Round 11 – National Premier Leagues Men’s 2 Review

There was wild weather in much of the country this weekend but it was raining goals in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s in Round 11 as we saw an astonishing 37 goals scored across just 7 games.

 

Match of the Round:

Central Coast Mariners vs North Shore Mariners

Are we looking at the competition’s new favourites?

After an emphatic win over Mt Druitt and a derby-day-delight against their academy brothers, the Central Coast Mariners are looking like the real deal in 2018.

Despite their tender age, the Central Coast players looked comfortable in possession, knocking the ball around with ease as the North Shore players were reduced to chasing shadows at Pluim Park.

Although for all their silky passing, Ken Schembri’s men took the lead from a set-piece.

A well-directed corner routine found the head of Lewis Miller who out-jumped Maunder in goals and guided his shot into the top corner of the net.

Following the goal, the game became increasingly stretched.

North Shore tried to find space out wide as the Central Coast midfield refused to allow them any space in the centre of the park.

A rare venture into the middle of the field from North Shore allowed diminutive midfielder Joshua Nisbet to poke his toe into a challenge, turning possession over in favour of the home side. The ball spilled out to Peter Kekeris who played a long ball through to Emmanuel Peters up front. Peters collected the ball, cut inside on his right foot, sent his opposing defender for an ice-cream, and arrowed a shot into the bottom left corner of the goals.

Just minutes later, Peters had his second of the game.

Peter Kekeris showed audacious skill to dance past a defender whose boots had turned to roller-blades, and play a cheeky pass inside the box to Peters who somehow squeezed a shot through three defenders that bobbled just inside the far post.

The North Shore defenders had no answers to the menacing runs of Peters up front and, with only 45 minutes played, the game looked to be over already.

Moments before the interval, the home side silenced any lingering questions over a possible North Shore comeback when a sloppy give away in the middle of the park resulted in a quick Coast counter attack. On the break, Abdullah’s cross found the head of Charles William whose shot fell fortuitously into the path of Alec Vinci who had the easiest of finishes, poking the ball into the back of the net.

The North Shore players trudged off at half-time, devastated that there was still another 45 minutes to be played.

Their pain was eased slightly just minutes into the second period when Rosano scored a sweetly taken diving header.

Although another moment to forget at the back caused further heart-break for the visiting North Shore boys.

A night-mare give away from the Mariners’ defender fell into the path of Kekeris – whose step overs wouldn’t look out of place in a Ronaldo highlight reel on YouTube – before the wizardry winger lifted his shot over the onrushing keeper and into the vacant goal – much to the delight of the ball-boy who was waiting to give his idol a high-five.

Not content with their 4 goal lead, the home side sealed their resounding victory when Peters completed his hat-trick, pouncing on a long ball before jinking around the keeper and rolling the ball into an empty net.

A horrible night for the North Shore Mariners who were undoubtedly second-best to a team that is growing in confidence and performance every week.

Despite lying in third on the table, the Central Coast Mariners are many people’s favourites to secure promotion to the NPL 1, as all three grades continue to blossom under the experienced leadership of Ken Schembri.

 

MATCH STATS

Saturday 12th May 2018 –  Pluim Park

Central Coast Mariners 6 (Peters x3, Miller, Kekeris, Vinci)

North Shore Mariners 1 (Rosano)

Central Coast Mariners: J. Greenwood, Q. Cheng, L. Miller, M. Glassock, J. Nisbet, E. Peters, M. Paz, C. William, P. Kekeris, Z. Forsyth, A. Vinci, B. Belkadi, A. Abdullah, A. Pearce, M. Hatch.

North Shore Mariners: D. Maunder, R. Smahel, C. Lindsay, J. Scott, R. Woodward, B. Jamba, C. Rosano, M. Smith, F. Ankumah-Sey, J. Mbakwe, D. Saric. A. Davis, L. Jones, J. Wilde

 

GHFA Spirit FC 0 vs Mt Druitt Rangers 4

Ah, this is the Mt Druitt we’ve come to expect.

Goals galore, determined defence, wonderful wins.

After a shock defeat to the Central Coast Mariners last weekend, business as usual resumed for the Rangers in an emphatic 4-0 victory over Spirit FC.

The Christie curse continues for Spirit FC who are 0-3 at their new home.

