Round 8 Review – PS4 NPL 2 NSW Men’s
Blacktown Spartans defeated a courageous Bankstown City Lions 4-3 in an entertaining PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues' 2 NSW Men's Match of the Round clash on Saturday night.
Spartans trailed 2-0 and 3-1, before coming from behind to steal the spoils in the fifth minute of injury time.
In other matches, Marconi remain on top of the table after a last-gasp 2-1 defeat of an unlucky Spirit FC; Western Sydney Wanderers beat a brave St George 5-2; Central Coast Mariners and Bankstown Berries shared the spoils two-all after the Mariners struck gold in the 90th minute; Northern Tigers and North Shore Mariners played a one-all draw; a red card early in the second half hijacked Mounties' aspirations of victory in a one-all stalemate with Macarthur Rams; and in the only Sunday match of the weekend, Hills Brumbies impressed in a 3-1 win over Mt Druitt Town Rangers.
Match of the Round
Blacktown Spartans 4 Bankstown City 3, Blacktown Football Park
Blacktown Spartans returned to the winners' circle with a sensational last-gasp 4-3 victory over an unlucky Bankstown City Lions in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues' 2 NSW Men's Match of the Round at Blacktown Football Park on Saturday night.
The Spartans trailed 2-0 at halftime and then 3-1 after 65 minutes before launching a courageous fightback to steal the spoils five minutes into stoppage time.
Spartans' striker Garang Awac scored two goals, while Alessandro Pecora and Mohamed Rahimi grabbed one each; while for Bankstown, Huseyin Jasli, Nicola Todoroski and Hussein Akil each found the back of the net.
The match not only pitted second-placed Spartans against last-placed Bankstown, but in coaches Luis Contigiani (Spartans) and Mile Todoroski (Bankstown) it saw two former teammates indulge in a battle of wits from the sidelines.
Contigiani expected a desperate Bankstown to come out like a wounded bull. And he was right. Bankstown were all business from the opening whistle. They played with aggression. They played with physicality and they charged into their work like men possessed.
They attacked down the flanks and taunted the home side with a barrage of crosses into the box, presenting some nervous moments for young goalkeeper Jacob Forster, who somehow managed to keep his goal intact.
Bruno Pivato shot over the bar. Jeffrey Issa blasted wide. Alex Becerra had a crack. So too did Mate Lucic. But all that early goalmouth action amounted to nothing.
Indeed, it was the home side that had the first real goal-scoring chance of the match when striker Alex Boyadijan shot over the bar in a one-on-one with Lions' goalkeeper Dion Shaw. Boyadijan should have done better with such a gilt-edged opportunity.
Spartans' midfield maestro Mohamed Rahimi caused the Lions plenty of trouble with his silky skills, smooth movement and accurate passing. And not long after Boyadijan's effort, the Afghani playmaker struck a snapshot just wide of the target.
A minute later Forster saved brilliantly from a Huseyin Jasli rocket that took a deflection. In that moment the young keeper showed he was up to the task of standing in for first choice Dominic Nascimben, who suffered a knee injury at training on Thursday. But more heroics were to follow.
Just shy of the half hour mark, Spartans defender Emmanuel Elali upended Bankstown's Hussein Akil inside the penalty box. Referee Jerry Bitas had no hesitation pointing to the spot.
Jasli stepped up but the dead ball specialist couldn't beat Forster who pulled off a fine save. The youngster's confidence sky-rocketed.
But in the 35th minute Jasli made up for his miss when he struck a brilliant long range free kick past a despairing Forster and into the top corner of the net to give his side a 1-0 lead.
A few minutes later Bankstown goalkeeper Dion Shaw showed that whatever Forster could do, he could do just as well when he tipped over the bar a savage Michael Konestabo header.
Forster again denied Bankstown but he couldn't stop Nicola Todoroski from slotting home the rebound to give his side a commanding 2-0 lead, a scoreline that would remain when the sides went to the sheds for halftime.
Unhappy with their first half performance, Spartans coach Contigiani let loose on his young charges in no uncertain terms and when they returned for the second half, they came out energised and full of intent.
