State League Two Round 7 Review


In other results, Luddenham savoured their first top-five taste with a gritty 1-0 win against Belmore, Springwood overcame Hawkesbury 2-0, Wanderers pipped Bathurst 1-0, and Fairfield drew 2-2 with Prospect.
It was a stunning six-goal second half that underlined Roosters? title credentials, but Springwood continued their steady march, while Luddenham seem to be hitting their straps as the season passes the quarter-stage mark. Hurstville and Prospect may have pushed hard for weekend draws, but they both remain genuine sides to beat in this year?s close championship race.
Individually, a hat-trick to Roosters skipper Ercan Topal took him to a season-topping six goals, one ahead of Fairfield?s Khaled Elkerhani, and Hurstville duo Emmanuel Papageorgiou and Michael Di Meglio.
Springwood dismantle Hawkesbury
Springwood United were impressive in a 2-0 defeat of Hawkesbury City at Summerhayes Park on Saturday night, their fourth clean sheet of the season. Hawkesbury again gave their opponents a run for their money, but losing two players to straight red cards in the second half ended any hopes of a miraculous comeback. The referees certainly earned their money in a hotly contested game and it was City who not surprisingly started on the ascendancy.
Still without a win in 2010, Hawkesbury played like a team possessed before a knock to the head of star player Toby Judge forced him off the field for treatment in the 40th minute. Defending a man short, City could do little to stop Springwood?s Bryan Campbell from knocking a cross in for the opening goal against the run of play, his second goal in successive weeks.
At 1-0 down, the visitors still thought they could get something from the game, Michael McCrory going close when his blast ricocheted off the post and into the hands of United keeper Geoffrey Abrahams. But Springwood had by now established control and were handed the game on the hour-mark when City defender James Chircop was sent from the field following a collision involving three players. Springwood?s Matthew Kelly stepped up to take the free-kick and sliced through a gap between the wall and the inside of the post and into goal for a 2-0 lead, his third goal of the year.
Hawkesbury kept up the effort but were dealt another blow following Robbie Carle?s send-off for a clumsy effort with 15 minutes to go, Springwood closing out a 2-0 win. It was the fourth game of seven that United had not conceded a goal and coach Errol Warwick-Day praised the discipline of his players. ?I?m always happy to keep a clean sheet. It?s the commitment from all the players; everyone?s doing the work expected of them,? he said. ?We want to achieve something this year, and you can really see that in the teamwork.?
Hawkesbury coach Gary Lewis couldn?t fault the commitment from his players either but feels that luck just isn?t on his side at the moment. ?I thought we were on top early on. [Tony] Judgey has turned the clock back 10 years, and they scored when we had him off the field getting treatment for a head knock. They pushed forward and hit the post and it?s gone in, and that?s the kind of luck you get when you?re at the top of the table,? he said. ?Mick McCrory had a shot hit the post when it was 1-0 in the second half and it rebounded into their keeper?s arms, and that?s the luck you get when you?re at the bottom of the comp. The boys continued to try hard and still created chances, but their defence is very disciplined.?
On the up side for Hawkesbury, they are the sole remaining division two club flying the flag in the McDonald?s Cup knockout. They take on Super League outfit Northern Tigers at Benson Lane Field on Wednesday night (7.30pm kick-off). The Tigers look stable mid-table in their league but the Tigers will be hungry to impress after enduring a sluggish start to their division two campaign. Unfortunately for Springwood, their Cup run ended with a 3-0 loss to Blacktown Spartans last Wednesday night.
Springwood United 2 (Bryan Campbell 41m Matthew Kelly 60m) Hawkesbury City 0
Grade 20: Springwood United 0 Hawkesbury City 2
Roosters smash Hakoah
Roosters FC showed the difference between the top and bottom teams with an uncompromising 7-0 victory over Hakoah at Lidcombe Oval on Sunday afternoon. The win kept them ahead on the league table, and shored up their status as a title contender. Daniel Motengo broke a first half arm-wrestle when he latched onto a neat through ball from midfield to nudge Roosters in front on the half-hour mark. Coach Juan Ortiz called for something more in the dressing sheds and his players responded with a second half demolition that only ended with the fulltime whistle and a 7-0 scoreline. Ozsan Gogebakan?s audacious 76th-minute lob was probably the pick of the half-dozen second half goals, which included an 18-minute hat-trick from captain Ercan Topal to take his season tally to a league-high six strikes.
