Blacktown Spartans and Marconi Stallions remain on top of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s table, after respective victories over Macarthur Rams and Bankstown Berries on Saturday night.
North Shore Mariners joined the winners' circle for the first time with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Bankstown City Lions, courtesy in no small part of a hat-trick by sharpshooter Mitch Smith; while Western Sydney Wanderers edged out a courageous Spirit FC 4-3. Meanwhile, in the match of the round, Northern Tigers journeyed to Seymour Shaw Park to face St George, returning home with a 3-1 victory; while, in the only Sunday match of the round, Hills Brumbies stunned Central Coast Mariners 5-4 in a thriller at Lilys Football Centre.
The match between Mt Druitt Town Rangers and Mounties Wanderers was washed out.
St George 1 Northern Tigers 3, Seymour Shaw Park
St George and Northern Tigers clashed in the match of the round at Seymour Shaw Park on Saturday night and in a scrappy encounter, the visitor's stole the spoils 3-1.
On a pleasant evening when the long ball ruled, the Tigers were just a little more polished and a little more clinical in front of goal.
St George grabbed the lead in the seventh minute when Spanish import Juan Carlos Romero sealed his debut with a crisp volley past Tigers' keeper Harrison Deverish-Meares. But the visitors struck back when striker Ryan Peterson equalised with a clinical finish in the eleventh minute; before grabbing his second from the penalty spot just before halftime. Joel Hardwick struck the Tigers' third a few minutes into the second half.
The Tigers dominated early, with Peterson and right winger Max Glanville causing grief amongst a hesitant St George defence. Crosses and long balls were plentiful and five minutes into the match, Peterson attempted an audacious long range effort from just outside the centre circle. St George breathed a huge sigh of relief when the ball sailed over the bar.
Glanville, who was suffering from heat stroke earlier in the week, then shot across the goalmouth as Saints' backline again struggled to contain the mercurial number 8. But in the seventh minute and against the run of play, St George opened the scoring when Romero connected perfectly on the volley and rocketed the ball into the back of the net.
Saints' joy was short-lived however, as Peterson ran onto a long ball four minutes later and rifled his shot past a despairing Andrew Depta to equalise.
Both sides continued to attack and in the 16th minute Tigers keeper Devenish-Meares saved his side when he punched clear a dangerous free kick by Saints' import Orman Okunaiya.
Despite the topsy turvy nature of the contest, it was the Tigers who looked most likely to score. Glanville again made a dash down the right flank, only to be denied by a great sliding tackle from Saints' Ali Nasreddine. Not to be deterred, the Tigers' maestro continued to taunt the Saints' backline and in the 25th minute volleyed over the bar from the edge of the box. Eight minutes later Peterson chased another inch-perfect pass into the box but lost his footing, spurning a golden opportunity to extend his side's lead.
At the other end, Deverish-Meares was again called upon, his quick reflexes stopping a glancing header by Romero. The Tigers' keeper and Saints' new buy from Spain were certainly earning their keep.
However, three minutes short of halftime, Saints' Jayden Mcleod conceded a penalty, enabling Peterson to caress the ball past Depta to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
The visitors held the advantage at halftime and came out of the sheds full of confidence and intent. Three minutes after the restart they extended their advantage when Joel Hardwick ran onto yet another long ball and blasted a screamer past Depta to give his side what was ultimately an unassailable 3-1 lead.
The Tigers' confidence gathered momentum and while Saints never gave up and scrapped and contested every 50-50 ball, the Tigers proved to be superior in key areas. They toiled hard and valued possession. They moved quicker and created space, causing panic to a less mobile St George, who struggled to cope with the onslaught. And finally, the Tigers' quality and finishing ability proved to be the major difference between the two sides.
In the 70th minute, Tigers' sub Kyohei Kimura, who'd only entered the fray a few minutes earlier, was involved in a nasty collision with Saints keeper Andrew Depta, forcing the Japanese from the pitch with a knee injury. A preliminary examination suggested a damaged MCL.
Saints refused to surrender and never gave up but the Reds just couldn't breach the Tigers' defence. To add insult to injury, Daniel Mitwali was red carded in injury time, ending a disappointing evening for a brave but outclassed St George.
Northern Tigers coach Mark McCormick was delighted with the win and said that a little bit of quality was the difference between the two sides.
