State League One Round 4 Review


Balmain labour to late victory over UNSW
Balmain left it very late indeed on Saturday night at Lambert Park, with a late penalty, won and executed by Johhny Buonavoglia, giving the home side a 2-1 victory over the visiting UNSW.
Balmain went into the clash hoping to consolidate their position in the top five, whilst UNSW were looking to stop a recent run of consecutive defeats.
Both sides went into the Round Four match missing some major ammunition. UNSW still had pint sized striker, Rocky Luca, out of action, whilst Balmain?s free scoring Nick Paradisis was away, and his absence would no doubt be felt for the home side.
The game started at a relatively cautious pace, with neither side able to penetrate the other?s defensive third early on.
In fact it took over a quarter of an hour for the first shot on target, with Balmain?s Modena snapping a 20 yarder straight at UNSW?s keeper, Poorley.
UNSW kept toiling away, and themselves almost took the lead on 24 minutes.
Quilty raced into the Balmain half on a swift counter attack, and played a cross field pass to Di Natale on the right flank. Di Natale cut inside before releasing Weeks into the box, but his smart shot on the turn cleared the cross bar by inches.
Experienced campaigner, Con Paradisis, was starting to enforce his authority for Balmain in the middle of the park, but on this occasion his shot from the edge of the box in the 28th minute sailed over the bar, after good lead up work by Buonavoglia.
The ?students? responded minutes later, when Weeks disappointingly half volleyed over the bar from the edge of the penalty area, following a great chipped pass by Quilty to find him.
Through the increased efforts of Modena and Paradisis in the centre of the park, Balmain started to take some ascendancy leading up to the break, Paradisis himself finding room on 36 minutes to crack a 20 yard shot at UNSW keeper Poorley ? a duel between the two that would continue right until injury time.
The telepathy between Buonavoglia and Paradisis was evident in the 40th minute, when Paradisis directed a brilliant 40 yard pass behind the UNSW defence for ?jockey? to run onto.
Buonavoglia?s initial volley from an acute angle was parried by UNSW keeper, Poorley, and the custodian did well to stop ?jockey?s? rebound effort finding its way into the net.
Just as the fans were ready to settle for a scoreless first half, Balmain kept their foot on the pedal and took the lead with am expertly executed attacking move.
Paradisis sent the overlapping Lewis away down the right wing, and he whipped over a tantalizing cross towards the near post.
Big striker, Lorenzo Merlino flung his big frame at the ball, getting a flick, and Tom Sowden, who had continued his supporting run down the left before coming inside, managed to stab the ball home to give Balmain the lead.
Referee Mr Chris Young was having a great game, allowing the match to flow without unnecessary stoppages, and he blew his half time whistle to send all and sundry into the sheds for a deserved break.
The second period started much like the first, neither team managing to take any sort of control, but it was Balmain who had the lead, and eventually UNSW had to start come at them if they were to wrestle anything from the evening?s encounter.
Having said that, the home side it was who lifted the tempo on the hour mark with a view to putting the match to bed.
Paradisis sent Buonavoglia away once more down the right side, and the little man cut inside a defender before squaring to Sowden, whose first time shot from the edge of the box went inches over the cross bar.
A couple of minutes later and Sowden was the provider this time, with Umlil getting his head to the left wing cross, but alas the ball went straight into Poorley?s hands in the UNSW goal.
On 70 minutes Paradisis once more shot over the goal after a layoff from Buonavoglia, whilst substitute, Borg, hit an absolute scorcher a few minutes later from no less than 25 yards, a shot that Poorley managed to tip around the goal post for a corner.
UNSW were not disheartened by having to be on the back foot, and indeed, managed to conjure up an equalizer on 74 minutes, much to the delight of the traveling supporters.
UNSW stole possession off a Balmain attack, and midfielder, Di Natale, threaded a superb through ball into a gap for Leris to run onto. His supporting run was rewarded when he drew Balmain keeper, Conway, before slipping the ball past him into the bottom corner of the net to restore parity.
The match then took on an air of equality, with a draw the likely outcome given the circumstances.
But fate had not banked on the diminutive Johhny Buonavoglia, and he took it upon himself to pull a rabbit out of his hat with just seven minutes remaining.
Having the ball played into his feet on the edge of the box, Buonavoglia darted into the box like a rabbit, twisting this way and that, and drawing a foul from a UNSW defender, earning his team a penalty.
Once awarded, there was always only going to be one outcome, and Buonavoglia sent UNSW keeper, Poorley, the wrong way by tucking the ball low into the net to the keeper?s left, sending his team mates into raptures.
There was time for one more piece of combat between Paradisis and Poorley, with another 20 yard shot by the Balmain midfielder tipped around the pots by the UNSW custodian.
And with that Mr Chris Young blew his full time whistle, much to the delight of the home fans and players alike.
