A Lachlan Roberts hat-trick spearheaded Mount Druitt Town Rangers to a 3-0 victory over Northern Tigers in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues' 2 NSW Men's Match of the Round at Popondetta Park on Saturday night.
The victory was Rangers' first in five weeks and moves the club up to a respectable sixth on the competition table.
In other matches, Western Sydney Wanderers won A-League academy bragging rights with a solid 3-1 victory over Central Coast Mariners, a win that sees them return to equal first on the table with Blacktown Spartans; Bankstown City striker Nikola Todoroski scored a hat-trick to lead his side to an upset 3-2 victory over Hills Brumbies; Macarthur Rams extended their unbeaten run to four matches with a 4-2 away win over Bankstown Berries; while, in a tale of two halves, the Spartans continued their fine form with a 3-1 away victory over Spirit FC.
In Sunday fixtures, Mounties and Marconi Stallions shared the spoils in a one-all draw; while St George edged out North Shore Mariners 4-3 in a ding dong battle at Northbridge Oval.
An interesting round punctuated by an incredibly tight competition.
Match of the Round
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 3 Northern Tigers 0, Popondetta Park
A Lachlan Roberts hat-trick spearheaded Mount Druitt Town Rangers to a resounding 3-0 victory over Northern Tigers in the PS4 NPL 2 NSW Men's Match of the Round at Popondetta Park on Saturday night.
The win was Rangers' first since their 2-0 defeat of Mounties Wanderers in Round 4 and all of Roberts' goals were scored within the first 20 minutes of the game.
In a sensational start, Mt Druitt pressed high and put Northern Tigers under pressure from the get-go, allowing Roberts to strike inside the first minute. Daniel McCann guided a perfect long diagonal ball to Alexander Vlismas, whose low cross across the face of goal was tapped home by the lurking Roberts.
After seven minutes Rangers then launched a swift counter attack from deep inside their back third. Two passes later the ball found striker Mitchell Mclintock, whose effort from just on the edge of the box cleared the bar. The Rangers forward probably should have done a lot better with such a gilt-edged opportunity.
Three minutes later McCann had a shot of his own, his solo effort flying straight at young Tigers keeper Harrison Devenish-Meares, who had no trouble holding onto the leather.
McCann then went back to doing what he does best - delivering the perfect pass - this time for Roberts, who ran onto the ball and calmly slotted his second past Devenish-Meares to give Mt Druitt a handy 2-0 lead. Rangers coach Aidan Desmond's strategy of pressing high and placing the Tigers under pressure was working a treat.
In just 15 minutes the home side had caused havoc and scored twice; and with Rangers' dominance and the Tigers' timidity, the match was in danger of becoming nothing more than an exhibition.
Not surprisingly, more was to come. And again it would be the McCann-Roberts combination that would provide the highlights. After only 20 minutes of action McCann again threaded the perfect ball to Roberts, who from an angle inside the box, completed his hat-trick with yet another clinical finish to give Mt Druitt a commanding 3-0 lead.
This wasn't the struggling Mt Druitt side of the previous month. This was a new, energised version. A superior version that was cool, calm and accomplished on the ball and clinical in front of goal.
Five minutes after Roberts grabbed his hat-trick, Mt Druitt had another golden opportunity to score when, from a Hiten Satoh free kick on the left-hand side of the field, a diving header by Nicholas Trimble just didn't have enough zing on it to beat Devenish-Meares.
Again, the Tigers' defence looked uncertain and shaky.
And again, Mt Druitt cut the green and whites stripes to shreds when in the 25th minute and after a beautiful passage of 10 passes, it was left to Devenish-Meares to deny Mclintock from point blank range before blocking the rebound by Brian Griffin-Colls. Great football. And great goalkeeping. Given the quality of the buildup and the classy final pass by Jamie Dib, a four-goal lead would have been a fair reflection of the dominance enjoyed by the team in yellow and green.
But it wasn't to be.