"I think we dominated the game in terms of possession and I was happy with that," McCormick told Football NSW. "I think we were sound structurally and we had just a little bit of extra quality. After taking the lead late in the first half, we reiterated at the break that while we were doing the correct things, we needed to come out and be a little more aggressive in the second half and make our chances inside the box count. I think in both boxes we wanted it more and that's what happened in the second half."
Meanwhile, St George assistant coach Gwynne Berry had no complaints about the result, conceding that the better side won on the night.
"I thought they played a lot better than us, particularly in the first half," Berry told Football NSW. "We got ourselves caught out a little before halftime and then conceded straight away in the second half, which was a bit of a setback. But in the last 30 minutes we made some changes which benefited us and we were a little bit better towards the end of the game. But no complaints, they were better than us physically and technically, and their rotation was better than ours too."
When asked what positives emerged from the defeat, Berry replied: "As a coaching staff we learnt a little bit more about our players. We've learnt a bit of a lesson today and that gives us a good opportunity to evaluate and move forward from here. The positive is the negatives highlighted what we need to work on. "
St George 1 (Juan Carlos Romero 7') Northern Tigers 3 (Ryan Peterson 11', 42', Joel Hardwick 48')
Seymour Shaw Park, Miranda
Saturday 18 March 2017
Referee: Roberto Mattei
Assistant Referees: Matthew McOrist, Raymond Osborne
St George: 1. Andrew Depta (GK), 3. Ali Nasreddine, 4. Jonathan Kontalis (10. Nicholas Paras 58'), 5. Jayden Mcleod, 6. Zac Ribeiro (9. Stevan Ilic), 7. Robbie Deasy, 11. Orman Okunaiya, 14. Jacob Bandur (18. David Ilic 27'), 16. Daniel Loe, 20. Juan Carlos Heras Romero, 34. Daniel Mitwali.
Unused Subs: 19. Anthony Riveiro, 38. Anthony Barca
Yellow Cards: 4. Jonathan Kontalis, 5. Jayden McLeod, 34. Daniel Mitwali
Red Cards: 34. Daniel Mitwali
Coach: Terry Palapanis
Northern Tigers: 1. Harrison Devenish-Meares, 2. Josh Ward, 3. Jamie Craig, 4. Michael Rolston, 6. Jordan Ferrier, 7. Joel Hardwick, 8. Max Glanville (27. Karim Moursi 56'), 10. Lucas Dawson, 11. Lachlan Hughes (17. Kyohei Kimura 65' - 12. Liam Mcconaghy 76'), 18. Joshua Tanner, 19. Ryan Peterson
Unused Subs: 13. Paul Turrin, 20. Eliot Carwardine
Yellow Cards: 11. Lachlan Hughes, 3. Jamie Craig, 8. Max Glanville
Coach: Mark McCormick
North Shore Mariners 4 Bankstown City 1, Blacktown Football Park
Sharpshooter Mitch Smith grabbed a hat-trick and namesake Marquin Smith scored one goal as North Shore Mariners powered to a 4-1 victory over Bankstown City Lions at Blacktown Football Park on Saturday night. The win was the Mariners' first of the season.
Bankstown opened the scoring when Bruno Pivato took advantage of an errant back pass by defender James Scott but Smith headed home twice to give the Mariners a 2-1 lead at halftime.
Mariners coach Joe Haywood said during the week that his new-look side needed to improve after failing to win a game after two rounds. The Englishman was granted his wish.
Despite facing a side that last week conceded five goals to Western Sydney Wanderers, Haywood was wary of Bankstown and expected a good, competitive game.
"We won comfortably in the end, but the score-line didn't reflect the game," Haywood told Football NSW.
"Bankstown actually scored first and were on top of us in the first 20 minutes. We were a little sloppy but we managed to keep ourselves together which is something we hadn't done in previous rounds. We've got a good spirit in the camp and we stuck together. We didn't let our structure go, we didn't worry when we went down a goal, the boys followed the game plan really well."
Haywood also revealed that this was the first game in which he'd been able to select a competitive midfield.
"In the first two games we had boys who were filling in so we're slowly but surely getting an actual full squad which is making us more competitive."
North Shore welcomed the return of captain and midfielder Ricky Woodward, defender James Scott and striker Mitch Arcosa, adding quality and experience to the side. Despite Scott's earlier mishap, Haywood said the defender had an outstanding game, while the other two provided some quality that had been missing in the opening two rounds.
Meanwhile, in a shock development, Bankstown appointed Mile Todorovski as their new first grade coach on the eve of the clash with the Mariners.
