State League 1 Round Two Review

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Inter and Schofields draw blanks
Inter Lions and Schofields Scorpions produced a rather drab, scoreless draw at The Crest Complex in Round Two of the State League One competition on Sunday afternoon.
Both teams came into the match as big first round winners, with Inter accounting for the prize scalp of Mounties Wanderers, whilst Schofields were 4-0 victors over a hapless Hurstville.
But both sides had won their initial matches in the relative cooler evening temperatures of a Saturday evening.
This week, the mid-afternoon heat played a bigger part than most would have liked, with both teams struggling to penetrate the opposition defences, never mind the ever alert goalkeepers, Sestak of Inter, and Akers of Schofields.
Having said that, Schofields had an opportunity to open the scoring as early as the 6th minute. Inter?s offside trap was broken by Schofields speedy striker, Davis, who steadied after racing onto the ball in acres of space, with his delayed cut back cleared by a retreating defender.
Ten minutes later and the Lions had their first real goalscoring chance, when the tricky Polistina combined with Arcella before whipping over a teasing cross towards the far post.
Domenic Dimento managed to get his head to the cross, but directed it into the waiting arms of Schofields custodian, Akers.
For the majority of the rest of the first half, the teams were going at it mainly in the area from box to box, with neither being able to muster any decent threat on goal.
Inter Lions had the edge when it came to possession, but Schofields crowded the centre of the park, restricting Inter?s forays up the field.
Inter?s Polistina seemed the only player willing to take any one on, his silky skills and technique on the ball a real handful for Schofields, who resorted to fouls in a frustrated bid to stop him.
Polistina almost broke the deadlock on 43 minutes, when he collected a pass after good work from Kamara, before cutting inside and curling a left footed shot just wide of the far goal post.
The Scorpions then came to life within seconds of the half time whistle, forcing a series of corners after a number of attempts on the Inter goal.
One such Schofield?s corner was steered well beyond the far post, falling for Davis, who adjusted his body stance before cracking a volley that was finger tipped onto the cross bar by Inter?s keeper, Sestak.
Half time was a welcome relief to all, with the players and spectators alike taking a well deserved drinks break in the hope of a better showing in the second stanza.
On 53 minutes, Inter?s skipper, Rouco bent a super corner towards the near post, and Domenic Dimento beat his defender to the ball to steer his header over the bar from a tight angle.
Schofields responded a few minutes later with a quick counter attack, resulting in a firm far post header by Stivala that was well saved by Sestak in the Inter goal.
Both coaches had seen enough, and decided that a combination of the stale play and the heat required some fresh legs.
Both teams made a total of five substitutions in or around the hour mark in the hope to wrestle the match from their opposition, however, this did not have the desired effect.
Schofield?s substitution, Southern, was the exception to this, as he made a telling injection of speed and effective crossing down the right flank as soon as he took to the field.
Inter brought on attackers Petrolito and Alpkaya, the latter a goalscorer last week, with an aim to make a difference in the final third, but they also, were thwarted by a stern Schofield defence.
The match fizzled out towards the end, finishing in a 0-0 draw, a point, I?m sure, which both teams would be content to take given the strength of the opposition.
Inter Lions new coach, Nick Tarquinio, lamented his team?s slow start on the day.
?We were rather flat today, slow to start, and without any rhythm to our play?, said Tarquinio, ?compared to last week?s effort against Mounties, which was an evening match.?
?But we are a very young side, with plenty of new faces to the club, so we will take it week by week, with our goal being to consolidate and settle as soon as possible,? he added.
The Lions were best served by ; winger Polistina, who was a breath of fresh air on the ball, very tricky with his technique and always looking to take on the opposition ; midfielder Jacob Dimento was his usual industrious self, busy in the middle of the park, closing down the opposition quickly and often winning possession for his team ; central midfielder, Rouco, swift when in possession of the football and always looking to set his team on the attack.
Best for Schofields were ; captain, Boyd, who marshaled his troops well at the back, keeping the Inter attack at bay with his interceptions and timely tackles ; centre forward, Davis, who tried hard all day by throwing his frame into everything with a view to bustle the Inter defence ; substitute, Southern, who did what all subs should look to do, add something to a match upon entering the field, and he sparked the Scorpions numerous times with his speedy runs down the right wing.
