It has been a wonderful weekend for Sydney FC who claimed the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s Club Championship after a 1-0 defeat of Marconi on Saturday night.
And with Western Sydney Wanderers conceding a late penalty to draw 3-3 with Mounties, only a win by the Wanderers by a margin of six over Sydney FC next weekend will deny the Sky Blues the title.
Down at the bottom it became no clearer with North Shore Mariners and Fraser Park pulling off impressive victories, meaning that next Sunday’s focus and interest may rest with what is happening at the bottom rather than the top.
The final six was rounded out by Mount Druitt Town Rangers who saw off Central Coast Mariners while Northern Tigers were the victim of Fraser Park’s win.
Sydney FC v Marconi
The score may have been only 1-0 but there were chances galore as Sydney FC and Marconi went head-to-head in this top of the table clash, the Sky Blues taking the narrow victory and at the same time claiming the Club Championship, and promotion to the Playstation 4 National Premier Leagues 1.
It could have been more comfortable had the early chances have been taken but some rare profligacy in front of goals meant that Sydney FC were never certain of taking the game and Marconi were never far away in scoring themselves, and denying Sydney FC their night.
Both sides knew that only a win would satisfy and Sydney FC set about the task early. With just three minutes gone, the first chance presented itself, with Juan Zapata just slicing wide of the upright, after some neat passing. Charles Lokolingoy then had the ball in the back of the net after ten minutes before being ruled offside, while the tall striker then blasted over from a great position three minutes later.
Lokolingoy then seemed certain to score yet again but firstly Chad Taylor with a superb save and then a block from Petar Markovic kept the Stallions goal intact.
Sydney FC were doing everything but score but when you are against a strikeforce of the calibre of Marconi’s, you can never rest on your laurels. Just before the half hour Marko Jesic fired wide to let Sydney FC know Marconi also meant business, and then Sean Rooney struck long to Mirjan Pavlovic who put himself in a great position, but keeper Mitchell Evans was quick out of the box, just in time.
Two minutes before the break, Christopher Nunes also got in on the action, getting on the end of a partially cleared corner, but his goal bound shot was smothered in a crowded area.
No goals maybe but plenty of action and near misses which continued well into the second half.
Pavlovic and Jesic combined again, with Jesic again coming close before Pavlovic this time set up Rooney, who rounded the keeper in a chase for the ball and the game’s opener seemed assured. But the angle may have been just a touch too tight, and Rooney’s shot hit the side netting.
How crucial that miss was became evident moments later when with Sydney FC’s next attack, they took the lead. A quick charge upfield, a cross from the right by William Mutch and Lokolingoy this time made no mistake, connecting from close range for his 23rd goal of the season.
There were leaps of joy from the larger than normal crowd in attendance and the bench, who realised the importance of the goal, with the Sydney FC players celebrating in front of a “Cove”, of sorts.
But with still over thirty minutes to play, there could be no feeling of a job done. Marconi lifted and almost drew level after hitting the post from distance, with the ball rebounding into Evans’ hands, without the keeper knowing too much about it.
Brendan Curtis then came close to getting a second for the home side, his strike hitting the post before rolling across the face of goal, while Jesic did have the ball in the net for Marconi, before the play was brought back, the striker penalised for a foul.
The temperature was rising as time started to tick over, but still the chances came. Rooney struck the top of the bar with a direct free kick, while Chad Taylor tipped another strike from Curtis away for a corner.
Evans then denied Rooney with a point blank save as Marconi increased the pressure inside the final ten minutes. The final stages of the match were basically Marconi laying siege on Sydney FC’s goal, with all but Lokolingoy back for the Sky Blues but despite their best efforts, they just couldn’t get the goal needed.
Sydney FC hung on to the claim the victory, the club championship and the reward of promotion.
Sydney FC 1 (Charles Lokolingoy 57’) v Marconi 0
Saturday 20 August 2016
at Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee: Ben Abraham
Assts: Joon Park and Bradley Wright
Sydney FC: 1. Mitchell Evans 2. Brendan Curtis 3. Patrick Flottman 4. George Timotheou 6. Nikola Kuleski 7. Daniel Araujo 8. Juan Zapata (19. Daniel Maskin 86’) 11. Christopher Arditti 12. Charles Lokolingoy (9. John Iredale 90+2’) 16. William Mutch 17. Chris Zuvela (13. Matthew Green 85’).
Subs not used: 20. Nicholas Sorras 10. Aaron Avery
Yellow Cards: Daniel Araujo, George Timotheou, Juan Zapata
Coach: Robert Stanton
Marconi: 1. Chad Taylor 4. Simon Valastro 5. Peter Pelekanos 7. Mirjan Pavlovic 8. Sean Rooney 9. Kenta Hasegawa 10. Marko Jesic 11. Sam Perre (16. Noah Chianese 77’) 14. Petar Markovic 17. Steven Drewery 23. Christopher Nunes.
