The competition table is beginning to take shape; making worrying reading for some and unbridled delight for others. Where does your team stand after Round 4 of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s competition?
Match of the Round: North Shore Mariners VS Macarthur Rams
The North Shore Mariners have rebounded perfectly from their first loss of the season with a fiery 2-1 win against a tough Macarthur Rams side Saturday night at Lynwood Park.
Goals in either half from a pair of Smiths – Marquin and Mitchell – secured the three points, aided by the 51st minute red card to Macarthur’s Eli Squillacioti.
The Mariners were well drilled and their front three gave the Rams headaches all night, highlighted by some superb crosses from Chris Lindsay.
Early exchanges in this match afforded no understanding of who would take control of the match as both sides felt each other out.
The first chance of the game fell the way of North Shore talisman Marquin Smith, who tried to connect with a corner but couldn’t crane his neck muscles to direct the effort on target.
Smith wouldn’t miss another opportunity, though.
After the referee pointed to the spot for a foul on a Mariners player, Smith stepped up and calmly slotted the penalty for a 1-nil lead.
The Mariners continued to find some success from set pieces, as Daniel Saric tried to nod a header goal-bound but it flicked wide of the post.
As the half ticked in the final ten minutes, Macarthur found their best chances of the contest. First a free-kick whistled into the area and just went wide. Next, Sam Onana Awono played a delightful ball in for Mitchell McLintock but the forward fizzed his shot just wide.
North Shore Mariners rode out the late Rams’ storm and were delighted to find themselves still holding a one goal lead at the break.
Right after the break, the Rams should’ve been level.
Onana Awono again found space down the right before linking with Mclintock. The frustration showed for the Rams as Mclintock snatched at the chance and watched it sail over.
Their frustration would boil over in the 51st minute, as Eli Squillacioti was given his marching orders. The winger got a second yellow for a clip on the onrushing Mariners’ attacker.
Mariners’ Chris Lindsay continued to show his prowess from the set piece; whether it was a free-kick or a corner.
It seemed him and Rams keeper Jair Fernandez had their own personal game going as Lindsay went directly for a pair of free-kicks that Fernandez needed to be alert to save.
Right on the hour mark Mariners doubled their lead. Another wicked delivery from Lindsay fell from the clouds perfectly onto the head of Mitchell Smith to direct home for 2-nil.
Mariners continued to use the man advantage well, as they peppered the Rams with attacks forward.
Both Smiths went close again but through good faith rather design the Rams were still only down by two.
Into the final ten minutes, Rams got a second wind as substitute Ben Cornish probed well and had a pair of chances but couldn’t fully connect with either chance.
The home team would find a consolation however, during injury time, as Matthew Trotter fired in a low cross that Phil Hasiuk flicked home well for 2-1.
Speaking to FNSW after the contest, Mariners coach Lee Jones as pleased with the three points but annoyed not to keep the clean sheet.
“The boys got the job done in the end. It was a very scrappy game but we got what we came for in the end. We lacked a bit of composure in the final third as I would’ve liked to have 2-3 goals in the first half”.
“We’ve got to be disciplined but we failed to do that tonight, so I’m really disappointed in that but I’m happy to take the three points in the end”, said Jones.
For the Rams’ boss he lamented a slow start that probably cost them in the end.
“We started off slowly, didn’t control possession and it cost us. We tried to play too direct but in the second half we settled down, got control of the game and got ourselves a goal”, he said.
By Justin Davies
Saturday 24th March 2018
Lynwood Park, Macarthur
Referee: S. Brennan
Assistant Referees: D. Richards and P. Faithful
Macarthur Rams: 1 (Hasiuk ’90)
North Shore Mariners: 2 (Marquin Smith ’26, Mitchell Smith ’59)
Macarthur Rams: 1. FERNANDEZ Jair, 3. LAZAREVSKI Danny, 5. SYMINGTON Mark, 6. TROTTER Matthew, 8. ONANA AWONO Sam (13. HADDAD ’65), 9. MCLINTOCK Mitchell (10. CORNISH ’56), 12. SQUILLACIOTI Eli, 14. MCCANN Daniel, 16. GODWIN Scott, 18. FORBES Gavin (HASIUK. ‘74) and 19. ZAHRA Simon
Subs not used: 17. SUTERS Regan and 20. BRATIC Nikola
Yellow cards: Lazarevski, Mclintock, Squillacioti, Symington, Trotter and Zahra
Red cards: Squillacioti
North Shore Mariners: 1. MAUNDER Dominic, 2. SMAHEL Rainer, 3. LINDSAY Chris, 4. SCOTT James, 6. WOODWARD Ricky, 8. JAMBA Brian, 10. SMITH Marquin (22. BAKER ’84), 11. ANKUMAH-SEY Frederick (9. Rosano ’73), 18. SMITH Mitchell, 19. SARIC Daniel and 21. DAVIS Aaron
Subs not used: 15. DEBLAERE Chris, 41. WILDE Joshua and 47. DALUSAG Grigan
Yellow cards: Woodward
Red cards: nil
Northern Tigers (0) vs Central Coast Mariners (4)
Fortress North Turramurra has been breached.