Lanky striker Garang Awac gave his side the perfect start when he slotted home from close range a perfect low cross from Konestabo just seven minutes after the restart. The Spartans were back in the game.
But Bankstown upped the ante, especially forward Hussein Akil, whose aggression and presence caused plenty of problems for the young Spartans. Akil turned brilliantly in the 65th minute only to see Forster pull of a great save. But the experienced Number 10 wouldn't be denied two minutes later when he scored to give his side a commanding 3-1 lead.
Normally, a goal like that at such a crucial time of the match would knock a team for six. Especially one as young and inexperienced as the Spartans. But instead, the setback galvanized the boys in orange and like they have done all season, they rolled their sleeves up and did what their coach told them to do - in this instance attack the Lions' compact formation down the wings and utilize Awac's height and aerial prowess inside the box.
The tactic worked a treat. Two minutes after Akil gave Bankstown a two-goal buffer, Awac outjumped his marker and nodded down the perfect assist for Alessandro Pecora, who shot home from close range.
The Spartans were again back in the game.
Four minutes later Rahimi equalised from an identical move. A cross from the wing was met by Awac, who again nodded down the perfect assist, this time for the Afghani, who rocketed home the equaliser.
Now the game started to get interesting. And not surprisingly, the momentum had begun to swing in the home side's favour, especially with Rahimi dominating the midfield with his class and skill; and the Spartans launching wave after wave of attacks down the flanks.
But nobody told Bankstown, who continued to attack. Hussein Akil hit the post in the 83rd minute before hooking a shot wide. The Lions attacked with more desperation and launched a relentless barrage on the Spartans' goal, only to be denied time and time again by rookie goalkeeper Forster.
With time running out and the home crowd urging the referee to blow for fulltime, the clock continued to tick ever so slowly. One minute. Two minutes. Three minutes. Four. By the time five minutes had elapsed, that man Garang Awac, who had set up two second half goals, pounced to slot home the winner from close range.
Pandemonium erupted amongst the small crowd. Tears flowed and the Spartans wrote yet another chapter in what has so far been a remarkable season. A limited budget. A complete cleanout of personnel from last year. A young team with an average age of just 20-years-old. And a coach who has everyone sharing his belief that with hard work and passion, good things can happen.
Despite the result, Bankstown can consider themselves to be desperately unlucky. They played with verve. They played with aggression and commitment. They have such class and experience on their roster that it's unbelievable to see them languishing at the bottom of the competition table. To many, a draw would have been a fair result. But football isn't always fair, in fact, as demonstrated on this occasion, it can quite often be cruel.
Despite the win, Spartans coach Luis Contigiani felt for his former teammate and Lions' coach Mile Todoroski.
"I feel for Mile," Contigiani told Football NSW. "He would feel hard done by because his side played well and that was a really close game. But that's football. I'm happy we got the result and I'm proud of my boys.
"They're a young squad and sometimes as a coach you've got to let them know you're not happy with the performance as I did at halftime. But credit to the boys, you saw what happened. To come from 2-0 and 3-1 down and to actually win the game shows we're slowly maturing. I'm happy."
So what changed in the second half?
"In the second half we saw that Bankstown were very compact at the back, very central," Contigiani replied. "They left a lot of areas out wide. So, we made sure that we set our wingers a lot higher and wider and you saw the goals that came. They all came from wide areas. We practiced that all week and I was disappointed in the first half because we didn't make use of it. But come the second half and we did. We scored goals and we won the game."
When asked to name his standouts, Contigiani replied: "I'm very proud of my young goalkeeper Jacob Forster. Our regular keeper Dominic Nasimben got injured on Thursday night at training and we had to put young Jacob on and he was an absolute standout. He saved a penalty, we're talking about an 18-year-old boy here. I'm very proud of him."
Meanwhile, Bankstown coach Mile Todoroski was lost for words in the aftermath of what was a cruel result for his side.
"It's very difficult to talk when you lose a game like this," Todoroski told Football NSW. "But this is football. We got our moments but when you've got the moments you have to use the chance otherwise you get punished like we were punished today.
