Marconi Stallions continued with their steamroller in the PlayStation4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition, claiming their eleventh win in a row with a 3-1 victory over Northern Tigers while the chase for the top six continues with only Bankstown Berries falling by the wayside this weekend.
There was no lack of goals with five each to Mount Druitt Town Rangers and Mounties Wanderers, while Central Coast Mariners topped the scoring with six at Jensen Park.
Brenton Fox claimed the round’s personal honours with four goals for the Mariners in their 6-2 win over Bankstown City.
Match of the Round
Marconi v Northern Tigers
Marconi have increased their lead to a phenomenal twenty-one points after a 3-1 victory over Northern Tigers set the scene for Premiership celebrations after the final whistle.
It was an almost processional first half for Marconi in a scrambling opening period which had the Stallions pressing forward for much of the forty-five minutes, but just being unable to get the ball in the net, creating much frustration as the scoreboard remained goalless.
Tigers keeper Elliot Carwardine pulled off a fine save to deny Mirjan Pavlovic in the thirteenth minute, before Marconi struck the upright, had a handball claim denied, and a Sean Rooney lob from inside the centre circle hit the top of the net. Marconi tried everything, as Northern Tigers defended stoutly, but the Stallions just couldn’t get the goal that their dominance deserved.
That was until three minutes before the turnaround.
A Rooney inswinger from out wide, and Pavlovic got on the end of the looping ball, to sneak the all-important goal past Carwardine.
It was a goal that had been coming for some time, the surprise being perhaps that it had taken so long, but once it went in, it was always going to be difficult for the Tigers, who had rarely troubled Nenad Vekic up to that point.
It continued in much the same vein once the second period commenced, Judah Cleur drawing a save from Carwardine, though for all their possession, it remained at only a one goal advantage. The lack of clinical finishing for the Stallions could have proven problematic on the hour when Max Glanville had the Tigers’ best chance so far, and from close range was denied by Vekic.
If that was a decent chance, their next opportunity was the miss of the game. Lachlan Hughes, only metres out, somehow managed to put the ball wide with the goal at his mercy, and how that miss would prove critical.
Within a minute, Marconi charged quickly up field, and Cleur, finding some space on the left, struck past Carwardine for number two. If that wasn’t bad enough for the Tigers, a further minute after that, Jordan Ferrier was adjudged to have handballed in the area, and Pavlovic made it three from the spot.
So in the space of three minutes, the Tigers could have drawn level, but instead, found themselves three down. Such is football.
There could have been a fourth minutes before full time but Pavlovic spurned a set-up from Rooney, before Mark McAlpine provided a consolation for the Tigers, deep into stoppage time.
That wasn’t to affect the mood of the Marconi faithful, as the full-time whistle blew. The trophy was presented, the squad celebrated in time honoured fashion, and no doubt, somewhere, plans were already being made for next season’s NPL 1 return.
Marconi 3 (Mirjan Pavlovic 42’, 75’ pen, Judah Cleur 74’) v Northern Tigers 1 (Mark McAlpine 90+3’)
Sunday 20 August 2017
at Marconi Stadium
Referee: Craig Fisher
Assts: Daniel Stack and Nathan McCorist
Marconi: 1. Nenad Vekic 4. Troy Danaskos 5. Michael Beauchamp (2. Stefan Dubocanin 86’) 6. Raimond Coletta 7. Mirjan Pavlovic 8. Sean Rooney 10. Marko Jesic (24 Richard Darko 74’) 12. Judah Cleur 14. Peter Pelekanos 18. Peter Triantis (9 Shane Webb 77’) 19. Eros Bergamin.
Subs not used: 16. Aaron Berg 21. Kristian Sekutkoski
Yellow Cards: Nil
Coach: Peter Tsekenis
Northern Tigers: 1. Elliot Carwardine 4. Michael Rolston 5. Alexander Brown 6. Jordan Ferrier 7. Joel Hardwick 9. Liam McConaghy (8. Max Glanville 25’) 10. Lucas Dawson 11. Lachlan Hughes (17. Mark McAlpine 74’) 13. Paul Turrin 16. Aram Derakzala Tayebi (18. Joshua Tanner 85’) 29. Jordan Smylie.
