State League One Round Eight Review


Match of the Round
Fairfield City Lions v Stanmore Hawks
Fairfield City Lions overcame a first half spent mostly with their backs to the wall to record a resounding 4-2 home win over Stanmore Hawks at Norford Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Hawks had numerous opportunities to open the scoring with an energetic first half hour display, but once Fairfield took the lead just before the break, they went on with the job, devouring Stanmore with a dominating performance for 40 minutes of the second period.
As early as the 8th minute the Hawks almost took the lead through the league?s top marksman, Wasim Hijazi, whose low shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Fairfield?s custodian, Biernat.
Hijazi had another opportunity on 15 minutes, shooting high from an acute angle after Pieris had slipped the ball into space for the striker to run onto.
Stanmore continued their early pressure, and it was Pieris again the supplier in the 19th minute, his weighted cross well headed by Squillacioti, but alas, the ball bounced down and against the upright before being cleared to safety.
Another well structured attack on the half hour for Stanmore produced a cracking volley from their skipper, David James, but the ball went straight down the throat of Biernat in the Fairfield goal.
The home side weathered the early storm, and started to come into the match moreso with a number of opportunities just before the break.
In the 36th minute, Ekinci glided past three Stanmore defenders before slipping the ball through to his midfield partner, Robbie Issa, whose low shot on the turn was brilliantly parried around the post by the Hawk?s goalkeeper, Fleming.
Merely a minute later and Ekinci let fly from fully 25 yards, and Fleming was at it again, finger tipping the shot over the bar.
Fairfield made their increased intensity count on 42 minutes, in an incident that sparked drama and controversy.
Fullback Ahmed Sama overlapped down the right flank before slipping a pass through to Robbie Issa, and his shot from the corner of the penalty area was spilled over his head by Stanmore keeper Fleming. Ekinci pounced on the loose ball to stab home from a yard and give Fairfield the lead.
As Ekinci wheeled away in delight, Fleming allegedly struck out, causing a skirmish in the penalty area involving a host of players from both sides.
After restoring calm, referee Mr Steve Lucas brandished cards of both colours, a yellow to Ekinci and a red to Fleming, reducing Stanmore to ten players.
Stanmore needed to bring on reserve keeper, Meza, and surprisingly sacrificed Pieris, who at that point had been one of the Hawks best players.
Referee Mr Steve Lucas, who looked fitter than the players as he followed the action from one end of the pitch to the other, blew his half time whistle to give the players time to cool their heels.
A few minutes into the second period and Ekinci was at it again, snapping a shot from 25 yards that flew past the upright as Fairfield stated their intentions early.
Wasim Hijazi then retaliated for Stanmore by making a great run down the right wing, waltzing past a defender before cutting the ball back for Squillacioti, who fluffed the chance by screwing his shot wide.
Skipper Robbie Issa got in amongst the action on 54 minutes, skipping past three challenges and squaring to Gabriel whose shot went wide of the goalpost.
A minute later Issa exchanged passes with Ekinci before laying off for Costantini, who also sliced his shot wide.
The home side kept their foot on the pedal, and went agonizingly close in the 64th minute, with both Issa and Bouzanis having successive shots cleared off the Stanmore line following a corner.
Eventually the pressure had to reap rewards for Fairfield, and it came in the 67th minute.
A long clearance by keeper, Biernat, was expertly controlled by Ekinci outside the penalty area, and his lay off allowed Robbie Issa to crack a 20 yard drive past Stanmore?s substitute keeper, Meza, and into the Stanmore net.
By now the Lions were running amok, with some fantastic interchange of passes and running off the ball tearing the Stanmore Hawks apart.
Ekinci, Issa and Treharne traded passes in the 74th minute, allowing Cetinay a clear passage to goal, and the young midfielder didn?t disappoint, snapping his shot past Meza to make it 3-0.
Robbie Issa could do no wrong, and he turned inside before crossing to the unmarked Ekinci, who made it 4-0 with a brilliant half scissors volley in the 80th minute.
The Lions disappointingly relaxed over the final minutes, allowing Stanmore to add a little respectability to the scoreline.
Substitute Bah squared to Squillacioti in the 83rd minute, and the tall striker flicked the ball up before lobbing Biernat to reduce the deficit.
Bah was at it again in injury time, knocking the ball back for fellow substitute, Koroma, who cracked in Stanmore?s second goal, but it came all too late for the visitors as Mr Lucas ended proceedings.
Fairfield looked really devastating in the second half, and were best served by their midfield trio of Yavos Ekinci, Robbie Issa and Ozcan Cetinay.
The three players offer an effective mix of youth and experience, with each not only having a high level of technical prowess, but also a strong understanding of each other?s strengths, which makes them even more valuable as they perform as a unit. All three got on the scoresheet as a reward for their performances.
Stanmore?s Squillacioti was his team?s best player, working hard all day up front, scoring one goal, and creating a real nuisance of himself for the Fairfield defence, whilst Bah made an immediate effect upon his entry on 70 minutes with two assists for both of Stanmore?s goals.
Match Stats
FAIRFIELD CITY LIONS 4 (Ekinci 42?/79?, Issa 67?, Cetinay 75?)
STANMORE HAWKS 2 (Squillacioti 83?, Koroma 93?)
Sunday, May 9, at Norford Park, Sefton
Referee ? Mr.Steve Lucas
Assistant Referee ? Mr.Ben Xu
Assistant Referee ? Mr.Wilfred Filipczyk
FAIRFIELD CITY LIONS: 1.A.Biernat, 6.R.Issa (capt), 14.F.Madadehar (3.B.Treharne 65?), 8.A.Capano, 5.J.Forrest, 10.Y.Ekinci, 11.P.Bouzanis, 2.S.Sozer, 12.M.Costantini (16.H.Hidalgo 62?), 9.O.Cetinay, 7.A.Sama (15.T.Gabriel 52?).
Subs not used ? RGK.G.Bogdan.
Yellow Cards ? 2.S.Sozer 75?, 3.B.Treharne 78?.
STANMORE HAWKS: 1.R.Fleming, 19.Y.Mavrou, 3.L.Machuca, 4.G.Skoulos (13.M.Bah 70?), 6.A.Skoulos, 7.J.Pieris (21.P.Meza 40?), 10.D.James (capt), 12.S.Bromley, 15.A.Papadopoulos (20.D.Koroma 65?), 17.W.Hijazi, 11.E.Squillacioti.
Subs not used ? 18.O.Pecoul, 2.D.Papazafiropoulos.
Yellow Cards ? 10.D.James 75?.
Red Cards ? 1.R.Fleming 39?.
Division One Review ? Round Eight
The first game of Round Eight pitted together Balmain and Blacktown Spartans at Lambert Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Spartans felt relieved that the result of their abandoned match against Fairfield City was allowed to stand, the 3-0 score putting them in second position on the ladder.
The goals that day came from Macrae (33?), McPherson (41?), and Zahra (74?), and it was Zahra that scored again against Balmain, giving them a 35th minute lead in the first half as they moved towards another three points.
But the home side kept at it, and scored a dramatic last gasp equalizer, big striker Lorenzo Merlino doing the honours five minutes into injury time to restore parity.
UNSW came back from a one goal deficit no less than three times in their Saturday night duel at CSI Sport Ground against  Schofields Scorpions.
The Scorpions came into the match as red hot favourites, and went into the break with a 1-0 lead courtesy of a Boyd penalty on 19 minutes.
Byrne equalized for UNSW in the 55th minute, before Southern restored the home side?s advantage with a goal on 63 minutes.
Bustling striker, Tom Quilty, made it 2-2 with a goal for UNSW in the 74th minute, but the Scorpions took the lead for a third time in the 79th minute with a goal by Stuart.
Nippy striker Anastasopoulos had the last laugh for ?the students?, equalizing for a third time in the final minute to send both teams home with a point apiece.
Undoubtedly the match of the round was at Cook Park on Saturday night, as highly favoured Mounties Wanderers welcomed the impressive competition leaders, Hills Brumbies.
Mounties were sensationally reduced to ten men early in the encounter, with the sending off of Joe Bruni, and the match developed into a real arm wrestle as both teams worked extremely hard to grab the ascendancy.
Mounties almost completed what would?ve been an inspirational effort to hang on to a draw with one player less, but disaster struck at the death.
A low, well struck free kick was parried, and Mitrovich was quickest to respond to the rebound to grab a 90th minute winner for Hills Brumbies.
The victory has given Hills seven wins from eight matches, and extended their lead to five points at the top of Division One, whilst Mounties remain fifth on 14 points.
Inter Lions continued their rich vein of form of late, scoring a 3-1 away victory over Camden Tigers at Ron Dine Reserve on Sunday afternoon.
And they did it the hard way, going behind to Smutek?s opener for Camden on 24 minutes. Gonzalez equalized for Inter just before the beak, and their intentions were rewarded when Hall put them 2-1 up in the 87th minute.
The third and clinching goal for Inter came in injury time, and it was a familiar name that did the damage, with Anthony Ucchino putting the match beyond Camden?s reach.
Inter have joined Blacktown in equal second position o the ladder with the victory, whilst Camden remain in eighth position on 10 points.
Gladesville Ryde Magic enjoyed their maiden victory in Division One on Sunday afternoon with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Hurstville ZSC.
Kabbara grabbed a brace of goals, one in each half (5th & 60th), whilst McKie rounded off the scoring for the Magic, giving their die hard fans a long awaited win.
The success puts Magic on five points, and with that they have climbed one position into tenth, jumping UNSW on goal difference.
-By Frank Speranza