"We had a two goal lead and missed a penalty in first half but in the second half we played for us and we played for them. I want to congratulate my former teammate Luis (Contigiani) for (winning) three points. Little bit lucky but in football as in life you have to be lucky a little bit."
When asked if there were any positives to come out of the game, Todoroski replied: "I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. We fight and we only just lose the game. Mathematically we just copped a few nails in our third division coffin but still I think if we play like this and with a little more luck we will go outside of this coffin and survive this competition."
Blacktown Spartans 4 (Garang Awac 52', 95'; Alessandro Pecora 67', Mohamed Rahimi 72') Bankstown City Lions 3 (Huseyin Jasli 35', Nicola Todoroski 42', Hussein Akil 65')
Bankstown Football Park
Saturday 22 April 2017
Referee: Jerry Bitas
Assistant Referees: Laken Ledden, Nicholas Farmer
Blacktown Spartans: 42. Jacob Forster (GK), 2. Daisan Kim, 3. Emmanuel Elali, 4. Tiano Boutoubia, 6. Mohamad Rahimi, 7. Michael Konestabo (20. Mitchell Cross 78'), 9. Garang Awac, 10. Kojiro Hori, 11. Alex Boyadijan, 13. Brendon Bezzina (8. Aaron White 60'), 16. Alessandro Pecora
Unused Subs: 5. James Letta, 12. Richard Blanco, 50. Hugh Brown (GK)
Yellow Cards: Richard Blanco 25', Alex Boyadijan 69'
Coach: Luis Contigiani
Bankstown City: 1. Dion Shaw (GK), 3. Alexander Becerra (8. David Mcmurray 20'), 5. Jeffrey Issa, 6. Aaron D'Mello, 7. Bruno Pivato, 9. Nicola Todoroski, 10. Hussein Akil, 37. Huseyin Jasli, 13. Sergio Tarazona, 14. Mate Lucic (31. Mitchell Edmunds 83'), 27. Antonio Gauci (15. Alessandro Tolomeo 69')
Unused Subs: 20. Harry Timms
Yellow Cards: Huseyin Jasli 47', Sergio Tarazona 66', Aaron D'Mello 69', Alesandro Tolomeo 70', Mate Lucic 82'
Coach: Mile Todoroski
Central Coast Mariners 2 Bankstown Berries 2, Pluim Park
Central Coast Mariners and Bankstown Berries shared the spoils in a closely-fought two-all draw at Pluim Park on Saturday.
Reece Papas was the star for the Mariners, performing with distinction and scoring two goals, including a 90th minute penalty.
The Berries led twice through Jake Bradshaw and Gavin Forbes before Papas equalised twice to give his side a share of the spoils.
"It was a similar story to most games so far this season," Mariners coach Ben Cahn told Football NSW. "We had a really strong opening 25 minutes, missed two near-open goals and really controlled the game. We played at a tempo that was too difficult for the Berries to deal with but as we've found out on many occasions this season, if you don't take your chances you always leave that window of opportunity for the opposition. Literally with the last kick of the first half we made a couple of individual errors and they scored."
The Mariners responded with a delightful Reece Papas free kick but then another individual error completely against the run of play led to Berries' super sub Gavin Forbes scoring from a header with his first touch.
"That was disappointing," Cahn said. "But we then had them camped on the edge of their box for the rest of the game. We created a few half chances and a few decent chances and got a penalty in the last minute that Reece put away under pressure. Although it was nice to salvage a point in the last minute, it was yet another game this year that we've felt we were by far the better side. Just two lapses in concentration, two individual mistakes, cost us. Teams can play against us and have two shots and score two goals. We miss open goals, we hit the woodwork, week-after-week. Hopefully us scoring late is a sign of our luck turning."
When asked who the standouts were for his side, Cahn replied: "Reece Papadimitrios has for two weeks running been outstanding. He has used his experience and ability to take control of the game. He's got an unbelievable passing range and has been able to pick teams off that either sit deep against us or press high, he's very difficult to play. Obviously he scored from the free kick and he held his nerve with the penalty later on. We've missed our last two penalties so there was a lot of pressure on that last kick of the game."
