After eleven rounds, the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues' 2 NSW Men's competition couldn't get any tighter with only eight points separating second placed Western Sydney from second-last placed Spirit FC.
With such congestion on the table, wins and losses are crucial as the midway point of the season looms large on the horizon.
Marconi Stallions extended their lead at the top of the table to six points after a 5-1 victory over a courageous Hills Brumbies at Marconi Stadium on Saturday night. The Stallions held a tenuous 2-1 lead early in the second half but with Sean Rooney and Mirjan Pavlovic in fine form, the boys in blue were good enough to capitalise on the chances that came their way.
In other matches, Central Coast Mariners humbled Mt Druitt Town Rangers 3-0; Spirit FC beat Northern Tigers 3-1; Macarthur Rams extended their unbeaten run to six matches with a 3-2 win at North Shore Mariners; Mounties Wanderers outlasted Blacktown Spartans 2-1; and in the upset of the round, Bankstown Berries edged Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0.
Marconi Stallions 5 Hills Brumbies 1
Marconi Stallions remain on top of the PS4 NPL 2 NSW Men's competition after a 5-1 victory over a courageous Hills Brumbies at Marconi Stadium on Saturday night.
For the victors, Sean Rooney and Mirjan Pavlovic scored two goals each, while Marko Jesic grabbed one. Michael Beauchamp meanwhile, scored an own goal early in the second half.
The scoreline probably flattered the home side, who led 2-0 at the break, only to see Hills hit back a minute after the restart. That goal inspired the Brumbies, who hounded and harassed their more fancied opponents and enjoyed a brief period of dominance that lasted around 15 minutes.
Marconi looked good in the early stages of the match, but the crowd had to wait until the 13th minute for the first shot on goal, with Mirjan Pavlovic clearing the bar from just outside the box.
Hills had a half-chance four minutes later when goal-scoring ace Peter Cejka rose to head a beautifully floated corner, only to see Nenad Vekic pull off a fine save.
Hills striker Sean Mitchell then got in on the act after some good leadup work, but Vekic had no trouble dealing with his low shot.
Marconi then started to assert some authority, playing with confidence and seemingly penetrating the Brumbies defence at will.
Peter Pelekanos rose to head a corner towards the target, only to be denied by keeper Josh Stancic.
Pavlovic then flicked on the perfect through-ball for Rooney, whose lob over Stancic went wide.
Then it was Pavlovic's turn to run onto a through-ball but again, Stancic couldn't be beaten. The Brumbies' keeper was proving to be a thorn in the Stallions' side.
Despite Stancic's heroics, Marconi finally opened the scoring in the 25th minute when Pavlovic pounced on a Hills error in midfield, before beating Stancic in a one-on-one.
Five minutes later, Hills showed some bottle and responded with strikes by Cejka and Greg Giovenali, but both efforts flew wide.
Rooney and Pavlovic continued to show their class for the Stallions; Rooney split the Hills defence with a delightful pass, but Pavlovic couldn't beat Stancic for a second time.
In the 36th minute Marko Jesic had a golden opportunity to extend Marconi's lead, but he opted to pass when he should have pulled the trigger from close range.
But it wouldn't be long before Marconi extended their lead to two goals. Peter Triantis chipped a freekick into the box from the left, Beauchamp leapt high to head across the goalmouth and Rooney volleyed home brilliantly to give the Stallions a 2-0 advantage, a lead they'd hold until halftime.
During his halftime team talk, Brumbies coach Dan Sheppard told his side that they were giving Marconi too much respect and he demanded they start the second half with aggression and intent.
The players responded brilliantly and within a minute, had bridged the gap to 2-1 after Beauchamp was pressured into conceding an own goal.
The Brumbies' confidence rose and they continued to press. Wade Giovenali unleashed a shot from long range, while brother Greg fired a freekick over the bar. The visitors began to play with composure and turned on some delightful free-flowing football.
But despite their mini-revival, Pavlovic and Rooney continued to cause mayhem.
