Division 1 Round Nine Review


Stanmore Hawks took advantage of Inter Lions? slip up by creeping just that little bit closer with a 3-0 away victory against Mounties FC. The win at Cook Park has put them in third place on 16 points, three behind Inter with a game in hand.
Top goal scorer Chavez was the difference, grabbing a hatrick with goals in the 15th, 77th and 80th minutes, taking his tally to 9 for the season. It also means that he has scored 75% of his team?s goals in 2008!
But Stanmore have built their rise up the ladder on the back of a rock hard backline, conceding just 5 goals this season to have the best defence in the competition.
If it?s goals you want to see, then Blacktown Spartans are the team to watch, as they continued the trend with an exciting 4-3 away victory over Sydney Wanderers.
The Spartans never say die approach saw them come back from 0-2 and 2-3 down to record another valuable three points on the road, this time at Hajduk Stadium.
Gibson and Froio scored goals in the 26th and 31st minutes to give the Wanderers a 2-0 half time lead, but Todd and McPherson scored early in the second half to put the Spartans level.
Sydney Wanderers then hit the front when Mansueto scored in the 77th minute, but the Spartans grabbed all three points with late goals by Todd (87?, his second) and Infanti (89?).
Dulwich Hill have crept quietly up the ladder, and are now in sixth position on 12 points, but with two valuable games in hand, following a win over the weekend.
On Saturday night they accounted for a stubborn Hurstville ZSC with a 2-1 victory, after coming back from 0-1 down early. It was Terkes who put Hurstville in front on 15 minutes, before Biviano equalized for Dully just five minutes later.
Young striker Paradisis then gave Dulwich Hill the spoils with a winning goal after 70 minutes, his 5th of the season.
At Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon, Hurstville City Minotaurs upset Schofield Scorpions with a 2-0 home win.
The goals came from Iliopoulos in the 3rd minute, and Albayati in the 89th.
In the final match of the round, Hills Brumbies and UNSW played out a 1-1 draw at Second Ponds Oval on Sunday. Bajic got the Brumbies off to a flying start by scoring in just the 2nd minute, but Aspland equalized for UNSW after 17 minutes, and that?s the way it stayed until fulltime.


Christie Park, North Ryde was the venue on Saturday night for the Division One match of the year so far, pitting together the two remaining undefeated teams, home side Spirit FC, and visitors Inter Lions.
Going into the match, Inter Lions were sitting atop the ladder with 19 points, with Spirit FC second, on 17 points, and hoping to win in front of their home fans and take over the top rung.
Inter Lions happily welcomed back Lachlan Wright from overseas national futsal duty, and he took the armband from skipper Adrian Vizzari, who was rested as he recovered from an injury obtained from the same trip.
The evening air was crisp, temperatures were low, and the dew had settled on the pitch, as both teams lined up like two heavyweights ready for a slugfest, about wrestle the crown from the other.
The tackles were flying in the opening minutes, and referee Sandro Perticarini was busy keeping the emotions in check.
As early as the 3rd minute, Spirit striker Papanicolaou broke free from his marker to crack a low shot towards goal, only for the Inter keeper, Papianni, to save at his near post.
Spirit?s chances of victory then suffered an early double setback within minutes of each other.
After just 8 minutes, Spirit midfielder and ex-Socceroo, Jason van Blerk, was sensationally sent off after a rash challenge on Lachlan Wright in the centre circle, reducing his team to ten men with 82 minutes still to play.
On 18 minutes Spirit lost yet another one of their main weapons, with top goalscorer Tim Simpson falling prey to a hamstring injury and being substituted by Daniel Findlay.
However, seconds before the substitution, Spirit took a surprise lead with a brilliant team goal.
A free kick in the centre circle was chipped by Nicolaou out to Kethel , unmarked on the left touchline. Kethel directed the ball forward with his chest before firing a first time, half volleyed cross along the edge of the box.
Stocky striker Papanicolaou met the ball with his chest, letting it drop, before hitting a left foot volley on the half turn which dipped over Papaianni in the Inter goal to put Spirit in front.
The lead lasted only four minutes before Inter Lions equalized with a goal worthy of the admission price alone. Cole made a run towards the Spirit goal and was fouled on the corner of the right hand side of the penalty box. Lachlan Wright waited till the dust had settled, before taking two steps, and whipping a ripper of a free kick over the stunned wall and past the helpless Nelson into the corner of the Spirit net, sending the travelling Inter fans into a frenzy.
After 37 minutes, the enthusiastic Tony Panuccio of Inter lobbed a free kick over the wall and into the box, where Cole?s flick shot with the outside of his boot brought out a brilliant finger tip save from Nelson to deny the Lion?s midfielder.
A quick counter attack by Spirit brought about an opportunity for substitute Findlay, who blasted over from an acute angle after he had latched onto a stray ball played into the box.
The half time whistle blew, with both teams deadlocked at 1-1, and eager for a breather, after a hectic opening period which produced the expected thrills and spills of a top of the table match.
The second period commenced with just as much vigour as the first, both teams eager to take the ascendancy and go for the jugular.