Hiten Satoh has been in superb goal-scoring form this season and continued in that vein in this match, showing electric pace to get in behind the defensive line and blast his shot past the keeper.

The luck of the Irish was with David O’Leary minutes later when he sent his corner sailing over the heads of onrushing players and into the net.

Incredibly, Emmanuel Gonzalez has scored a goal-a-game this season and maintained that astonishing feat in this game, scoring two goals either side of half-time to seal all three points for the Aidan Desmond’s side.

David Perkovic could only look on in frustration as his side suffered their third straight defeat to slide further down the table – 5 points outside the finals’ places.

 

Macarthur Rams 2 vs Western Sydney Wanderers 7

As they Western Sydney Wanderers boys lined up in the McDonald’s drive-thru on Saturday night, there was one order they had on their minds.

“Three McDoubles please”.

A tasty McDouble to captain Kosta Grozos, John Roberts and Mohamed Adam, plus a solitary goal to Lachlan Scott, was enough for Western Sydney Wanderers to feast on three points against a miserable Macarthur Rams side on Saturday night.

The scoring got underway in just the 4th minute of the game as Grozos combined well with Scott before slotting the ball past the keeper.

Grozos has been in superb goalscoring form in recent weeks and a goal so early in this game was an ominous sign for the Rams.

The Wanderers doubled their lead just 5 minutes later when John Roberts whipped in a dangerous cross into the box and Mohamed Adam showed great awareness to get on the end of it and direct the ball into the goal.

It looked as though the Wanderers were going to run away with the game but a quick reply from the home side through Eli Squillacioti dragged the Rams back into the contest.

The Rams were piling on the pressure following their goal but as they committed men forward, the Wanderers found space on a blistering counter attack and re-instated their two-goal lead as Roberts pounced on a spilled shot from the keeper to slam the ball into the net.

On the stroke of half-time the Wanderers put the result beyond doubt.

Roberts found Grozos in space who did well to control a shot and guide it past the despairing keeper.

Trailing 4-1 at the break, the second half was an opportunity for the Rams to restore some pride and repay the Lynwood Park faithful who had braved the icy chill to watch their team play.

The Rams began restoring this pride just 8 minutes after the restart as Mark Symington scored his 7th of the season.

Although for all their renewed determination, a pivotal moment in the 65th minute would end the Rams’ chances in the game.

Lachlan Scott was dragged to the ground after beating the keeper and the referee had no hesitation in dismissing the Ram’s defender.

Scott stepped up to convert the penalty and, trailing 5-2 with 10 men, the Rams’ looked dead and buried.

There was still time for John Roberts and Mohamed Adam to complete their double and take the score-line out to an emphatic 7-2 victory that sees the Wanderers cement their spot inside the top 6 places and leaves the Rams’ entrenched to bottom of the table.

 

Northern Tigers 1 vs St George 5

Few have breached the walls of North Turramurra Recreation Area but St George showed no signs of timidity as they thumped the Tigers 5-1 to cling onto second spot on the table.

Juan Carlos Romero opened the scoring for the Saints as he hit a first time shot into the back of the net after a marauding run on the wing from Jordan Morfitis.

Proving he his human after all, Juan Carlos Romero missed a golden chance to extend his side’s lead as Tigers’ keeper Tonu Liiband won the battle of wits to keep out Romero’s penalty.

Rory Spiers has been a shining light for the Tigers this season and he continued his good form in this match, levelling the scorers just minutes after Romero’s missed penalty.

It looked like the scores would be level at the break but Jordan Morfitis had a different opinion as he collected a through ball from Hussein Akil and placed his shot past the keeper.

There was still time in the half for Morfitis to score a second, latching onto a long ball, turning his defender inside out and thumping the ball into the back of the net.

Desperate to force their way back into the game, the Tigers came out in the second half with a ferocious appetite.

Although for all their possession, they couldn’t threaten the St George goal.

One man who does know how to threaten the goal is Juan Carlos Romero and the lethal forward score his second and his team’s fourth of the game on 57 minutes after being tee’d up from his fellow Spanish Bandido, Raul Romero.

With the result beyond doubt, the game settled into a rhythm of patient possession on a cold, drizzly night on the upper North Shore.