In the 53rd minute Pavlovic unleashed a brilliant shot on goal, only to see Stancic pull off an equally brilliant save. Pavloic v Stancic had become something of a battle within the battle.
Just on the hour mark, the Brumbies came within a whisker of equalising when a delightful low cross from the left breached the Marconi defence. An unmarked Cejka stretched for the ball just outside the six yard box but unfortunately the Number 91 was unable to touch the leather past Vekic and into the back of the net.
The Brumbies' revival continued when Matias Toro Suazo dispossessed Dhari Alsaad, only to narrowly miss the opportunity to equalise.
But after a short period of dominance, the Brumbies couldn't stop Marconi from extending their lead to 3-1 when Jesic tapped home after brilliant leadup work by Rooney, whose ability to create and finish had become a significant feature of the game.
Despite the quality of the finish, Brumbies coach Dan Sheppard was adamant that the goal was scored from an offside position and the decision to allow it ultimately cost his side the game.
In the 79th minute Rooney was at it again, threading a perfect low cross for Pavlovic, who hooked his shot wide.
But five minutes later Rooney capitalised on a poor mistake by Stancic, who inexplicably rolled the ball into the path of the Stallions ace who slotted home one of the easiest goals he'll score this season.
The error was a blow to Stancic but it didn't take away the fact that the brave Brumbies keeper had kept his side in the game with his heroics between the sticks.
The keeper made amends for his blunder in the 90th minute, diving bravely at Pavlovic's feet, but he couldn't deny Marconi a fifth goal when Pavlovic finished yet another inch-perfect pass from Rooney two minutes into stoppage time.
The scoreline may have flattered Marconi and the Brumbies were definitely not a four-goal inferior side, but the Stallions' ability to create opportunities and score goals proved to be the major difference between the two teams.
"I thought we were pretty positive in our approach to the game," Marconi coach Tony Candy told Football NSW. "I thought we played with lots of speed, lots of energy. I thought Pav and Rooney were very good today, they've been in good form the past couple of weeks especially with Rooney coming back the last two weeks. He scored a hat-trick last week and grabbed another two tonight. The team's playing with a good mentality.
"We're probably moving the ball forward a bit quicker than we were at the beginning of the season; that's probably the reason why we're scoring more goals. It's just our mentality and the attitude of the players.
Candy added that Hills were "quite positive in the early part of the second half", a time when his side didn't control the midfield. "Conceding a goal was disappointing but I think that after we scored the third goal their heads dropped a little bit and we regained control of the game."
Meanwhile, a disappointed Brumbies coach Dan Sheppard thought the contest was a game of two halves.
"I thought it was an interesting game, a game of two halves," Sheppard told Football NSW. "The scoreline flatters the home team a little bit and isn't a true reflection of the game.
"The money they've spent on the players they've got was probably the biggest difference between the two sides. In the crucial moments some of those players have just got that little bit better experience and better quality.
"It was a case of death by a thousand balls in behind. It's tough to play football and impress when you're defending a ball that's always behind you or the referee doesn't pick up an offside in what was probably the biggest moment that changed the game."
Marconi Stallions 5 (Mirjan Pavlovic 2, Sean Rooney 2, Marko Jesic) Hills Brumbies 1 (Michael Beauchamp o.g.)
Saturday 13 May 2017
Referee: Adam Naylor
Marconi Stallions: 1. Nenad Vekic (GK), 2. Stefan Dubocanin, 4. Dhari Alsaad (16. Aron Berg 84'), 5. Michael Beauchamp, 7. Mirjan Pavlovic, 8. Sean Rooney, 10. Marko Jesic (11. Sam Perre 78'), 14. Peter Pelekanos, 18. Peter Triantis (19. Eros Bergamin 75'), 22. Brandon Vella, 23. Christopher Nunes, 25. Sam Burfoot.
