The streak is over, old enemies re-ignite past duels, the battle at the bottom gets more intense than ever before – these are some of the headlines emerging out of another incredible round of football in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s
Match of the Round: GHFA Spirit FC vs Hills United
Hills United FC has produced a stunning comeback, scoring late twice to force a 2-2 draw against a frustrated GHFA Spirit FC team, at a chilly Christie Park.
For the majority of the contest, GHFA Spirit FC were in complete control; Andre Carle’s well-taken double had them at the lead in the first half but they wilted late as their inconsistent form continues.
The away team were definitely second best across the park, but the fourth place side continued to push until the final minute, a superb rasping strike from Bradley Robertson gave them hope then Daniel Fogarty gambled at the back post to send the Hills faithful into celebration for a massive point gained.
Looking for back-to-back victories in the league, GHFA Spirit FC started brighter on the ball. Andre Carle was particularly swift with his movements, as he swept past defenders several times and created the best opportunities for the home side.
Hills United FC almost sucker-punched Spirit from a lost ball in midfield. The ball got clipped to Pete Cejka, the hulking striker cut it across the box as Fogarty stabbed it wide.
From there, the rest of the first half belonged to GHFA Spirit. Louis Bozanic went close with a curled effort in the 25th minute as coach Daniel Perkovic urged his side to press on against the Hills defence that looked shaky.
Spirit got their reward two minutes later.
Bright Appiah turned well to lose his defender before he slipped a feathered ball to Carle. The striker remained composed as he arrowed into the left corner, 1-nil to the home side.
It was double delight for Carle in the 38th minute. GHFA Spirit broke quickly and got the ball to their danger man, he took a calm touch before chipping Hills keeper, Luke Turnbull to put Spirit up 2-nil, as they took the spoils headed to the break.
Coming out more energetic after the break, Fogarty almost pulled one back as the pacy attacker strode clear of the broken GHFA Spirit FC defense, but thankfully for them, Tomislav Romic produced a key save to keep their advantage at two.
Mid-season signing for GHFA Spirit Matthew West flicked a ball in the direction of Appiah, the attacker fired low as Turnbull denied him superbly as Hills United FC held on by a thread.
That save spurred on the visitors. Greg Giovenali and Marcus Zarantonello tried to pull one back with long range strikes before Patrick Gatt’s header was deflected wide in the 75th minute, as Hills pushed hard.
It took a moment of individual brilliance to make it 2-1. Bradley Robertson found space down the left, strode past his defender and rifled a whistling effort into the top corner of the net, as the tension at Christie Park ratcheted up.
Deep into injury time, the mood turned dark for GHFA Spirit, as Hills pushed everyone forward for the equaliser. The ball soared through the night sky and it fell perfectly for a gambling Fogarty to slam home at the back post for 2-2.
Afterwards David Perkovic, the GHFA Spirit boss was understandably devastated at the result but found a few positives in the performance.
“I felt that we deserved more out of the game but we didn’t handle the pressure at the end. Credit to Hills that they continued to push and got their reward at the end,” said Perkovic.
“I was never comfortable with a two-goal lead, needed that third to put that nail in the coffin. For us though, we’ve had a rough patch but the last three performances including the FFA cup were positive,”
“We’ll take a point today. It was our first draw of the season and we’ll learn from the last 10-15 minutes in the future,” finished the GHFA Spirit boss.
For Hills United FC Luke McGuire was proud of the fight shown by the side in spite of a tough first half and going two goals behind.
“The boys showed some fighting spirit at the end there. Probably a bit lucky to get the points but we showed the fighting spirit we have at the club,” he finished.
Saturday 2nd June 2018
Christie Park, Macquarie Park
Referee: M. Bailey
Assistant Referees: A Mason & A Hosnani
GHFA Spirit 2 (Carle ’27, ’38)
Hills United 2 (Robertson ’87, Fogarty ’91)
GHFA Spirit: 1. ROMIC Tomislav, 2. ZACHAROPOULOS Louie, 5. ROBERTSON Andrew, 8. CORNWALL Grant, 10. BOZANIC Louis (20. MANOS ’61), 12. APPIAH Bright (23. IRELAND ’71), 14. CARLE Andre, 18. CAPPUCCIO Pasqualino, 21. JOHNSTONE Ryan, 22. DE OLIVEIRA Samuel, 99. WEST Matthew (9. LOPES ’59)
Subs not used: 13. SYRON Mackenzie 19. LOVELL Tom
Hills United: 1. TURNBULL Luke, 5. ZARANTONTELLO Marcus, 6. ROBERTSON Bradley, 7. GIOVENALI Wade (22. LAUBSCHER ’72), 8. MONTFORD Eoin (4. ORMSBY ’13), 11. MERRIN Daine, 15. GATT Patrick, 16. GIOVENALI Gregory, 19. KELSHAW Glen, 44. FOGARTY Daniel, 91. CEJKA Pete
Subs not used: 14. LANGAN Caelan, 45. BASDEN Jacob, 51. YAMMINE Joseph
By Justin Davies
St George 5 vs Parramatta FC 0
Parramatta FC had one shot, one opportunity, to right all the wrongs from Round 1 and prove to us all that they are back in 2018, but in the end they ended up with Mum’s spaghetti all over their sweater.