Ortiz was delighted with the halftime response but is more pleased at his player?s ability to keep their minds focused on the weekend at hand after being bundled out of the McDonald?s Cup knockout, 4-1 by Illawarra premier league side Dandaloo last Tuesday night.
?I think Tuesday night put a lot of strain on a few of the boys. But we had a good chat [at halftime] and said let?s turn it on and they did,? he said. ?Hakoah are not the same team, they don?t have the same personnel as before, but the boys are doing a fantastic job in keeping it one game at a time. I want to make the semis and we are seeing everything go along nicely.?
Roosters FC 7 (Daniel Matengo 22m Gurkan Girgin 56m Hulisi Orhan 61m Ercan Topal 62/72/80m Ozsan Gogebakan 76m) Hakoah 0
Grade 20: Roosters FC 4 Hakoah 1
Gazy grind out draw with Hurstville
Gazy Lansvale rocked Hurstville City Minotaurs with a defiant 1-1 draw at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday afternoon. Joliyan Berkho?s 38th-minute clean-up handed Gazy a deserved 1-0 halftime lead, and it took a dazzling 30m strike from Hurstville star Angelo Vagenas Gazy off a 58th-minute free-kick to give the Minotaurs a share of the points.
The 1-1 draw broke a four-game Lansvale losing streak and raised a smile on coach Phil Pavela?s face. ?It was not a bad result considering,? he said. ?We had a couple of chances and could have gone up 2-3 up at the start, but I?ve always known the boys are capable of anything. We really tried to concentrate on not giving goals away today and the boys did very well in this area. We played some good football in the first half, but it was our defence that was solid this week. It took quite an incredible goal to take the win off us.?
Hurstville City Minotaurs 1 (Angelo Vagenas 58m) Gazy Lansvale 1 (Joliyan Berkho 38m)
Grade 20: Hurstville City Minotaurs 1 Gazy Lansvale 0
Prospect pinch draw with Fairfield
Prospect United fought back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-1 with Fairfield Bulls at Knight Park on Sunday afternoon. It was the Bulls? fourth home draw of the season and left them languishing outside a top-five that includes Prospect.
Good strikers? goals to Khaled Elkerhani (his fifth of the season) and Nirian Kanoun (his third in two weeks) gave Fairfield a 2-0 lead inside the opening quarter-hour and they were cruising until United?s Luis Freitas pulled one back with a great volley a handful of minutes before halftime. Prospect continued to charge back into the game in the second term and finally drew level with 15 minutes left, Freitas capitalising on some great interchange play between Rob Portelli and Paul Curjak to smash in the equaliser.
Prospect coach Tony Caruso said his team fought back well from 2-0 down. ?It was a point well earned as we could have easily come away with nothing,? he said. ? It wasn?t too bad a performance. We were searching for the win but Fairfield are not a bad side and we came back well.?
Fairfield coach Michael Mamoo is frustrated his side let vital points slip through their fingertips again but has so much belief in his team, he just wishes his players could realize it too. ?I honestly have not seen a team yet that is better than us. I just hope the players can see that too because it really is a confidence thing,? he said. ?We were 2-0 up and let them back into the game.?
Mamoo was forced with an early substitution when two first graders pulled out due to the flu, but he said the reserve graders he called up an hour before the game played well. In fact, the grade-20 side notched up its seventh win on the trot, 6-2 over Prospect, and sit eight points clear of on the points table. If they keep going like this, Mamoo will have plenty of options to call upon to get his top-flight side motoring.
Fairfield Bulls 2 (Khaled Elkerhani 15m Nirian Kanoun 16m) Prospect United 2 (Luis Freitas 38/75m)
Grade 20: Fairfield Bulls 6 Prospect United 2
Luddenham wins Belmore battle
Since Field Marshall Montgomery is a tag already taken by a decorated World War II icon, Luddenham coach Andrew Montgomery will have to settle for a colonel?s badge after guiding his side to a 1-0 win over a strong Belmore Hercules in beautiful conditions at Luddenham Oval on Sunday afternoon. Both sides put in a superb effort and the game ebbed and flowed until the home side won a free kick 10 minutes into the second half. United?s Ivan Buzina rose above two defenders at the far post to send a bullet of a header into the top corner of the goal to establish a decisive 1-0 lead.
Hercules were never out of it and went close on a number of occasions, but their cause wasn?t helped when a player was sent off late in the second half for deliberately pushing the ball into goal with his hand. The game ended 1-0 with Buzina now the seventh Luddenham player to score this season.
Montgomery paid respect to Belmore?s standard of football and was most buoyed by the way his side fought out a tough result. ?It was a very competitive game that could have gone either way. Both teams missed chances and the first half was a real battle,? he said. ?I think our goal shocked them a bit and they lost their way a bit. But I?m very pleased with the way our players grinded the game out. I?m happy to say that we?re playing well at the moment and leave it at that.?
The tight loss capped off a disappointing week for Belmore, who also lost a heartbreaking McDonald?s Cup encounter with Schofield Scorpions 3-2 last Tuesday night to be knocked out of that competition.
Luddenham?s fourth win on the trot helped them pinch Belmore?s top-five spot and brought them to within sight of Hurstville on the league table, a team masterminded by The General, Peter Sarikakis. Montgomery believed the Minotaurs coach may have unwittingly placed a target on his team?s back by boasting of an undefeated season earlier in the year. Hurstville duly dusted Luddenham 3-0 in a round-three whitewash. However, since then, United have won four straight, while the Minotaurs have won just one of their four fixtures. The two sides don?t meet again until round 14, but it could be the game of the season the way two teams keep going. A win to Montgomery could earn him a star to wear on his lapel.
Luddenham United 1 (Ivan Buzina 53m) Belmore Hercules 0
Grade 20: Luddenham United 1 Belmore Hercules 3
Wanderers late win over Bathurst
Wanderers grabbed a late goal to edge out Bathurst ?75 1-0 at Knight Park on Sunday afternoon, Ian Peti slamming home in the 88th minute to lift his side to within sight of a top-five position. Both sides had opportunities to score throughout the free-flowing game, Bathurst having a goal disallowed for offside. But it was a late foul that gave the home side their best chance, Peti accelerating down the left hand side and deftly stepping inside a defender to open up room for a stinging shot into the roof of the net for the game winner.
Wanderers coach Walter Alvarez was thrilled to get the result but was especially delighted with the team?s first clean sheet of the season. ?At the end I felt we got the result we deserve; we stuck to our normal game, to keep possession and try and open them up. They defended very well and got players behind the ball, but in the end it all paid off for us,? he said. ?Teams come to get results against us, and this time our defence worked well. I?m very pleased.? 
Bathurst coach Mark Rooke agreed Wanderers enjoyed the majority of possession but felt his players dealt with the pressure well for most of the game. ?I think we coped with it quite well and it was only in the last five minutes of the match that we conceded,? he said. ?We had a few half-chances, but we?re not finding the back of the net with any sort of regularity. There?s not enough patience in the attacking third of the pitch. We weren?t at our best today.?
Fairfield Wanderers 1 (Ian Peti 88m) Bathurst ?75 0
Grade 20: Fairfield Wanderers 2 Bathurst ?75 0
Round 7 results
First grade
Springwood United 2 (Bryan Campbell 41m Matthew Kelly 60m) Hawkesbury City 0
Hurstville City Minotaurs 1 (Angelo Vagenas 58m) Gazy Lansvale 1 (Joliyan Berkho 38m)
Fairfield Wanderers 1 (Ian Peti 88m) Bathurst ?75 0
Fairfield Bulls 2 (Khaled Elkerhani 15m Nirian Kanoun 16m) Prospect United 2 (Luis Freitas 38/75m)
Roosters FC 7 (Daniel Matengo 22m Gurkan Girgin 56m Hulisi Orhan 61m Ercan Topal 62/72/80m Ozsan Gogebakan 76m) Hakoah 0
Luddenham United 1 (Ivan Bazina 53m) Belmore Hercules 0
Grade 20
Springwood United 0 Hawkesbury City 2
Hurstville City Minotaurs 1 Gazy Lansvale 0
Fairfield Wanderers 2 Bathurst ?75 0
Fairfield Bulls 6 Prospect United 2
Roosters FC 4 Hakoah 1
Luddenham United 1 Belmore Hercules 3
Next week?s games
Round 8 of State League division two sees three Saturday fixtures: Prospect and Luddenham at William Lawson Reserve (5pm kick-off), Bathurst ?75 and Fairfield Bulls at Alec Lamberton Field (7pm), Hakoah and Hurstville at ES Marks Field (7pm). On Sunday afternoon (3pm), Belmore tackle Roosters at Blick Oval, Wanderers meet Springwood at Knight Park, and Gazy play Hawkesbury at Cherrybrook Park.
And good luck to Hawkesbury City, who meet Northern Tigers in a Wednesday night McDonald?s Cup fixture at Benson Lane Field. City are the last remaining division two side left in the knockout competition.
-By Daniel De Nardi