Meanwhile, Berries player coach Perry Moustakas was pleased with his side's efforts but disappointed with the outcome.
"It was a close game, but we feel like it's two points lost, we conceded in the 90th-plus," Moustakas told Football NSW. "But I'm really happy with my players, I'm really proud of them. It’s been a busy schedule for us and to put in the effort they did and to take the game to Central Coast made me really happy.
"We also had extra motivation because Central Coast throughout the week thought they had an easy game. They underestimated us so it was good to give them a big challenge."
Moustakas said his side's performance was "a massive team effort from the starting eleven and the subs that came on. It was fantastic, I'm proud of all the boys."
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Reece Papadimitrios 62', 90') Bankstown Berries 2 (Jake Bradshaw 45', Gavin Forbes 84')
Saturday 22 April 2017
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, 19. Jordan Lane, Reece Papadimitrios.
Yellow Cards: Reece Papadimitrios
Coach: Ben Cahn
Bankstown Berries: 1. Chad Taylor (GK), 2. Dominic Tripodi, 3. D. Di Ruocco, 5. J. Combes, 6. M. Farmer, 7. Kyle Ewart, 8. Domenic Hudap, 9. Gavin Forbes, 10. V. Giannini, 11. A. Vais, 12. Jake Bradshaw, 15. Perry Moustakas, 17. D. Fornito, 19. H. Tomohiro, 20. N. Mouzourakis, 21. J. Dimitrakas.
Yellow Cards: D. Di Ruocco, Kyle Ewart, C. Taylor
Coach: Perry Moustakas
Northern Tigers 1 North Shore Mariners 1, Turramurra
In one of the most eagerly-awaited games of the weekend, Northern Tigers and North Shore Mariners shared the spoils in a one-all draw at Turramurra on Saturday night.
Tigers coach Mark McCormick said his side dominated the match but couldn't convert opportunities into goals, leaving the Scot bitterly disappointed with the outcome.
"I think we were fantastic," McCormick told Football NSW. "We dominated the game and controlled possession and hit the crossbar and played some really, really good football. But we just couldn't score.
"I was really pleased with the way we played in the first half, we were extremely dominant. Then in the second half credit to North Shore, they changed their shape and we didn't really adjust."
While the Tigers may have been the dominant side, it was the Mariners who opened the scoring when in the 51st minute James Scott tapped home from close range. Tigers' goalkeeper Harrison Devenish-Meares spilt the ball from a corner and Scott pounced to take advantage. The manner of the goal upset McCormick, whose side was well aware that the Mariners were strong at set pieces. But the coach refused to blame the young goalkeeper and said his side should have defended the corner better.
"It was disappointing to concede a goal from a setpiece because we knew that was their only threat," McCormick said. "They never had a shot on our goal in the entire first half.
"But in the second half they got numbers behind the ball and tried to hit us on the break. I've got no problem with coaches doing that because that's part of the game."
When asked what the positives were to come out of the match, McCormick replied: "The mentality of our boys who were extremely disappointed to come away with a draw. The Mariners (on the other hand) were delighted to have a draw and they're one place below us on the table. I think the different reactions says a lot about the two sides."
Meanwhile, North Shore Mariners coach Joe Haywood said it was a tough game and while his side were under the pump for the entire first half, he was happy to go to the break with a clean sheet.
"It was a tough game, both teams had the right intention trying to win the game but we went in with a shape in the first half that didn't work," Haywood told Football NSW. "The Tigers had the better of the first half but we managed to keep a clean sheet.
"In the second half we changed our shape and went one-nil ahead through James Scott. I feel if we'd been able to get through the next five or 10 minutes okay we would have been able to keep that clean sheet and potentially got a win. But to be fair to Northern Tigers they came back strong straight after our goal and reacted well. They got a goal within five minutes. Apart from that, the two teams cancelled each other out in the second half.
"It was a good team effort, we had to work really hard defensively because the Tigers are a good team and they move the ball well and they're quite effective and dangerous. Collectively we all put in a shift and worked together as a group."
Northern Tigers 1 (Liam Mcconaghy 54') North Shore Mariners 1 (James Scott 51')
Turramurra Recreation Area
Saturday 22 April 2017
Northern Tigers: 1. Harrison Devenish-Meares (GK), 2. Josh Ward, 3. Jamie Craig, 4. Michael Rolston, 6. Jordan Ferrier, 7. Joel Hardwick, 8. Max Glanville, 9. Liam Mcconaghy, 10. Lucas Dawson, 11. Lachlan Hughes, 13. Paul Turrin, 17. Kyohei Kimura, 18. Joshua Tanner, 19. Ryan Peterson, 20. Elliott Carwardine, 27. Karim Moursi.
Coach: Mark McCormick
North Shore Mariners: 1. James Law, 2. Lewis Miller, 3. Chris Lindsay, 4. James Scott, 6. Ricky Woodward, 8. Mitch Arcosa, 10. Brayden Cheng, 11. Freddy Ankumah-Sey, 13. Marquin Smith, 16. Chris Woo, 18. Mitch Smith, 20. Josh Mbakwe, 21. Aaron Davis, 23. Chris Desa, 26. Hugo Forlico, 27. Robbie Kerr, 28. Michael Stojanovski, 31. Chris Deblaere, 36. Stefan Giglio (GK)
Yellow Cards: James Scott, Braden Cheng
Coach: Joe Haywood
Macarthur Rams 1 Mounties Wanderers 1, Lynwood Park
Macarthur Rams and Mounties Wanderers shared the spoils in a one-all draw at Lynwood Park on Saturday night.
Mounties were the dominant side but couldn't penetrate the Rams' defence and things only got worse when Mitchell Walker received his marching orders early in the second half.
"We dictated the match for 45 minutes and then everything changed through Mitch Walker's indiscipline," seethed Mounties coach Lee Sterrey. "The game turned on its head when he got sent off through a total lack of discipline that basically crucified the team and cost us three points. I'm really disappointed for the boys because we played really well and had Mitch not been sent off I think we would have run Macarthur into the ground in the second half."
Rams coach Eddie Briscoe conceded that Mounties were the better team. "They were definitely the better team," Briscoe told Football NSW. "It was a pretty tight first half, they had a couple of chances, we had our moments and then we conceded a pretty slack goal from a corner just before halftime, which was disappointing.
"The second half was pretty even until one of their guys got sent off. That opened the game for us and we scored. But even a man short they didn't sit back, they actually kept coming at us. The last 20-25 minutes were quite entertaining. Mounties are probably the best team we've played this season. They're very balanced and Lee's done a good job with them. We knew they were going to be quite tricky but we pushed forward this week. We've been playing counter attack football, but this week I decided to play higher and try and close them in their half.
"But we really struggle for communication and that's starting to hurt us. If we had that in the team, a lot of our problems would be solved. Until we get that in our game we're going to keep struggling.
Briscoe praised forward Damian Travis and defenders Craig Cooley and Danny Lazarevski but conceded that overall, it was a balanced team effort. "We need that because we don't have any standouts, we need everyone to be pulling their weight. They're punching well above their weight every week and I can't ask for more than that. I can't wait till May so we can get some new players and improve our depth. We've got nothing coming off the bench to be fair. "
Meanwhile, Mounties coach Lee Sterrey left his old stomping ground bitterly disappointed with the outcome.
"It was really disappointing," Sterrey said. "We totally dominated the first half in possession, territory, and scored a good goal from a set piece. I'm not happy about the sending off at all but at the end of the day things pop up in football and we've just got to deal with it. As I said, had Mitch not been sent off I think we would have run them into the ground in the second half. We're a fit, strong side and we move the ball around. We probably had four or five good chances in the first half and the tempo of the match was run by us. We controlled the tempo of the game. We controlled possession and dictated the whole game. I was comfortable at halftime and until the send off I was very, very comfortable that we were going to get the right outcome. But it just wasn't to be.
"To be fair to Macarthur they scored two minutes after Mitch was sent off and for the last 30 minutes with 10 men they didn't have any gilt-edged chances. That's how much the game was in our keeping. I'm really disappointed with one individual."