Such was Mt Druitt's dominance that it wasn't until the 33rd minute that goalkeeper Carlos Saliadarre was required to make a save. A simple catch from a Northern Tigers cross. Not much fuss. Not much effort.
Then in the 37th minute the Tigers finally had their first shot on target when Michael Rolston attempted a low shot from long range that Saliadarre gathered with ease.
McCann again had a golden opportunity to put his name on the scoresheet when in the 41st minute he tried a lob from the edge of the box after a defensive mix-up, only to see his attempt fly wide of an open goal.
The Rangers' gilt-edged chances didn't stop there. Saliadarre punted long and in a foot race Alex Vlismas streaked past the Tigers' defence, only to see his low shot well saved by Devenish-Meares, who, despite the nature of the contest, had been quite the saviour for his side. Indeed, without his heroics, the scoreline could have been so much worse for the visitors.
To round up the first half, Tigers' Jordan Smylie made a nice solo run down the left flank and into the box only to be foiled by a courageous save by Saliadarre, only his second of the entire first half.
As referee Roberto Matta blew his whistle for halftime, Mt Druitt held a commanding 3-0 lead, but such was their dominance and the Tigers' meek response, the home side could just as easily have been ahead by a margin of six or seven rather than three.
The second half kicked off and Rangers appealed for a penalty inside the first minute, but referee Matta waved the men in yellow and green away.
Lacking intensity and finesse, the second half meandered along with no clearcut chances created by either side. But of the two, it was Mt Druitt who appeared the most likely to pull something out of the bag. Indeed, it took until the 67th minute for something to shake the crowd from its stupor, albeit minor, when a nice counter-attack saw Jamie Dib hit his shot wide. A poor finish, yes, but given the dire circumstances, and the lack of fare on offer, this was as good as it got in what was so far a very poor second spell.
In the 72nd minute, Satoh sent in a corner and from Devenish-Meares' clearing punch, a long range effort by the home side was cleared off the line.
It took close to half an hour for the game to generate some real spark and after a slow buildup in the 75th minute, that man Roberts was again unleashed on goal. His shot beat Devenish-Meares, but the ball clattered away off the crossbar. Yet another chance lost and yet another lucky escape for the out-of-sorts Tigers.
A minute later the visitors finally had their first real chance on goal, but an angled header wasn't enough to cause Saliadarre any grief. Moments later the Rangers keeper almost undid all his good work when in a casual moment he lost possession, only to see the Tigers blow a golden opportunity to put the ball into an empty net. For the Tigers it was that kind of a game. The kind where everything they touched amounted to nothing.
Roberts then skied an opportunity and Tigers' sub Max Glanville forced a save out of Saliadarre to end what was a very ordinary second half of football.
Naturally, Mt Druitt coach Aidan Desmond was a happy man.
"The boys did well," Desmond told Football NSW. "We had a plan to start at a really high tempo and to maintain that as long as we could and put them under pressure and we did that well.
"The score could have been anything, Lachie had a couple of other opportunities and we just didn't allow them to play any football at all.
"I saw the Tigers play Bonnyrigg White Eagles midweek and they're a good side. They like to play football, they keep the ball down, their wingers are dangerous. But we weren't going to let them play or have time on the ball, so we pressed them right from the top."
So why the change in fortune from the previous few weeks?
"It was a change in attitude," Desmond replied. "There were a few home truths delivered during the week and it seemed to work. We were good and there's still room for improvement but that's as good a place as any to start from."
Meanwhile, Northern Tigers coach Mark McCormick offered his own quirky response to his side's under par performance.
"We started the game perfectly at 7.30," McCormick told Football NSW. "Unfortunately for us the game kicked off at seven. That more or less sums up the game for us. We just didn't start. But for an hour of the game we were good, we were competitive, we passed the ball and we created chances but we just didn't start. You can't expect to get anything out of it when you start like that, especially at Popondetta."
When asked how good Mt Druitt were as a team, McCormick replied: "I don't think it was a matter of how good they were. It was a matter of how we just didn't compete in the first 20 minutes and that's what made the difference. It was more that we mentally weren't there.
