It was a weekend of football influenced by the weather, as conditions came into play in more than one fixture.
As the wind howled and howled, it revealed to us the fate of several teams. One round is left of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s, check in now, will your team still be with us?
Match of the Round:
Northern Tigers triumphed in the battle of 7 and 8 on Saturday night, giving them a significant boost on the ladder and confidence heading into the last round of the season.
From the kick off, the home side made the immediate intention to dominate the game and within minutes they had the ball in the back of the net, only for the celebrations to be cut short due to offside.
But as we know, in football, things do not always go to plan.
Hills had barely touched the ball in the first 10 minutes, however they took the lead in the match, shocking the hosts.
A brilliant counter attack led to a defence splitting pass finding Parfait in behind his man. He won the physical battle and fired off a driven shot beating the keeper and into the far bottom corner.
Parfait seemed to be the man to make the difference in the game as he turned provider just minutes later when Hills doubled their lead. Quick on the break again, Parfait out wide on the left-hand side beat his man and fired in a deadly cutback to Rayner who executed the finish beautifully.
The game would begin to open up and chances came and went at both ends of the park.
The excitement would kick in again when the Tigers hit back mid-way through the half. Wiggin produced a moment of brilliance for the hosts after he cut inside from the left wing, creating space for a shot which he then lasered into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
Back and forth the action would run and it seemed Hills would take the 1 goal advantage into the halftime break.
That was until Tigers produced some great interplay in the final third, playing a perfectly weighted ball for Dawson running in behind the defence, who fired his shot back across goal and into the net.
Returning to the field from the sheds, the home side again came out with the more positive intent and within the first minute back forced a fine save from Yammine.
Pressing hard to take the lead, Tigers were looking most threating from set pieces. Indeed, it would be a well worked corner to find Kalogeru in space to nod the hosts into the lead.
Hills were still very much in the match and their quick counter attacks often caught the Tigers with men short at the back, only they were unable to capitalise with each attempt.
The game though continued to be played in the Hills defensive half and the Tigers kept finding more and more ways to break down their defence. It was only the crossbar that denied Dawson a second and meant the visitors still had a chance to snatch back an equaliser.
That equaliser almost came, 10 minutes from time, a ball was played square to Fogarty on the top of the box, who lined up his shot surely to be destined for the net but it screeched inches wide of the post.
It seemed to be the game was up however there was one last change to the scoreboard in injury time. Brown snuck in and won the ball back off a Hills throw-in before charging towards the goal and producing a classy finesse finish to cap off the impressive victory for the Tigers.
Saturday 18th August, North Turramurra Recreation Area
Northern Tigers 4 (Wiggin, Dawson, Kalogeru, Brown)
Hills United 2 (Parfait, Rayner)
Northern Tigers: T. Liiband, A. Brown, J. Craig, L. Dawson, J. Ferrier, A. Hancock, J. Hardwick, N. Kalogerou, L. Lloyd, Z. Morris, M. Stewart, J. Tanner, A. Tayebi Derazkala, B. Taylor, O. Wiggin, T. Ascroft
Hills United: D. Fogarty, J. Geddes, G. Kelshaw, C. Langan, D. Laubscher, D. Merrin, A. Ormsby, J. Parfait, N. Rayner, D. Rezo, B. Robertson, B. Welch, M. Zarantonello, J. Yammine
Central Coast Mariners 2 vs. St George FC 2
It was a game that was tense immediately from the kick off right until the final whistle, with the last kick of the game changing the outcome.
Out of the sheds, the Mariners controlled the game and were eager to get an early lead. Despite having the greater amount of possession, they were unable to capitalise on their chances.
However, with a bit of luck, they would eventually take the lead. A ball was cut back to Katsoulis who fired for goal, taking a deflection and hitting the net.
Throughout much of the first half neither side could muster enough to really threaten the goal and they marched into the sheds for halftime with the hosts still up by 1.
St George returned in the second half with more intensity and the match seemed to turn in their favour. Just when they thought they would break through, they hit a roadblock, reduced to 10 men when Ercan received his second yellow.
