Inter Lions vs Stanmore Hawks
Stanmore Hawks huffed and puffed and eventually blew the house down at Pratten Park last Thursday evening, scoring two late goals to overcome Inter Lions 4-2.
The match was a real six pointer for two sides near the bottom of the league, and had all the thrills and spills of a local derby, with six goals and two red cards to boot.
The Hawks took the lead on 6 minutes to set the tone for the evening, with Neil Philippou breaking Inter?s offside trap, beating Inter?s keeper, Carl McMahon, to the ball, just outside the box.
His touch took him out wide, but Philippou steadied before accurately placing the ball into the net from an acute angle to give Stanmore the lead.
A few minutes later Philippou was at it again, cracking his volley past the upright after skipper, David James, had chested down for the striker on the edge of the box.
Inter responded fairly quickly with a goal of their own in the 10th minute, and it came via a brilliant weighted through ball by veteran, Ralph Bove, that split the Stanmore defence.
Nick Ruoco got on the end of it, snapping a shot from a tight angle that Stanmore?s keeper, Rob Fleming, got a hand to, but Daniel Chiandotto was following up and tapped into an unguarded net to restore parity.
Both teams settled into a bit of an arm wrestle at this point, tentatively testing each other with so much at stake.
The players kept mobile in the cool conditions, quick to spray the ball across the flat pitch with a view to spreading the opposition and open up the play.
Inter Lions then suffered a setback in the 32nd minute, when goalkeeper, Carl McMahon, was sent from the field following a straight red card.
Stanmore?s Nick Paradisis beat the offside trap after a lobbed through ball, and his attempted shot struck McMahon on the arm outside the box, giving referee, Mr Jerry Bitas, no option but to brandish the red.
Substitute keeper, Andrew Guirgis, was immediately called into the action, captain Ben Ellis making way after suffering an injury.
Taking advantage of the extra man, Stanmore almost took the lead on 40 minutes, Nick Paradisis hitting a pearler from inside the box that Guirgis did ever so well to parry out to the left.
A minute later and it was Paradisis once more, controlling the ball inside the box, swiveling, and then sliding a low shot that cannoned off the post before Inter cleared the danger.
Inter had reverted to a 4-4-1 formation following the send off, but were having trouble adapting, and Stanmore prised them open once more before the break.
Captain, David James, chipped a great ball behind the Inter defence, and Paradisis managed to swing a leg and lob Inter keeper, Guirgis, the ball bouncing agonizingly inches wide of the upright.
Half time gave the players some respite, with the match balancing on an edge and both sides eager to take the advantage.
Despite being level pegging, Inter Lions had needed to make three substitutions in the first 45 minutes ? as well as losing McMahon to the red card.
Captain Ben Ellis, Anthony Mansueto, and centre back, Kaawi, all succumbed to injury, so the Lions had some reshuffling and restructuring to do to get things right in the second half.
Two of Stanmore?s quiet achievers combined on 53 minutes to almost break the deadlock.
George Skoulos hit a left foot shot on the turn that took Guirgis held at the second attempt,
Stephen Speirs having done the spadework down the left before cutting it back.
On the back of a number of opportunities either side of half time, Stanmore finally edged in front in the 55th minute, Nick Paradisis stabbing home from a few yards following Inter?s failure to clear the ball from a corner.
Subsititute, John Pieris, spurned a great chance to put the game to bed on 62 minutes, doing well to reach a diagonal ball at the back stick before hitting his shot high into the darkness of the night.
Inter Lions had found the going tough since they went down to ten men, but had a spell in the middle of the second half where they came right back into the match.
Nick Ruoco played a one-two off Anthony Ucchino on 71 minutes with the little flanker stabbing a shot just wide from inside the box.
A couple of minutes later the same two players combined, Ucchino?s lob beating both keeper and cross bar after Rouco?s mazy run from the halfway line saw him slalom past a few defenders.
Inter?s renewed persistence paid off on 75 minutes, and the ledger was squared with a goal full of collective determination.
Anthony Ucchino won his team possession in the middle of the Stanmore half, racing down the edge of the box before passing into the middle.