Macarthur Rams 1 (Sho Arakawa) Mounties Wanderers 1 (M Cklamovski)
Saturday 22 April 2017
Macarthur Rams: 1. Nikola Bratic, 20. Ben Needham (GK), 2. Craig Cooley, 3. Danny Lazarevski, 4. Simon Valastro, 5. Regan Suters, 7. Frank Martey, 8. Matthew Trotter, 10. Ben Cornish, 11. Damien Travis, 13. Alex Lazarevski, 14. Kurdvan Abduljabbar, 15. Mason Versi, 16. Mitch Di Pietro, 17. Sho Arakawa, Jordan Ward.
Yellow Cards: Matthew Trotter
Coach: Eddie Briscoe
Mounties Wanderers: 1. Jair Fernandez, 4. Todd Halloran, 6. Anthony Schmidt, 7. Neftali Gonzalez, 9. Michael Gaitatzis, 11. Mitchell Davidson, 13. Pasqualino Cappuccio, 14. Noah Chianese, 15. Taewoo Jung, 18. Michael Cklamovski, 20. Reid Taylor, 21. Alexander Josipovic, 22. Mitchell Walker, 23. Abanoub Mickael, 28. Hiroto Tokuichi, 29. Jake Ingle, 33. Zac Zfiligoi
Yellow Cards: Jake Ingle, Hiroto Tokuichi
Red Cards: Mitchell Walker
Coach: Lee Sterrey
St George 2 Western Sydney Wanderers 5
Western Sydney beat a courageous St George 5-2 at Seymour Shaw Park on Saturday night, with the three-goal margin flattering the young Wanderers.
Oliver Puflett opened the scoring for the Wanderers in the 26th minute, but Saints struck back two minutes later through Tarik Ercan. Matiu Cordier gave the visitors a 2-1 advantage in the 38th, but again Saints equalised, this time through Spanish import Juan Carlos Romero just shy of the hour. Kosta Grozos then struck twice in as many minutes in the 63rd and 64th minutes to give the Wanderers a comfortable 4-2 lead, before Emmanuel Gonzalez sealed the deal a minute before fulltime.
"The result probably sounds more one-sided than it actually was," Wanderers coach Trevor Morgan told Football NSW. "St George had a young goalkeeper who made some errors that helped us but it wasn't easy and it was a reasonably even game. St George have some good players that can create problems. They're very dangerous at set-pieces and their delivery into the box is very good. And they tried to play; they tried to stretch us. It was a more even game than some have been this season but the boys attacked at good speed and found a way to win the match, which is important. In the end, the scoreline worked out for us."
Meanwhile, St George coach Terry Palapanis rued the fact that he didn't have a senior goalkeeper available, forcing him to select teenager Nathan Cupit to make his debut. The debut proved to be a nightmare.
"Unfortunately, all my senior goalkeepers were injured so we had a 16-year-old goalkeeper who had a night to forget. We gifted them three goals from goalkeeping errors. I feel sorry for the kid and I pulled him off with 20 minutes to go. He was shattered but he's only young and he'll learn from it."
Palapanis added that the game was "extremely close" and while the Wanderers dominated the first half, Saints "were the better side in the second half".
"We had more possession than them in the second half which was surprising but we played really well," Palapanis said. "We created heaps of chances and it was a very close match. The difference between the two sides was the goalkeeper but I was very pleased with our guys.
"There were moments where we ran over the top of them in terms of our performance and the way we kept the ball and shifted them and created chances."
Palapanis praised import Orman Okunaiya, who he believed was the best player on the field.
"The whole team put in a good shift but Orman added that touch of class and was always dangerous," Palapanis said. "Our other visa player, Spanish striker Juan Carlos Romero is also a very good player and has a quality about him. He's a complete nine. He's got everything. But it'll take a little bit more time before he really hits his straps."