Subs not used: 21. Kristina Setkukoski 2. Jarrad Ross 15. Yasser Al-Taay
Yellow Cards: Mirjan Pavlovic, Sam Perre
Coach: Tony Candy
Mount Druitt Town Rangers v Central Coast Mariners
Mount Druitt Town secured the final available spot in the six with a 3-2 win over Central Coast Mariners, confirming their position in September’s championship series.
Goals to Luke Clifford, Matthew Clowes and top scorer Kuag Reec, hitting double figures for the season, cancelled out Ryan Peterson’s strike for the Mariners, while Lord Darkoh was unfortunate to put through his own net.
It is an excellent result for Rangers, who make the finals for the first time since being promoted back to this level for the 2013 season. After two bottom placed finishes in their first two seasons, and an eighth finish in 2015, a finals spot continues their rise as a competitive force.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers 3 (Luke Clifford, Matthew Clowes, Kuag Reec) v Central Coast Mariners 2 (Ryan Peterson. Lord Darkoh own goal)
Referee: Kurt Ams
Mount Druitt Town Rangers: 1. Justin Biega 3. Brian Griffin-Colls 6. Nick Trimble 7. Luke Clifford 8. Matthew Clowes 9. Kuag Reec (12. Nuno Soares Gomes) 10. Goncalo Paradanta (23. Frank Martey) 11. Abraham Majok 13. Nathan Ralph 14. Daniel McCann (2. Lord Darkoh) 16. Scott Goodwin.
Central Coast Mariners: 20. Thomas Heward-Belle 3. Reece Papadimitrios (13. Thomas Lyons) 4. Josh Bingham 5. Jordan Lane (2. Cade Mapu) 6. Liam O’Dell (14. Nathan Verity) 7. Lachlan Wales 8. Liam Rose 9. Shelford Dais 10. Ryan Peterson 12. Trent Buhagiar 18. Steve Whyte.
Northern Tigers v Fraser Park
One outcome was decided at Valentine Park on Saturday night with Northern Tigers’ defeat at the hands of Fraser Park preventing the reigning champions from being able to defend their title this season, the loss coupled with Mount Druitt Town’s win meaning that the chance of a finals berth has now gone.
But from a club championship point of view, little was decided despite the win for Fraser Park. The night had started well with Nathan Sansom scoring early to give Fraser a valuable lead, chipping the keeper, before Ben Vidaic doubled the score in the 24th minute.
When it became 3-0 after Jordan Simpson tapped in the third, after an assist from Sansom, the game seemed safe enough. Northern Tigers did pull one back with ten minutes to go, Mitchell Smith’s long range drive flying past a diving Wayne Estavao, but the points were Fraser Park’s.
But the result next door would have tempered any celebrations.
Northern Tigers 1 (Mitchell Smith 80’) v Fraser Park 3 (Nathan Sansom 11’, Ben Vidaic 24’, Jordan Simpson 55’)
Referee: Trent Nash
Northern Tigers: 20. Riley Keayes 2. Russell Farrell 4. Michael Rolston 7. Joel Hardwick 10. Lucas Dawson 11. Mitchell Smith 12. Braden Cheng (5. Karin Moursi) 13. Jun Arima (9. Liam McConaghy) 15. Josh Ward 18. Diren Kartel 19. Alexander Brown.
Fraser Park: 1. Wayne Estavao 2. Rocci Gabey 3. Davide Talone 5. Nicholas Dimitropoulos 6. Aleksandar Todoroski 8. Zac Ribeiro 14. Nikola Todoroski 15. Jordan Simpson (18. Alvaro Malmierca0 16. Ben Vidaic (9. Jeffrey Issa) 17. Nathan Sansom (4. Peter Crevani) 20. Jordan Roberts.
Spirit FC v North Shore Mariners
Over on Valentine Park No 3, North Shore Mariners were also pulling out all stops, coming away with a win, essentially negating the value of Fraser’s victory.
Goals at both ends of the halves provide North Shore with their fourth victory of the season with Michael Cole scoring in time added on at the end of the opening period. Knowing that Fraser Park were 2-0 up at this stage meant that the goal could hardly have been more important.
North Shore maintained that narrow lead throughout the second half, making absolutely sure of the points when Joshua Mbakwe made it two in the dying moments.
Spirit FC 0 v North Shore Mariners 2 (Michael Cole 45+1’, Joshua Mbakwe 90+2’)
Referee: Michael Weiner
Spirit FC: 51. David Lowery 2. Daniel Cunningham 3. Henry Wells 4. Michael Streeter 6. Alexander Doyle (21. Reuben Agyei-Danso) 8. Grant Cornwell 10. Kim Changyu (15. Jordan Wass) 13. Philip Reilly 16. Mark McAlpine 18. Brad Gibson (11. David Mavisa) 19. Tom Lovell.
North Shore Mariners: 36. Stefan Giglio 3. Chris Lindsay 4. Jack Grant 6. Ricky Woodward 7. Tadhg Purcell 8. Michael Cole 10. Julian Aguirre (15. Jordan Mbakwe rep. by 23. Joshua Mbakwe) 20. Zac Sfiligoi 26. Christian Desa 37. James Scott 19. Gianni Stensness.