"There were some positives. We stopped a beating. We could have taken a real hiding. I take responsibility for the team selection. My players did their best but it was down to me and my selection and it's up to me to get it right."
For Mt Druitt, Lachlan Roberts, Alex Vlismas and Daniel McCann were probably the best three players on the field, while John Bachelard, Lachlan Hughes, Jordan Ferrier and goalkeeper Harrison Devenish-Meares did their best for an under par Tigers.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 3 (Lachlan Roberts 3) Northern Tigers 0
Saturday 29 April 2017
Referee: Roberto Matta
Asssistant Referees: Chris Hughes, Nick Farmer
Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 1. Carlos Saliadarre (GK), 2. Hiten Satoh, 3. Brian Griffin-Colls, 6. Alexander Vlismas, 8. Matthew Clowes, 9. Mitchell Mclintock (Aram Tayebi Derazkala), 10. Nathan Ralph, 12. Nicholas Trimble, 14. Daniel McCann, 18. Jamie Dib (16. Scott Goodwin), 23. Lachlan Roberts (5. David Mavisa)
Unused Subs: 7. Chriss Loucos, 21. Joel Tinker,
Yellow Cards: 18. Jamie Dibb, 16. Scott Goodwin, 2. Hiten Satoh, 12. Nicholas Trimble
Coach: Aidan Desmond
Northern Tigers: 1. Harrison Devenish-Meares (GK), 4. Michael Rolston, 6. Jordan Ferrier, 7. Joel Hardwick, 9. Liam Mcconaghy (5. Alexander Brown), 10. Lucas Dawson, 11. Lachlan Hughes, 13. Paul Turrin, 18. Joshua Tanner (3. Jamie Craig), 26. John Bachelard, 29. Jordan Smylie (8. Max Glanville).
Unused Subs: 40. Benjamin Taylor, 2. Josh Ward
Yellow Cards: Paul Turrin
Coach: Mark McCormick
Bankstown City Lions 3 Hills Brumbies 2, Jensen Park
Nikola Todoroski scored a hat-trick as Bankstown City Lions continued their battle for survival with a gritty 3-2 victory over high-flying Hills Brumbies at Jensen Park on Saturday night.
Hills took the lead in the third minute through Glenn Kelshaw but Todoroski grabbed three rapid-fire goals to give his side an unlikely 3-1 lead at the break. Peter Cejka scored the Brumbies' second right on the stroke of fulltime.
After a wretched start to the season, not to mention an off-field circus that made life at Jensen Park uncertain and confusing, Bankstown has been in good form during the past month, with two wins, a draw and narrow 1-0 and 4-3 losses to top guns Marconi Stallions and Blacktown Spartans respectively.
Indeed, with the quality and experience the Lions have on their roster, it's dumbfounding that they languish at the foot of the table.
The club recruited well in the offseason, with the likes of Fraser Park's Davide Talone, Bruno Pivato from St George, and Hakoah Sydney City East duo Hussein Akil and Aaron D'Mello forming the nucleus of a number of quality signings. But with so many newcomers, developing combinations has been slow, while injuries have also played their part in the club's disappointing start to the season.
But now, after nine rounds and under respected coach Mile Todoroski, the team is combining better and fighting for each other, while playing to their strengths, a scenario that has finally put a hint of a smile on the wily Macedonian's face.
"I'm happy with everything, the performance and the result (against Hills Brumbies)," Todoroski told Football NSW. "But if we took all our chances it should be seven or eight goals. We had many clear chances."
Todoroski added while his side played a very direct style of football, Hills had control of the midfield but never posed a threat in front of goal.
"We was completely different from the beginning of the season, we're going strongly and more direct but unfortunately (the score was) only 3-2," he said. "We only have 12 players which is not funny but I can't sit and cry now. That's the reality of the situation. We have very young players, players of 17, 18 years. That's very young. We had chances to score seven or eight goals. Two chances face-to-face with keeper and two chances with nobody in the goal, an empty goal. But we don't score. We scored in the harder situations than the easy ones.