On 65 minutes, a corner kick reached Storey at the far end of the penalty box, and he squared the ball after skinning a defender. Lachlan Wright controlled the ball inside the box, before a swift swivel and snapshot produced a brilliant save from the unsighted Nelson in the Spirit goal.
Inter once again almost took the lead after 69 minutes, when a run down the left hand side of the box by Sansone ended with a delicate cross to Cklamouski. His header flashed wide of the goal but reached Cole at the far post, and his scrambled shot was diverted for a corner off a defender?s legs.
During the first half hour of the second period, Spirit FC had a number of half hearted penalty claims waived away by the referee, Sandro Perticarini, but he eventually pointed to the spot when Toscano was adjudged to have upended Papanicolaou as he raced into the box towards the goal line.
Tough tackling defender Cunningham took on the responsibility, smacking his penalty high into the Inter Lions net to put ten-man Spirit in front 2-1.
Two minutes later and Spirit?s young substitute, Rob Morrison, made a lightning run down the right flank, expertly delivering a low cross back along the edge of the box, only for the onrushing De Kelly to blast his shot well over the cross bar.
Inter?s Lachlan Wright had been starved of the ball in the second half, but on 78 minutes, he tracked back to retrieve it from midfield, raced forward, before releasing Cole, who took a touch as he reached the edge of the box and blasted the ball wide of the mark.
Papanicolaou then put the game out of Inter?s reach with his second, and Spirit?s third, goal of the match, in the 89th minute. The big striker stole possession about 35 yards out from goal, and easily beat two defenders in a slalom run into the box, before unleashing a left footed piledriver past the hapless Papaianni in the Inter goal.
Inter Lions were not finished, and it was that man again, Wright, that created their second goal. As he set up a free kick on the edge of the Spirit penalty area, the anxious home side set up a wall of defenders, including one on the goal line next to the keeper, in an effort to stop a repeat of his first goal.
But Wright had noticed a team mate unmarked at the far post, and simply passed his free kick low for Fragassi to stroke home from a few yards out, and pull a goal back for Inter on 90 minutes.
In the final, frenzied five minutes of injury time, Inter threw everything forward in one last ditch attempt to salvage something from the game. Storey, who had earlier been booked for a scuffle with Kethel in back play, received his second booking and subsequent marching orders when he clipped Ciano?s ankles in a tackle from behind.
But Spirit held on grimly, and their 3-2 victory means they jump their opponent and puts them top of the competition ladder.
Spirit coach, Claudio Canosa, would?ve been thrilled with the win, especially after losing two of their main players in Van Blerk and Simpson so early, and playing almost the entire match with ten men.
Inter Lions coach, Ernesto Meduri, was philosophical in defeat?. ?I was proud of my boys for their effort today, and even though we lost, it was tough match, it is a very long season, and we?ll bounce back, I?m sure?, said Meduri.
A tired Lachlan Wright gave Spirit credit for their win .. ?We needed to show a little more composure and try to slow the game down, but credit to Spirit, they defended better with 10 men rather than 11!?
Spirit?s two goal hero, Leo Papanicolaou, was beaming after the match ? ?We showed some real ticker out there, after going down to ten men, and this win will give us the confidence we need to go on and win the competition?.
Best players on the night for Inter Lions were Lachlan Wright, scoring one goal and setting up another, a number 10 who oozes class whenever he has the ball, and is always dangerous when close to goal ; Tony Panuccio, a busy midfielder, who just never stopped working, motoring up and down the field as he covered every blade of grass ; and young Jacob Dimento, who, after backing up after half a game in the U/20s, also worked tirelessly in the midfield all night.
For the home side, and victors, Spirit FC ; Cunningham and skipper Nicolaou, who jointly were  rock hard in the centre of defence, showing some real bite in their tackles ; keeper Nelson, a good shot stopper who kept Spirit in the game with some telling saves at crucial times in the match ; and man-of-the-match, striker Papanicolaou, who scored two goals, won the penalty for the third, and a real menace for the Inter defence, with his strength, speed, and stamina, until the very end.
Match Stats
SPIRIT FC 3 (Papanicolaou 18?/89?, Cunningham 73?pen  )
INTER LIONS 2 (Wright 22?, Fragassi 90?)
Spirit FC; 1. Nelson, 18. Cunningham, 4. Nicolaou ?, 13. Ciano, 9. Simpson (11. Findlay 17?, 29. Cao 71?), 17. Van Blerk, 5. Littlebury, 20. Papanicolaou, 6. Peatey (27. Morrison 71?), 3. De Kelly, 8. Kethel.
Subs not used; 12.Gray, 40.Jambazian.
Inter Lions ; 1.Papaianni, 2. Dimento, 3. Skufries, 4. Sansone, 5. Toscano, 6. Fragassi, 7. Cole, 8. Cklamouski, 9. Storey, 10. Wright ?, 11. Panuccio.
Subs not used;  12.Dimitropoulos, 13. Perri, 14, Crocco, 15. Bruno, RGK.Gullotta.
 -By Frank Speranza