Match of the Round
Mounties FC v Hurstville ZSC
?MOUNTIES CLAW BACK TO SNATCH DRAW?
Despite the crisp evening air, local support were out in numbers at Cook Park, Mount Pritchard on Saturday evening as the home side, Mounties FC, hosted bottom placed Hurstville ZSC.
Both clubs were backing up from midweek catch up games, with Mounties hoping to emulate their 4-1 thrashing of Hills Brumbies with a similar goal fest against the cellar dwellers.
Hurstville ZSC came into the match knowing their 0-1 loss to competition leaders Blacktown Spartans was an improved performance, and wanted to build on that to try and score an upset first victory of the season.
The visitors started like a house on fire, and set the cat amongst the pigeons with two goals in the first five minutes.
After receiving the ball in at his feet inside the box, Hurstville?s big burly striker, Stiven Kostanic, controlled the leather, calmly strolled around Mounties experienced defender Scott Baillie, and expertly slipped the ball past the helpless Mounties keeper Costa to put the visitors one up.
Thirty seconds later, and Hurstville won possession, playing a long ball to Kostanic just over the half way line. The big striker swiveled and played a super through ball to young Perak, who had instantly taken off in a dash downfield behind the stranded defence.
Receiving the ball on the run, Perak took a touch before he was fouled inside the penalty box, and referee Mr.Tom Klein had no hesitation in awarding the penalty.
Kostanic duly dispatched the spot kick, low and hard to the keeper?s right, with Costa guessing the right way but beaten by the force and speed of the shot.
Perak tried to carry on, but eventually limped off minutes later with an ankle injury following the initial challenge.
So five minutes in, and Hurstville were remarkably two goals to the good, looking for their first three points of the season.
Mounties FC had been stung into action by the opening minutes of mayhem, and would look to pick up some intensity as they tried to get back into the match as quickly as possible.
Skipper McCann had the Mounties first attempt on goal on 11 minutes, hitting well over the cross bar from outside the penalty area after making space for the shot.
Then the experienced Baillie headed over on 16 minutes after McCann had crossed a free kick from out on the right, as the Mounties began lifting the tempo.
Mounties eventually reduced the deficit just on the half hour mark, when Biviano, who had been kept relatively quiet until that point, twisted and weaved his way down the right wing before whipping over a great cross towards the near post.
Pint sized striker Baldock reached the ball ahead of the Hurstville defence to thump his header past Piccione and pull a goal back for the home side.
Defying his years, Baldock was wreaking havoc for the Hurstville defence with his energetic running, and won his team a penalty just before half time with a courageous effort.
A high ball was played into the penalty area, and Baldock was dwarfed by Hurstville keeper, Piccione, as he attempted to win a header.
Not fazed, Baldock challenged the keeper with all of his small frame, forcing a spillage, and in his attempts to retrieve the ball was adjudged to have been fouled by Piccione, amongst fierce protests by the Hurstville players.
Hurstville keeper Piccione composed himself enough to save the penalty brilliantly, diving to his left to deny the unfortunate Orcajo, who?s shot was low but lacked conviction.
Young referee Mr. Tom Klein, who incidentally was having a strong game on debut in the top flight, blew his half time whistle right on cue, with the traveling fans the happier given Hurstville?s 2-1 lead.
Mounties coaching staff of Aidan Desmond and Glen Lockhart would have welcomed the opportunity to talk to their troops, looking no doubt for a better start to the second period, and greater composure when in the attacking third.
Hurstville?s player coach Vlado Zoric would also have welcomed the opportunity to give his team a break, as they were under the pump leading into half time with the Mounties picking up momentum.
And it was the Mounties that came out firing, putting Hurstville on the ropes with some increased energy in their game.
Minutes into the second half, that man Baldock wriggled his way into the box, firing a vicious volley from an acute angle that was parried by the ever alert Ciccione in the Hurstville goal.
Sixty seconds later and the duel between the two continued when Piccione was quickly off his line to save at the feet of Baldock who had raced into the box in an attempt to reach a through ball.
It was during this sustained period of pressure from the home side that Hurstville could?ve grabbed a third goal against the run of play, and possibly put the Mounties to the sword.
Kostanic found himself with the ball some 25 yards out, and with Mounties keeper Costa stranded off his line, the striker produced an expert lob that was heading for the net.
Mounties defender Baillie had followed the shot, and somehow cleared the ball from underneath the cross bar with a crisp volley to keep the home side in the game.
The tackles were fierce and had a little bite as both sets of midfielders tried valiantly to win possession in the middle of the park, with the referee, Mr.Tom Klein, needing to issue numerous cautions to keep a lid on the battle.
Just after the hour point of the match, Hurstville substitute Zoric hit a stinging volley from the 20 yards that dipped over Piccione and flew into the net, but alas, team mate Kostanic was adjudged off side in the build up and the goal was disallowed.
Mounties kept up the tempo, and substitute Noro was brought on and added some old fashioned, direct wing play which started opening up opportunities.
Tresoglavic almost pulled it level when he cracked a 20 yarder on 75 minutes that was brilliantly tipped around the post by the busy Piccone in the Hurstville goal.
Something had to give under the sustained pressure from the home side, and give it did, with Noro at the centre of it with some great wing play before cutting the ball back from the by line.
If there is one striker that you would want to be on the end of a cut back, it is Biviano, and he duly and clinically cracked a low shot past Piccione to deservedly equalize for the Mounties.
The final few minutes saw the visitors desperately hanging on for a point, amidst some further cautions from both teams as players threw lone last roll of the dice to try and snag a win.
But the game finished 2-2, with both sides probably a little disappointed with a point given the circumstances.
Mounties would have had to have been happy that they clawed their way back from an early 0-2 deficit to grab a draw, but would?ve been expecting a win going into the match.
Hurstville surely would?ve taken a point going into the match, but no doubt would?ve been disappointed not to take all three points given their amazing start to the game.
Mounties striker Greg Baldock said we haven?t seen the best of his team just yet. ?We have a great team on paper, and are still learning to play together, so we need a little more time to jell,? said Baldock.
?Training has been good, we?ve got a great club behind the team, and we do have a real belief that we can do well. We are definitely aiming for promotion,? added Baldock.
Hurstville?s assistant coach, Dalibor Kolak, was pleased with his team?s improved performances of the last few days.
?We have recovered from some recent off field issues, and losing a couple of main players through injury and suspension, and played a lot better midweek (0-1 loss to Blacktown Spartans) and today,? said Kolak.
He added, ?credit to Mounties, they stayed composed, even when they went 0-2 down, and came back to get a draw. But we have to focus on keeping our discipline and concentration, and I am sure we will climb towards mid table very soon.?
For the home side, Mounties FC, best on the day were ; striker Baldock was his usual busy self, full of energy and running, causing havoc by throwing himself into challenges, and being rewarded with a goal?I am not sure why he was substituted so early, but I?m certain Hurstville were glad to see the back of him ; skipper McCann was in everything in the middle of the park, fiercely competitive, trying valiantly to keep his team on their toes and pushing forward ; central defenders Baillie and Provan were commanding in the air, strong in the tackle, and, apart from the opening five minutes, kept Hurstville at bay time and time again.
For the visiting Hurstville ZSC, best were ; two-goal striker Kostanic, a Viduka-like, old fashioned centre forward with strength and courage, able to hold the ball up well, and with effective service will continue to get goals for his team ; captain Zoric, who has all the skill and composure on the ball of a number 10, and provides his team with the creativity going forward ; keeper Piccione, who kept his team in the contest with some great saves throughout, including a penalty, and was ever alert to clear the danger whenever Mounties attacked.
MOUNTIES FC 2 (Baldock 30?, Biviano 81?)
HURSTVILLE ZSC 2 (Kostanic 3?/5?)
Saturday, May 2, at Cook Park, Mt Pritchard
Referee ? Mr.Tom Klein
Referee?s Assistants ? Mr.Dale Fuda & Mr.David Ward
MOUNTIES FC ; 21.A.Costa, 42.S.Baillie, 16.D.Provan, 3.J.Savage, 10.G.Orcajo, 9.M.Viera, 18.D.McCann (capt), 13.G.Foti(11.M.Noro 62?), 6.S.Biviano, 4.G.Baldock(5.J.Bruni 56?), 14.S.Tresoglavic(20.C.Care 77?).