The Central Coast Mariners have demolished the previously indestructible walls of the Northern Tigers home record in emphatic fashion with a 4-0 win in Round 4 of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.
Despite a week of coaching controversy, the Mariners were able to show maturity beyond their years, implementing stand in coach Will Vasquez’s instructions to perfection.
“We have been working very hard at having varied attacks this year and it paid off for us – we scored 3 very good goals in a 15 minute period,” exclaimed Vasquez.
The three goals Vasquez was referring to came midway through the first half – the first of which came through a familiar face. Jordan Smylie, who’s started this season in blistering form, latched onto a through ball and placed his shot cooly past the keeper.
The Mariners could smell blood in the air and pushed hard in the search for more goals. They didn’t have to wait long before Charles William got on the end of a sumptuous cross from Jack Kuipers to double the Mariners’ advantage.
Two goals down and the Tigers’ defence looked devoid of ideas of how to handle a slick Mariner’s outfit. Just when coach Jason Eagar thought it couldn’t get any worse before half-time, Jordan Smylie got brought down in the box leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
Kyle Johnson stepped up and dispatched the ball confidently into the bottom corner of the goals. Three goals in an entertaining half of football and all three points looked to be heading back up the M1.
The Tigers showed glimpses of promise in the second half but the Mariners defended stoutly, denying the intelligent late runs into the box from the Tigers’ midfielders. One final nail in the Tigers’ coffin was delivered on 83 minutes as Amer Abdullah scampered the ball home after a scramble in the box. A humble Jason Eagar admitted that the Mariners deserved all three points.
“We didn’t step up and match them in terms of quality with and without the ball – they were too good for us”.
For the Mariners, this impressive victory is just another step in a positive direction as the club looks to improve both in quality and their position on the competition table.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers (2) vs St George FC (0)
Can anyone stop the Rangers?
Sitting 3 points clear at the top of the table, comfortable in the fact that they’ve already beaten two of their three closest rivals.
This match was billed as an opportunity for football fans to get a true indication as to whether Mt Druitt are the real deal this season.
Wins over Macarthur and Canterbury Bankstown are to be expected but St George, many people’s favourites to earn promotion from the NPL 2 this season – surely Mt Druitt’s run ends here.
An outstanding performance between the sticks from Carlos Saliadarre, coupled with another goal from the enigmatic striker Kuag Reec and a sucker-punch goal from Hiten Satoh delivered a statement victory for the Rangers.
Most impressive in this match was Mt Druitt’s ability to keep the Spanish Bandidos quiet.
Juan Carlos Heras Romero and Raul Beneit Romero have been giving opposition defenders nightmares all season, but aside from the odd shot in anger, Mt Druitt kept a previously raging St George attack, as quiet as a mouse.
The cheers of joy from the Mt Druitt players at full-time will still be ringing in the ears of the St George players and they will no doubt remember that as fuel for revenge the next time these two sides meet.
Mt Druitt vs St George Round 1 has been completed.
We look forward to Round 2.
This isn’t over.
Western Sydney Wanderers (2) vs Rydalmere Lions (0)
The drought is finally over.
Three games is hardly a drought to bring back the infamous water-restrictions many of us adhered to in the mid 2000s, but its a big enough drought to cause a few sleepless nights for the coaching staff of the young Wanderers side.
Thankfully for the Wanderers a heroic displayed by Lachlan Scott, allowed for the side finally add some well needed points to the competition ladder.
Despite being overlooked for the Wanderers A-League side, Scott’s consistency with the back of the net thus far in the the NPL 2 Men’s will do great things for not only his team, but himself in the long haul that is the 2018 season.
The Lions came into this match missing 5 first team players due to injury and illness and the situation worsened midway through the first half when defender Alex Sopina was forced off the field.
The Wanderers made the most of this re-shuffle at the back, Scott finding himself in acres of space to score a well-executed header midway through the first half.
Rydalmere threatened to equalise through Michael Konestabo and Mitchell Gibbs, but were unable to hit the target.
Despite the pressure from Rydalmere, the Wanderers managed to kill off the game towards the end of the second half when Scott grabbed his second of the game after a typically clinical cross from Abraham Majok.
These two have formed a lethal combination and Wanderers fans will be hoping they lead their team to success in Red & Black this season.
Rydalmere’s season of inconsistency continues.
A 4-1 rout of Parramatta in Round 3 followed up by a 2-0 defeat here means the Lions match against a resurgent Canterbury Bankstown takes on a whole new level of meaning next week as they look to build a solid platform for survival in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.
