Sydney FC remain top of the Playstation 4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW competition but they do so by goal difference only, after losing to Mount Druitt Town Rangers while Western Sydney Wanderers gained a point at Northern Tigers to draw level at the top.
Bankstown City missed the opportunity to usurp both when their match against Marconi was rained off, while Fraser Park made it three wins in a week after defeating Bankstown Berries on Saturday. That win lifts Fraser off the bottom, ahead of Spirit FC, who were also out of action this weekend.
St George striker Stevan Ilic takes the round’s personal honours with a hatrick against North Shore Mariners.
Macarthur Rams v Central Coast Mariners
After a hugely entertaining game, Central Coast Mariners departed Lynwood Park with a victory safely tucked away, but not before withstanding a determined Macarthur Rams fightback.
This was a match which swung from end to end, and with good reason. The Mariners took the lead for the first time after just twenty seconds, when Trent Buhagiar netted from out on the left within moments of kick off. It was nothing less than a disastrous start for the Rams made even worse when Ryan Peterson headed home from a corner for the second five minutes later.
With both sides having suffered defeats last weekend, there was added importance on this game, with the Mariners and Rams well in the hunt for a top six spot. A further loss here for either side wouldn’t help their cause, but after such a start, the momentum was certainly with the visitors.
It could have been 0-3 within eight minutes, remarkably, but a last ditch clearance off the line by James Ralston kept the Rams in it, if only by the skin of their teeth.
But to their credit, Macarthur awoke from their opening slumber and set about righting their wrongs. They had no option but to attack.
They managed a get one back after twelve minutes, perhaps somewhat fortuitously. A free kick, wide on the edge of the box, was struck low into the area by Ben Cornish. Somehow it evaded everyone, sneaking past a dozen or so, into the bottom corner.
The goal put the Rams right back in it, and they didn’t mess around as they tried to get a second. Anthony Schmidt had a fine shot tipped around the post by Thomas Heward-Belle, and Elsid Barkhousir did well in making space on the edge of the box, but just shot wide.
The Rams were taking over, though Buhagiar was always a threat for the Mariners. His pace was dynamic and but for a close offside call, he could have had another.
As it was, Macarthur finally drew level after their pressure counted, when Eros Bergamin scrambled away the equaliser after half an hour.
Four goals inside the opening thirty minutes had set the scene, and it was easy to see why both teams had participated recently in so many high scoring games. It looked like there would be plenty more to come in the remaining hour but the fact there would only be one, was not for lack of trying.
At 2-2, neither were satisfied, and a winner was pursued eagerly. Buhagiar, top scorer for the Mariners with ten for the season prior to this game, looked the most likely but it was half time substitute Cooper Buswell who would secure what would be their third and final goal. Just six minutes after coming on, Buswell scored to put the Mariners back in front.
It was cruel blow for the Rams, who had worked exceedingly hard to draw level in the first half, and another coach killer, conceding early yet again, this time after the restart.
This time the Rams weren’t able to recover, despite their best efforts, the Mariners ensuring that they wouldn’t give up the lead a second time. Both sides had further chances, Lachlan Wales showing good skill but not beating Jair Fernandez, and even Nathan Verity from deep on his own backline charged forward and found himself on the edge of the box before trying his luck.
But the best chance fell to the Rams, in the dying moments. Macarthur were pressing forward, pegging back Central Coast, and Eli Squillacioti had a glorious chance to make it 3-3, but his header in front was saved by Heward-Belle.
Macarthur Rams 2 (Ben Cornish 13’, Eros Bergamin 30’) v Central Coast Mariners 3 (Trent Buhagiar 1’, Ryan Peterson 6’, Cooper Buswell 53’)
Saturday 18 June 2016
at Lynwood Park
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assts: Matthew McOrist and Sebastian Andrews
Macarthur Rams: 20. Jair Fernandez 2. Craig Cooley 4. Ben Cornish 5. Elsid Barkhousir 9. Anthony Schmidt 10. Eros Bergamin 12. David McMurray 13. Daniel Carrozza (7. Eli Squillacioti 69’) 15. Yotaro Hagiwara (16. Mason Versi 57’) 17. James Ralston 19. Damian Travis (8. Cristian Leiva Martinez 84’)
Subs not used: 1. Nikola Matic 11. Marvin Potrus
Yellow Cards: Mason Versi
Coach: Lee Sterrey
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Thomas Heward-Belle 2. Cade Mapu (15. Cooper Buswell 46’) 3. Trent Buhagiar 7. Lachlan Wales (5. Sean Pratt 90’) 8. Adam Berry 9. Shelford Dais 10. Ryan Peterson 11. Chris Hurley 14. Nathan Verity 16. Joshua Forbes 18. Steve Whyte
Subs not used: 12. Peter Kekeris 13. Mitchell Walker 20. Jack O’Malley
Yellow Cards: Trent Buhagiar, Ryan Peterson
Coach: Ben Cahn
Mount Druitt Town Rangers v Sydney FC
If there was an award for Coach of the Month, it is likely that the one for June would be taken out by Mount Druitt’s Aidan Desmond.
Having defeated Western Sydney Wanderers last week, Desmond’s outfit secured another notable victory with a 3-2 win over league leaders Sydney FC. Having lost 2-5 and 1-5 respectively earlier in the season, the results turnaround has been nothing less than remarkable.
They had to do it the hard way too against the Sky Blues, coming from 2-0 down. Charles Lokolingoy had put Sydney FC a goal up midway through the first half, and duly doubled the lead just after the break.
It could have been expected that the result would have been a forgone conclusion from there but three goals in six minutes told a different tale.
Nuno Soares Gomes brought it back to 1-2, and Luke Clifford, as he did against the Wanderers last week, got on the scoresheet once more, bringing it back to 2-2 within sixty seconds.