Subs: 21. Kristian Sekuthoski, 40. Fabian Monge
Yellow Cards: Peter Pelekanos 72'
Coach: Tony Candy
Hills Brumbies: 1. Josh Stancic (GK), 6. Bradley Robertson (24. Nathan Rayner), 7. Wade Giovenali, 8. Eoin Montford, 9. Sean Mitchell, 11. Daine Merrin (C), 15. Matias Toro Suazo (21. Nick Dimitriadis 79'), 16. Greg Giovenali, 17. Brendon Hoyer, 19. Glenn Kelshaw (3. Nicholas Pradenas Meza 82'), 91. Peter Cejka.
Subs: 28. Kieran Pace, 69. Alastair Bruce
Yellow Cards: Daine Merrin 45', Glenn Kelshaw 53', Matias Toro Suazo 72', Wade Giovenali 85'
Coach: Dan Sheppard
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 0 Central Coast Mariners 3
Central Coast Mariners showed their true colours when they beat Mt Druitt Town Rangers 3-0 at Popondetta Park on Saturday night.
Peter Kekeris, Duncan Stewart and Lachlan Wales scored the goals that gave the young academy side their victory.
Kekeris opened the scoring in the 30th minute but just when the Mariners began to establish some control, Reece Papadimitrios was dismissed from the field five minutes later after receiving a second yellow card.
Surprisingly, rather than struggle with a man short, the Mariners found an extra gear and played with a joie de vivre that delivered a much-needed victory.
Striker Duncan Stewart extended his side's lead to 2-0 just shy of halftime and Lachlan Wales completed the scoring with a 65th minute penalty, earning the Mariners a result that delighted coach Ben Cahn.
"We've been playing really well all season and I always believed it was only a matter of time before the results started coming," Cahn told Football NSW. "Mt Druitt had a tough midweek FFA Cup game (against Blacktown City) so we knew that if we played a high tempo game with good intensity it would be difficult for them to back up and compete with us.
"The game started pretty even and we scored without being too dominant. But when we went down to 10 men we lifted and they didn't threaten us at all."
The Mariners went into the match second-last on the competition table but for weeks Cahn has been proud of his side's performances and their potential.
"I've over the moon with the boys because despite some bad results and some negative comments from outside (the Mariners group), we've been outstanding," Cahn said. "Given the morale, belief and positivity amongst the group at training, you'd think we were unbeaten this season and not languishing near the bottom of the table.
"The way the players are working, the way they're coming together trying to improve themselves, they've worked really hard on balancing their individual career prospects and developing a really positive team environment, and they've taken a lot of leadership and a lot of accountability for themselves. I'm sure we will only see more improvement for the rest of the season."
Meanwhile, Rangers coach Aidan Desmond admitted that his side struggled after taking a full strength Blacktown City side to extra time in their midweek FFA Cup match. But he wasn't using that as an excuse.
"We had some good patches through the game against Central Coast but we struggled to get back up after (playing for) two hours on Wednesday night," Desmond told Football NSW. "The boys weren't as sharp as usual and they were battling fatigue. But credit to Central Coast, they exploited that and did what they had to do. They played some nice football. You couldn't fault our desire and commitment but we just didn't have the legs."
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 0 Central Coast Mariners 3 (Peter Kekeris, Duncan Stewart, Lachlan Wales)
Saturday 13 May 2017
Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 1. Carlos Saliadarre (GK), 2. Hiten Satoh, 3. Brian Griffin-Colls, 5. David Mavisa, 6. Alexander Vlismas, 7. Chriss Loucos, 8. Matthew Clowes, 9. Mitchell Mclintock, 10. Nathan Ralph, 12. Nicholas Trimble, 14. Daniel Mccann, 16. Scott Goodwin, 17. Aram Tayebi Derazkala, 18. Jamie Dib, 21. Joel Tinker (GK), 23. Lachlan Roberts, Kuag Reec
Yellow Cards: Matthew Clowes Nick Trimble
Coach: Aidan Desmond
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Adam Pearce (GK), 4. Reece Papadimitrios, 5. Jake McGuinness, 6. James Enticknap, 7. Lachlan Wales, 8. Thomas Lyons, 9. Brenton Fox, 10. Duncan Stewart, 11. Peter Kekeris, 12. Yerasimakis Petratos, 14. Sean Pratt, 16. Gianni Stensness, 17. Jack Kuipers, 18. Steve Whyte, 20. Aidan Munford (GK)
Red Cards: Reece Papadimitrios
Coach: Ben Cahn
Spirit FC 3 Northern Tigers 1
Spirit FC came back from a goal down to snatch a brave 3-1 victory over Northern Tigers at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday night.