Subs not used: 21. Harry McAlister 40. Benjamin Taylor
Yellow Cards: Joel Hardwick
Coach: Mark McCormick
Spirit FC v St George
Spirit FC kept their finals hopes alive with a strong 4-2 victory over second placed St George, the win keeping Spirit in the hunt right until the final round.
It may have been a different match had the Saints converted a fourth minute penalty, Juan Carlos Romero having his spot kick saved by Jack Greenwood, but the home side took full advantage of that escape, and gained the lead themselves just three minutes later when Zoran Kolundzic slammed home into the roof of the net.
That lead was doubled on the half hour when Andre Carle was brought down in the box and Daniel Cunningham comfortably put away the penalty for 2-0.
St George rallied, and a left foot strike by Jacob Sullivan reduced the arrears seven minutes before the break, the one goal deficit now giving the visitors plenty of hope for the second forty-five.
That second half started well for the Saints, Bruno Pivato being denied by Greenwood a standout, before St George drew level when Tarik Ercan got on the end of a Johnathan Kontalis chip over the defence, to toe poke past Greenwood for the equaliser.
If Spirit were disappointed by letting a two-goal lead slip, knowing that nothing less than a win would keep their season going, they set about making amends with almost immediate effect. Within eight minutes they were back in front, Jacob Harris shooting low from the edge of the area, giving Spirit the lead once more.
That goal galvanised the home side, while seeming to deflate the Saints at the same time, the result of their effort expended in getting back to parity gone within minutes. Spirit were determined not to let the lead slip again, and when Carle made it 4-2 with a quarter of an hour left, Spirit were home and hosed.
“That was the first time this season that we have scored four”, stated Spirit coach David Perkovic, clearly ecstatic that their season continues.
“We had a good start, maybe a bit lucky that they missed the penalty, though it was a good save by young Greenwood, but we were the better team in the first half, and our game plan worked well. We knew that we were defensively solid, and good aerially, and that we could get a couple of goals”.
“Credit to St George for getting back into the game, and in the end, it was nice to get that sealer. It also means that we travel to Central Coast next week with the game still alive”, a fact that Perkovic clearly relished.
In the opposite corner, there was a clearly disappointed Terry Palapanis, who sees that second place now under severe threat.
“Spirit created better than us, and missed about three sitters. Really, they could have had seven. We were defensively naïve, and the possession we had was in areas where it was irrelevant. They were very hard to break down, and dealt with our attacking threats very well”, was the succinct summation.
Spirit FC 4 (Zoran Kolundzic 7’, Daniel Cunningham pen 30’, Jacob Harris 66’, Andre Carle 75’) v St George 2 (Jacob Sullivan 38’, Tarik Ercan 58’)
Referee: Trent Nash
Spirit FC: 80. Jack Greenwood 2. Daniel Cunningham (c) 4. Michael Streeter 5. Andrew Robertson 7. Jacob Harris (18. Sid Malhotra 85’) 8. Grant Cornwell 9. Chris Godoy Bascur 11. Dylan Whitlock (10. Chris Gomez 79’) 14. Andre Carle 17. Ryan Johnstone 21. Zoran Kolundzic (15. Brad Gibson 64’).
Coach: David Perkovic
St George: 1. Andrew Depta 3. Ali Nasreddine 4. Johnathan Kontalis (5. Jayden McLeod 68’) 6. Bruno Pivato 7. Robbie Deasy 8. Tarik Ercan (c) 11. Jacob Sullivan 12. Jordan Crighton (31. Rino Zenari 46’) 14. Jacob Bandur 20. Juan Carlos Heras Romero 48. Daniel Mitwali (9. Stevan Ilic 73’).
Coach: Terry Palapanis
Mounties Wanderers v Western Sydney Wanderers
Mounties Wanderers provided the shock of the round with a comprehensive 5-0 thrashing over the visiting Western Sydney Wanderers to vastly improve their chances of competing in the final series at season’s end.