However 5 minutes from the end, St George capped off the scoring when Anthony Morabito was on hand to tap the ball into the net following a spill from Liiband in goals.

Another impressive result for St George but with the transfer market opening soon and whispers of players departing, it could be a long, arduous road ahead for Savor’s Saints.

 

Mounties Wanderers 4 vs Rydalmere Lions 5

Lightning does strike twice.

Rarely in a season do we see a match finish 5-4.

Even more rarely do we see it happen twice, to the same team.

Although for Mounties Wanderers, lightning has struck twice, losing two games 5-4 in less than a month.

Rydalmere raced to a two goal lead at half-time, thanks to Zak Elrich and a stunning Mitchell Gibbs volley.

The message in the Mounties dressing room highlighted the need to be the first team to score in the second half and that’s exactly what the Wanderers did just 3 minutes into the second period.

Despite the wave of Mounties momentum, Rydalmere managed to wrestle back control of the contest as Zak Elrich scored his second of the match.

Rydalmere’s 3-1 lead wasn’t to last long however, as Mounties scored two goals in two minutes to level the scores.

Both sides attack with an equal measure of desperation and determination as the clock ticked towards full-time but it was Rydalmere who broke the deadlock.

Mitchell Gibbs showed us his bag of tricks for the second time in the match as he fired a bullet of a shot into the roof of the net following a brilliant Ahmad Elrich pass.

The Lions looked to have sealed all three points just two minutes later when Amaury Gauthier tapped home from close range but a frantic final minute saw Mounties snatch a goal back and then almost stun everyone in the ground with an unbelievable equaliser.

As the referee’s whistle blew and Tony Basha’s heart rate returned to a normal range, the Lions coaching staff were able to reflect on a very important three points against a resurgent Mounties side.

 

Parramatta FC 1 vs Canterbury Bankstown 1

Football can break your heart.

On Sunday night, in almost the last kick of the match, football broke hundreds of hearts inside Melita Stadium.

Holding desperately onto a 1-0 lead, the Eagles looked to be heading towards a much needed victory to stave off an unfathomable relegation.

Although as Richard Darko thrashed the ball into the back of the net, an audible gloom fell upon the despondent crowd.

After a tight first half with little to separate the two sides, both coaches were quick to stress the importance of finding the opening goal in a match that was proving to offer little goal-mouth action.

It would be the Eagles who found the opening goal, as Yasser Al-Taay pounced in the 60th minute.

As the game inched towards full-time, the Melita crowd grew in nerves as wave after wave of Berries’ attack searched relentlessly for an equaliser.

Too many times this season Parramatta have dropped points at home in games they should have won. And this fact seemed to weigh heavily on the minds and legs of the Eagles players as they struggled to control the ball in possession, allowing the Berries to attack their tiring defence once more.

It looked as though Parramatta may stumble over the finish line as the game entered stoppage time but, cruelly for the home side, Richard Darko’s 93rd minute strike robbed them of a much-needed three points.

For Branko Culina and his team, it was a deserved point for the effort his team showed in chasing the equaliser and extends the Berries’ streak to three games undefeated.

Parramatta coach Leo Carle was left cursing his luck in a season that is doing everything but going according to plan.

 

Blacktown Spartans 0 vs Hills United 0

It seems Spartans and Hills were the only two teams that didn’t get the memo.

With goals flying in all over the grounds in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s this weekend, a 0-0 draw is almost as rare as a white rhino.

However with their first clean sheet for 5 games and a much needed point for the Spartans who draw level on points with Macarthur Rams at the bottom of the table.

Hills United came into this match on the back of three straight wins and would’ve expected to extend that run to four.

But a surprisingly stubborn Spartans’ defence held firm to deny United the three points they were looking for to hold onto second spot on the table.

The frustration of Luke McGuire and Hills’ fans in their failure to to collect another victory is compounded by the fact the teams around them on the table collected three points in their respective games.

Interestingly, McGuire blamed the poor result on one man.

Himself.

“The boys played well but I stuffed up tactically and it cost us three points!”, lamented McGuire.

For Spartans’ coach, Nick Porreca, it was a promising result after working hard on the training ground to improve his team’s defence.

The result should give Spartans’ fans encouragement as they look to avoid the dreaded drop in season 2018.

 

Source FNSW - By Ryan Latty