State League Two Round 5 Review


But just as big news was highly fancied Hurstville City Minotaurs getting dusted 1-0 by Springwood United in a spirited clash up the mountains. Bathurst ?75 also landed a top-five jersey after holding onto a 3-2 lead against Prospect United. The results has left five points separating the top nine sides, and underlined that any team could possibly get the job done on their day and perhaps hold up the trophy at the end of the year.
In other matches, 2-1 wins to Luddenham United and Belmore Hercules over Gazy Lansvale and Wanderers respectively kept their noses behind the leaders, while Fairfield Bulls and Hakoah played out a 0-0 stalemate. In the goalscoring front, a Elias Navarrete penalty for Wanderers brought him alongside Fairfield?s Khaled Elkerhani and Hurstville?s Michael Di Meglio with four goals apiece.
It is little wonder the Roosters are now top of the lot in division two. So far they have found eight different goalscorers in the opening five rounds, is the only team to score in every game, have notched up a league-high 12 goals, has the second best defensive record (behind Hurstville) to match, and remain the only undefeated side in the competition.
Roosters fly high over Hawkesbury
Roosters FC must have spent some time at church during the week as they pulled off a miraculous 2-1 win over a hapless Hawkesbury City at Benson Lane Field on Saturday evening. The victory catapulted the Roosters over Hurstville?s loss to Springwood into first position on the ladder, keeping their unbeaten run in tact. And they have to give a huge part of the credit to their custodian Kurt Van Arkkels. The imposing Dutch-blooded frame of Van Arkkels has leaked just five goals in five rounds, with three of them coming from the penalty spot. It is the second best defensive record in the league and has underlined the Roosters flight to the top.
And in front of Van Arkkels is wily sweeper Hulisi Orhan, who is the glue of their defensive pattern and has done a terrific job in organising the protection of his goalkeeper. At the other end, Hawkesbury must be wandering what more they had to do to crack their first win of the year after throwing plenty into Saturday?s performance. Hawkesbury did hit the front early when Pall Cooper utilised a quick throw-in to get in behind the Roosters defence and his cross picked out Edwin George, who slammed it home for the opening goal, his third of the season, on seven minutes.
But City couldn?t extend their advantage and then had the frustration of seeing a slightly miscued header from Ercan Topal five minutes into the second term that leveled the scores for Roosters. They didn?t have to wait long for their second as newly arrived Danny Matengo pounced on a goalkeeping error to make it 2-1 to the visitors. Both sides had chances to score again, one Hawkesbury shot rattling the cross bar, but Roosters held on for a big win.
Hawkesbury coach Gary Lewis knew his team could have won for the first time this season and felt for his players after suffering yet another heart-breaking defeat. ?We could have won; I?m disappointed with the result, but not by the way we played. They are a quality side so you can?t gift them any goals and we paid for doing that. It is hard [to take the close losses] but we know we can get on a roll once we break that first win.?
Roosters coach Juan Ortiz praised his team?s defensive resolve in the face of a punishing Hawkesbury first half. They were the better team the first half, but in the second half we changed our tactics and perhaps could have scored more,? he said. Ortiz also applauded the tactical experience of Orhan, an old school buddy of his from Randwick Boys. He also noted the incredibly fast adjustment of Matengo, who only arrived in Australia from Kenya, where he was a member of their national side, less than a month ago. Ortiz was delighted that he has had contributions from many players so early in the season, including finding eight different goalscorers.
Hawkesbury City 1 (Edwin George 7m) Roosters FC 2 (Ercan Topal 51m Danny Matengo 62m)
Grade 20: Hawkesbury City 0 Roosters FC 0
Springwood bring down mighty Hurstville
Springwood United drilled Hurstville City Minotaurs 1-0 at Summerhayes Park on Saturday night. In a nerve wracking game, both sides had chances to take the lead, Springwood having a goal pulled back for offside and Hurstville making a meal of numerous opportunities in front of the United goal. In the end it was a Matthew Kelly strike that broke the deadlock in the 76th minute, his second goal in successive weeks. Kelly was given way too much time on the ball after bringing down a well-weighted cross. His touch, look and shot past a diving Minotaurs keeper proved decisive in the end.
After vowing Hurstville would win the comp undefeated at the start of the year, coach Peter Sarikakis was humble in defeat. He was disappointed a number of his players missed many chances to grab an opening lead, but he gave full credit to Springwood for grinding out the result. ?We lost 1-0, that is it. We did not take our chances, and they won the game when they took theirs,? he said. ?I?m not going to sit there and panic. We know we have to work hard if we want to win the comp, and we can?t take any game lightly.?