"You never know what will happen tomorrow but our chance (of survival) is very small because we don't have the squad. Squad is very important for me. When you've got 20 players in the squad that's good. But when you've got 17 or 18 players across two teams - first and second grade - that's a disaster. We are last on the competition table. We are worst team in the league. I am worst coach in the league. But we try as best we can. We try to work harder, there's no time to cry."
Meanwhile, Brumbies coach Dan Sheppard rued a missed opportunity and said his side just didn't adjust to Bankstown's style of play.
"We didn't adjust to how Bankstown played and we didn't deal with their threat very well," Sheppard told Football NSW. "We made a lot of mistakes."
When asked what the difference was between the two sides, Sheppard replied: "They took their chances and we couldn't defend the long ball. Regardless of how many mistakes we made and how badly we played, I think Bankstown did fairly well and their results don't show how good they actually are.
"It was all very direct and once they got the 3-1 lead, there was no attempt to keep the ball on the ground. They just lumped the ball forward. I think our goalkeeper touched the ball more times than he has ever touched it."
Sheppard added that "perhaps we thought it was going to be a bit too easy". "We started very well and Bankstown woke up. Unfortunately we didn't wake up to their game plan. It was a really bad day at the office, but having said that I think we still need to be happy with where we're at on the table at the moment. It's our first year in PS4 NPL 2 and we're doing a good job to survive."
Bankstown City Lions 3 (Nikola Todoroski 3) Hills Brumbies 2 (Glenn Kelshaw, Peter Cejka)
Saturday 29 April 2017
Bankstown City: 1. Dion Shaw (GK), 3. Alexander Becerra, 5. Jeffrey Issa, 6. Aaron D'Mello, 7. Bruno Pivato, 8. David Mcmurray, 9. Nicola Todoroski, 10. Hussein Akil, 37. Huseyin Jasli, 13. Sergio Tarazona, 14. Mate Lucic, 15. Alessandro Tolomeo, 20. Harry Timms, 27. Antonio Gauci, 31. Mitchell Edmunds
Yellow Cards: 1. Dion Shaw, 37. Huseyin Jasli
Coach: Mile Todoroski
Hills Brumbies: 1. Josh Stancic (GK)(69. Alister Bruce), 3. Nicholas Pradenas Meza, 6. Bradley Robertson, 7. Wade Giovenali, 9. Sean Mitchell (24. Nathan Rayner), 11. Daine Merrin (C), 16. Greg Giovenali, 17. Brendon Hoyer, 19. Glenn Kelshaw, 21. Nick Dimitriadis, 91. Peter Cejka.
Unused Subs: 28. Kieran Pace, 45. Jake Basden
Yellow Cards: 7. Wade Giovenali
Coach: Dan Sheppard
Blacktown Spartans 3 Spirit FC 0, Valentine Sports Park
Blacktown Spartans returned to the top of the table with a resounding 3-0 victory over Spirit FC at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday night
Michael Konsetabo scored a brace, while Mohamed Rahimi added a third.
Despite the result, Spirit owned the first half only to succumb to a Konestabo strike against the run of play, allowing Blacktown to hold an unlikely 1-0 halftime lead.
Spartans coach Luis Contigiani changed tactics in the second half and instructed his Japanese midfielder Kojiro Hori to press forward. Spirit may have dominated the first half, but according to Contigiani, the second 45 proved to be a different ballgame.
"I think they started to become frustrated that they couldn't break us at the back, so they started to play more direct," the Spartans coach told Football NSW. "So I just told my two stoppers to drop back a bit deeper."
"I'll be honest they came at us in the first half and had the majority of possession," Contigiani said. "They were more dominant and they had more of the ball. We rode our luck a bit, we cleared two balls off the line from corners, so they were on top. We knew that if we could hold them out and frustrate them, that in the second half we would be competitive. And that's what happened.
According to Contigiani, the second half belonged to the Spartans. They scored two goals and "missed some absolute sitters".