Subs not used ?17.F.Pellegrino, RGK.O.Lovell.
HURSTVILLE ZSC ; 1. A.Piccione, 4.D.Jurleta, 13.N.Smith, 15.M.Susic, 12.R.Jukic , 5.L.Leon(8.A.Brajkovic 84?), 6..N.Simic, 7.Y.Tayebi (16.A.Karla 66?), 10.S.Zoric (capt), 9.S.Perak(14.Z.Rosic 20?) , 11.S.Kostanic.
Subs not used ? 17.A.Majetic, RGK.L.Puljic.
DIVISION ONE REVIEW ? Round Seven
Dulwich Hill ? Sydney Wanderers 3-1
Dulwich Hill upped the ante on Saturday night at Arlington Oval with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Sydney Wanderers.
Dully came firing out of the blocks with a goal in the first minute from Philippou, and striker Mihajlovic doubled their advantage on 14 minutes to send the home fans into raptures.
The Wanderers regained composure to pull a goal back from Gibson just before the half hour mark, his third goal in two games within days of each other.
Despite some intense action in the second period, it wasn?t until injury time that the final goal of the match came, and it was that man again Philippou who did the damage for Dully, completing his brace for the evening.
The win puts Dulwich Hill fourth on the ladder with the victory, and they remain undefeated with a game in hand, whilst the Wanderers remain in the top half, albeit on goal difference.
Inter Lions ? Balmain SC 0-0
The eagerly awaited derby between Inter Lions and Balmain SC finished scoreless on Sunday afternoon at Concord Oval.
Following an even first half, both teams increased the tempo in the second period, and although Inter dominated possession, it was Balmain that could?ve won it when they missed a couple of one-on-ones, and even hit an upright late in the match.
Inter will take the point that puts them in fifth position on the ladder, whilst Balmain?s remarkable fifth draw of the season leaves them still waiting on their first victory.
Fairfield City Lions ? Blacktown Spartans 1-1
Fairfield City proved a lot bigger obstacle than first thought for Blacktown Spartans, holding the competition leaders to a 1-1 draw at Norford Park on Sunday afternoon.
Fairfield actually lead for the majority of the match, Cetinay putting them in front as early as the 19th minute, and it stayed that way until late in the second half.
Guirgis finally equalized for the Spartans on 76 minutes, giving them a draw and a point which keeps them on top of the competition.
The performance will give Fairfield greater satisfaction than the point, and if they can muster a win in their catchup game, it will catapult the Lions into the top half of the ladder.
UNSW ? Hills Brumbies 0-0
At David Phillips Field on Sunday, UNSW and Hills Brumbies played out a 0-0 draw, a fairly predictable result given both teams have mustered only five goals each this season.
For UNSW the draw keeps them off the bottom of the division, albeit on goal difference, and they will be keen to keep improving and working towards that elusive first win of the season.
Hills Brumbies will be happiest of the two teams with the point, having backed up after a 1-4 midweek defeat at the hands of Mounties, and keeping a clean sheet after leaking nine goals in the last two matches.
Stanmore Hawks ? Schofields Scorpions 2-5
Arlington Oval on Sunday afternoon was to place to be if it was goals that you craved.
A game of two halves produced a total of seven goals, with the visiting Scorpions reversing a 1-2 half time deficit to trounce Stanmore 5-2 in a clinical display.
Iredale put Schofields in front after just seven minutes, but Stanmore continued their good form of last week with two goals before half time to give them the lead.
James equalized for the Hawks on 25 minutes, and the sharpshooting Hijazi put them in front in the 33rd minute to give the home fans something to cheer about.
But the Scorpions sent an ominous message to other Division One teams with four goals in the second term, taking their season tally thus far to 20, an average of just a fraction under three goals per game.
All four goals were scored within an eleven minute frenzy, with McCrea?s brace (67th & 78th) sandwiching goals from McPherson(69th) and Aitken(71st).
The win has put the Scorpions on 16 points and second spot, hot on the heels of Blacktown Spartans, whilst Stanmore will be ruing their second half effort, which has left them on seven points, two points in front of a group of teams right on their tails.
-By Frank Speranza