Half way there!
At the close of Round 13, the season only has become more interesting with results that have spiced up the quest for end of season football.
Match of the Round – Northern Tigers v Central Coast Mariners Academy
Northern Tigers picked up all three points on the road against the Mariners and kept well within the hunt for the top six.
The match began with the hosts looking fluid and in control over the ball, making effective runs in and around the Tigers defence.
It wasn’t long until the first chance popped up and it fell at the feet of Shervin Adeli who snapped a shot from the edge of the box on the turn, sliding it just wide of the post.
Central Coast responded and Dylan Ruiz-Diaz was at the forefront eager to breakthrough, signalling his intent by firing over the bar and then cutback to Kyle Johnson in waiting. He should have done more with his shot only able to hit Tigers keeper Tonu Liiband in the breadbasket.
Tigers were beginning to build momentum after the opening exchanges and it seemed that in form Josh Swadling was going to do the damage. His free kick from the edge of the box seemed to wrong foot Aidan Munford and was heading for the far post. The Mariners shot stopper recovered and made a great diving save.
The momentum shifted in favour of the visitors and they were able to press their hosts into mistakes and reclaim possession, mounting more and more attacks.
When the Mariners did get free, Matthew Hatch was the most effective outlet down the left wing and should have picked up an assist or two with dangerous balls across the box, only for no teammate able to make the final connection.
Half-time was just about to be blown and at last the scoring was opened. A long goal kick was flicked on by Josh Swadling to Shervin Adeli who then squared the ball back to Swadling. From the edge of the box, he took aim and picked out the bottom corner.
A sucker punch to the hosts and a huge boost for the Tigers.
Out from the sheds the Tigers came out looking for more goals to put the game to bed and went close minutes after the restart when Shervin Adeli rifled from the edge of the box, skimming the outside of the post.
Chances were appearing at both ends and Central Coast had another golden opportunity to score after a cutback beat everyone, including the two unmarked men in yellow and navy.
Despite the often scrappy affair, the Mariners were maintaining a good share of possession, though they struggled to make decisive moves in the final third.
It allowed the resilient Tigers to form up a solid defensive end and with time on their side they began to pick their battles including a header from the middle of the box which fly just over the bar just ten minutes from time.
The home side were now playing a little erratic in search of an equaliser, the flow of the entire match chopping and changing at both ends.
Time was just about up when the Tigers scored their second, a wicked ball into the box forced Mariners Alec Vinci to knock it into his own net.
If the two goals was not enough the visitors almost had a third as Rhys Williams fired a driven shot from the edge of the area, on the end of a tough day Aidan Munford was still up to the challenge and deflected the shot brilliantly.
The full-time whistle shortly followed ending another competitive battle, the Tigers making the trip back down the motorway with cheers all round.
Central Coast Mariners FC 0
Northern Tigers FC 2 (J.Swadling, A.Vinci o.g.)
Central Coast Mariners FC: B. Belkadi, N. Faust, Z. Hart, M. Hatch, J. Jevtic, K. Johnson, M. Katsoulis, L. Miller, D. Ruiz-Diaz, J. Smylie, A. Taouil, A. Vinci, A. Munford
Northern Tigers FC: S. Adeli, J. Bachelard, A. Brown, J. Ferrier, W. Foristal, J. Hardwick, N. Kalogerou, T. Liiband, L. Lloyd, J. Lobb, L. Mcconaghy, J. Swadling, B. Taylor, M. Warner, O. Wiggin, R. Williams
Blacktown Spartans FC 0 vs. St George FC 2
For most periods it was an evenly matched contest and Spartans will be ruing they did not convert, as St George capitalised and secured the points.
Lachlan Rose and Josh Orchard had the best of the potential goals for the home side and saw hands on heads as they went begging. Marcus Beattie popping up in the right moment netted minutes before half-time to sway the match in the visitors favour.
The Saints out of the sheds were content and composed with their lead, forcing the home side to work double to try and get back into the match. Shun Tokuno fired a shot that rattled the crossbar and the Spartans narrowed in, though as they chased hard for an equaliser, ultimately it would cost them.
Late in the match St George caught them on the break, with the familiar face of Juan Carlos Heras Romero netting to cap off the win.
GHFA Spirit FC 0 vs. North Shore Mariners FC 3
Spirit for the second week in a row took a little stumble and were unable to rally as North Shore pounced with intense action and took the points.