St George 2 (Tarik Ercan 28', Juan Carlos Romero 57') Western Sydney Wanderers 5 (Oliver Puflett 26', Matiu Cordier 38', Kosta Grozos 63', Kosta Grozos 64', Emmanuel Gonzalez 89')
Seymour Shaw Park
Saturday 22 April 2017
St George: Nathan Cupit (GK), 3. Ali Nasreddine, 4. Jonathan Kontalis, 5. Jayden Mcleod, 6. Zac Ribeiro, 7. Robbie Deasy, 8. Tarik Ercan (C), 9. Steven Ilic, 10. Nicholas Paras, 11. Orman Okunaiya, 14. Jacob Bandur, 16. Daniel Loe, 18. David Ilic, 19. Anthony Morabito, 20. Juan Carlos Heras Romero, 34. Daniel Mitwali, 38. M. Kotzambasis, 45. Anthony Barca.
Coach: Terry Palapanis
Western Sydney Wanderers: 20. Daniel Axford (GK), 2. Lachlan Campbell, 3. A. Kuku, 4. Henry Davies, 5. Matiu Cordier, 6. Cameron Devlin, 8. Charles Abou Serhal, 9. Kyle Cimenti, 10. Emmanuel Gonzalez, 11. Kosta Grozos, 16. Jerry Skotadis, 18. Oliver Puflett, 19. R Stewart, 21. Mario Shabow, 22. Matthew Lecce, 23. O Wiggin, 24. T Russell, 25. Liam Youlley, 26. Jackson Brandiera, 40. Nick Suman (GK), 42. Keanu Baccus, 47. Rami Najjarine, 49. Abraham Majok, 50. Tariq Maia
Coach: Trevor Morgan
Spirit FC 1 Marconi Stallions 2, Valentine Sports Park
Marconi Stallions remain on top of the league after a late 2-1 victory over a courageous Spirit FC at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday night.
Sam Perre opened the scoring for Marconi just shy of the half-hour mark; but sharpshooter Chris Godoy Bascur equalised for Spirit eight minutes later. An unfortunate own goal by Spirit's Grant Cornwell sealed the home side's fate right on the stroke of fulltime.
Despite the loss, Spirit coach David Perkovic was delighted with his side's performance, one that he believed was by far their best of the season.
"To be honest, it was a fantastic game," Perkovic told Football NSW. "It was a very intense game and both teams had their opportunities to win. Unfortunately, five minutes before they got the winner, Dylan Whitlock hit the post; if that went in obviously it would have been a different result. But it was quite a match to watch."
Perkovic added that while Marconi probably enjoyed more possession than his side, Spirit actually had better goal-scoring opportunities than the Stallions.
"Marconi goalkeeper Nenad Vekic made a couple of very, very good saves at critical times of the game," Perkovic said. "Marconi were very strong as I expected but I was very pleased with our performance, which was most definitely our best of the season. I'm hopeful that we can put in that kind of effort week-in, week-out now because if we do that, we'll get a lot more positive results going forward."
Spirit stuck to their structure and impressed when transitioning to attack, while the likes of Andre Carle, Chris Godoy and Dylan Whitlock caused the Stallions problems when moving forward.
"I think a draw would have been a fair result but that's the way football happens," Perkovic said. "I'm walking away from this match a lot more pleased than last week and if we can put in that sort of effort week-in, week-out I expect us to come up the ladder quite quickly. It was a very good collective effort, the boys put in a really good shift."
Spirit FC 1 (Chris Godoy Bandur 35', Grant Cornwell O.G. 90') Marconi Stallions 2 (Sam Perre 27')
Valentine Sports Park
Saturday 22 April 2017
Spirit FC: 3. Jack Musgrave, 5. Andy Robertson, 7. Jake Harris, 8. Grant Cornwell (C), 9. Chris Godoy Bascur (18. Bradley Gibson), 11. Dylan Whitlock, 14. Andre Carle, 15. Sidhya Malhotra (20. Tim Porter), 16. Adrian Epifanino (12. Louis Bozanic), 17. Yuya Samba, 26. James Webb
Unused Subs: 1. Murray Nelson (GK), 21. Zoran Kolundzic,
Coach: David Perkovic
Marconi Stallions: 1. Nenad Vekic (GK), 4. Dhari Alsaad, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 7. Mirjan Pavlovic, 10. Marko Jesic, 11. Sam Perre (25. Sam Burfoot), 12. Judah Cleur, 14. Peter Pelekanos, 19. Eros Bergamin, 22. Brandon Vella, 23. Christopher Nunes.