That wasn’t the last of it, as Soares Gomes put Mount Druitt Town in the lead four minutes later, a lead they were to famously hold.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers 3 (Nuno Soares Gomes 60’, 65’, Luke Clifford 61’) v Sydney FC 2 (Charles Lokolingoy 24’, 47’)
Referee: Michael Weiner
Mount Druitt Town Rangers: 1. Justin Biega 3. Brian Griffin-Colls 7. Luke Clifford 8. Matthew Clowes 9. Kuag Reec (12. Nuno Soares Gomes) 10. Patrick Dixon 11. Abraham Majok (23. Frank Martey) 13. Nathan Ralph (6. Nick Trimble) 14. Daniel McCann 15. Rainer Smahel 16. Scott Goodwin.
Subs not used: 5. Garang Awac 21. Joel Tinker
Sydney FC: 1. Nicholas Sorras 3. Patrick Flottmann 4. George Timotheou 5. Yianni Spyrakis 6. Nicola Kuleski 7. Daniel Araujo 9. Bai Antoniou (19. Emanuel Gonzalez) 12. Charles Lokolingoy (8. Cooper Coskerie) 14. Christian Gonzalez 16. William Mutch 17. Chris Zuvela (10. Aaron Avery).
Subs not used: 2. Brendan Curtis 20. Mitchell Evans
St George v North Shore Mariners
St George didn’t take long to get over the disappointment of their midweek loss, overpowering North Shore Mariners in the second half to run out 6-2 winners.
A hatrick to Stevan Ilic with the first after nineteen minutes set the Saints on the way to victory before Bruno Pivato doubled the lead four minutes later. But North Shore did well to get back on level terms, a penalty to Michael Cole just before the break, and an equaliser by Tadhg Purcell immediately afterwards, bringing it back to 2-2.
But parity lasted only sixty seconds, as Ilic got his second of the night to put St George 3-2 up. From there, the game was only going to see one winner with Ilic securing his hatrick from the spot, Yuta Konagaya scored to make it 5-2 with fifteen to go, before Dimitri Zakilas rounded out the result seven minutes from time.
St George 6 (Stevan Ilic 19’, 47’, 56’ pen, Bruno Pivato 23’, Yuta Konagaya 75’, Dimitri Zakilas 83’) v North Shore Mariners 2 (Michael Cole 43’ pen, Tadhg Purcell 46’)
Referee: James Lewis
St George: 1. George Bouropoulos 3. Ali Nasreddine 4. Johnathan Kontalis 7. Stefan de Jesus (11. Wassim Hijazi) 8. Tarik Ercan 9. Stevan Ilic (22. Nicholas Perez) 13. Peter Vassilis (12. Jayden McLeod) 16. Thomas Menton 17. Bruno Pivato 18. Yuta Konagaya 19. Dimitri Zakilas.
Subs not used: 44. Jayden Taunton 48. Anthony Morena
North Shore Mariners: 36. Stefan Giglio 3. Chris Lindsay 4. Jack Grant 8. Michael Cole (10. Julian Aguirre) 12. Nicholas Chapman (17. Lachlan Everett) 13. Marquin Smith 20. Zac Sfiligoi 22. Tadhg Purcell 26. Christian Desa 28. Gianni Fabbro (21. Marley Peterson) 49. Gianni Stensness.
Subs not used: 1. Anthony Zecchinati 23. Joshua Mbakwe
Northern Tigers v Western Sydney Wanderers
A late equaliser to Braden Cheng secured a share of the points for Northern Tigers at home to Western Sydney Wanderers.
The Wanderers had taken a first half lead through Jordan Morfitis, his chip over the keeper putting the visitors in front, and it seemed it might be enough. But that was before Cheng scrambled away to make it one apiece, with seven minutes remaining.
Northern Tigers 1 (Braden Cheng 83’) v Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Jordan Morfitis 22’)
Referee: Katie Patterson
Northern Tigers: 1. Matt Nemes 2. Russell Farrell 4. Michael Rolston 5. Max Glanville (13. Jun Arima, rep by 14. Julian Lim) 6. Paul Davies 9. Liam McConaghy 10. Lucas Dawson 11. Mitchell Smith 12. Braden Cheng 15. Josh Ward 16. Steven Baveas
Subs not used: 18. Diren Kartal 19. Alexander Brown 20. Riley Keayes
Western Sydney Wanderers: 18. Matthew Symes 2. Lachlan Roberts 4. Abdelrahman Kuku 6. Keanu Bacchus 7. Kyle Cimenti 8. Cameron Devlin 10. Tariq Maia 15. Ramy Najjarine (12. Lawrence Hanna) 16. Jordan Morfitis (20. Charles Abou Serhal) 24. Tacettin Kumsuz (33. Moudi Najjar) 27. Tate Russell.
Subs not used: 1. Nicholas Suman 19. Malcolm Ward.
Bankstown Berries v Fraser Park
What a week it has been for Fraser Park. With only one win but twelve losses prior to last weekend, they have now collected three wins in the space of eight days, throwing themselves a lifeline as the season heads into the final third.
After wins against Macarthur Rams and St George, Fraser Park travelled to The Crest and came away with another three points, courtesy of goals to Nikola Todoroski and Jordan Simpson.
Todoroki opened the scoring from the spot on the half hour, before Simpson doubled the lead early in the second period, his shot from outside the box flying into the top corner.
Bankstown Berries 0 v Fraser Park 2 (Nikola Todoroski pen, Jordan Simpson)
Bankstown City v Marconi
Mounties Wanderers v Spirit FC
Source FNSW - by Peter Rowney, Play Station 4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men's Reporter