Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers retain the top two spots in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW competition after both teams claimed wins in round nine while nearest challengers Bankstown City and Mounties Wanderers took points off each other to slip slightly off the pace.
Bai Antoniou claimed the personal honours of the weekend, his second hatrick in a week for the Sky Blues taking his tally to eleven for the season so far.
Northern Tigers v St George
Two late, late goals by Joel Hardwick secured all three points for Northern Tigers as the home side ran out 4-2 winners over St George, leaving the visitors gutted after so much endeavour.
It looked a neat Tigers who started the game, going ahead after just eleven minutes when some good build up play saw Braden Cheng skirt an onrushing George Bouropoulos, rounding the keeper on the edge of the area before sliding the ball into an empty net. This goal game just minutes after Mitchell Smith had tested Bouropoulos with the first strike of the game.
Despite the promising start though, Northern Tigers’ game slipped somewhat, and the Saints, to their credit, worked hard to get back into the match.
Their reward came in the twentieth minute when Tarek Ercan scrambled home a Stefan de Jesus freekick, from just outside the area, to drew the Saints level.
It was St George’s first league goal in 403 minutes and one celebrated with quite some joy.
Their second goal took only a further thirteen minutes to arrive by comparison, and it was in comical circumstances. A long range strike from Bruno Pivato, not hit with the strongest of power, or it seemed accuracy, looked for all money heading wide. So too thought Tigers keeper Matt Nemes, who was seemingly allowing the shot to head over the byeline, only to see to his horror that the shot snuck into the bottom corner. No attempt at a save, and the embarrassment was acute.
The 2-1 lead to St George kept the Tigers looking shaky for the remainder of the half, though Paul Davies’ distribution down the right was always going to be a concern for the Saints. It was Davies who struck the crossbar direct from a corner, in the dying minutes of the first period.
Eight minutes after the restart, the Tigers were back on level terms. A deep corner to the far post was met superbly by Russell Farrell, powering the ball into the net from close range.
It now started to look like the normal Tigers, and they desperately sought the winner. The Saints though, also tried for another, perhaps not with the same domination as the home side.
The best chances fell to the Tigers, Liam McConaghy just wide on the hour, but just when it seemed that the points would be shared, up stepped Joel Hardwick.
With one minute of normal time remaining, Hardwick broke free down the right, got to the ball ahead of Bouropoulos, and slammed the Tigers in front.
It was a killer blow for St George, who would have though that their effort deserved something, but any thought of any late goal of their own was extinguished deep into stoppage time.
Hardwick again, caught the Saints on the break, and his pace and control was too much, scoring the Tigers their fourth, for a 4-2 victory.
The win lifts Northern Tigers into the top half, while St George drop to eleventh, but have the opportunity to change focus to the FFA Cup when they take on Marconi on Wednesday night.
Northern Tigers 4 (Braden Cheng 11’, Russell Farrell 53’, Joel Hardwick 89’, 90+4’) v St George 2 (Tarek Ercan 20’, Bruno Pivato 33’)
Saturday 30 April 2016
at Valentine Park, Glenwood
Referee: Tim Danaskos
Assistants: Darren Allatt and Laken Ledden
Northern Tigers: 1. Matt Nemes 2. Russell Farrell 6. Paul Davies 7. Joel Hardwick 9. Liam McConaghy (16. Steven Baveas 90+3’) 10. Lucas Dawson 11. Mitchell Smith (5. Max Glanville 81’) 12. Braden Cheng (Jun Arima 90’) 14. Julian Lim 15. Josh Wood 19. Alexander Brown.
Subs not used: 18. Zac Morris 20. Riley Keayes
Yellow Cards: Lucas Dawson, Josh Ward, Max Glanville, Paul Davies.
Coach: Steve Hurd
St George: 1. George Bouropoulos 3. Ali Nasreddine 4. Johnathan Kontalis 5. Billy Darwich 7. Stefan de Jesus 8. Tarek Ercan 9. Stevan Ilic (11. Wassim Hijazi 73’) 10. Nicholas Rouco 13. Peter Vassilis (16. Thomas Menton 62’) 15. Nicholas Perez (38. Jacob Sullivan 70’) 17. Bruno Pivato.
Subs not used: 19. Anthony Morabito 50. Mark Stivic
Yellow Cards: Billy Darwich, Stefan de Jesus
Coaches: Ivo de Jesus and Nass Martino
Mount Druitt Town Rangers v Macarthur Rams
Mount Druitt Town made it two wins on the trot for the first time this season with a narrow 3-2 victory over the visiting Macarthur Rams.
An opener to Luke Clifford, taken well from outside the penalty area, went in off the post before Rangers doubled the lead through Scott Goodwin, his direct freekick giving Mount Druitt a handy lead at the break.