Unused Subs: 21. Kristian Sekutkoski, 41. Fabian Monge, 42. Mohamed Adam
Yellow Cards: Eros Bergamin, Peter Pelekanos, Sam Perre
Coach: Tony Candy
Hills Brumbies 3 Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1, Lilys Football Centre
After a dominant first half Hills Brumbies beat Mt Druitt Town Rangers 3-1 at Lilys Football Centre on Sunday night.
The home side led 3-0 at the break through goals to Nathan Rayner, Peter Cejka and Sean Mitchell, while Daniel McCann scored from the spot for Mt Druitt just shy of the hour.
Brumbies coach Dan Sheppard said his side dominated the first half; while Rangers played well in the second.
The win places Hills in fifth place on the ladder, just one point behind Northern Tigers and two above North Shore Mariners and Mounties Wanderers; while Mt Druitt Town Rangers remain in equal eighth with St George.
The newly-promoted Brumbies have showed that they're quite capable of giving PS4 NPL 2 NSW a shake and possess some quality within their roster, including inspirational skipper Daine Merrin, brothers and Australian futsal representatives, Greg and Wade Giovenali, and outstanding striker Peter Cejka, who has this season added more goals to the remarkable 33 he grabbed last year.
"We're doing well but we're still the newcomers in the competition, we've still got a lot to learn," Brumbies coach Dan Sheppard told Football NSW. "I guess we're just happy we're getting results and we just want to make it last as long as we can."
Meanwhile, Mt Druitt Town Rangers have struggled so far this season. Semi-finalists last season, Rangers strengthened their squad over the summer, with former Blacktown Spartans goalkeeper Carlos Saliadarre, Sydney United’s Alex Vlismas, Andre Guzman from Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Mitchell Mclintock from Southern Districts, Parramatta’s Aram Tayevi, and Western Sydney’s Lachlan Roberts, adding quality to a side hopeful of again featuring in the big games at the end of the season.
However, despite the additions, Mt Druitt has had a few injuries, none more serious than the dislocated shoulder suffered by Tayevi; while the absence of star striker Kuag Reec, a key man whose sharpness and goalscoring instincts are crucial to the side's success, has hampered the side's ability to make the most of goalscoring opportunities.
But despite the off-field dramas and on-field struggles, wily coach Aidan Desmond has been impressed with his side's commitment to the cause and hopes their selfless attitude will continue.
"They turn up week in, week out for training and games," Desmond told Football NSW. "They're committed to whatever we're doing. You can't fault it. But we need to improve our execution in the front third. We need to take our opportunities.
"We also need to defend better. We conceded three very cheap goals today and Hills were simply hungrier than us in the first half."
Hills Brumbies 3 (Nathan Rayner, Peter Cejka, Sean Mitchell) Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1 (Daniel McCann)
Lilys Football Centre
Sunday 23 April 2017
Hills Brumbies: 1. Josh Stancic, 3. Nicholas Pradenas Meza, 6. Bradley 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. Glenn Kelshaw, 24. Nathan Rayner, 34. J. Franich, 35. Michael Glenfield, 91. Peter Cejka.
Coach: Dan Sheppard
Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 1. Carlos Saliadarre (GK), 2. Hiten Satoh, 3. Brian Griffin-Colls, 5. David Mavisa, 6. Alexander Vlismas, 7. Luke Clifford, 8. Matthew Clowes, 9. Mitchell Mclintock, 10. Nathan Ralph, 12. Nicholas Trimble, 13. Darkoh Lord, 14. Daniel Mccann, 15. Andre Guzman, 16. Scott Goodwin, 18. Jamie Dib, 21. Joel Tinker, 23. Lachlan Roberts
Coach: Aidan Desmond
-By Derek Royal, Football NSW Reporter