"We like to hold back and play deep, and frustrate the opposition," Contigiani said. "Spirit were good in possession but when they tried to thread that final pass in the middle third, we always choked them. We always won the ball. The two chances they had were from corners which we cleared them off the line. I think we paid them too much respect and dropped off way too deep. And we allowed them to dictate play. And that's how they were on top of us.
"Come the second half I told my number eight to push higher because they were playing with two holding midfielders and then we noticed they started to play direct; they started to play over my two centre backs. So I told my centre backs to sit deeper and we adjusted and took control. But when I told Koji Hori, our Japanese boy, to move higher, we had more numbers in the final third. We kept the ball a lot better and that's how we created chances. Spirit got a bit frustrated - it was a very good second half performance."
Centre back Emmanuel Elali, and goalscorers Konestabo and Rahimi stood out for the Spartans, while teenaged goalkeeper Jacob Forster turned in another good display for the second week in a row.
Blacktown Spartans 3 (Michael Konestabo 2, Mohamed Rahimi) Spirit FC 0
Valentine Sports Park
Saturday 29 April 2017
Referee: J Tesoriero
Assistant Referees: A Lyndon, A Mansour
Spirit FC: 3. Jack Musgrave, 5. Andy Robertson, 7. Jake Harris (20. Tim Porter), 9. Chris Godoy Bascur (18. Bradley Gibson), 11. Dylan Whitlock (15. Adrian Epifanino), 12. Louis Bozanic, 14. Andre Carle, 16. Sidhya Malhotra, 17. Yuya Samba, 21. Zoran Kolundzic, 26. James Webb
Unused Subs: 1. Murray Nelson (GK), 8. Grant Cornwell
Yellow Cards: Andrew Robertson 87'
Coach: David Perkovic
Blacktown Spartans: 42. Jacob Forster (GK), 2. Daisan Kim, 3. Emmanuel Elali, 4. Tiano Boutoubia (5. James Letta), 6. Mohamad Rahimi, 7. Michael Konestabo, 8. Aaron White, 9. Garang Awac (20. Mitchell Cross), 10. Kojiro Hori, 11. Alex Boyadijan, 16. Alessandro Pecora
Unused Subs: 15. Andre Gidiosa
Coach: Luis Contigiani
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 Central Coast Mariners 1, Blacktown Football Park
Western Sydney Wanderers beat Central Coast Mariners 3-1 to claim bragging rights in the battle of the A-League academies at Blacktown Football Park on Saturday night.
Charles Abou Serhal, Kyle Cimenti and Matthew Lecce scored for Western Sydney while Duncan Stewart grabbed one for the Mariners.
The mercurial Wanderers sit in first-equal position with Blacktown Spartans on the PS4 NPL 2 ladder, just a point ahead of Marconi Stallions; while Central Coast sit in the precarious position of equal-last with Bankstown City Lions, a place that belies their class and quality.
Wanderers coach Trevor Morgan expected a tough match from the Mariners, and after losing the last clash between the two lively sides in the National Youth League, the Wanderers mentor was hoping his boys could rise to the occasion and "do a lot better".
He got his wish.
"I'm expecting a very tough game and we'll prepare accordingly," Morgan said. "I think their (lowly) position on the table is unlikely to stay that way for long. We obviously need to do our best to win the match. We're competing against another A-League setup so they have some talent and they always find a way to make themselves really competitive."
Meanwhile, Mariners coach Ben Cahn was confident his side could do the damage against a team that many are predicting to win the premiership.
"In my time at the Mariners we've played Wanderers four times - twice in the NPL and twice in PS4 NPL 2 - and we've been the best side on all four occasions," Cahn told Football NSW. "We've beaten them once, lost once and drawn twice. It's very close, obviously (we're) two teams trying to do similar things.
"I have a lot of respect for how they develop players and they've obviously shown a bit more resilience than we have this season so far. It should be a really tough game."
Tough indeed. After nine rounds, the competition's two A-League academy teams couldn't be further apart in what is a very competitive PS4 NPL 2 NSW competition.