Chris Godoy Bascur, Christopher Gomez and Brad Gibson scored for the home side, while Ally Brown grabbed one for the visitors.
Spirit languished in second-last place on the league ladder before kickoff, but they were too good for a third-placed Tigers side that has been decimated by injuries. With no fewer than five starters from their first team unavailable, the Tigers struggled to compete against a Spirit side that finally played somewhere close to their full potential.
"We haven't won three points for a number of weeks so it was a great result for us, a much needed result," Spirit coach David Perkovic told Football NSW.
"I knew how Northern Tigers would set up and we tried to prepare for that during the week. But despite our preparation, it was still a bit of a surprise when we actually faced them in the game."
An Ally Brown free kick gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead midway through the first half, but within 10 minutes goal poacher Chris Godoy Bascur equalised for Spirit.
"Chris's goal was a good reward for our efforts and we slowly crept back into the game," Perkovic said. "In the second half, neither side really asked too many questions of each other but unlike previous weeks we capitalised on our opportunities."
Chris Gomez gave Spirit a 2-1 lead before Brad Gibson sealed the victory with a late goal.
"I was really happy for Chris Gomez to score in only his second game back from serious injury, which will give him a lot of confidence," Perkovic said.
When asked to name his standouts, Perkovic replied: "It was really a group effort but Chris Godoy Bascur was always dangerous on the ball, while Chris Gomez worked really hard defensively and got his reward with a goal. I thought Yuya Samba played really well in the middle of the park and closed down the opposition really well. Our backline also played well. Those little lapses in concentration still need to be addressed but overall I was very pleased with our performance and very pleased that we converted our chances."
Meanwhile, Northern Tigers coach Mark McCormick said that after controlling the game for the first 25 minutes, his side lost concentration and let Spirit back into the game.
"We were in control of the game in the first 25 minutes and looked comfortable," McCormick told Football NSW. "We just dropped concentration and allowed Spirit to get back into the game. The second half they were the better team for the first 10-15 minutes and they got a goal. They scored their third in injury time when we were pushing forward for an equaliser."
When asked what the difference was between the two sides, McCormick replied: "Spirit took their chances and we allowed them to come back into the game. That was the difference.
"We played really well in patches but we also lost concentration in patches, but with a young team you're always going to get these inconsistencies."
Spirit FC 3 (Chris Godoy Bascur, Chris Gomez, Brad Gibson) Northern Tigers 1 (Ally Brown)
Valentine Sports Park
Saturday 13 May 2017
Spirit FC: 1. Murray Nelson (GK), 3. Jack Musgrave, 4. Michael Streeter, 5. Andy Robertson, 7. Jake Harris, 8. Grant Cornwell, 9. Chris Godoy Bascur, 10. Chris Gomez, 12. Louis Bozanic, 16. Sidhya Malhotra, 17. Yuya Samba, 18. Bradley Gibson, 20. Adrian Epifanino, 21. Zoran Kolundzic, 26. James Webb (GK)
Northern Tigers: 1. Harrison Devenish-Meares (GK), 3. Jamie Craig, 4. Michael Rolston, 5. Ally Brown, 6. Jordan Ferrier, 7. Joel Hardwick, 10. Lucas Dawson, 11. Lachlan Hughes, 13. Paul Turrin, 16. M Wyatt, 17. H McAlister, 19. Ryan Peterson, 23. W Foristal, 26. John Bachelard, 29. Jordan Smylie, 40. Benjamin Taylor.