Springwood coach Errol Warwick-Day paid special tribute to his team?s efforts against a quality side like Hurstville. ?It?s always motivation when you?re taking on the team that?s winning the comp, but that wasn?t what drove us. We?ve been working every week and it was just part of our build-up. We probably would have beaten any team the way we played,? he said. ?It was very good? and next week I?m hoping for another improvement.?
Springwood United 1 (Matthew Kelly 76m) Hurstville City Minotaurs 0
Grade 20: Springwood United 1 Hurstville City Minotaurs 0
Bathurst scrape past Prospect
It was a cracker of a game at Alec Lamberton Field on Saturday afternoon as Bathurst ?75 squeezed past a gallant Prospect United. The win elevated Bathurst alongside Prospect in a top-five sandwich, and it was their coach Mark Rooke who led by example, scrambling a messy goal after just two minutes to put the home side in front. Bathurst were dominant in the first half, but might have been further in front if the referee hadn?t denied a Rooke header into goal and Nick Riggs had made a little more of his fluffed one-on-one chance with the Prospect keeper.
Prospect started the second half a much better side and soon found an equaliser from midfielder Anthony Maxwell in the 65th minute, taking a cross and beating a player to tuck away a good goal. With the game neatly in the balance, Bathurst star Jarred Portegies lined up a free kick from 25 yards out just seven minutes later, and his sublime blast into the bottom corner put the home side in front a second time. But Prospect weren?t done with yet and Adrian Jennings, moving forward from his midfield position, also found a way to score and draw the scores level again. Some excellent build-up play down the right hand side from Paul Curjak saw him drill a cross into the top of the box, Justin McLeay dummying a strike for Jennings to slam home behind him to make it 2-2 inside the final quarter-hour.
However, for the second time in as many weeks it was the boot of Bathurst marksman James Christie that his teammates would be thanking at training this week, after his dashing run into the penalty area to finish off some fine work down the left flank by Nick Arokiaswarmy caused jubilation among the home faithful. But it was a long 10 minutes that followed as Prospect tried everything to find a third equaliser. But the fulltime whistle blew with the 3-2 scoreline unchanged.
Rooke said it was a good performance from his boys, and he was pleased with the result. ?We dominated the first half and could have been 2-3 up at halftime,? he said. ?We knew they would come at us and they really picked up the pace in the second half. When they found another equaliser I was thinking, oh, geez, here we go again, but it was great toughness from both teams. It was a much improved performance from us; we controlled the game for long periods.?
Prospect manager Tony Caruso said it was a little disappointing to lose late in the game, but said both teams played very well. ?Bathurst are a very good side and pushed the ball around very well and they deserved the victory in the end,? he said. ?To our boys credit we played a lot better in the second half, and there were some very encouraging signs; we showed a lot of character to get back in the game twice.?
Bathurst ?75 3 (Mark Rooke 2m Jarred Portegies 72m James Christie 81m) Prospect United 2 (Anthony Maxwell 65m Adrian Jennings 74m)
Grade 20: Bathurst ?75 1 Prospect United 1
Luddenham outplay Lansvale
Luddenham United made it two wins on the trot when they scurried past Gazy Lansvale 2-1 at Luddenham Oval on Sunday afternoon. The home side was in irresistible form and went up in just the 5th minute via a Stephen Andrews penalty, after Danny Farre was pulled down in the box. They were looking good for extending their lead when Gazy Lansvale caught them on the counter attack and a long ball over the top was finished off by Michael Amed to make it 1-1 on the hour-mark, his third of the year.
But Luddenham was always pressing forward and with 10 minutes to go, following a number of missed one-on-one opportunities, a piece of magic from Michael Wood, where he chased down a long ball, flicked it inside a shadowing defender and blasted it past the Gazy keeper and into the top corner from just inside the penalty box, handed Luddenham a fine 2-1 victory. The result has done plenty to erase three opening round defeats as United surge further up the points table, however, it is loss number three in a row for Lansvale, creating headaches for coach Phil Pavela.
?We?re still struggling and will be lucky to finish second last,? Luddenham coach Andrew Montgomery said with a sly grin. ?After the run of injuries we had we?re starting to hit our straps. We came out firing in the second half and, without any detriment to Gazy, we were gunning for the win and controlled the majority of the game. Gazy played well but we were confident of scoring that winner.?
Luddenham United 2 (Stephen Andrews 5m Michael Wood 80m) Gazy Lansvale 1 (Michael Amed 73m)
Grade 20: Luddenham United 1 Gazy Lansvale 0
Belmore cast off Wanderers
Wanderers fell 2-1 to Belmore Hercules in a tightly fought tussle at Knight Park on Sunday afternoon. It was Belmore?s first win of the year and they showed great determination to hold onto a 2-1 halftime lead. After gaining points in the last three rounds, Wanderers slipped early and conceded from a free kick to Jeffery Bugallo inside 15 minutes and Belmore doubled their advantage five minutes later when John Skufris latched onto a corner kick to make it 2-0. But the good work was somewhat undone when a slight challenge inside the box allowed Elias Navarrete pulled one back from the penalty spot for the Wanderers 10 minutes before the halftime whistle, his fourth goal of the year.