North Shore Mariners: 36. Stefan Giglio, 4. James Scott, 33. Tadgh Purcell, 21. Aaron Davis, 3. Chris Lindsay, 6. Ricky Woodward, 8. Mitch Arcosa, 18. Marquin Smith, 11. Freddy Ankumah-Sey, 10. Brayden Cheng, 18. Mitch Smith
Coach: Joe Haywood
Bankstown City: S. Tarazona, 1. Dion Shaw (GK), 3. Alexander Becerra, 4. Billy Darwich, 5. Jeffrey Issa, 6. Aaron D'Mello, 7. Bruno Pivato, 8. David Mcmurray, 9. N. Todoroski, 11. Huseyin Jasli, 12. Steven Veleski, 14. Mate Lucic, 15. A. Tolomeo, 17. Adem Kir, 21. H. Timms (GK), 27. A. Gauci.
Yellow Cards: 3. Alexander Becerra; 6. Aaron D'Mello; 4. Billy Darwich
Coach: Mile Todorovski
Macarthur Rams v Blacktown Spartans, Lynwood Park
Blacktown Spartans maintained their place at the top of the table alongside Marconi with a grinding 3-2 victory over Macarthur Rams at Lynwood Park on Saturday night.
Afghani Mohamad Rahimi scored twice and Alex Boyadijan added another for the Spartans; while Frank Martey and Craig Cooley replied for the Rams.
"It was a tough one. They're a good team," Spartans coach Luis Contigiani told Football NSW. "We started really well and created a lot of chances in the first 15 minutes. We should've put a few away but we squandered chances."
Boyadijan opened the scoring for the Spartans but a lapse in concentration enabled the Rams to equalise through a penalty just shy of halftime.
"That goal was disappointing," Contigiani said of the equaliser. "Their player beat four of our defenders before going down in the box. That lapse in concentration let them back in the game."
The Rams continued their momentum to dominate early in the second half but it was the Spartans who broke the deadlock when Rahimi struck to give his side a 2-1 lead. The advantage however, didn't last long, as Rams fullback Craig Cooley volleyed home an equaliser.
With the game bouncing from end of the field to the other, the Spartans received a penalty when Garang Awac was brought down inside the box. Boyadijan stepped up and tried to blast the spot kick down the middle, only to see Rams' goalkeeper Nicodin Matic deny him a second goal.
With time running out and the Spartans desperate to grab a winner, Rahimi raced onto a through ball and slotted home at the far post to again claim a last-gasp victory.
"I'm very proud of the boys' discipline, very proud of the effort," Contigiani said. "We're grounded, we know we've still got a mountain to climb. We're not beating teams convincingly and I'm not 100 per cent convinced yet. I'm happy with the discipline and the effort, but I think we can improve and be even better. Macarthur were tough but when you win it inspires confidence. The boys are feeling really good."
Meanwhile, Rams' head coach Bill Pilovski said it was an entertaining game but his side were unlucky.
"A draw would have been a good result," Pilovski told Football NSW. "But when you're winning as the Spartans have been winning and you've got momentum, luck or the bounce of the ball seems to fall your way. The Spartans played well but I'm happy with my boys because we played well too. That's football."
Macarthur Rams: 1. Nikodin Matic, 2. Craig Cooley, 4. Simon Valastro, James Rolston, 16. Mitch Di Pietro, 10. Ben Cornish, 23. George Codrea, 14. Kurdy Abduljabbar, 15. Mason Versi, 7. Frank Martey, 8. Matthew Trotter
Yellow Cards: 2. Craig Cooley; 19. Jordan Ward
Head Coach: Bill Pilovski
Blacktown Spartans' Starting XI: 1. Domenic Nasimben, 16. Alessandro Peccora, 2. Daisan Kim, Emmanuel Elali, 4. Tiano Boutoubia, 8. Aaron White, 10. Kojiro Hori, 6. Mohamad Rahimi, 7. Michael Konestabo, 9. Garang Awac, 11. Alex Boyadijan
Yellow Cards: 11. Alex Boyadijan, 7. Michael Konestabo; Emmanuel Elali
Coach: Luis Contigiani
Marconi Stallions 3 Bankstown Berries 1, Marconi Stadium
Marconi Stallions continued their unbeaten run with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Bankstown Berries at Marconi Stadium on Saturday night.