Bankstown City v Bankstown Berries
It will be a nervous week for Bankstown Berries who have found themselves sucked into the battle at the bottom of the club championship, thanks to the strong results earned by both Fraser Park and North Shore Mariners.
While the bottom two both won away from home, the Berries suffered a 2-0 defeat at Jensen Park, the Lions winning for the second time in five days to draw level with Marconi in equal third.
Goals to Gerard Ouffoue midway through the second half and a goal six minutes from time by Chris Gomez, pushed the Lions to the win, the two leading strikers combining for their twentieth goals of the season.
Bankstown City 2 (Gerard Ouffoue 69’, Chris Gomez 84’) v Bankstown Berries 0
Referee: James Lewis
Bankstown City: 1. Dion Shaw 2. Todd Halloran 5. Michael Beauchamp 9. Gerard Ouffoue 10. Chris Gomez 11. Huseyin Jasli (4. Mato Lucic) 13. Dhari Alsaad 14. Dean Bereveskos (15. Alessandro Pecora) 16. Kojiro Hori (25. Shayne Ardle) 20. Nicholas Mourouzakis 23. Grant Lynch.
Bankstown Berries: 1. Tonu Liiband 2. Andrew Vitucci 3. Daniel Di Ruocco 4. Alexander Becerra 6. Perry Fotakopoulos (27. Nathan Rayner) 7. Kyle Ewart 9. Gavin Forbes 11. Tai Smith 15. Matthew Trotter 16. Hyams Tomohiro 18. Jake Bradshaw.
St George v Macarthur Rams
Dimitri Zakilas continued to prove his worth to St George as a midseason signing, scoring for the second game in five days, his late winner enough to secure the Saints’ fourth win in five games. It was Zakilis’ seventh goal since joining from Bankstown Berries, helping to lift the club to seventh spot on the ladder, their highest position since round four.
St George 1 (Dimitri Zakilas) v Macarthur Rams 0
Referee: Adam Susz
St George: 1. George Bouropoulos 3. Ali Nasreddine 4. Johnathan Kontalis (27. Anthony Morabito) 6. Reuben Lagos (17. Tayfun Buyyukopru) 9. Stevan Ilic 10. Bruno Pivato 13. Peter Vassilis 16. Thomas Menton 18. Yuta Konagaya 19. Dimitri Zakilas 20. Jayden McLeod.
Macarthur Rams: 1. Nikodin Matic 2. Craig Cooley 4. Ben Cornish 5. Elsid Barkhousir 8. Cristian Leiva Martinez 9. Anthony Schmidt 12. David McMurray 13. Daniel Carrozza (15. Yotaro Hagiwara) 17. James Ralston 18. Jordan Cracknell 19. Damien Travis (16. Mason Versi).
Mounties Wanderers v Western Sydney Wanderers
It was a tale of two penalties at Valentine Park on Sunday, one missed and one scored. The end result of which has all but handed the title to Sydney FC.
With the league leaders winning on Saturday, Western Sydney Wanderers needed a victory against Mounties to take the race down to the wire but the match started off on the wrong foot when an early Matthew West goal gave Mounties the lead after three minutes.
But a quick couple of goals within ten minutes of each other, the first to Tariq Maia and the second to Kyle Cimenti, put Western Sydney in the lead. That was until stoppage time at the end of the first half, when West, once more scored to equalise for 2-2.
Western Sydney regained the lead eight minutes after the restart, Lawrence Hanna netting for the third and it seemed that the result would be sealed when Moudi Najjar was brought down in the box for a penalty award. But a save by substitute keeper Daniel Sadaka, on for the injured Luke Kairies at half time, kept the margin to just one goal.
And what should happen but deep into stoppage time, the referee again points to the spot, this time for Mounties. And West, for his hatrick, made no mistake.
Mounties Wanderers 3 (Matthew West 3’, 45+1’, 90+3 pen) v Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Tariq Maia 16’, Kyle Cimenti 25’, Lawrence Hanna 53’)
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Mounties: 21. Luke Kairies (30. Daniel Sadaka) 5. Patrick Gatt (28. George Codrea) 6. Aleksandar Tomic 7. Neftali Gonzalez 9. Matthew West 11. Mitchell Davidson 17. Milorad Simonovic (17. Pat Cappuccio) 20. Reid Taylor 22. Wade Oostendorp 29. Jake Ingle 32. Tayfun Devrimol.
Western Sydney Wanderers: 18. Matthew Symes 2. Tate Russell 3. Henry Davies (24. Tacettin Kumsuz) 4. Abdelrahman Kuku 6. Keanu Bacchus 7. Kyle Cimenti 8. Charles Abou Serhal (42. Matthew Lecce) 10. Tariq Maia 12. Lawrence Hanna (33. Moudi Najjar) 14. Brenton Fox 19. Malcolm Ward.
Source FNSW - - by Peter Rowney, Play Station 4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men's Reporter