The second half saw Belmore throw up an Anzac Day defence to stop the Wanderers from equalising, although you could tell it might not have been their day after seeing one shot blast off the cross bar and ricochet off the post. Their cause wasn?t helped when midfielder Jonathan Hurtado was given his marching orders for a second yellow card, both from careless tackles, and Hercules stayed in front 2-1.
Belmore coach Ernesto Meduri was quietly satisfied with his team?s progress but said there was still more improvement to come. ?The players have started to come together and the team is looking stronger now,? he said. ?The Wanderers played very good soccer, and our goalkeeper [Niccolo Colombo] played very well, too. I think the players deserved to get a win.?
Wanderers coach Walter Alvarez was disappointed but thought his team was well in the contest. ?It was a very difficult and physical game, and it showed us that we have to go back and do some work,? he said. ?They came out very strong and we got caught by surprise, I think. They were winning the fifty-fifty balls, and were dragging us into the physical side of the game and that doesn?t really suit us. It was one of those days. We dominated late in the game, but they put people behind the ball and worked for the result.?
Wanderers 1 (Elias Navarrete 34m) Belmore Hercules 2 (Jeffery Buggalo 14m John Skufris 19m)
Grade 20: Fairfield Wanderers 4 Belmore Hercules 1
Fairfield, Hakoah in scoreless draw
Fairfield Bulls and Hakoah played out a scoreless draw on a grassy Knight Park on Sunday afternoon, and both coaches praised their defensive efforts over sometimes missing performances up front. It really was a day for the goalkeepers as Fairfield custodian Khalid Kando and Hakoah keeper Matt Mulhall pulled off several brilliant saves each to deny the opposition. There was plenty of thrills in the grade-20 fixture, however, as the Bulls swept past Hakoah 8-3, unfortunately the goal-scoring feats went unmatched in the main game.
As well as querying whether his side had a true home ground advantage at Knight Park, Fairfield coach Michael Mamoo was not happy with the number of missed chances in front of goal. ?The point includes drawing another home game [the Bulls? third] and these are the games that will come back to bite us at the end of the year. We controlled a lot of the game but the ball just didn?t go in,? he said. ?I thought we did a good job to contain [Hakoah star midfielder] Mark Robertson, and the positive for us was we did not concede a goal for the first time in five games. But Knight Park is not really a home game for us. I don?t think we don?t really get much of an advantage out of playing there.?
Hakoah coah Paul Watkins said his young brigade up front tried hard all game but maybe missed a bit of finishing prowess in front of goal, although they remained undefeated on the road with three draws. ?We had more than a few chances; we were playing two young guys and they just couldn?t put out the killer punch in,? he said. ?Having said that, they had a shot cleared off the line. It was a tough game; both sides defended well and my young boys stood up to the physicality of the contest. We competed well, which was good.?
Fairfield Bulls 0 Hakoah 0
Grade 20: Fairfield Bulls 8 Hakoah 3
Round 5 results
First grade
Bathurst ?75 3 (Mark Rooke 2m Jarred Portegies 72m James Christie 81m) Prospect United 2 (Anthony Maxwell 65m Adrian Jennings 74m)
Hawkesbury City 1 (Edwin George 7m) Roosters FC 2 (Ercan Topal 51m D Matengo 62m)
Springwood United 1 (Matthew Kelly 76m) Hurstville City Minotaurs 0
Wanderers 1 (Elias Navarrete 34m) Belmore Hercules 2 (John Skufris 19m Jeffery Buggalo 54m)
Fairfield Bulls 0 Hakoah 0
Luddenham United 2 (Stephen Andrews 5m Michael Wood 80m) Gazy Lansvale 1 (Michael Amed 73m)
Grade 20
Bathurst ?75 1 Prospect United 1
Hawkesbury City 0 Roosters FC 0
Springwood United 1 Hurstville City Minotaurs 0
Fairfield Wanderers 4 Belmore Hercules 1
Fairfield Bulls 8 Hakoah 3
Luddenham United 1 Gazy Lansvale 0
Next week?s games
Round 6 has three Saturday night fixtures with a battle of the City?s, Hurstville and Hawkesbury at Benson Lane Field (5pm kick-off), Prospect playing Wanderers in a top-five clash at William Lawson Reserve (5pm), and Bathurst hosting Springwood at Alec Lamberton Field (7pm). On Sunday, Belmore welcome Fairfield to Blick Oval, Gazy play Roosters at Cherrybrook Park, while Hakoah meet Luddenham at E.S Marks Field (all matches at 3pm).
-By Daniel De Nardi