Three rescheduled matches on Thursday night provided some surprise results, causing harm to finals contenders while making the relegation contest even harder to call.
With both Fraser Park and Mount Druitt securing victories, perhaps the biggest loser on the night was Dulwich Hill, who didn?t even play, and who find themselves increasingly embroiled in the dogfight down the bottom of the table.
Northern Tigers, winners at Spirit FC by 2-0, consolidated their second spot but damaged their hosts own finals chances in the process.
Granville Rage v Fraser Park
There was only going to be one winner of this match once Ryuta Nambu?s long range screamer hit the back of the net after ten minutes. Fraser Park, desperate to climb out of last position, controlled this game right from the start, Granville Rage surprisingly looking somewhat out of sorts for a team striving for the top five. While Fred Graham was the first to have a good opportunity very early on for the Rage, turning well but just striking wide, it was the visitors who looked more likely.
Nambu?s shot, from about 35 metres, surprised everybody, not least keeper Craig Morley, in for the suspended Jason Holmes, who remain rooted to the spot. It was a blast from nowhere but once Fraser Park hit the lead, they were determined to maintain it.
Captain Alex Smith was in imperious form, always looking dangerous as he worked with Pablo Cardozo, and it was Smith who almost put Fraser two up but for a fine save from Morley.
But just after the half hour mark, the lead was doubled. In a goalmouth scramble, defender Anthony Barletta knocked the ball home to give Fraser Park a healthy two goal advantage. It didn?t stop there either, just six minutes later and Cardozo almost made it three, but his header from a corner just flashed wide.
Nenos Bobo had a chance for the Rage just before half time but it was rising and it was a confident Fraser Park who went into the break 2-0 up.
The return to the park saw Granville Rage up the ante, as they needed to, putting Fraser Park under territorial pressure for large slabs of the half. But it was clear that any comeback was going to be difficult as Fraser weren?t about to give up these three very important points easily. The defence was stacked at times with only Cardozo left up front and the Rage were to find it hard to break down such a solid defence. Blaz Dejanovic was strong at the back and rarely beaten while Ivan Kovacevic showed a clean pair of hands, denying a Graham freekick.
At Rage corners, it was not unusual to count seventeen players in the penalty area, clearly a difficult path to goal.
But Fraser Park didn?t just defend and they still had the wherewithal to break clear and threaten. And any thought of a comeback was ended for good when Smith sublimely chipped Morley from outside the box to make it 3-0 with only four minutes remaining. It could even have been more, late on, but substitute Luis Carneiro could not get quite over the ball as his header shot over and Paulo Oliviera blasted over right near the end.
It was an excellent result for Fraser Park, and while results elsewhere means that they still remain bottom, they are only one point from Dulwich Hill, which only adds spice to Saturday?s encounter between the two sides.
Granville Rage 0 v Fraser Park 3 (Ryuta Nambu 10?, Anthony Barletta 32?, Alex Smith 85?)
5 August 2010
Referee: David Morris
Assistants: Dale Fuda and Greg Clarke
Granville Rage: 22. Craig Morley 18. Pat Cappuccio 13. Daniel Carrozzo (2. Jonathan Ekehov) 6. Joe Cartisaro 3. David Comito (Rhys Kennedy 70?) 5. Mauricio Islas (16. Callum Hedge 18?) 7. David Harding 8. Phillip Pyliotis 14. Christian Bottalico 10. Fred Graham 11. Nenos Bobo.
Subs not used: 15. Kwabena Appiah-Kubi 19. Ante Bakmaz
Coach: Nick Porecca
Yellow cards: David Comito and Christian Bottalico
Fraser Park: 1. Ivan Kovacevic 5. Andrea Russo 4. Blaz Dejanovic 17. Anthony Barletta 2. Ryuta Nambu 25. Des Koroma (12. Ian Estavao) 11. Carlo Musumeci 7. Nicolo Sama (10. Paulo Oliviera 85?) 19. Leigh Gunn 8. Alex Smith 18. Pablo Cardozo (21. Luis Carneiro 80?)
Subs not used: 9. Shingu Sakaguchi 26. James Webb
Coach: Alex Augusto
Yellow cards: Ivan Kovacevic, Andrea Russo and Des Koroma.
Mount Druitt Town v FC Bossy Liverpool
Mount Druitt have thrown themselves a lifeline with a healthy 3-0 win over FC Bossy. Eddie Georges was the hero for the Rangers, scoring twice, once from the spot. The 1-0 half time lead increased when Shannon Hankin was brought down in the box, allowing Georges to double the lead, scoring his eighth goal of the year.
A 70th minute strike from Luciano Berbis sealed the points, lifting Mount Druitt above Dulwich Hill into tenth spot.
Mount Druitt 3 (Eddie George 2, 1 pen, Luciano Berbis) v FC Bossy Liverpool 0
Spirit FC v Northern Tigers
Northern Tigers consolidated second position on the table with two late goals against Spirit doing the damage at Christie Park. And it was their scorers from the weekend, Tom Spencer and Max Glanville, who did the deed again.
Spencer scored his eleventh of the season nine minutes from time and the result was put beyond any doubt when Glanville scored moments from full time. The result leaves the Tigers in second but now five points clear of third while the loss for Spirit leaves their finals hopes hanging. The only good news for Spirit is that fellow contenders FC Bossy Liverpool and Granville Rage both also lost.
Spirit FC 0 v Northern Tigers 2 (Tom Spencer 81?, Max Glanville 90?)
The two remaining outstanding fixtures will both be played next Wednesday night 11 August.
St George v Macarthur Rams St George Stadium
Dulwich Hill v Spirit FC Christie Park
Kick offs 6.30 and 8.15
19 – Sam Messam (Macarthur Rams)
13 – Christian Soares (Sydney University)
11 – Shayne Ardle (Parramatta Eagles), Tom Spencer (Northern Tigers)
10 – Ben Gough (Spirit FC)
9 – Pat Cappuccio (Granville Rage)
8 – Nenos Bobo (Granville Rage), Tony Faria (Dulwich Hill), Eddie Georges (Mount Druitt), Alex Smith (Fraser Park)
7 – Kutaiba Elrich (Parramatta Eagles), Kris Holbrook (Granville Rage)
-By Peter Rowney