Canterbury Bankstown (1) vs Hills United (3)
From the outside looking in, Branko Culina and the Canterbury Bankstown Berries looks like a match made in heaven.
Branko brings a wealth of experience to a club that has been treading water for years, and now looked to be finally drowning.
But sometimes the biggest ships take a while to turn and it looks as though this ship won’t be doing a 180 any time soon.
Things looked to be changing for the Berries when they scored their first goal of the season after 19 minutes.
Former coach and enduring hero, Perry Moustakas, ghosted in at the back post to nod the ball home following a well-worked set piece opportunity.
Hills were shocked into life and looked to respond quickly.
However the Berries continued to hold firm, exhibiting defensive solidarity hitherto unseen in season 2018.
Finally Berries’ resistance broke on the stroke of half-time when a team move – that began with the goal keeper – found perpetual danger man Fogarty in space who slid the ball across the 6 yard box for Glen Kelshaw to convert from close range.
Frustratingly for Branko Culina, instructions for his team to kill the game as the clock ticked towards half time fell on deaf ears as his team conceded again, just 60 seconds later.
This time Kelshaw turned provider for Fogarty, supplying a perfectly weighted cross for Fogarty who rose above his marker to thump home.
An incredible turn around for the Brumbies who bounded into the dressing rooms filled with renewed confidence.
Canterbury Bankstown, on the other hand, trudged off dejected. A sight seen far too frequently for supporters of the Berries this season.
Despite the flurry of action on the stroke of half time, both sides struggled to create genuine chances in the second period.
But the outstanding moment of the match came towards the end of the second half when Greg Giovenali thundered a spectacular volley into the net from 18 yards, securing an important three points for a Hills side that climb into the finals’ places on the table.
Parramatta FC (1) vs Mounties Wanderers (4)
Oprah Winfrey used to be famous for her generous giveaways. ‘You get a car! You get a car! You all get a car!’
Often audience members would look under their seats to find surprise gifts and donations stuck there awaiting the recipients grateful discovery. But this season, the generous giveaways occurring at Melita Stadium are beginning to rival this once-great television show.
Four games thus far in season 2018 and each time, the visiting team has walked away with – not a car – but precious competition points.
St George in Round 1.
Hills United in Round 2.
Rydalmere took all three in Round 3.
And now the Mounties in Round 4.
It’s worrying times for Parramatta FC who famously struggled in the NPL 1 in 2017 and now look to have brought their woes with them into the NPL 2.
A devastating loss at home to cap off an embarrassing week for the Eagles.
Conversely, the Mounties are riding high, who followed up their 3-0 midweek win over Spirit with an outstanding team performance at Melita Stadium.
Goals to Stjepan Paric, Reid Taylor, Mitchell Davidson, and Matthew West was enough for the Mounties to record their biggest win of the season.
Parramatta’s lone strike to Neram Yalda was the only highlight in a dreary night for the Eagles who have now failed to win any of the first four games of the season – all of which have come at home.
Home may be where the heart is for Parramatta FC but it’s not where the points are and they will be desperate to bounce back next week when they travel to Blacktown Spartans.
Spirit FC (5) vs Blacktown Spartans (0)
A truly 5-star performance from Spirit FC who found the perfect antidote to their midweek defeat against Mounties with an emphatic victory over the Blacktown Spartans.
Emilio Manos, making the most of his first start of the season, kicked off the scoring in this match after he collected the ball just outside the box, danced past a defender and slotted the ball past the despairing keeper.
Blacktown didn’t seem fazed by going behind, as they continued to play the patient, possession based football coach Luis Contigiani is trying to implement in the side.
However it was the build up play of Spirit FC that really caught the eye on 30 minutes as Michael Streeter capitalised on a great run to finish well from inside the box.
Sadly for the Spartans things got worse before the gracious reprieve of the half time whistle arrived.
Emilio Manos, who was causing havoc in the Spartan backline, got brought down in the box.
Kevin Lopes, who is making a one-man assault on the golden boot, stepped up and did what every single person at the ground expected.
3-0 at half-time and it looked to be all over for a dispirited Spartan side.
To their credit, Blacktown showed more promise in the second half, forcing Romic into some excellent saves.
However, they couldn’t find the crucial goal to get back into the game.
And on 70 minutes, the game finally proved to be out of their reach when Kevin Lopes added to his burgeoning goal tally for the season with a classy finish.
The night’s work for the scorer wasn’t over just yet as substitute Ahmed Sweedan got in on the action, making the most of a disorganised Spartan defence to put some icing on one delicious David Perkovic cake.
The win sees Spirit keep pace with the big boys at the top while the Spartans slip perilously close to trouble at the foot of the table.
Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty