Saturday night football in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW once again brought the action and excitement.
Some big results over the weekend means some interesting moves on the table are made.
Find out who made the most of their chances and came out on top!
Match of the Round
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Canterbury Bankstown FC
Bonnyrigg White Eagles secured another important three points against Canterbury Bankstown FC in an affair with plenty of spills and thrills under new head coach Wayne O’Sullivan.
Each side was forced into quickly adapting to the slippery surface, with players on numerous occasions losing their footing. Despite this, from the outset both had their share of chances.
Canterbury got the first real shot at goal when Nikita Andricopoulos crossed to find Jake Bradshaw, though his header flew marginally over the bar.
Bonnyrigg responded in kind as Asmir Kadric found space in the box and wound up a strike, it too being sent over the bar. He would only miss once before he hit the target, as minutes later he put his side ahead. Richie Darko made a weaving run then slid in a perfect ball to Kadric, who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net.
It was a bit of a gut punch for Canterbury as they were looking to have Bonnyrigg a little uneasy at the back, however, as the game continued Bonnyrigg with the lead began to play with comfort and confidence.
The home side continue to bide their time and refused to press forward unnecessarily, patiently waiting for the opportune moment to strike. Canterbury held strong at the back and limited their opponents advances as best they could, making their own chances on the break to decent effect.
Toshihisa Saikawa was tasked with a tough assignment, yet his energy was one of the main positive lights for the visitors and he was almost rewarded for his efforts as his rose high to head a cross, again though it flew just over the bar.
That rounded out the first period and match was well poised as the second half beckoned.
In need of getting onto the front foot, Canterbury made some positional changes and looked to take a more offensive approach to their hosts. Despite their changes though it was the home side who would take advantage, with more space to run Bonnyrigg were able to counter and conjure up more chances.
Goran Subara was Johnny-on-the-spot to tap home from close range but the celebrations were halted for an offside flag. Canterbury weren’t doing themselves any favours and a poor back-pass played in Gregory Kondek who teed up a strike. Fortunately, Alexander Sopina came to the rescue and his late touch deflected the ball wide of the goal.
Minutes later Kondek had another golden chance to strike having been set up by Amar Adilovic, though with the goal begging to he struck it too firmly and send it over the bar.
Having survived the onslaught Canterbury began to come alive, Aaron D’Mello streaking forward from midfield and rifling off a shot that beat keeper James Chronopoulos but fortunately for the home side struck the post then rebounded out. The resulting corner presented more danger and if not for Chronopoulos’ quick reaction save, the match would have been tied up.
With twenty minutes remaining and play continuing to be a stranglehold, it seemed that Canterbury were beginning to run low on steam. It would lead to David Vrankovic with the next best chance, though as previously in the match, his header flew over the bar. He then unselfishly fed the ball to Aaron Peterson with only the keeper to beat, yet Enol Ordonez-Suarez made one of the saves of the match to deny the goal.
The corner that resulted from the save was almost curled in by Richie Darko then the follow up rebound headed over the bar once again, this one coming from Goran Subara.
That was the tale of the match, so many chances to hit the net, yet the target lay waiting.
David Vrankovic given one last chance to make amends for earlier, his header flying straight and true only to be cleared off the line at the last.
Bonnyrigg ending the match victors against a valiant Canterbury side.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (A. Kadric)
Canterbury Bankstown FC 0
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: D. Vrankovic, J. Chronopoulos, S. Savicic, S. Gallaway, J. Mckenzie, B. Smith, G. Subara, J. Armson, R. Darko, M. Rodic, A. Adilovic, H. Jasli, A. Kadric, A. Peterson, M. Symington, G. Kondek
Canterbury Bankstown FC: C. Andricopoulos, N. Andricopoulos, J. Bradshaw, A. D’Mello, S. Drewery, N. Marco, D. Mcmurray, J. Nicolaou, T. Saikawa, A. Sopina, G. Vagerakas, E. Ordonez Suarez
Blacktown Spartans FC 1 vs. Central Coast Mariners FC 5
Central Coast blew away Spartans on Saturday evening with ruthlessness and clinical finishing to ensure they remain in the hunt for a finals position.
With Spartans scraping together a side it was always going to be difficult yet they peppered the Mariners goal early on setting positive signs for the side. Though within a space of five minutes mid-way through the first half, the Mariners were up three goals to the good.
An own goal kicked off the scoring spree followed by Kyle Johnson and Aidan Taouil hitting the net and the visitors were then in the box seat.
A fourth came shortly before the first period ended as Jordan Smylie notched his first for the night. The score line reflecting a mountain to climb if the comeback was on, Spartans rattled, had to conjure up some magic if they were to make anything of the match.
