Searing heat swept across NSW in Round 3 of the NPL 2 Men’s, but which teams thrived and which teams withered as the competition begins to literally and metaphorically heat up?
Match of the Round: St. George FC VS Canterbury Bankstown FC
St George swept to a convincing 4-0 victory over Canterbury Bankstown on Saturday night, dispatching the visitors with a comfortable display to show that they will once again be a force this season. A bright opening saw the Saints dominate the initial quarter of an hour and but for some agile saves from Berries keeper Chad Taylor, the Saints could have had a couple inside fifteen minutes.
As it was, they had to be content with just the one, Jordan Morfitis’ strike after ten minutes settling into the net. This opener came just two minutes after Morfitis had been denied by Taylor. Within a further couple of minutes, Taylor again got the better of Morfitis who certainly made his presence felt early, while Christopher Arditti just failed to connect to high ball moments later.
It was a strong St George start, and their intention to have the Berries under pressure from the first whistle was certainly producing dividends. It was not until just after the half hour though, that St George gained their second. Snappy passing down the right flank saw Arditti put through, and he calmly slotted the ball past Taylor.
It was no more than St George deserved, and the two goal half time lead was a fair reflection of the game, the Saints keeping the Berries chances to an absolute minimum. The central defensive pairing of Jacob Bandur and Lenox Tweneboa keeping frontman Andreas Vais under wraps.
The Berries best period of the game came immediately after the restart, and had a goal been brought back, there was always the slight chance of a resurgence, but truth be told, the Saints were the dominant team, and while Richard Darko showed pace, and supplied some dangerous crosses, the St George backline were equal to the task.
On the hour, Canterbury brought on Huseyin Jasli, a surprise non-starter perhaps, and the wide man looked to add impetus to a Berries side whose chances up front had been few, but again, the Saints defence held firm.
With just five minutes to go, the game was sealed. Leading scorer Juan Carlos Heras Romero connected first time to a sublime pass from Raul Beneit Romero, sweeping a left footer into the bottom corner of the net for 3-0.
Canterbury Bankstown almost reduced the arrears with a couple of minutes left. A direct free-kick outside the area was lined up by Domenico Tripodi, and the captain’s effort was goal bound, but Saints keeper Anthony Costa pulled of a finger tip save to ensure the St George goal remained intact.
In the final moments, St George added a fourth, with Beneit Romero having the final word. A dazzling and mazy run past the Berries defence, twisting first one way then the other, resulted in his third of the season, and a strong 4-0 win for the home side.
It was a tough night for the away side, who have started slowly this season, but a good result for St George – a result which shows that the red-and-whites will be a leading contender this season.
Saturday 17th March 2018
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
St George 4 (J. Morfitis, C. Arditti, J. Romero, R. Romero)
Canterbury Bankstown 0
Referee: Scott Edeling
Assts: Sam Quinn and Sebastian Andrews
St George: 21. Anthony Costa 2. Daniel Loe 3. Ali Nasreddine 5. Jacob Bandur 6. Patrick O’Shea 7. Juan Carlos Heras Romero (19. Tobias Norval 85’) 8. Tarik Ercan (c) 15. Christopher Arditti (17.
Aleksandar Lekoski 70’)16. Jordan Morfitis (12. Anthony Morabito 76’) 20. Raul Beneit Romero 23.
Subs not used: 36. Evan Davis 22. Domenic Brischetto
Yellow Cards: Tarik Ercan, Jordan Morfitis
Coach: Terry Palapanis
Canterbury Bankstown: 1. Chad Taylor 3. Daniel Di Ruocco 5. Mitchell Farmer 6. Domenico Tripodi (c) 8. Domenic Hudap 10. Andreas Vais 12. Jake Bradshaw (9. Huseyin Jasli 57’) 14. Aaron D’Mello 15. Perry Moustakas 20. Evan Petramanis (7. Daniel Fornito 69’) 24. Richard Darko (16. Nikita Andricopoulos 78’)
Subs not used: 21. John Dimitrakis 2. Costa Andricopoulos.
Yellow Cards: Domenico Tripodi, Evan Patramanis, Huseyin Jasli
By Peter Rowney
Parramatta FC (1) vs Rydalmere Lions (4)
If you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
Rydalmere Lions have served up a master class in counter attacking football that proved too hot for Parramatta FC to handle on a sweltering afternoon at Melita Stadium. It was the first derby between these two sides in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s competition this season and one that will live long in the memory of Lions’ fans.
However, a night that ended so magically, began so worryingly for the away side. Parramatta FC took an early lead, after Neram Yalda volleyed home from close range. Yalda would’ve been thanking his lucky stars after the ball gravitated towards him like a magnet before thumping it into the back of the net.
Rydalmere didn’t have to wait long before drawing level, Amaury Gauthier making up for the missed chances last round against Spirit, tucking away a penalty composure personified.
Shortly before the break, Rydalmere were denied the lead when Stefan Giglio made a truly miraculous save from Ahmed Elrich who had almost turned to start celebrating what he thought was a guaranteed goal from just 6 yards out.
In the sizzling sun it was raining goals at Melita Stadium as Amaury Gauthier notched his second of the game in the second half.
Gauthier got in behind the Parramatta defence before sliding his left footed shot into the corner of the goals and beyond the helpless Giglio gloves.
Zak Elrich got in on the action not long after, taking penalty duties off Gauthier to covert from the spot.