North Shore came out the more comfortable side and it struck the nerves of the home side early on in the match. As the first period progressed, Spirit had the best of the opening stanza with chances to take the lead only to just miss out in a one-on-one and striking the post.
In this league you need to be clinical and ruthless with your chances and soon after North Shore proved why they are sitting on top of the ladder, making the most of their opportunities notching two goals in quick succession before the half-time break.
The second half the visitors were settled and cruising as their hosts at times played a little desperately as they tried to will their way back into the fray. North Shore’s efforts in the first half proved too much and after notching a third with less than twenty to go, it was all over. Both Smiths, Marquin and Mitchell, were on the score sheet again with Joshua Mbakwe also striking the net, the result moving North Shore to the peak of the competition.
Macarthur Rams FC 1 vs. Hills United FC 3
Another competitive outing for Macarthur though they fell to defeat at the hands of another strong Hills performance.
It was a super bright start for the Rams with a wicked move down right wing, the ball was fired into the box to Clement Ebahece Waoci who fired an excellent volley home.
The Rams probably should have had another one or two to their name but could not recreate their early effort, lacking a spark in the final third.
Hills worked their way into the game and began to settle and would produce their own threatening moments, one of which was finished by Jordan Parfait, levelling up the tie.
The second half was again a competitive battle and Macarthur sent forward waves of attacks to break down Hills. The visitors repelling the hosts advances, calmed down and conjured up another chance. Down the right flank Glen Kleshaw had threatened throughout the match and was rewarded for a run forward, latching onto the end of a Daniel Fogarty cutback to score.
Macarthur now chasing the game sent more and more at Hills though the chase for the equaliser would prove futile. Hills capitalising late in the match, Daniel Fogarty the provider again, setting up Jacob Basden who sealed the deal.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 vs. Mounties Wanderers FC 2
In the battle of the Wanderers at Sydney United Sports Centre, it was the men from Mt Pritchard that triumphed.
The youngsters in red and black began quick as they have done so all season and took it to the Mounties defence. Marley Peterson took his goal tally to double figures as he fired from the edge of the area to give the home side the lead.
With their tails up, he and his strike partner Mohamed Adam then fired off rapid attempts to score another, yet were denied by good saves.
Having been unable to double their lead, Mounties then took their chance to get back into the match as Sean Rooney netted his first for the night as half-time loomed.
Golden boot front runner Mohamed Adam went agonisingly close yet again, yet his shot thundered off the crossbar.
Having been at the mercy of their opponents efforts, Mounties experienced attacking threats assembled and Sean Rooney was on hand again to net his second and give the visitors the lead.
Chances would pop up again and again for Western Sydney and it seemed they would finally even up the tie as Mohamed Adam and Marley Peterson went close again.
Time was running low as Mounties were awarded a penalty to seal the deal, yet Jack Greenwood between the sticks made an impressive save, an exciting end to proceedings.
Canterbury Bankstown FC 3 vs. Rydalmere Lions FC 1
A Zac Elrich double and another from Jake Bradshaw was enough to finally earn Canterbury their first win of the season.
Having signed some new names to bolster their squad, it seemed to do the trick and they got off to a great start scoring the opening goal.
Not to be outdone, the Lions produced their own efforts and it was no surprise that they struck back just before half time, Mitchell Gibbs once again doing the damage.
The second period played out much as the first, a good battle for supremacy in the match.
Canterbury though, unlike they have done so before this season, took the most of their chances and scored two in quick succession with less than twenty to play to secure and savour victory.
St George City FA 2 vs. Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 0
Alvaro Malmierca and Tacettin Kumsuz hit the back of the net to produce perhaps City’s biggest win of the season to date.
Bonnyrigg have been on a steady rise back into the mix for finals football and once again came out ready to play and pick up more points.
They would shortly find themselves chasing the game as City, on a high from last week’s win, started quicker and netted within the first ten minutes.
Bonnyrigg were presenting a constant threat with dangerous balls in behind and across goal, yet oddly they were unable to convert. To make things harder for the visitors, City struck again minutes before the first period ended.
Lacking some personnel, the home side rallied for the second half and dug deep. In front of the home fans, City produced an impressive second half effort to nullify the visitors efforts at goal and pick up one of the big wins of the weekend.
NPL 2 Chief Writer – Marcus Flottmann
Twitter – @MarcusFlottmann
Source FNSW website