Despite St George being decimated by suspension and injury, the Eagles weren’t able to bring their good recent form into this game and coach Leo Carle will be concerned with the manner in which his team conceded their goals.
The night belonged to Hussein Akil who took the armband in place of the injured Tarik Ercan.
Akil truly rose to the occasion, netting a hat-trick for his side in a performance that led by example.
Nicholas Paras marked his first start of the season on 17 minutes as he whipped in a delightful free-kick that deceived Stefan Giglio in goals who dived the wrong way.
St George have been hurriedly shopping through this transfer window in search of replacements for the departed Romero’s. And new signing from the Spartans, Matias Da Silva Santos, whipped in a dangerous cross which eventually fell to Akil at the back post who made no mistake with his finish.
Parramatta were their own worst enemy just before the break as an under-hit back pass fell invitingly into the path of Anthony Morabito who skipped around a hapless Giglio in goals and rolled the ball into the net.
For all their fantastic football this season, sometimes the solution to break down a stubborn defence is route one football.
Just ask Big Sam.
Wally Savor would’ve been pleased to see Akil pounce on a long ball, burst past a defender and rifle a shot into the net from the tightest of angles.
It was a fantastic strike from Akil, one that indicated it really was his night to shine in front of the Ilinden crowd.
Although whilst nothing could go wrong for Akil and his St George stars, nothing could go right for Parramatta FC.
This was confirmed inside the final 10 minutes when Akil rounded off an unforgettable night for himself individually and his team collectively with his third goal.
Aleksander Lekoski turned provider, picking out Akil who was never going to miss in front of goal.
A memorable night for St George who will believe they have the ability to put the departures of the Romero Bandidos behind them and consolidate their spot in the top 3.
Parramatta FC would rather forget this match and look forward to putting things right next week against high-flying Hills United.
Macarthur Rams 1 vs Blacktown Spartans 2
For two weeks in a row, Macarthur Rams have lost two crucial matches at home against teams around them on the competition table.
When you lose to the teams around you, very quickly they begin to disappear from view.
One glance at the league standings confirms this.
Macarthur now sit 5 points behind the Spartans who are second last.
Now the Rams really do know how it feels to be left outside alone.
The preview for this match stated that the two men who had the power to decide the outcome for this match were Mark Symington and Alex Boyadjian.
At the end of 90 minutes, it was clear who had won the battle.
The super Spartan scored two scintillating goals either side of half-time to steer his side to a crucial three points.
The first came from the spot on 11 minutes as Boyadjian kept his cool despite the jeers from the home crowd.
Boyadjian made it two shortly after the break when a 10-pass build up play saw Richard Blanco thread Boyadjian through who slotted it past the keeper.
Macarthur managed to pull one back through Simon Valastro just 5 minutes later however and it seemed to spark life into the match.
However for all their huffing and puffing, the Rams just couldn’t blow the Spartans’ house down.
The pressure is really on the Rams now as the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be growing dimmer and dimmer.
Northern Tigers 2 vs Mounties Wanderers 2
A champion team vs a team of champions.
Although nothing could separate them.
The Tigers have built their reputation on fierce, determined teamwork. Whilst the Mounties have assembled a team capable of unnerving any team in the competition.
Captain courageous, Michael Rolston scored the first goal of the night as he blasted the ball home from the penalty spot.
Despite the lead, the Mounties dominated the first half, carving out multiple chances to level the contest.
They finally found that equaliser on 24 minutes when Raul Beneit Romero continued his good goal-scoring form for his new club.
The goal boosted the Wanderers’ confidence and they took the lead 5 minutes later when Alfred Hess scored his first goal for the club.
Although after the break, the game completely changed.
Jason Eagar rallied his troops, imploring them to find an extra gear in an effort to turn the result around.
With his team responded.