Maybe the win was not a surprise but certainly the 5-0 scoreline was. After St George’s loss on Saturday night, a win for the Wanderers, following their victory over Central Coast Mariners last Thursday, would have seen the Wanderers move to second on the ladder so a 0-5 reverse would have been the last thing on their minds.
But being three down by half time made it all but impossible and Tai Smith with two and one to Tomislav Mijic gave clear indication of Mounties’ intention.
Smith collected his hat trick after the break while substitute Nathan Sansom, in stoppage time, merely added salt to the Wanderers’ wound.
Mounties Wanderers 5 (Tai Smith 7’, 27’, 87’, Tomislav Mijic 33’, Nathan Sansom
90+1’) v Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Mounties: 1. Simon Jaeger 2. Tomislav Mijic 4. Todd Halloran 5. Anthony Schmidt 7. Neftali Gonzalez (12. Nathan Sansom) 9. Tai Smith 11. Mitchell Davidson 13. Pasqualino Cappuccio (19. Joshua Viera) 14. Noah Chianese (18. Michael Cklamovski) 28.Hiroto Tokuichi 29. Jake Ingle.
Western Sydney Wanderers: 40. Mackenzie Syron 5. Matthieu Cordier 6. Charles Abou Serhal (16. Joshua Bartoletto) 9. Kyle Cimenti (24. Tate Russell) 14. Emmanuel Gonzalez 12. Noah Pagden 18. Oliver Purflett 22. Matthew Lecce (11. Kosta Grozos) 25. Jordan Hall 26. Thomas Aquilina 50. Tariq Maia.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers v Macarthur Rams
It has been nothing but a brilliant weekend of matches for Mount Druitt Town Rangers who have risen to third on the ladder after a 5-0 thumping of Macarthur Rams.
A double to Lachlan Roberts, and one each to Luke Grima and Hiten Sato, plus one own goal, sent Rangers flying above the Western Sydney Wanderers on goal difference, and second spot is not out of the question. With the three clubs immediately above Rangers prior to the weekend all losing, Rangers may prove to have their best season ever, come next Sunday afternoon.
If Rangers can get over Bankstown Berries next weekend, who may well have one eye on their FFA Cup clash the following Tuesday, expect there to be plenty of Rangers focus on the result from St George v Marconi.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 5 (Lachlan Roberts 2, Luke Grima, Hiten Sato, own goal) v Macarthur Rams 0
Bankstown City v Central Coast Mariners
After a defeat on Thursday, Central Coast Mariners responded in the best possible fashion with a 6-2 shellacking of Bankstown City at Jensen Park, with Brenton Fox nailing four in a superb personal display.
Two goals to the good by half time, the goals continued to flow after the break, the Mariners steering to a five-goal lead before Huseyin Jasli and Jeffrey Issa salvaged some pride for the Lions. But this match was all about the Central Coast, with Shelford Dais and Duncan Stewart also finding the back of the net, giving the Mariners the upper hand over the immediate rivals with the final round to play. A far superior goal difference may well prove crucial in the final washup.
Bankstown City 2 (Jeffrey Issa, Huseyin Jasli) v Central Coast Mariners 6 (Brenton Fox 4, Duncan Stewart, Shelford Dais)
North Shore Mariners v Bankstown Berries
North Shore Mariners kept themselves in the hunt at Northbridge Oval with a single goal victory ending their opponents’ hopes of making the six.
Top scorer, Mitchell Smith, with his thirteenth goal of the season secured the points, setting up an all or nothing fixture against Western Sydney Wanderers next Sunday.
North Shore Mariners 1 (Mitchell Smith) v Bankstown Berries 0
Blacktown Spartans v Hills Brumbies
The Spartans leapfrogged Hills Brumbies into eleventh on the ladder with a 3-0 victory at Blacktown Sports Park, ending their home season with a comfortable win.
Goals to Kojiro Hori, Alex Boyadjian, hitting double figures for the season, and Richard Blanco did the deed against the Brumbies, who will end their season next week against a vibrant Mounties.
Blacktown Spartans 3 (Kojiro Hori, Alex Boyadjian, Richard Blanco) v Hills Brumbies 0
-Source FNSW WebsiteBy Peter Rowney