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Charles Abou Serhal, Kyle Cimenti, Matthew Lecce) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Duncan Stewart)
Blacktown Football Park
Saturday 29 April 2017
Western Sydney Wanderers: 2. Lachlan Campbell, 5. Mathieu Cordier, 6. Cameron Devlin, 8. Charles Abou Serhal, 9. Kyle Cimenti, 18. Oliver Puflett (7. Oliver Wiggin), 22. Matthew Lecce (10. Emmanuel Gonzalez), 24. Tate Russell, 26. Jackson Bandiera, 40. Nick Suman (GK), 50. Tariq Maia
Unused Subs: 16. Jerry Skotadis, 19. Mohamed Al Taay, 20. Daniel Axford (GK),
Yellow Cards: Tariq Maia 83'
Coach: Trevor Morgan
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Adam Pearce (GK), 2. Shelford Dais, 4. Reece Papadimitrios,6. James Enticknap, 7. Lachlan Wales, 9. Brenton Fox (8. Thomas Lyons), 10. Duncan Stewart, 11. Peter Kekeris, 14. Sean Pratt (12. Yerasimakis Petratos), 16. Gianni Stensness (17. Jack Kuipers), 18. Steve Whyte
Unused Subs: 20. Aidan Munford (GK), 5. Jake McGuiness
Yellow Cards: Shelford Dais 41', Steve Whyte 42'
Coach: Ben Cahn
Bankstown Berries 2 Macarthur Rams 4, The Crescent Athletic Centre
Macarthur Rams extended their unbeaten run to four matches with a 4-2 victory over Bankstown Berries at The Crescent Athletic Centre on Saturday night.
The Berries took an early lead through Jake Bradshaw after four minutes but a half an hour later, the tide turned when Dominic Tripodi received a red card.
The Rams reacted quickly, creating a couple of chances and with one, hitting the crossbar, before Kurdvan Abduljabbar struck home the equaliser in the 41st minute. Bankstown followed up with some opportunities of their own and just shy of halftime Bradshaw stole his second, nodding home from a corner to give the Berries an unlikely 2-1 halftime lead, despite being reduced to 10 men.
Rams coach Eddie Briscoe kept his players on the field during the break and decided to make some tactical changes. The Englishman instructed his boys to play a more attacking style and with plenty of width. He instructed them to move the ball faster in an attempt to catch the Berries out. Funnily enough, it worked.
Macarthur equalised on the hour through a Mason Versi penalty and then late goals to Abduljabbar and Versi ended any hopes of a Berries fightback.
"I think we're getting a bit lucky to be fair," Rams coach Eddie Briscoe told Football NSW. "Against Mounties last week they had a man sent off and then the Berries last night had a man sent off again, which sort of helped us a lot. But to be fair we're playing against good teams and we're battling away and fighting and giving it the best shot we can each week. That's all we can do.
Briscoe said he went into the game with just 10 first grade players in the club, a scenario not helped by the absence of injured stars Frank Martey and Damian Travis, the team's two main strikers,
"I can't fault them for their effort and endeavour. And they're sticking to what we're trying to do. But once again, if we can find a couple of players, we might be half decent. And we might start to holding onto possession a bit more.
"Bankstown Berries are a decent team, they knock the ball around well. We're just trying to play to our strengths."
Standouts for the Rams were Mason Versi, who created plenty of stick in the front third; Abduljabbar, who apart from scoring two goals, made some good runs and held the ball up well; and Japanese Sho Arakawa, who played well in what was essentially a good team effort.
Meanwhile, Berries coach Perry Moustakas lamented yet another moment of indiscipline from his young side.
"We're making it hard for ourselves," Moustakas told Football NSW. "We've had a few red cards this year, and we gave away a penalty (against Macarthur). We were winning one-nil and controlling the game and then our player got himself sent off. The red card changed everything.
Moustakas added that he warned his boys all week that the Rams wouldn't be easy, that they'd fight to the bitter end.
"I warned my boys all week not to expect an easy game against Macarthur because they'll run all day and when we had ten men we made it really hard for ourselves," Moustakas said.
"It's the story of our season. Discipline has cost us, lack of concentration has cost us. Macarthur scored from their first shot on target. They scored from their second (shot on target), a penalty. Then their third shot on target and it's 3-2. At two-all we had a shot that hit the inside of the post and didn't go in and literally two minutes later they're winning 3-2. We can't do anything except keep going."
When asked if there were any positives to come out of the game, Moustakas replied: "Two players who weren't playing at the beginning of the year have come in and they've really given everything for the squad. That's stopper James Combes and forward Jake Bradshaw, who scored our goals. They had to wait a while to get their shot and I feel like they've been very good the last couple of weeks and I'm happy to see that. But the boys need to become men; they need to start finishing off the games otherwise we're going to be in big trouble, like we are."
Bankstown Berries 2 (James Bradshaw 2) Macarthur Rams 4 (Kurdvan Abduljabbar 2. Mason Versi 2)
The Crest Athletic Centre
Saturday 29 April
Bankstown Berries: 1. Chad Taylor (GK), 2. Dominic Tripodi, 3. D. Di Ruocco, 5. James 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, Dominic Tripodi, M. Farmer, V. Giannini
Red Cards: Dominic Tripodi
Player Coach: Perry Moustakas
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: Mason Versi
Coach: Eddie Briscoe
North Shore Mariners 3 St George 4, Northbridge Oval
St George got the better of North Shore Mariners 4-3 in a real ding dong battle at Northbridge Oval on Sunday afternoon.
Spanish import Juan Carlos Romero scored twice and Rob Deasy and Nico Paras grabbed one each for Saints, while Chris Lindsay and Freddy Akunah-Sey were the scorers for North Shore.
St George coach Terry Palapanis was expecting his side to be defending a barrage of long balls and competing with a team with a reputation for being robust and physical. He didn't quite get what he expected.
"They're a really good side," Palapanis told Football NSW. "They're very hard to play and they're not as direct as other teams. In fact they tried to play some good football and they're very good at set pieces. They're decent and I'm glad we've gone there and won that match. It was a tough one."
Palapanis added that his side gifted the Mariners their three goals, a fact he wasn't impressed with.
"We gifted them three goals," he said. "They scored from a free kick, a penalty and a defensive error. But they're a decent team and I think they'll do well in the competition. It'll be hard for teams to get results against them, especially at Northbridge. They've got some decent footballers, some dangerous players, some experienced players. But we've just got this knack to create and score goals, which is the hardest thing to do in football and we're doing it well."
The Mariners opened the scoring on the half hour mark through Chris Lindsay before St George's Spanish import Juan Carlos Romero equalised a minute into first half injury time, a screamer into the top corner of the net from 25 yards.
North Shore regained the lead two minutes after the restart when Freddy Akunah-Sey made the most of a St George defensive error, but Romero again showed his class when he found the back of the net five minutes later. By this stage the match was shaping as a real ding dong battle.
Nico Paras then gave Saints the lead for the first time in the 55th minute and a quarter of an hour later, Rob Deasy put the icing on the cake to give his side an unassailable 4-2 lead.
North Shore completed the scoring from the penalty spot in the 75th minute.
When asked what impressed him the most about his side's performance, Palapanis replied: "Character. And the ability to create chances and score goals. That's the hardest thing to do in football. We've just got the ability to find something. And without naming names, there's a bit of quality about some of our players."
Meanwhile, Mariners coach Joe Haywood was disappointed in his side's performance, one that he described as possibly their worst of the season.
"Our defence has been really strong this season so this was just a blip," Haywood told Football NSW. "We made a lot of defensive errors and in the midfield gave the ball away. We also gave them their goals. They didn't create a chance on their own, maybe a couple of half chances but we basically gave them four goals.
"We were one-nil up, they equalised just before halftime. We took the lead again but that only lasted seven minutes and unforced errors crept into the group and they scored three goals from errors. But you have to be fair to them, they punished us for those errors."