Yellow Cards: Jamie Craig, Jordan Ferrier, W. Foristal
Coach: Mark McCormick
Bankstown City 2 St George 3
In a tale of two halves, a courageous St George came back from two goals down to beat Bankstown City Lions 3-2 at Jensen Park on Sunday.
Huseyin Jasli and Aaron D'Mello scored for the Lions while Ali Nasreddine, Daniel Loe and Stevan Ilic replied for St George.
Bankstown were by far the better side in the first half and it came as no surprise when Jasli opened the scoring in the 20th minute. D'Mello then extended Bankstown's lead to 2-0 in the 39th, but Nasreddine struck a blow a minute into stoppage time, giving St George hope and the psychological advantage that comes with scoring just before the break.
Down 2-1 at the halftime, Saints coach Terry Palapanis made some substitutions and decided to play a more direct style in the second half. The tactical change worked a treat as Loe equalised in the 81st minute before goal-poacher Stevan Ilic stole the winner three minutes before fulltime.
Palapanis was delighted with the win, but not so impressed with his side's performance.
"It was a really tight game but we weren't having much joy in the first half so I changed my philosophy and played a bit more direct," Palapanis told Football NSW. "Steve Ilic came on at halftime and I played two up top and it actually worked.
"But to be fair we didn't deserve to win. I thought they were unlucky and missed more chances than we did. It was just a good old fashioned grind and we went all out for a win. At two-all I felt that Bankstown wanted to settle for a draw but we believed we could score and we did.
"We weren't great. Take away the goals and we weren't good at all. But I'll take the points. We had a bit of desperation about us and now we're third on the ladder. We can score goals and that's what you need to do, especially when you're not playing well."
Bankstown City 2 (Huseyin Jasli, Aaron D'Mello) St George 3 (Ali Nasreddine, Daniel Loe, Stevan Ilic)
Sunday 14 May 2017
Bankstown City: 1. Dion Shaw (GK), 2. Adem Kir, 5. Jeffrey Issa, 6. Aaron D'Mello, 7. Bruno Pivato, 8. David Mcmurray, 9. Nikola Todoroski, 10. Hussein Akil, 11. Huseyin Jasli, 12. Steven Valeski, 14. Mate Lucic, 21. Harry Timms, 26. J. Gorgovski, 27. Antonio Gauci
Coach: Mile Todoroski
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. Stevan Ilic, 10. Nicholas Paras, 11. Orman Okunaiya, 14. Jacob Bandur, 16. Daniel Loe, 17. Rino Zenari, 18. David Ilic, 19. Anthony Morabito, 20. Juan Carlos Romero, 34. Daniel Mitwali, 38. M. Kotzambasis, 45. Anthony Barca.
Yellow Cards: Rino Zenari, R Deasy, T Ercan
Coach: Terry Palapanis
Mounties Wanderers 2 Blacktown Spartans 1
Mounties Wanderers came back from a goal down to defeat Blacktown Spartans 2-1 in a tight struggle at Valentine Sports Park on Sunday.
Alex Boyadjian opened the scoring for the Spartans in the 42nd minute, only for Michael Cklamovski to equalise two minutes later. Mitchell Davidson then sealed victory for Mounties in the 70th minute.
"I'm having a beer and it's tasting a lot better than it did last week (after a 1-0 defeat to Bankstown Berries)," Mounties coach Lee Sterrey told Football NSW.
"It was a good performance and it was a pretty even game. We had two good chances in the first 30 minutes and we probably controlled the tempo of the game and the pace of the game.
"The Spartans sit pretty deep and wait for you to play a bad ball and they pounce on the counter. They're a good young team on the break. But you've just got to control the football in certain areas and not turn it over."
Unfortunately for Sterrey his words proved to be prophetic as his side turned the ball over in midfield and in a flash the Spartans pounced to score the opening goal of the game.
"We turned the ball over badly on the halfway line and because we'd committed people forward, they hit us on the counter and scored," Sterrey said. "We dominated territory and they hadn't even had a shot on goal at the point. But they pounced and led the game."