3-1 and the Rydalmere fans had well and truly begun to roar.
By contrast, the Eagles’ fans looked despondent, worried that a third successive home game would yield yet another frustrating result. Their misery was compounded moments later when Victor Anyimba scored his side’s fourth and final goal, rounding the keeper who had ventured so far from the safety of his box to leave his empty net vacant – an invitation Anyimba could not decline.
They’ll be making songs about this victory for years to come at Rydalmere.
4-1, 4-1, we’re scoring just for fun, in the heat and in the sun, the Lions won 4-1, 4-1.
Hills United (3) vs Western Sydney Wanderers (2)
It looks as though Hills United have been reading our midweek Round Previews as the first game of the season in which they haven’t had a player sent off has resulted in their first win of the season.
I think this is where we say, ‘we told you so’.
But in a nice touch of irony, Hills United were helped to their first three points of the season courtesy of a red card – this time to their opponents, Western Sydney Wanderers.
In truth, it was the Wanderers who began the game with more purpose.
A purpose clearly derived from the fact that two defeats in their previous two games this season have left them wandering down in the depths of a relegation spot; but their positive start in this match was rewarded after just 21 minutes when lethal striker Lachlan Scott guided his header into the net after a sublime cross.
The Wanderers continued to threaten; Majok and Roberts wreaking havoc out wide. However for all their dominance, the Wanderers were unable to find a second that, arguably, their possession and dominance deserved.
With the score-line only at 1-0, Hills United emerged from half-time with a tangible confidence, realising that the Wanderers have forfeited a lead already this season.
The Wanderers found their equaliser just 5 minutes into the second half through Pete Cejka, who headed home following a well-worked corner routine.With scores level, both sides pushed hard to wrestle ascendancy in the match.
It would be the Brumbies who found the crucial break-through on 58 minutes, the ever-present danger man Daniel Fogarty registering his first goal for the season.
In a case of ‘whatever you can do, we can too’, the Wanderers struck back 10 minutes later from superstar, Abraham Majok, who drove purposefully towards goal and placed his shot from 20 yards out.
Just when it looked like the points would be shared, Hills United broke in behind the Wanderers defence and Daniel Fogarty was brought down in the box by Jordan Hall.
Greg Giovenali stepped up to convert the spot kick and secure all three points for Hills United.
Three straight defeats to start the season and the Wanderers will be wondering how it’s all gone so wrong.
For Hills, they will be looking to make it two wins from two when they travel to struggling Canterbury Bankstown next week.
North shore (1) vs Mt Druitt (3)
An early season blockbuster as two of the competition’s most in-form teams battled it out to see which one was the contender for season 2018 and which one was the pretender; and, after a tense battle, the answer is clear – albeit unexpected.
It’s Mt Druitt.
A score-line that suggests a comfortable afternoon for the Rangers proved to be, in reality, anything but; Ultimately what separated the two sides was a decisiveness in the taking of chances. Alex Vlismas opened the scoring for the Rangers on 20 minutes; the talented player volleying home from just outside the box following a corner.
It was almost a case of groundhog day for the North Shore defence after another defensive scramble led to a second Mt Druitt goal; this time Kuag Reec was on hand to convert in the 35th minute.
North Shore continued to push hard for a way back into the match, with memories of their comeback against the Wanderers still firmly in their minds, but none was forthcoming.
Mt Druitt finished the afternoon securing their third goal of the game, which then put the game out of reach for the North Shore boys for a late come from behind victory.
David O’Leary did his namesake in football proud with a superbly taken free-kick in the 60th minute that got the entire Rangers’ coaching staff off their feet in appreciation.
Moments before the referee could purse his lips to the whistle to signal full-time, Chris Lindsay scored a consolation goal for his side, after his free-kick beat all the Mt Druitt defenders before finally beating Carlos Saliadarre in goals – the first goal he has conceded all season.
An impressive win for the Rangers and all eyes will be on their Round 4 clash against St George as two of the league’s powerhouses do battle in a game no one will want to miss!
Northern Tigers (4) vs Macarthur Rams (2)
What an upset we almost had here.
Leading 2-1 at half-time after two well-worked goals from the Rams cancelled out Liam Mcconaghy’s 4th minute opener for the Tigers, it looked as though Macarthur would pull one very unlikely rabbit out of their hat.
Northern Tigers looked uncomfortable trying to contain the physical play of Macarthur and deservedly went into half-time trailing.
However, coach Jason Eagar was confident his side could turn their fortunes around in the second period, especially after their dominant second half performance against the Blacktown Spartans last week.
And that is just what they did.
A 50th minute strike from in-form striker Liam Mcconaghy after some nice combination play on the edge of the box got the ball rolling for the Tigers, before a late flurry of goals made the score line more comfortable than the balance of play actually suggests.
Jordan Ferrier capitalised on another well-worked corner routine in the 80th minute before Rory Spiers converted with only minutes to go to round of a 4-2 victory for the Tigers and their second win in a row.
Macarthur can count themselves unlucky to walk away from this game with nothing to show for their efforts.
They find themselves in a cluster of three teams yet to register a single point this season and will be wondering where that first point will be coming from – as they entertain the North Shore Mariners next round.
For the Northern Tigers, a strong start to the season sees them occupy a finals’ spot on the competition ladder and that is the kind of start that Jason Eager will be hoping provides a springboard for greater success this season.
Source FNSW website-By Ryan Latty