudged to have fouled St George’s Fouad Umlil in the box, and Nicholas Napoli squared the ledger.
St George FA edged in front on the hour through a sharp header from Umlil, before an injury to young Leech in the Uni goal meant a delay as he received treatment before being replaced.
St George FA substitute, Sam Messam, then combined with another substitute, Marton Vass, to secure the win in injury time, sending the club catapulting into the fifth round.
Dunbar Rovers continued their faultless start to 2016 with a slick 4-1 victory over Hills Brumbies at Hensley Athletic Field on Wednesday night.
A lively crowd were up on their feet early on when Mike Sealy received a ball on the left side of the penalty area, cracking a first time past the Hills keeper to give Dunbar an early 1-0 lead.
A few minutes before half time, Dunbar doubled their advantage with arguably the goal of the match. After winning a one on one challenge, right back Alex Euripidou used his speed to race clear of all Brumbies, his pass to Alex Nicolosi forwarded on to Mike Sealy, whose first time shot nestled in to the right corner of the net.
Dunbar took the foot of the pedal in the early stages of the second half, and Chris Bedzo took advantage, the Hills striker reducing the deficit to 1-2.
Fortune was on Dunbar’s side however, when Robbie Ezekiel made it 3-1 with a vicious left footed corner kick that somehow evaded everyone as it sailed in to the Brumbies net.
James Maguire made the Hills task all the more difficult shortly after, with a second yellow card meaning the Brumbies were down to ten men.
Sean Burke put the icing on the cake when he slotted home in a one and one with the Hills keeper, Kane Wallace, to provide Dunbar with a comprehensive 4-1 triumph on the night.
Fraser Park FC welcomed Bonnyrigg White Eagles to Fraser Park on Wednesday evening in a much anticipated 4th round Westfield FFA Cup game.
Bonnyrigg seemed to take control over the initial quarter of an hour, with Fraser Park content to hit on the counter attack.
Fraser Park goalkeeper, Wayne Estevao, was on his toes early on, denying Bonnyrigg a couple of times, including a well taken free kick from just outside the 18 yard box.
Soon after, a neat one-two between Peter Crevani and Zac Ribeiro almost paid dividends but for a brilliant save by Bonnyrigg’s ‘keeper James Chronopoulos. An even better opportunity for the home side eventuated in the 41st minute, Crevani placing his shot wide with Chronopoulos completely beaten and the goal at his mercy.
Nil all at the break, the second half started much the same as the first with Bonnyrigg applying pressure and having the best chances to open the scoring.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles were finally able to break the deadlock in the 68th minute. An effective switch of play to the right side of the field found Raymond Miller, his pass pushed wide of an outstretched Fraser keeper, Wayne Estevao, and in to goal by Bonnyrigg’s Michael Robinson.
Just as time was running out for Branko Culina’s energetic Fraser Park, Zac Ribeiro tried an audacious shot from near halfway line on 85 minutes, almost catching Chronopoulos off his line, the alert Bonnyrigg goalkeeper retreating just in time to thwart the danger.
Sydney Olympic accounted comfortably for West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook at Pennant Hills Oval on Wednesday evening, winning 7-0 with the goals coming from Jacob Boutoubia, Chris Triantis, Mitchell Stamatellis, Mark Cindric, Adrian Vranic, and a brace from Michael Gaitatzis.
In other 4th Round matches, Wollongong United overcame Cringila Lions by 3-1 in a scrappy match, with Brad Welch, Karouna Micheal & Jinya An getting on the scoresheet for United, whilst Hakoah Sydney City East edged out Granville Rage 4-3, with the goals coming from Nathan Bowden-Haase, Kevin Lopes and a brace from Lee Jones.
A brace to Chris Gomez and singles to Huseyin Jasli and Gerard Ouffoue gave Bankstown City Lions a 4-0 win over Manly Vale, whilst Mt Druitt Town Rangers ousted Northern Tigers 3-1 at Popondetta Park.
Chris Tomaras, Chris Gaitatzis and Majid Eslami provided the goals to spearhead Gladesville Ryde Magic to a 3-2 victory over Camden Tigers, whilst St George smashed Roselands Raptors 7-1 with goals from Nasreddine, Perez, Togias, Kontalis, Pivato, Lagos and Ilic.
Mirjan Pavlovic and youngster, Sam Perre, both scored a brace of goals as Marconi knocked out Prospect United, whilst Berkeley Vale beat Glenmore Park 1-0.
It took extra time to separate Hawkesbury City and Leichhardt Saints Senior SFC, the Hawks prevailing 2-1, whilst Wagga City Wanderers beat Ararat FC 4-2. Western Condors defeated Coogee United 1-0, Waverley Old Boys beat St Clair 4-2, Wollongong Wolves knocked out Lindfield 2-0, whilst Mosman edged Lilli Pilli 1-0 at Cromer Park.
The Entrance Bateau Bay gave Maroubra United a 6-1 touch up, Bankstown Berries overcame Umina United 2-0, Kemblawarra Fury accounted for Kissing Point 2-1, Bulli FC surprised Spirit FC 2-1, whilst Barden Ridgebacks were 4-2 winners against Pagewood Botany.
Mounties beat Bankstown United 3-1, Randwick City lost 0-3 to Padstow United, whilst there was an absolute goal fest at Pluim Park, Dulwich Hill beating Southern & Ettalong 8-4 in a remarkable match where defensive patterns were torn to shreds.
Rockdale Ilinden ousted Macarthur Rams 2-1 at Ilinden Sports Centre on Wednesday evening, with Parramatta FC joining them in the fifth round, courtesy of an 8-0 annihilation of Glebe Wanderers at Melita Stadium – Ante Tomic (3) and the Sama brothers (one apiece) amongst the scorers for the Eagles.
Paul Dee’s Manly United won easily against Gladesville Ravens by the tune of 8-1, Dee Why FC beat Carss Park 6-1, Hurstville City Minotaurs knocked Quakers Hill Juniors out by 5-2, whilst SD Raiders FC also scored five goals, without reply, as they thrashed UNSW FC 5-0.