Best on the day for the Balmain ; centre midfielder, Con Paradisis, pulled the strings in the middle of the park, always being central and an available option to receive the ball from anyone of his team mates, often dissecting UNSW with defence splitting passes, and unlucky not to grab a goal, although it wasn?t through lack of trying via his numerous attempts from distance ; Tom Sowden was instrumental in the left midfielder position, covering plenty of yards as he offered support in both attack and defence, and his work rate was rewarded with a cool finish for Balmain?s opening goal ; Ashley Harvey was strong as a defensive marker, quick to close down the UNSW attackers as he dominated his domain at the back.
UNSW were best served by ; skipper Pat Lloyd was his usual strong presence in defence, reading the play exceptionally well as proven by his many interceptions, and won everything in the air ; midfielders Lewis and Di Natale showed some great determination as they combined to close down the opposition, also pairing up to score their team?s solitary goal ; striker Quilty was his usual busy self in attack, always pestering the Balmain defence when they had possession, and his urgency was always likely to produce goalscoring opportunities.
Match Stats
BALMAIN SC 2 (Sowden 42?, Buonavoglia pen 83?)
UNSW 1 (Lewis 74?)
Saturday, April 10, at Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee ? Mr Chris Young
Assistant Referees ? Mr David Ward, Mr Samuel Grasso
BALMAIN SC: 1.D.Conway, 2. A.Harvey (14.D.Borg 63?), 3.T.Sowden, 4.A.Leris, 5.R.D?Arrigo, 6.F.Umlil, 7.C.Modena, 8.L.Merlino (13.S.Spiers 90?), 9.J.Richards (12.J.Boutkabout 78?), 10.J.Buonavoglia (capt), 11.C.Paradisis.
Subs not used ? 15.C.Townley-Jones, RGK.H.Fujiwara.
UNSW: 1.D.Poorley, 38.P.Lloyd (capt), 6.A.Harb, 3.L.Davelaar, 5.M.Janov, 4.L.Lewis,   10.G.Cassidy (17.T.Pavlou 65?), 18.P.Di Natale (2. N.Tyrell 85?), 15.Y.Tayebi (16.A.Barrett 55?), 11.T.Quilty, 14.R.Weeks.
Subs not used ? RGK.L.Puljic, 16.H.Kamleitner.
Division One Review ? Round Four
League leaders Hills Brumbies came unstuck at Ron Dine Reserve on Sunday afternoon, going down to Camden Tigers, and in the process getting knocked off their perch at the top of the ladder.
The two teams went hammer and tongs in the first period, splitting four goals in an entertaining 45 minutes.
Smutek put Camden in front as early as the 11th minute, but Mitrovich equalized for Hills just eight minutes later.
Camden went back in front on 42 minutes through Morgan, only for the stubborn Brumbies to square things up at the break with Savic grabbing their second goal.
The winner for Camden arrived on 61 minutes, Mackechnie?s goal giving the Tigers a valuable three points in front of their home fans.
Division One has a new league leader this weekend, and it?s a familiar face with the Schofields Scorpions elevating themselves to the top with a 1-0 away victory over Gladesville Ryde Magic.
Simpson scored the solitary goal minutes before the break, and it was no surprise that Schofields managed to hang onto the three points given they boast the best defence in the league, with just one goal conceded in four games to date.
Blacktown Spartans moved ominously into third position on the ladder with an effective 2-1 away victory over a resolute Inter Lions.
The league?s top marksman, Glenn McPherson, made it six goals in 2010 by putting Blacktown in front after just eight minutes.
Inter Lions equalized through Seb Petralito after 34 minutes, and parity was maintained for the best part of an hour thereafter.
But the Spartans came for the win, and the win was what they got when Reece Iredale made it 2-1 on 64 minutes, much to the delight o the traveling fans.
Mounties Wanderers cracked their winless start to the season with a 2-1 away success over the previously beaten Fairfield City Lions.
Glenn Baldock was the man on target for Mounties, scoring both goals at either end of the match to give coach Anthony Crea a much needed win.
Jeremiah grabbed Fairfield?s consolation goal, his fifth of the season, with a strike just three minutes before the break.
Stanmore Hawks made it two wins on the run with a 3-2 victory at Hurstville Oval on Sunday afternoon, but not before a late scare from Hurstville ZSC who came from 0-3 down to make a fist of it.
Wassim Hijazi has been sharpening his boots of late, and he was at his menacing best against Hurstville, grabbing a marvelous hat-trick to propel his team to victory.
Hijazi scored two goals within a minute in the first half, and his third on 72 minutes proved to be the decisive difference on the scoreboard.
Hurstville scored late on through Stefan Perak and Dejanovic, but couldn?t avoid their fourth consecutive defeat, leaving them at the base of the competition ladder.
-By Frank Speranza