State League Division 1 Round 5 Review


State League 1 Round 5 Match of the Round
Dulwich Hill v Schofields Scorpions
The match between Dulwich Hill and Schofields Scorpions at Arlington Oval on Saturday night had just about everything you could wish for in a football match.
Intensity, aggression, yellow and red cards, goals, a super free kick, a penalty miss, and a great comeback by the visitors, all keeping the watching spectators on their toes on a cool night for football.
Dulwich Hill came into the match on the back on a midweek scoreless draw against Balmain SC, and boasted the best defensive record in the division with just the solitary goal penetrating their backline.
Skipper James was missing through illness, and young Paradisis was cooling his heels on the bench, as Dully took to the field hoping to maintain their position atop the Division One ladder.
The visiting Scorpions were missing a few regulars themselves, hoping to get back on the winning track following a defeat at their last outing against the Spartans.
Just as the spectators were taking their seats, Dully almost scored what would?ve been the quickest goal this season after merely 30 seconds or so. Experienced campaigner Norman Tome lobbed a beautiful pass over the Scorpions defence, and Messam ran onto it before lobbing the ball himself over the advancing Schofields keeper, Akers. Alas, the ball bounced wide of the goal and the visitors escaped with a early warning.
 On 9 minutes Dully was at it again, with Mihajlovic and Messam exchanging passes on the edge of the box, the former going down in the penalty area. But referee, Mr David Christie, waived away the claims, cautioning Mihajlovic in the process for his protests.
Schofields took a while to weather the initial Dully onslaught, and had their first real opportunity in the 14th minute. Infanti received the ball out near the left touchline, cut inside Dully defenders Chahine and Rao, before ballooning his shot from just inside the penalty area.

Within a minute Dulwich Hill almost took the lead, when Mihajlovic unleashed a piledriver of a free kick from fully 30 yards that swerved and dipped as it was spilled by Akers, the Schofields keeper. Dully midfielder Frost was first to the rebound, cracking a low shot from an acute angle that was also parried by Akers.
Seemingly against the run of play, Schofields then had a great chance to take the lead on 18 minutes when Dulwich defender Rao was adjudged to have handballed inside the penalty area.
Division One top goalscorer, Glenn McPherson, hit his penalty low, but Dulwich Hill keeper, Sestak, was equal to the task as he brilliantly dived to his right to make the save.
A nasty incident on the half hour threatened to boil over as Dulwich Hill keeper Sestak aimed to take a standard high ball just inside his six yard box. Schofields Infanti?s challenge was forceful to say the least, Sestak ending up inside his goalnet, ball and all, as players from both sides raced in to join the fracas. Referee Mr Christie immediately restored order, cautioning Infanti and Dully?s Bove in the aftermath.
The incident seemed to inspire Dully?s skipper Bove, who pulled a rabbit out of the hat with a super free kick just minutes before half time to give the home side a deserved lead.
Great free kicks are few and rare indeed, and there is nothing better than seeing a set piece beautifully executed.
Almost 25 yards out to the right of centre, Bove jinked his run-up to expertly whip the ball over the wall and into the far corner of the goal, wrongfooting Akers who expected the ball at the near side.
Dully coach Mark Strachan would?ve been content to see out the final seconds of the half, his team deservedly in front, but it all came unstuck with an unsavoury incident right on the break.
Reacting to some alleged foulplay ?behind the scenes?, experienced ex-NSL striker Norman Tome retaliated and was sent for an early shower for violent conduct, an act which is very unorthodox for the usually calm and composed Tome.
Mr Christie then shrieked his whistle, bringing an end to an eventful first half full of incidents for the spectators, the home side deservedly in front and hoping to carry on in the second period.
A warning bell sounded for the Scorpions just three minutes into the second half when an inswinging corner by Bove was met by the charging Frost, his firm header deflecting over when it had goal written all over it.
Schofields didn?t heed the warning and a few minutes later it was another great corner by Dully, this time curled in high and over the Schofields defence by Mihajlovic. Tall striker Messam met it at the far post to crack in a firm volley and put the home side 2-0 up.
That was enough for the traveling Scorpions, and they made a double substitution just before the hour mark which was eventually to pay dividends.
Delaney and McMahon went straight into attacking roles, and their speed and determination put Dully on the back foot for the last half hour.
Dulwich Hill had been down to ten men since half time, and had played a tough midweek game against Balmain, so something had to give, and the Scorpions made them pay as they sniffed the game was there for the taking with their opponent back tracking quickly.
After some increased pressure, Schofields finally breathed some life into the game on 73 minutes.
A couple of tough challenges on Bove in the centre of the park went unpunished, and saw the ball spill loose. Substitute Delaney was onto it quick as you like, eventually rifling the ball low past the stranded Sestak in the Dully goal to make it 1-2.
Four minutes later, and the Scorpions were on level terms, that man Delaney again in the midst of the action. A short corner was cut back to Delaney, well outside the penalty box, and he instantly whipped over a curling cross, swerving high and dropping behind the Dully defence towards the far post. Harrington had made the run forward, and met the cross perfectly to smack a low shot from a tight angle into the far side netting, making it 2-2.
Rather than sit on the result and take a point each, credit to both sides for pushing men forward to snatch a win, which in turn meant their defences were stretched in the final minutes. Both teams made their last subs, and both teams had opportunities to grab the three points.
On 84 minutes, a quickfire attack resulted in Dully?s Chahine cracking a high shot from just inside the box, Schofields?s keeper Akers saving well at the second attempt.
Just sixty seconds later and Schofield?s substitute McMahon used his pace to race onto a long diagonal ball behind the Dully defence. McMahon steadied before his attempted lob was brilliantly saved by Dully keeper Sestak, also at the second attempt.
Right on fulltime Dully substitute Philippou almost grabbed the winner, curling a great shot from 20 yards just past the upright with Akers scrambling.
Referee Mr Christie, who had a great game, keeping tight control of any unsavoury incidents, finally blew the full time whistle, bringing an end to an entertaining match full of plenty of action for the spectators.
Schofields captain, Scott Tyrrell, was pleased with his team?s comeback on the night ?
?We were ordinary in the first half, lacking intensity, but their red card, plus the impact of our subs, lifted the boys, and we almost grabbed a winner in the end,? said Tyrrell.
Dulwich Hill skipper, Rafael Bove, was disappointed to drop points but content with his team?s overall effort ? ?I thought we started well, dominating and controlling the game in the first half, mainly because we were pressing them high up the pitch,? said Bove.
?The sending off definitely had an impact, and they picked up some momentum, but  given the fact we were backing up, and had some experienced guys out tonight, I am proud of the team?s efforts,? said a proud Bove.
 For Dulwich Hill, goalkeeper Sestak was brilliant, and you can see why Dully have only leaked a few goals this season. He was quick off his line, many a time playing like a sweeper to clear the danger, courageous and commanding in his penalty area, and agile enough to pull off a great penalty save.
Skipper Bove was all class in the centre of midfield, directing traffic with some effective distribution, leading his troops around the park, and scoring a brilliant free kick worth the entrance fee alone.
Strikers Mihajlovic and Messam also did very well to show they will be a menace this season. Mihajlovic held the ball up well, and showed great technical skills weaving in and around the attacking third. Messam was a constant thorn with his height and strength, always working hard to either get into scoring positions, or just putting the Scorpions defence under constant pressure.
For Schofields, Hubbard and Tyrrell were solid in the centre of defence, winning many a tackle to stop the Dully attack. McCaffery was his usual busy self in the midfield, biting in the tackles and always energetic in his running and general workrate.
Substitute Delaney also made an effective impact coming off the bench in the last half hour, scoring one goal and assisting in the other, effectively grabbing his team a valuable point.