The Mariners would gain control of the match again and looked to have doubled their lead when the ball hit the back of the net again. This time though, it was called back due to an offside ruling. St George then took a more aggressive approach and it would pay dividends with 10 minutes left to play. Morfidis was on the end of a through ball and kept composure to slot home the equaliser.
As if the game didn’t have enough tension, on the stroke of 90 minutes, Smylie struck for the hosts, surely giving them the win.
However, a lapse in concentration from the Mariners, allowed St George storm to the other end of the field from the kick off and win a corner. With the last kick of the game, O’Shea rose above the defence and nodded home ending the dramatic contest in a draw.
Blacktown Spartans 1 vs. Rydalmere Lions 1
Spartans got ahead early in the game and will be kicking themselves they didn’t make good on their chances and spoil the Lions finals quest.
The home side grabbed the lead midway through the first half in bizarre fashion when a deflected Lions clearance played in Donatiello who made no mistake and put his shot past the keeper.
The remainder of the first half played out dull in comparison to what would occur when the players returned to the field after the break.
Rydalmere came out with a clear intent to press on in attack but all the chances they created were stopped well by the keeper. It seemed the Lions luck was about to change when Spartans were reduced to 10 men. With the numbers advantage they kept peppering the Spartans defence but to no avail.
Spartans were holding out the Lions well and when Rydalmere had a man sent off to even the numbers at 10 v 10, it seemed they would be able to grab themselves a win.
Unfortunately for Spartans, the even numbers on the park worked in favour for the Lions who eventually scored through Fofanah with less the 10 minutes to go.
In the last minutes of the game both sides were given chances to grab the win. Rydalmere were awarded a gift in the shape of a stoppage time penalty which was sent wide of the target then at the other end of the park, Spartans forced a great diving save from Sinpraseuth and the result wrapped up in a stalemate.
Macarthur Rams 0 vs. Mounties Wanderers 1
A sole goal this time around gave Mounties the victory and put them well within contention to make the finals.
Taking more control of the possession, Mounties made it difficult for the Rams to get themselves into the game. With no changes to the score at halftime something would have to give if either side wanted the win.
Mounties found their winner early in the second half. It was a moment of quality from Davidson, who cut inside and rifled a shot into the back of the net to give the visitors the lead.
Macarthur searched for an equaliser to keep themselves away from the threat of the wooden spoon but were unable to create then capitalise on their opportunities.
The game would open up a little after the goal, but at the end of the day there was no other change to the scoreboard.
Parramatta FC 1 vs. Mt Druitt Town Rangers 5
With relegation all but confirmed, Parramatta had to grab a win to keep any shimmer of hope alive.
They began the match with the right intentions when Lecce produced a quality finish early in the match, stunning the league leaders.
The strike only seemed to wake up the Rangers and a minute later they bounced back and evened it up. A side seemingly destined for promotion, made no more mistakes and would fire 4 more unanswered goals to down the Eagles.
Twice more in the first half the Rangers would score as Clifford dazzled with his dribbling to set up a tap in for Gonzalez then Satoh weaved some magic to produce the assist for Gonzalez again.
If the Eagles thought they had the second half to get back into the game, they were unfortunately proven wrong by the Rangers who continued their rampage.
Gonzalez popping up everywhere turned provider firing in a cross to find Satoh at the far post 10 minutes into the second half.
Finally, a penalty with 20 minutes to go sealed the deal for the Rangers.
Gonzalez playing mind games from the spot again, executed the penalty to perfection, nailing his shot into the top corner.
North Shore Mariners 1 vs. GHFA Spirit FC 1
The last match of the weekend was played in torrid conditions with the wind howling from kick off until full time.
Spirit took it to the hosts early and pressed hard from the outset. The tactic payed off and they had bagged a 3rd minute goal when Carle fired home.
When the game settled somewhat in the first half, it was a tactical switch from the hosts that got them back in the game. Saric switched wings and it worked as he whipped in a cross for Smith who nodded home to even up the tie.
If the teams thought the wind would die down in the second half, they were very wrong as the conditions kept up and only made it more difficult for football to be played.
With both sides unable to get the best of the conditions, the opportunities to grab a winner were limited and the game would eventually end in an even 1-1.