Mounties bounced back immediately through Michael Cklamovski just before the halftime break, allowing the home side to go to the sheds with the score locked at one-all.
"It was good to go into the break at one-all," Sterrey said. "And at halftime I talked to them about not turning the ball over because of the Spartans ability to counter. I respect Spartans for that. They're young and they're quick on the break.
"I brought Mitchell Davidson on and he finished a good movement to give us a 2-1 lead in the 70th minute. We then sat pretty deep and controlled the game and held on for the result.
"We missed some chances to be honest but the turning point was the equaliser which allowed us to go into halftime at one-one."
Sterrey said there were some good individual performances from his side, with Noah Chianese having a strong game up front and working hard for the team; while captain Neftali Gonzalez and Japanese Hiroto Takuichi were excellent.
Meanwhile, Spartans coach Luis Contigiani was bitterly disappointed with the result.
"We were very competitive, had chances and played well," Contigiani told Football NSW. "But individual errors cost us.
"When Mounties took the lead they put five at the back. They're big, they're strong and they're aggressive players. We tried but we just couldn't break them."
"Today we competed well and in my mind the game was destined for a draw. But individual mistakes cost us. My midfield turned over too much possession and because of that, changes will have to be made this week. I'm going to have to make some tough decisions."
To make matters even more difficult, the Spartans have been without Garang Awac, who has been on holiday for the past fortnight, while Emmanuel Elali faces a five-week suspension after being red carded against Marconi in Round 10, a decision the club will appeal.
"That's big blow for us and we've had to bring up under-20s players because we're short of players. We don't have the luxury that other clubs have where we can replace good players with players of equal quality off the bench. With what I have we're trying to be as competitive as we can. But when we shoot ourselves in the foot like we did today, we make it so hard on ourselves.
"I play the way I play because with what I have and the players' inexperience, it's a system of football that can win you games. You sit deep and you're very compact and very structured and you hit quickly on the counter. You push numbers forward and once you lose the ball you get back again. This style frustrates teams and we let them have the ball. Eventually they make a mistake and we push forward and punish them.
"Everything was going to plan today but as I said, individual errors cost us the game. So we're going to have to review player lineups and personnel. But I'm going to be as positive as I can be and we start all over again next week."
Mounties Wanderers 2 (Michael Cklamovski, Mitchell Davidson) Blacktown Spartans 1 (Alex Boyadjian)
Valentine Sports Park
Sunday 14 May 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, 17. B. Ansah, 18. Michael Cklamovski, 20. Reid Taylor, 21. Alexander Josipovic, 28. Hiroto Tokuichi, 29. Jake Ingle, 33. Zac Zfiligoi
Coach: Lee Sterrey
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, 10. Kojiro Hori, 11. Alex Boyadijan, 12. Alessandro Pecora, 13. Brendon Bezzina, 16. Alessandro Pecora, 20. Mitchell Cross
Coach: Luis Contigiani
North Shore Mariners 2 Macarthur Rams 3
Macarthur Rams extended their unbeaten streak to an amazing six games with a 3-2 defeat of North Shore Mariners at Northbridge Oval on Sunday.
Damien Travis (2) and Frank Martey scored for the Rams while Mitch Smith and Toth replied for the Mariners.
Travis opened the scoring for the Rams in the 14th minute but the Mariners equalised from a set play just on the stroke of halftime.
Rams coach Eddie Briscoe wasn't impressed with his side's lapse in concentration - a trait that has hurt them in previous weeks - but his boys responded well on the hour mark, striking twice in quick succession.
Frank Martey slotted home a penalty and Travis tucked away his second goal after some nice interplay.
Chasing the game, North Shore then pushed forward and played very direct, pumping long balls into the penalty area. The tactic worked and they bridged the gap to 3-2 with just four minutes remaining, making for a rather frenetic ending. But try as hard as they did, the home side couldn't equalise, giving the Rams yet another victory and their highest placing in the league so far this season.
"The boys battled, they fought, they chased. They played a good team and got a result so we're doing something right," Rams coach Eddie Briscoe told Football NSW.