Whilst they did come out with the intention to get something for their hard work, Jordan Smylie completed his brace shortly after the restart effectively sealing the deal.
Lachlan Rose did notch a goal for the home side and they still produced chances to get back more than a consolation, however the Mariners defensive efforts were outstanding, capping off a strong performance.
Hills United FC 0 vs. St George FC 0
Whilst it wasn’t a win, the Saints can claim their result with Hills as a little win looking at the bigger picture. Picking up points off Hills hasn’t been easy this season and to share the spoils away from home for a side struggling to find wins is a decent outcome.
Hussein Akil thought his goal was one for the good but was denied by a call of offside and Kevin Lopes was unfortunate to strike the crossbar.
Hills had a solid chance with a header from a free kick which was knocked down toward goal, the bounce however to high and ending up just over the bar. They will disappointed that they couldn’t make the best of their opportunities but with both sets of keepers and defenders putting in a top performance ultimately the draw a fair result.
Macarthur Rams FC 1 vs. St George City FA 2
St George City picked up just their third win of the season against the Rams and the result now jumps them above close-town rivals St George Saints. Matthew Mayora and Bill Tsanidis the deciding figures for City leading to both goals.
In a tricky affair, the two sides went hammer and tong at each other through the first stanza, each accruing their share of opportunities. The match was playing out evens and it would seem it would be back to the drawing board as half-time loomed.
Yet, the scores would finally be opened by City, albeit rather fortunately as a Rams defensive deflection turned the ball into the own net during injury time, the perfect way to end the half for City.
The goal shifted the match momentum to City and they capitalised by scoring quickly after the restart, heaping the pressure on the poor scoring Rams.
Try as they might, Macarthur were unable to break through, City looking comfortable on and off the ball as the clock dwindled down.
With time running out and the game still to chase, the Rams looked to the bench for some sort of revival. Up stepped Jamie Dib, who turned super sub in a matter of minutes after coming on. With striker’s instinct kicking in, he surged toward the box and pounced on a defensive error, before deftly lifting his strike over the keeper with precision.
The Rams raced the clock for an equaliser yet it would be the end of the ninety that won the race confirming three points went home with City.
Northern Tigers FC 1 vs. Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1
It was a classic NPL 2 battle between the Tigers and the Wanderers and no surprises the spoils were shared.
The first half was relatively even, with each side able to break into stride and make attempts at goal, the Wanderers narrowing in after striking the crossbar twice. Though moments before the half-time whistle, Shervin Adeli banged home from a free kick to give the Tigers momentum heading in to the second period.
With the sides retuning for the second period, the Wanderers seemed to lose their grove yet maintained a good control of possession
Tigers continued to hold their ground, but perhaps it was a move that invited a little too much pressure as ultimately, the Wanderers who only had eyes for goal found an equaliser.
Marley Peterson beating the clock and fired home late, securing a point for the Wanderers and the sides settling for evens after a tough affair.
Mounties Wanderers FC 2 vs. GHFA Spirit FC 0
Big front man Tai Smith secured a quick fire first half brace for Mounties and the lads from Mt Pritchard held their lead for the remainder of the match to secure an important three points heading towards mid-season.
The early counter was the trick for Mounties and they caught Spirit off-guard, able to penetrate and make the most of their early chances.
Having conceded early Spirit worked hard to gain a grip in the game and would hold the majority of possession. With all their possession though they lacked a little decisiveness in the final third which would see their opportunities go begging.
Mounties defensive line putting in one of their better performances this season to ensure they kept a clean sheet and secure the win.
Rydalmere Lions FC 1 vs. North Shore Mariners FC 3
North Shore had Smith to once again thank for filling the highlight reel, yet on this occasion it was not the one at the top of the golden boot race. Marquin Smith firing a fantastic hat-trick to give his side another win and secure second place on the ladder.
It was a super-hot start by the Lions, as Aaron Avery was wheeling away in celebration just as five minutes hit the clock. The first period was some of the best football Chris Camilleri side has played and with the side brimming in confidence the outlook was all positive for the second half.
The second half whistle blew and that was all shut down in a matter of seconds as almost immediately North Shore pounced on a defensive mistake and levelling up the tie. Knocking the wind out of the hosts, North Shore continued with their tails up and it was no surprise to see them take the lead with just over twenty to play.
Rydalmere did not abandon all hope and it appeared they had recovered when they hit the net for a second time, yet their goal was called back for offside. With the chase on to get back into the match, it took a toll on the Lions as North Shore held steady.
Given another chance, Marquin Smith capped off his impressive outing by completing his hat-trick, punishing the Lions and condemning them to contend with defeat.
NPL 2 Chief Writer – Marcus Flottmann
Twitter – @MarcusFlottmann
Source FNSW website