We were graced with another competitive and unpredictable round of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s with goals left, right and centre and matches keeping us on edge until the final whistle.
Match of the Round: Blacktown Spartans vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers
There was barely enough time to get comfortable before the Blacktown Spartans opened the scoring, sending the home crowd roaring, and a sense of purpose surging from the men in orange and black.
Just minutes into the game, playing out short and sharp from a goal kick, they broke hard and fast down the right wing, catching Rangers off guard. The attack resulted in a sharp cutback to Boyadjian who held of his defender to meet the ball first and direct his shot into the far corner.
Their only lead in the game would only last a meagre 10 minutes.
Mt Druitt then shaped up and took advantage of midfield space with a direct diagonal ball finding Darkoh, who showed blistering pace to beat his man and fire a menacing cross, met by Gonzalez who neatly side footed the ball into the back of the net.
From then on Rangers went on the attack and began to take a hold of the game, as they have done so successfully all year.
Both teams battled hard through the midfield and it was a bit of luck that saw Rangers go ahead. Utilising the full width of the pitch, Satoh fired a deep cross to the back post where Gullo struck a volley with some serious spin. The ball headed goal bound and looked to be pushed away by Nascimben, only for the ball to hit the ground and spin back into the net.
Then as the half time break loomed, Blacktown conceded again, when a the visitors corner from O’Leary whipped past everyone and directly into the side netting sending the visitors into the break with a 2 goal lead.
Coming out of the sheds after the break it seemed coach Nick Porreca’s words in the dressing room spurred his lads into action, and you could feel his men march back out onto the field with intensity and purpose.
Just minutes after the restart the home side grabbed a goal back when a deep cross found Boyadjian whose header across goal recycled possession to his winger who then cut back to Crevani who calmly slotted home.
The game then continued it’s back and forth action, and with the visitors still in the lead and full of confidence. Rangers playmaker O’Leary, fired a menacing volley just wide and Gonzalez rifled a shot into the post and out. It began to be a question of how many more chances would Spartans survive.
That said, the hosts were not far from an equaliser, as main threat Boyadjian, time after time using quick feet and strength on the ball led to him firing several shots testing Rangers keeper. A goal was coming.
In a frantic last 5 minutes Blacktown piled on the pressure and Boyadjian finally looked to have earnt the home side a well-deserved point after he was brought down in the box.
His penalty was fired hard and low, though was read by Saliadarre who dived low to his right and held onto the shot.
The game not over, the home side kept up the attack, raising questions of Rangers defensive resolve, but the league leaders proved their resilience.
At the end of the battle, the Blacktown Spartans were defeated but not dead yet, displaying the fight they will need to keep them away from the wooden spoon, whilst the Mt Druitt Town Rangers walked off with another 3 points and a few more finger tips on the Premiership.
Saturday 21st July 2018, Blacktown Football Park
Blacktown Spartans 2 (A. Boyadjian, P. Crevani)
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 3 (E. Gonzalez, D. Gullo, D. O’Leary)
Blacktown Spartans: D. Akol, G. Awac, B. Bezzina, A. Boyadjian, H. Brown, P. Crevani, M. Donatiello, J. Kerr, J. Letta, M. Lucic, A. Messina, A. Pecora, N. Sansom, C. Torrelli, A. Voloder, D. Nascimben
Mt Druitt Town Rangers: L. Clifford, M. Clowes, L. Darkoh, O. Edosomwan, E. Gonzalez, B. Griffin-Colls, L. Grima, D. Gullo, C. Kermack, D. O’Leary, H. Satoh, N. Trimble, J. Veljovic, A. Vlismas, K. Vlismas, C. Saliadarre
Central Coast Mariners 3 vs. Western Sydney Wanderers 0
When the boys in yellow and navy struck after 2 minutes into the game, it was always going to be tough for the Wanderers to get into the game.
A cross from Kyle Johnson was met by Emmanuel Peters who hit the target to put the hosts up.
The game would carry on in a bit of a scramble with both teams unable to capitalise and gain a foothold. The home side looking the most threatening, missed a few chances that on another day would have been taken.
Finally, the game began to settle and the Wanderers, only a goal down found their groove and worked their way back into the match. Still despite the pressure from the lads in red and black, the home side maintained their slim lead.
At the midpoint through the second half, Katsoulis’ picked out Charles William who took his chance and doubled the Mariners advantage.
With only stoppage time remaining, Katsoulis provided the assist again, this time for Kyle Johnson who netted, giving the Mariners a deserved win. The Wanderers must now turn to the drawing board and come up with a quick solution if they are to fight for a finals berth.
GHFA Spirit FC 4 vs. Parramatta FC 4
8 goals. 2 red cards. 1 saved penalty. Last second equaliser.
What a game.
Christie Park played host to a game for the memory bank, which ran full of highlights from the first whistle down to the wire.