Match Stats
DULWICH HILL SC 2     (Bove 42?, Messam 52?)
SCHOFIELD SCORPIONS 2      (Delaney 73?, Harrington 77?)
Saturday, April 18, at Arlington Oval, Dulwich Hill
Referee ? Mr.David Christie
Referee?s Assistants ? Mr.George Mpliokas & Mr.Andrew Crowe
DULWICH HILL SC ; 1.P.Sestak, 25.M.Chahine, 15.B.Burrows, 20.A.Rao, 6.A.Scicluna, 35.D.Krstevski(9.N.Philippou 79?), 18.M.Frost, 5.R.Bove (capt), 7.N.Tome, 10.D.Mihajlovic(19.N.Paradisis 80?), 8.S.Messam(38.M.Pinto 74?)
Subs not used ?39. K.Perestrelo.
SCHOFIELDS SCORPIONS ;1. P.Akers, 17.P.Hubbard, 12.T.Harrington, 13.S.Tyrrell (capt), 8.F.Daglis (3.D.McMahon 59?), 10.M.McCaffery, 19.T.Aitken, 4.D.Southern, 5.L.Infanti (7.M.Hubbard 79?), 11.T.Macrea (9.L.Delaney 57?), 14.G.McPherson.
Subs not used ? 2.D.Southern, RGK.R.Greenway.

After an unexpected and unscheduled extended break, Division One was back in action on Saturday evening with four matches in total, one of them being the game at Arlington Oval covered in our main report.
Blacktown Spartans went to the top of the ladder with a tough 2-1 home win over Sydney Wanderers at Francis Park.
Blacktown?s sharpshooting striker Wand Jajaw did the damage with a brace of goals, scoring in the 20th and 67th minutes, sandwiching a reply from Wanderers? Daniel Borg on 55 minutes.
That?s three wins from four matches for the Spartans, a fantastic start to 2009, whilst the Wanderers remain in mid table following their second loss of the season.
No goals at Cook Park as high flying Mounties FC failed to score for the first time in a 0-0 home draw against Balmain SC.
Mounties are still well placed on 7 points, with two games in hand on some teams, and will hope to take maximum points from the catch up games and go to the top of the ladder.
As for Balmain, they are fast becoming the draw specialists, with their fourth draw from five games this year, three of them scoreless.
Balmain do have the best defence in the division this far, conceding only the two goals, and are proving a solid and well structured team to play against. On the other hand, they have managed to score just the solitary goal, and no doubt are missing the services of injured Johhny Buonavoglia, who may have turned these one pointers into three.
In the final match of the evening, Hills Brumbies and Stanmore Hawks played out a scoreless draw at Second Ponds Oval.
The point moved both clubs up to 4 points on the ladder, but both would?ve been disappointed not to have picked up the win with a spot in the top half beckoning.
Sunday afternoon entertained two fixtures, with UNSW springing somewhat of a surprise by holding Inter Lions to a 1-1 draw at David Phillips Field.
Lloyd grabbed the goal for UNSW, whilst Jacob Dimento scored for the Lions as the teams shared the points.
The point keeps UNSW off the bottom, but they will be keen to start winning some games in order to not have to spend the season fighting relegation.
Despite the draw, Inter Lions have moved to third spot on the ladder, and will take solace from the fact that they are within striking distance of the leaders.
In the final match of the round, Fairfield City Lions and Hurstville ZSC drew 2-2 at Norford Park No.2 in an entertaining game.
The home side went on the attack early, and went in front when Ongel scored in the 13th minute. Veteran Nabil Codmani scored his fourth goal of 2009 on the hour to put the Lions 2-0 up.
But Hurstville ZSC snapped into gear, and youngster Stefan Perak pulled one back on 62 minutes, before an own goal five minutes from time gave the visitors a welcome point.
Both clubs have conceded goals this year into double figures, an area they will no doubt be focusing on in the coming weeks so as they try to move away from the wrong end of the ladder.
-By Frank Speranza