Haywood pointed out that his side has done really well in previous weeks, conceding just six goals in seven games and keeping one clean sheet. So letting in four goals in one game was a rather disappointing outcome.
"Unforced errors just cost us really," Haywood said. "The boys who took their chances did well but apart from that, overall we were pretty sloppy today. And we haven't been sloppy the whole season. We'll take a look at the video, see what happened and learn from it and move on quickly."
North Shore Mariners 3 (Chris Lindsay 32', Freddy Akunah Sey 47', Marquin Smith 75') St George 4 (Juan Carlos Romero 45+1', 52', Nico Paras 55', Rob Deasy 70')
Sunday 30 April 2017
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)
Coach: Joe Haywood
St George: Matt Lynch (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
Mounties Wanderers 1 Marconi Stallions 1, Valentine Sports Park
Mounties Wanderers and Marconi Stallions shared the spoils in a one-all draw at Valentine Sports Park on Sunday afternoon.
Former Marconi man Noah Chianese opened the scoring for Mounties in the fifth minute, with a good volley into the bottom corner, while the Stallions found an equaliser through Sean Rooney in the 68th.
Mounties coach Lee Sterrey said that despite the quality of the Stallions' lineup, he was disappointed to walk away with a solitary point.
"Without a doubt they're the best squad in the league," Sterrey told Football NSW. "And they're the most expensive squad in the league. So in some ways you're happy (with a draw) and in some ways you aren't.
"We had the one-nil lead and yes we played deep and parked the bus. But I don't care about that, it's what you do with your possession that counts. Marconi had a lot of possession in our half and didn't do a lot with it. They weren't hurting us. Then (Sean) Rooney came on in the second half and he volleyed the equaliser into the bottom corner."
Just after Mounties took the lead, Chianese beat a defender on the edge of the box but was upended just when it looked like he was on his way to extending his side's advantage to two goals. But rather than receiving a red card, the culprit received a caution instead and stayed on the pitch, a decision that upset Sterrey.
"It was a hundred per cent red card," Sterrey said. "Any ground. Anywhere and anytime. It was a crucial decision to make five to ten minutes after we'd scored. They go down to ten men and they're getting nothing out of the game. It was a game-changing decision."
Despite his disappointment, Sterrey said he'd set the game up to get a result and he'd got a one point result.
"But at the end of the day it could've been a bit better," he said. "My goalkeeper didn't have to make a lot of saves and I had a lot of players stand up. I'm just disappointed for my boys who worked ever so hard. We're building towards something for this year, next year, so I'm happy the way we're going about things. We're going to have to make some changes probably in the window but overall it was a good performance; a strong performance; a fighting performance. It's what we set up. I'm just disappointed we let them equalise. But we're not the ones that are spending the millions of dollars; we're not the ones that have to come up with the answers, and it took them a hell of a long time to come up with any answers to break us down."
When asked who stood out for his side, Sterrey replied: "It was a collective performance, they all rolled their sleeves up. But three that probably deserve mention are young Michael Cklamovski on the left side; he played really well, got forward; Anthony Schmidt our right fullback got forward and played well; and Todd Halloran has done an enormous job since he joined us from Bankstown. He's marshalling the defence very well and his performances have been really strong and consistent all year."
Mounties Wanderers 1 (Noah Chianese 5') Marconi Stallions 1 (Sean Rooney 68')
Valentine Sports Park
Sunday 30 April 2017
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
Coach: Lee Sterrey
Marconi Stallions: 1. Nenad Vekic (GK), 4. Dhari Alsaad, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 7. Mirjan Pavlovic, 8. Sean Rooney, 10. Marko Jesic, 11. Sam Perre, 12. Judah Cleur, 14. Peter Pelekanos, 19. Eros Bergamin, 21. Kristian Sekuthoski, 22. Brandon Vella, 23. Christopher Nunes, 25. Sam Burfoot, 41. Fabian Monge, 42. Mohamed Adam
Coach: Tony Candy
-By Derek Royal, Football NSW Reporter