Parramatta broke the deadlock early when Yalda hit the target after a great pass from Abou Serhal. 7 minutes in and you could feel the early pressure mounting on Spirit.
Only minutes later, Lecce doubled Parramatta’s lead, firing his shot home past the keeper.
2-0 after less than 10 minutes?! Where has this Parramatta intensity been all season?
The goals didn’t stop there.
Spirit’s Matthew West stamped his authority on the match pulling one back for the hosts a minute later.
Then after some great individual play from Andre Carle, who then found West, saw him fire home his second and level the game at 2-2.
Parramatta found the extra gear and surged forward towards scoring a goal to put them in front.
From an indirect free-kick in the box they took the lead once again. Jasli somehow curled his shot through the oncoming rush of yellow shirts and into the far corner.
Then just as the first half loomed to put a stop on play, Parramatta were given an opportunity to put a stranglehold on the game. Spirit’s Cornwell was sent off and Parramatta were awarded a penalty.
Up stepped Yalda who fired hard to his left.
Fizzing toward goal, Spirit’s number one Romic dove the right way and with strong hands fended off the shot.
Half-time and finally a chance to catch a breath.
Play would resume with neither side making good on their chances until the closing stages of the match.
With just under 5 minutes to go, Lecce grabbed his second for Parramatta with a beautiful lob over the keeper, putting the visitors up 4-2. Surely the game was over.
Not yet. This is the NPL 2 and it’s never over until the final whistle.
With only 10 men on the field Spirit lifted their game.
A minute later, super sub Sweedan smashed home a superb strike from outside the box to give hope to the home side.
Then in the dying embers of the game West looked to be through on goal but was brought down resulting in Musgrave receiving his marching orders.
With just about the last kick of the game, West’s free kick was parried by Giglio but Johnstone racing in on goal was first to react and slam home a last second equaliser.
Mounties Wanderers 2 vs. North Shore Mariners 0
There would be no 9-goal thriller this time around as Mounties coach Terry Palapanis got his tactics spot on and his side took all 3 points to keep in touch for a spot in the finals.
The Mariners looked to be strong and dangerous in their play in the final third, with some effective direct play almost giving the visitors the lead.
Both sides had plenty of chances to score but the first half ended a stalemate, each team scratching their heads looking for the answer.
It was not until halfway through the second half a goal was struck, when the hosts got their lead. Bruno Pivato netted after some great build up play and Mounties would then take control on the game.
Nearing the final 5 minutes Mounties doubled their lead and put the game to bed. After some nice build up play down the right wing, Schmidt was teed up and hit the target, putting the nail in the coffin.
Macarthur Rams 0 vs. Hills United 0
Surprisingly this was the only fixture this week that did not feature any goals.
Stalemate. Unfortunately the result helps neither team.
Both teams had so much to play for but neither could find the spark to give them the lead.
Rams were unable to conjure up the magic from the past 2 fixtures and still find themselves in pole position to claim the wooden spoon.
Hills on the other hand drop out of the top 6 and if they want to make the finals will need to begin to play with serious intent.
Northern Tigers 2 vs. Canterbury Bankstown 0
In an evenly contested match, the Tigers work-rate and a bit of luck paid off.
Midway through the first half the hosts took the lead when Joel Hardwick fired in a freekick which was spilt, leaving Lachlan Lloyd to pounce on the loose ball.
Berries kept themselves in the game but did themselves no favours by turning the ball into the own net off a corner gifting the hosts a second goal with just under 15 minutes to go.
The match continued to hold held even but the end result was sealed, the Tigers claiming the spoils and jumping up to 5th on the ladder.
Rydalmere Lions 1 vs. St George 3
Rydalmere will be rueing their missed opportunities after starting the match as the stronger team. It seemed after the first 20 minutes the Lions would take the lead with Fofanah and Stewart coming achingly close.
It was not to be and the young home side, lacking some experience, allowed the visitors to come to life.
The Saints, utilised effective interplay between the forward line in the front third to devastating effect, tearing apart the Lions defence. They took a well deserved advantage into the half-time break after Romero scored putting the visitors up one goal to the good.
At the return of the match it was more of the same from the Saints, constantly picking apart the Lions defence who looked at times a little flat. Morabito doubled the visitors lead midway through the second half and the Saints looked in the box seat to cruise home.
If not for Lions goalkeeper Harrick Sinpraseuth, who kept the hosts in the game with some fine saves, the score line would read much more favourably to the Saints.
Backed by the home fans and youthful legs still full of energy, finally the Lions were rewarded for their efforts after Konestabo grabbed one back late and led the push for an equaliser.
This time around there would be no last minute equaliser and the Saints were awarded a penalty in added time which was tucked away by Akil to put the game to bed.
Source FNSW website - By Marcus Flottmann