Mirjan Pavlovic scored two goals and Sean Rooney grabbed the other; while Andreas Vais pulled one back for the Berries.
Marconi coach Tony Candy last week suggested that complacency played a big part in his side’s lukewarm performance against Macarthur, where the Stallions won 1-0 by virtue of an own goal.
“We want to make sure that this weekend we get our attitude right and play the way we want to play,” Candy told Football NSW. Saturday night's 3-1 victory would have gone some way towards achieving that aim.
Faced by a formidable starting eleven that included former Socceroo Michael Beauchamp; and ex-A-Leaguers Peter Triantis, Sean Rooney, Mirjan Pavlovic and Marko Jesic, the Berries faced an uphill battle before the game even started. But to their credit, player coach Perry Moustakas had his unfashionable outfit primed for battle.
"It was a great performance from my boys," Moustakas told Football NSW. "We really got stuck in and made it hard for Marconi. The difference between the sides was they were more clinical than us. The boys learnt a lot from the game but moving forward we need to take our chances and start getting results."
Marconi Stallions: 1. Nenad Vekic, 4. Dhari Alsaad, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 6. Raimond Coletta (26. Fabian Monge), 7. Mirjan Pavlovic (24. Richard Darko), 8. Sean Rooney, 10. Marko Jesic, 17. Theo Kofinas, 18. Peter Triantis, 22. Brandon Vella, 23. Christopher Nunes, 24. Richard Darko, 25. Sam Burfoot, 42. Fabian Monge
Unused Subs: 14. Peter Pelekanos; 11. Sam Perre; 21. Kristian Sekutkoski
Yellow Cards: 4. Dhari Alsaad
Coach: Tony Candy
Bankstown Berries: 1. Chad Taylor (GK), 2. Domenico Tripodi (17. Daniel Fornito), 3. Daniel Di Ruocco (10. Vincent Giannini), 5. James Combes, 6. Mitchell Farmer, 7. Kyle Ewart, 8. Domenic Hudap, 9. Gavin Forbes, 11. Andreas Vais, 15. Perry Moustakas, 19. Hiyama Tomohiro (12. Jake Bradshaw), 20. Nicholas Mouzourakis
Unused Subs: 21. John Dimitrakas, 14. Ted Patroulias
Yellow Cards: 7. Kyle Ewart; 11. Andreas Vais
Player Coach: Perry Moustakas
Referee: T. Danaskos
Assistant Referees: J. Park, J. Lalic
Western Sydney Wanderers 4 Spirit FC 3, Sydney United Sports Centre
Western Sydney Wanderers continued with their winning way with a hard-fought 4-3 victory over Spirit FC at Sydney United Sports Centre on Saturday night.
The young Wanderers cruised to a 3-0 lead at the break but Spirit fought back courageously with second half goals to Yuya Samba (two) and Jacob Harris.
Wanderers ace Abraham Majok grabbed a double, while Mario Shabow and Tariq Maia scored one apiece.
Wanderers coach Trevor Morgan said his side had 60 per cent possession throughout the game and was pleased with a couple of the goals created by his young charges.
"Spirit were well organised and tried to catch us in transition moments, looking to pounce when we lost the ball," Morgan told Football NSW. "I think the 3-0 margin at halftime may have flattered us by one goal, but we definitely deserved to be leading."
Spirit changed tactics after the break and pressed from the restart, immediately forcing the Wanderers into error. The ball was played back to goalkeeper Nick Suman whose clearance led to a goal by Yuya Samba in a matter of seconds.
Morgan was disappointed to concede so early and that disappointment only increased when Spirit struck again to bridge the gap to 3-2.
"In the end, I think we should've gone for a clean sheet to be honest," Morgan said. "We had a 3-0 lead and the kids were playing good football, but we should've been able to finish it off."
Meanwhile, Spirit coach David Perkovic conceded that while the first half belonged to Western Sydney, he was proud of his side's performance in the second.
"The Wanderers were clearly the better side in the first half, our boys didn't adapt to my tactics as well as I thought they would," Perkovic told Football NSW. "So we changed things after halftime. My instructions were to be positive, aggressive, and to go out there and win the second half."
With their coach's pep talk ringing in their ears, Spirit were quite aggressive in the second half and within minutes scored twice through Samba and Harris. But as the clock ticked away, the Wanderers held possession and eventually pulled away to win the three points.
"We learnt a lot from the game and the boys came off the pitch pretty positive from the second half," Perkovic said. "They got a bit of belief from that display and we'll carry that throughout the week as we prepare for our next game."
Perkovic added that his side's execution of the game plan was quite poor in the first half, allowing Western Sydney to open up a big lead.
"Wanderers are a quality team and they keep the ball well. We were good enough to get back into the game so credit to our boys and next time we play them at least we can draw on such a positive experience. It was just disappointing how we played in the first half. But our reaction was positive after that."
For Spirit, Yuya Samba was very strong; Chris Godoy Bascur was good off the bench and Andre Carle performed well, operating up front in the first half before being moved to wing in the second.
For the Wanderers Abraham Majok and Mario Shabow both turned in blue chip performances.
Western Sydney Wanderers: 40. Nick Suman (GK), 24. Tate Russell, 2. Lachlan Campbell, 4. Henry Davies (3. Abdel Kuku), 26. Jackson Bandiera, 25. Liam Youlley, 50. Tariq Maia, 11. Kosta Grozos, 18. Oliver Puflett, 49. Abraham Majok, 21. Mario Shabow
Unused Subs: 16. Jerry Skotadis, 20. Daniel Axford (GK)
Yellow Cards: 18. Oliver Puflett
Coach: Trevor Morgan
Spirit FC: 1. Murray Nelson (GK), 2. Daniel Cunningham (6. Alexander Doyle), 3. Jack Musgrave, 4. Michael Streeter, 5. Andrew Robertson (9. Christopher Godoy Bascur), 7. Jacob Harris, 8. Grant Cornwell (C), 12. Louie Bozanic, 14. Andre Carles, 17. Yuya Samba, 22. David Von Dinklage (11. Dylan Whitlock)
Unused Subs: 26. James Webb, 20. Zoran Kolundzic
Yellow Cards: 7. Jacob Harris, 11. Dylan Whitlock
Coach: David Perkovic
Referee: S. Brennan
Assistant Referees: V. Prasac, C. Wright
Mt Druitt Town Rangers v Mounties Wanderers, Popondetta Park
Hills Brumbies 5 Central Coast Mariners 4, Lilys Football Centre
In a nine-goal thriller at Lilys Football Centre on Sunday afternoon, Hills Brumbies grabbed a last-gasp 5-4 victory over Central Coast Mariners, condemning the academy side to their third straight defeat of the season.
The home side trailed for the entire match and came back from 4-2 down to steal the game at the death, when Sean Mitchell struck home an 87th minute winner.
Other scorers for the victors were Matias Toro Suazo, Nathan Rayner, and sharpshooter Peter Cejka, who grabbed two.
Brumbies coach Dan Sheppard was pleased with the win but not so happy that his side conceded four goals.
"We played far better than we did last week (in an upset loss to St George) but today was also a better game," Sheppard told Football NSW. "It was an even game and the Mariners played really well. It was probably the toughest game we've had, including preseason. They're a very good team. We just need to work on our defence. That was a problem."
In what was an incredibly entertaining game for the fans, it wouldn't have surprised if Sheppard and Mariners' mentor Ben Cahn endured heart palpitations for the entire 90 minutes.
"Yeah, good for the fans, not so good for the coaches," the Brumbies coach mused.
"Central Coast played really well and I can imagine how disappointed they must be."
The win sees the Brumbies move into third-equal on the ladder with Northern Tigers, while the Mariners remain in last place alongside Bankstown Berries and their crosstown rivals, Bankstown City Lions.
Hills Brumbies: 1. J. Stancic, 3. N. Pradenas Meza, 6 B. Robertson, 7. Wade Giovenali, 9. Sean Mitchell, 10. Jordan Parfait, 11. Daine Merrin (C), 14. V. Anyimba, 15. Matias Toro Suazo, 16. Greg Giovenali, 17. B. Hoyer, 19. G. Kelshaw, 24. N. Rayner, 34. J. Franich, 35. M. Glenfield, 91. Peter Cejka.
Coach: Dan Sheppard
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Adam Pearce, 2. Shelford Dais, 5. Charles William, 6. James Enticknap, 7. Lachlan Wales, 8. Thomas Lyons, 9. Brenton Fox, 10. Duncan Stewart, 11. Peter Kekeris, 14. Sean Pratt, 15. Yerasimakis Petratos, 16. Gianni Stensness, 18. Steve Whyte.
Coach: Ben Cahn
Source FNSW Website -By Derek Royal, Football NSW Reporter