The Tigers pushed the ball into the wide areas, looking to get in behind the Mounties’ defence and deliver a telling ball into the box.
Liam Mcconaghy has been the leading man for the Tigers this season, and he scored his 8th of the campaign midway through the second half to bring the scores level.
As the game raced towards full-time, the Mounties were holding on for dear life as a barrage of Tiger attacks almost delivered a winning goal.
However the chances never translated into goals and both sides had to settle for a Desmond Two-Two.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 vs North Shore Mariners 4
No Grozos, no Scott, no Majok – no points for the Wanderers who concede four goals to the North Shore Mariners for the second time this season.
We didn’t have to wait long for the game’s first goal in this match as Chris Lindsay opened the scoring in the 5th minute.
It looked like being a long night for Greenwood in the Wanderers’ goal as the Mariners showed no signs of resting on their one-goal lead.
Although it was the Wanderers who scored next, Marley Peterson capitalising on a defensive mix-up to score on debut.
The game continued to swing from end to end, with Adrian Valenti making a superb goal-saving tackle at one end for the home side, before the Mariners managed to scramble a ball clear from inside their own box when it seemed a man in red and black would smash it home.
The Mariners broke the deadlock shortly before the interval however as James Scott pounced to convert past Greenwood.
In almost a complete mirror of the opening stages of the first half, the Mariners scored inside the opening few minutes.
This time it was Marquin Smith who showed great skill to send Greenwood on an all too familiar walk, back to pick the ball up from the back of the net.
The last time these two met, it was the Wanderers who led before the Mariners came back to snatch a dramatic win.
However there was no miracle comeback in this match as the Mariners sealed all three points 13 minutes from time when Claudio Rosano beat Greenwood for the fourth time in the match.
A tough defeat for the Wanderers who slip close to the edge of the top six with the Northern Tigers and Rydalmere Lions hunting them down.
North Shore continue their win, loss, win, loss form but will need to repeat this performance on a consistent basis if they are to solidify their spot in the top six.
Canterbury Bankstown 0 vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1
Three important points for the Rangers but this match was marred by a horrible incident involving Fijian-international, Alvin Singh.
Canterbury Bankstown looked to unsettle the Rangers’ flowing football with some crunching tackles and relentless pressing but the energy they devoted into stifling the Rangers’ attack eventually left them exposed at the back.
A stray pass looked to be gobbled up by the Canterbury Bankstown keeper but Lachlan Roberts showed electric pace to zip in front of the goalie and sweep the ball into the vacant net.
Moments after the goal however, Alvin Singh suffered a devastating injury, breaking his leg following a crushing tackle.
The game was stopped for 15 minutes while the players and staff waited for the paramedics to arrive and it was clear the gruesome injury had was affecting the distressed Rangers’ players.
After the restart, both sides looked as though football had taken a back seat as all at the Crest Athletic Arena were filled with concern for Singh’s wellbeing.
When the full-time whistle graciously sounded, the Rangers had held on for an important victory, one that sees them extend their lead at the top to 5 points following the Mariners’ defeat to Rydalmere.
Football is important but it doesn’t take precedence to anyone’s wellbeing and all at FNSW wish Alvin a safe and speedy recovery.
Central Coast Mariners 0 vs Rydalmere Lions 2
The streak is over.
After 13 rounds without defeat, the Central Coast Mariners have finally lost.
And, in the unlikeliest of circumstances.
Rydalmere Lions played without fear as they travelled to Pluim Park, exhibiting the very desire to win we have seen the Mariners display this season.
Although whilst the score-line reads two goals to nil, it was the efforts of Harrik in the Rydalmere goal that really earned his side the victory.
Harrik pulled off some terrific saves throughout the match, and each time he managed a miraculous save, it seemed to fill his teammates with the confidence needed to run up the other end and score two fantastic goals of their own.
The two goals were examples of the difference in determination between the two sides.
Victor Anyimba’s goal came after a Mitchell Gibbs’ rocket was parried by Adam Pearce in the Mariners’ goal before Anyimba showed his predatory instincts, getting to the ball first for an easy tap in.
Duncan Stewart also got on the scoresheet for the away side, out-muscling, out-pacing and out-thinking the Mariners’ defender before beating the keeper with a quality finish.
A result that will bring a big smile to the faces of Mt Druitt Rangers and St George FC as the Mariners lose for the first time this season.
Rydalmere prove once more that when they play with courage and concentration, anything is possible. But if they are to sneak their way into the top six, they will need to repeat this performance on a consistent basis – something they’ve struggled to do so far this season.
Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty