NSW Super League Round 12 Review


Macarthur Rams win over Spirit does however move them nicely into better finals contention.

Match of the Round
Rams claim solid victory over Spirit FC
Macarthur Rams came away from Christie Park on Sunday afternoon with 3 valuable points and momentum after defeating Spirit FC 3-0.

Unlike so many other grounds around the league Christie Park, high up overlooking the Lane Cove Valley, was dry and hard, although emerald green after the soaking. The 20’s started in sun but misty rain fell as the main game commenced, with dark clouds rolling in – easing off for the first half, with a southerly wind.

Spirit got the first half-chance with a 5th minute shot past the left upright; two minutes later the home side won a free-kick on Tim Simpson in dangerous range but the lanky striker blasted it well over the crossbar.

Macarthur had a number of good early chances, with a long ball played by Lennox Tweneboa picking out Chris Gomez down the middle. Gomez run split the home defence but he shot well over the bar. Then Sam Messam down the right picked out Hadid – but he couldn’t get a clean head to the ball.

A nice one-two on the left for Spirit between Leo Papanicoaou and Evan Daglis ended with Daglis pulling his shot just wide past the right post in the 19th minute.

27 minutes in, diminutive Rams captain Craig Cooley, who was busy all game, got down the right and cut inside. He turned two defenders but alas hit his shot wide to the left.

Cooley made a mistake two minutes later in his own penalty area, failing to clear the ball, but Ashley Balcomb hit a weak shot into the Rams ‘keeper’s waiting hands.

In the 37th minute Papanicoaou made space down the left and hit a low hard shot inside the left post, where Rams custodian Romic couldn’t hold – however the ball skewed away and rolled across the area with no-one from Spirit following up, and it was cleared.

As rain returned, Spirit’s Trimble got onto a loose ball bouncing in the Rams penalty area but hit it over the crossbar.

After the break, with the slope, and the wind at their backs, Macarthur Rams (who definitely found their scoring boots last weekend and aimed to go on doing it) now piled on the pressure.

Five minutes in, Hadid picked up a loose ball in midfield and turned – picking out the inside of the left upright. His sweetly and firmly struck shot gave Spirit  ‘keeper Murray Nelson no chance as it squeezed off the post and into the net. 0-1

In the 58th minute Spirit’s gloveman Nelson was forced to punch clear as a free-kick from 30m swirled in the breeze and dropped alarmingly.

The rain became heavier as Macarthur lifted a notch; and in the 68th minute Sam Messam highlighted his danger with a header past Nelson off a long early cross from the right. 0-2

Spirit are too good a side to be given any space and in the 76th minute Tim Simpson received a delightful ball from the left off Papanicolaou. Alas as he took his shot from point blank range on the right, it was bravely charged down by a quick thinking Felix Wilson who had just come on as a substitute.

Any hope of a home-side revival were killed off when after a promising move broke down, the ball was swept up field in the 82nd minute and that man Messam moved to equal top scorer with a lob over the advancing figure of Murray Nelson. 0-3

Spirit can’t seem to string enough wins together, and will now need to refocus for their McDonalds Cup quarter-final at Christie Park on Wednesday night against Premier League South Coast Wolves.

Macarthur Rams coach Claudio Canosa was pleased with the win, and came straight to the point after the game.

“We are moving into a consistent time now. We’ve been training hard recently, training three nights a week, and the boys are putting in the hard work”, he said.

Certainly the Rams finished the game much stronger and had Spirit on the back-foot.
“It is paying off”, he added, “and we are looking to move now toward the play-offs.”

Match Stats
Spirit FC 0 Macarthur Rams 3 (Aman Hadid 50′, Sam Messam 68′, 82′ )

Date: Sunday 6 June 2010
At: Christie Park, Marsfield
Crowd: 100
Referee: David Christie
Assts: Craig Fisher, Wayne Crabb

Spirit FC: 1. Murray Nelson (gk), 18. Tom Lovell, 19. 19. Nick Trimble (2. Daniel Cunningham +83′), 4. Paul Nicholaou (c), 20. Scott Wright, 6. Matt Peatey, 8. Josh De Kelly, 14. Ashley Balcomb (3. Peter Cejka +70′), 10. Leonardo Papanicolaou, 17. Evan Daglis (16. Akwasi Agyei +61′), 9. Tim Simpson
Subs not used: 41. James Irwin (rgk), 15. Adam Hett
Yellow Cards:  Paul Nicholaou 52′

Macarthur Rams: 1. Tommy Romic (gk), 2. Craig Cooley, 7. Ronny Miranda (8. Felix Wilson +74′), 9. Sam Messam, 10. Chris Gomez (19. Alan de la Cuadra +67′), 11. Cole Tinkler, 13. Matt Kulstrom, 14. Lennox Tweneboa, 16. Aman Hadid (3. I. Kamara +82′), 18. Alvaro Malmierca, 21. C. Fleming
Subs not used: 4. S.Hall, 20. P.Joseph (rgk)
Yellow Cards: Nil

Northern Tigers  0 –  Dulwich Hill 0
The only other game, played on Sunday at Mills Park, Asquith, ended in a 0-0 draw.
Despite both teams having at times during the season scored freely, that was negated in this game. Northern Tigers now drop below Macarthur Rams but move above Spirit with the draw, whilst it does little for Dulwich Hill.

Rain plays havoc as remaining matches washed out
Four days of almost constant rain would overwhelm even the best drainage systems and thus all four Saturday games were declared ‘wash-outs’, stripping down the round dramatically. Football NSW will advise when these matches will be played as soon as possible – keep watching this web site.

Parramatta Eagles  – Mt Druitt Town Rangers
Sydney University –  Granville Rage
Central Coast Lightning –  FC Bossy Liverpool
Fraser Park  –  St George

Top scorers (to R12)
Gough, Ben        Spirit FC            10
Messam, Sam        Macarthur Rams        10
Cappuccio, Pat        Granville Rage            7
Soares, Christian    Sydney University        7
Ardel, Shayne        Parramatta Eagles        6
Lucas, Jay        Dulwich Hill            6
Maekawa, Ryo        St George (ex)        6
Simmonds, Michael    Northern Tigers            6

Spirit FC 1 – Macarthur Rams 0
Northern Tigers 3 – Dulwich Hill 1

– By Chris Dunkerley