A further goal to Rangers by Daniel McCann, into the corner, were countered by two by Macarthur’s substitutes, Anthony Nicola and Mason Versi.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers 3 (Luke Clifford, Scott Goodwin, Daniel McCann) v Macarthur Rams 2 (Anthony Nicola, Mason Versi)
Mount Druitt Town Rangers: 1. Justin Biega 2. Lord Darkoh (7. Luke Clifford) 3. Brian Griffin-Colls 8. Matthew Clowes 10. Patrick Dixon 11. Abraham Majok 13. Nathan Ralph 14. Daniel McCann 15. Rainer Smahel 16. Scott Goodwin 23. Shayne Ardle (9. Kuag Reec).
Yellow Cards: Brian Griffin-Colls
Subs not used: 6. Nick Trimble 18. Joshua Wilde 21. Ryan Johnstone
Coach: Aidan Desmond
Macarthur Rams: 20. Jair Fernandez 2. Craig Cooley 3. Mitchell Thompson 4. Ben Cornish (16. Mason Versi) 5. Elsid Barkhousir 6. Kevin Ly 7. Eli Squillacioti 9. Anthony Schmidt 12. David McMurray (17. Anthony Nicola) 13. Daniel Carrozza 19. Damian Travis (8. Cristian Leiva Martinez).
Yellow Cards: David McMurray, Mitchell Thompson
Subs not used: 1. Nikodin Matic 11. Regan Suters
Coach: Lee Sterrey
Mounties Wanderers v Bankstown City
Mounties and the Lions kept tabs on each other, taking a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw on Sunday.
Both goals came in the second half, with Kojiro Hori sneaking the Lions in front three minutes after the break. But just before the hour, Mounties drew level through Christian Torelli, with his first senior goal of the season.
Mounties Wanderers 1 (Christian Torelli 56’) v Bankstown City 1 (Kojiro Hori 48’)
Mounties: 30. James Stojcevski 5. Patrick Gatt 6. Aleksandar Tomic 7. Neftali Gonzalez 9. Matthew West 20. Reid Taylor 22. Wade Oostendorp 24. James Letta 25. Christian Torelli (17. Gandor Bah) 29. Jake Ingle 34. Joshua Viera (George Codrea).
Subs not used: 11. Juan Chavez 21. Daniel Sadaka 23. Glen Downey
Yellow card: Jake Ingle
Coach: David Perkovic
Bankstown City: 1. Dion Shaw 2. Todd Halloran 5. Michael Beauchamp 8. Domenic Hudap 9. Gerard Ouffoue (30. Jack Musgrave) 10. Chris Gomez (12. Steven Veleski) 11. Huseyin Jasli 13. Dhari Alsaad (3. Tayfun Buyukkopru) 14. Dean Bereveskos 16. Kojiro Hori 22. Kyohei Kimura.
Subs not used: 15. Alessandro Pecora 26. Nicholas Carosi
Yellow Cards: Huseyin Jasli, Jack Musgrave
Coach: Leo Carle
Spirit FC v Bankstown Berries
It was a surprisingly comprehensive win for Bankstown Berries who came away from Christie Park with a 3-0 victory, and the three points, for what was only their second success of the season.
Jake Bradshaw got the first, giving the Berries a 1-0 half time lead before a double to Nicholas Paras stretched the lead out to 3-0. The first, a penalty, was complemented by a long range strike, giving Paras his seventh and eighth goals of the season.
Spirit FC 0 v Bankstown Berries 3 (Jake Bradshaw, Nicholas Paras 2, 1 pen)
Sydney FC v Fraser Park
Five goals were scored at Lambert Park on Saturday evening but were shared between only two players as Bai Antoniou’s hatrick secured the points for leaders Sydney FC, who maintain a stranglehold on the top of the table.
It was Sydney FC’s eight consecutive win but the result was a lot closer than what many predicted. While Antoniou notched his first for an early lead, a header after four minutes, Nikola Todoroski equalised for Fraser Park a quarter of an hour later.
Parity didn’t last long however as Antoniou scored direct from a free kick five minutes later before Todoroski, again, drew Fraser level six minutes before half time.
Antoniou’s third, during the second period, was enough to claim all the points, a determined Fraser Park just falling short of claiming what would have been a welcome point.
Sydney FC 3 (Bai Antoniou 4’, 25’, 60’ approx) v Fraser Park 2 (Nikola Todoroski 19’, 39’)
Marconi v North Shore Mariners
Marconi’s recent winning streak was brought to an end after North Shore Mariners took a point away from Marconi Stadium courtesy of a goal from Michael Cole, his second in as many games.
It was no surprise that Sean Rooney got his name on the scoresheet for the Stallions, as he hit the target for the fifth time this season,
Marconi 1 (Sean Rooney) v North Shore Mariners 1 (Michael Cole)
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 v Central Coast Mariners 2
Source FNSW - by Peter Rowney, Play Station 4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men's Reporter