"We've still got the same players with the same problems but I think they believe in themselves more now and their confidence is building. They know they've got to dig in; there's no reserves coming in, only under 20s that have already played a game so they know they've got to give it 90 minutes plus and they're digging in for each other.
"We've been lucky in certain areas but we're making luck as well. It's positive but it's still hard work."
North Shore Mariners 2 (Smith, Toth) Macarthur Rams 3 (Travis 2, Martey)
Sunday 14 May 2017
North Shore Mariners: 1. D. Maunder, 3. Chris Lindsay, 4. James Scott, 6. Ricky Woodward, 7. Joe Esposito, 8. Mitch Arcosa, 9. S. Tonkin, 10. Brayden Cheng, 11. Freddy Ankumah-Sey, 13. Marquin Smith, 18. Mitch Smith, 21. Aaron Davis, 27. Robbie Kerr, 28. Michael Stojanovski, 33. Tadgh Purcell, 36. Stefan Giglio (GK)
Yellow Cards: Mitch Arcosa, Tadgh Purcell
Coach: Joe Haywood
Macarthur Rams: 1. Nikola Matic, 2. Craig Cooley, 3. Danny Lazarevski, 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, 19. Jordan Ward, 27. Regan Suters.
Yellow Cards: Danny Lazarevski, Frank Martey, Simon Valastro
Western Sydney Wanderers 0 Bankstown Berries 1
Bankstown Berries continued their good run of form with an upset 1-0 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers at Lilys Football Centre on Sunday.
The win follows last week's 1-0 win over Mounties Wanderers and sees the Berries join North Shore Mariners, Hills Brumbies and Blacktown Spartans in sixth-equal position on the ladder.
Wanderers coach Trevor Morgan praised Bankstown for their approach to the game and their ability to adhere to a gameplan.
"The Berries are capable of playing some very good football," Morgan told Football NSW. "So congratulations to them on the win. We didn't make enough of our opportunities so we can't cry about it. We have to improve. There were some chances we shouldn't have missed but we did and we were punished. These are lessons that the kids are playing in this league for. Against kids of their own age the picture is very different. That's the whole point of us doing what we're doing. These are the games we need and the kids are learning some lessons."
Despite the loss, Morgan said his young side played some excellent football.
"Some of the football was very proactive, some good combination play, some excellent football," he said. "They're learning the way the club wants to play but you have to have an end product and that's what this season's all about.
"The Berries had a gameplan and they took their chance. They used the ball effectively when they had it. They played to their strengths and they played with great character and determination. That's what football's about at senior level. They had a plan and they stuck with it.
"I think in previous weeks (Berries coach) Perry (Moustakas) has said they've probably deserved more than they've got and today they got a result that they've been deserving for a while. So good for them."
Indeed, Moustakas has been saying all season that results haven't been fair on his side but with their fighting spirit and commitment to the cause, the Berries have showed that on their day, they can trouble anyone.
"We have a great team spirit and the boys have fought hard all season," Moustakas said. "There's still a long way to go but we'll take the three points and move on."
Western Sydney Wanderers 0 Bankstown Berries 1
Lilys Football Centre
Sunday 14 May 2017
Western Sydney Wanderers: 2. Lachlan Campbell, 5. Mathieu Cordier, 6. Cameron Devlin, 8. Charles Abou Serhal, 9. Kyle Cimenti, 10. Emmanuel Gonzalez, 15. B. Currey, 16. Jerry Skotakis, 18. Oliver Puflett, 20. Daniel Axford (GK), 22. Matthew Lecce, 24. Tate Russell, 26. Jackson Bandiera, 40. Nick Suman (GK), 50. Tariq Maia
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, 10. V. Giannini, 11. A. Vais, 12. Jake Bradshaw, 14. J. Bittar, 15. Perry Moustakas, 17. D. Fornito, 19. H. Tomohiro, 20. N. Mouzourakis, 21. J. Dimitrakas.
-By Derek Royal - Football NSW Reporter