Match Stats
INTER LIONS                           (0) 0
SCHOFIELDS SCORPIONS       (0) 0
Sunday, March 28, at The Crest Complex, Bass Hill
INTER LIONS: 1.P.Sestak, 2.B.Ellis, 3.S.Givernaud, 4.R.Kaawi, 5.D.Arcella, 6.J.Dimento, 7.G.Kamara (16.E.Alpkaya 58?), 8.A.Mansueto (13.S.Petralito 62?), 9.D.Dimento (12. J.Park 82?), 10.N.Rouco (capt), 11.P.Polistina.
Subs not used ? 14. M.Khouri, 15.S.Perri.
SCHOFIELDS SCORPIONS: 1.P.Akers, 5. L.Boyd (capt), 6.J.McCrea (15. B.Lam 56?), 7.D.Stivala, 30.T.Aitken, 18.G.Davis, 10.T.Simpson, 11.C.Theodosiou (16.D.Southern 56?), 12.T.Harrington, 14.W.Stuart, 17.D.Southern (3. B.Charles 67?).
Subs not used ? RGK.S.Johnson.
Division One Review ? Round Two
BALMAIN SC ? GLADESVILLE RYDE MAGIC 5-1
Balmain SC got their season up and running on Saturday afternoon with a 5-1 thumping of Gladesville Ryde Magic at Lambert Park.
Modena opened the scoring for the home side on 15 minutes, before an own goal just before the break doubled their advantage.
Balmain came out for the second stanza determined to go on with it, and Tom Sowden made it three in the 55th minute.
A player that was severely missed last year by Balmain was none other diminutive striker, Johhny Buonavoglia, and it was great to see him return to the scorer?s list in the 75th minute.
New signing Nick Paradisis scored his second successive goal for his new club when he made it 5-0 to Balmain, just before Benegadi grabbed a consolation for the Magic.
STANMORE HAWKS ? BLACKTOWN SPARTANS 4-4
There was an absolute goal fest at Arlington Oval on Saturday evening as Stanmore and Blacktown shared an amazing eight goals between them.
Just like they did in Round One, Stanmore hit the front this week when Bromley (24?) and Hijazi (31?) gave them a relatively early 2-0 lead. Hubbard replied almost immediately for the Spartans, pulling a goal back on 34 minutes, and that?s the way it stayed until the break.
Fearn restored the two goal cushion for Stanmore within a minute of the restart, and the home fans were believing a win was just around the corner.
But the Spartans came roaring back, with no less than three goals putting them in front for the first time in the match. McPherson (57?) made it 2-3, Todd equalized on 81 minutes, and Macrae put Blacktown 4-3 up just three minutes later.
But Hijazi is a player you can never take your eyes off, and he popped up with an equalizer in the 86th minute, his second goal of the night, and the final goal of an extraordinary match.
UNSW ? FAIRFIELD CITY LIONS 1-4
UNSW surprisingly came unstuck on Sunday afternoon at David Phillips Field in a 1-4 reverse to Fairfield City Lions.
Even more surprising was that the ?students? had taken an early lead, Davelaar putting them in front after just five minutes.
But Fairfield bounced back and were in front by the half hour mark, with last week?s two goal hero, Jeremiah, doing at again with another two goals within six minutes.
Skilful midfielder, Ekinci, grabbed his second goal in as many weeks to make it 3-1 to the Lions, before Forrest rounded off proceedings with a fourth goal for the visitors on 77 minutes.
Two wins, six points and nine goals is fantastic way to kick off a season, and Fairfield City have given themselves the best possible start over the first two rounds.
CAMDEN TIGERS ? MOUNTIES WANDERERS 1-1
Camden Tigers and Mounties settled for a 1-1 score draw in the afternoon clash at Ron Dine Reserve on Sunday.
Semaan put the Tigers in front on 25 minutes, and Camden managed to hang on until injury time before conceding a late equalizer.
Mounties influential midfielder, McCann, restored parity in the 92nd minute to give the Mounties their first point of the season.
HILLS BRUMBIES ? HURSTVILLE ZSC TBA
This match will be played on Monday evening, March 29, at Second Ponds Oval, kicking off at 8-15pm. See my midweek Preview of Round Three for the result and a brief match review of this game.
-By Frank Speranza