Daniel Chiandotto controlled and shot the ball in the one movement from around the penalty spot, and whilst Stanmore?s Robert Fleming parried the initial effort, he couldn?t stop substitute Domenic Dimento lashing home the loose ball from a tight angle.
The teams then went toe to toe as both looked to snatch the three points on offer, with Philippou going close on 77 minutes for Stanmore with a header that just flashed wide, whilst Domenic Dimento?s lob on the turn a few minutes later for Inter bounced inches wide of the Stanmore post.
Just when the match seemed headed for a stalemate, Stanmore hit the front on 86 minutes when Stuart Bromley got on the end of a great through ball by David James, and hit a sweetly struck shot past Guirgis into the far inside netting, sending the Stanmore bench into raptures.
The Hawks turned the screws a minute later with goal number four, Neil Philippou beating Inter defenders and keeper alike at the near post to stab home a low sharp cross from Nick Paradisis.
There was still room for one last major incident, and it came four minutes into injury time, with Stanmore?s keeper, Robert Fleming, sent from the field in an identical incident to the one at the other end involving Inter?s Carl McMahon.
A shot by Domenic Dimento struck Fleming on the arm outside the box, and Mr Jerry Bitas took out his red card for the second time in the match, before blowing for fulltime shortly after.
Inter had a tough night at the office, with the defeat crucial to their season, especially given the pending loss of a number of players through injury and suspension in the coming weeks.
Best for Inter were ; defender, Perri, read the play well, making some timely interceptions before distributing quickly down the flanks ; right back, Adrian Vizzari, was tenacious in defeat, making some great supporting runs down the right, and increasing his urgency as he tried valiantly to lift his side ; Ralph Bove played an effective role as midfield anchor, linking well with his defence and midfield and spraying passes across the park in an attempt to get his side moving forward.
Stanmore Hawks had come to take something home, and lifted intensity a number of times throughout the match whenever Inter got close or drew level.
Best for the Hawks were ; Stuart Bromley was solid on the right hand side of the park, quick to close down his man, smart in pinching possession, and scored a great goal to break the deadlock late on ; Neil Philippou was effective in attack, scored two opportunist goals, and looked lively in support each time his side went forward ; Nick Paradisis was a thorn against his old side, always looking to sniff out a chance, chasing down any defender who had the ball, and scored an opportunist goal by being in his usual ?right place at the right time?.
INTER LIONS (1) 2 (Chiandotto 10?, D Dimento 75?)
STANMORE HAWKS (1) 4 (Philippou 6? / 87?, Paradisis 55?, Bromley 86?)
Thursday, July 7, at Pratten Park
Referee ? Mr Jerry Bitas
Assistant Referees ? Mr Laureano Villarroel & Mr Matt O?Neill
INTER LIONS: 1.C.McMahon, 2.A.Vizzari, 3.S.Perri, 4.R.Kaawi (14.D.Dimento 46?), 5.A.Mansueto (13.A.Dahdah 23?), 6.G.Dimento, 7.R.Bove, 8.B.Ellis (capt (21.A.Guirgis 32?), 9.A.Ucchino, 10.D.Chiandotto, 11.N.Ruoco.
Subs not used ? 12.A.Foti.
Yellow Cards- 2.A.Vizzari 54?.
Red Cards- 1.C.McMahon 32?.
STANMORE HAWKS: 1.R.Fleming, 5.A.Heath, 12.S.Bromley, 16.S.Spiers (6.A.Skoulos 83?), 14.D.James (capt), 20.A.Harvey, 15.A.Papadopoulos, 11.C.Theodosiou (7.J.Pieris 51?), 19.N.Paradisis, 9.N.Philippou (21.G.Murphy 94?), 4.G.Skoulos.
Subs not used- 13.A.Sillah.
Yellow Cards- 9.N.Philippou 23?,14.D.James 49?,4.G.Skoulos 64?, 6.A.Skoulos 83?.
Red Cards- 1.R.Fleming 94?.
Division One Review ? Round Sixteen
Balmain SC ? Fairfield Bulls 3-2
6-00pm, Saturday, July 9 @ Hensley Athletic Field
Balmain SC moved off the bottom of the Division One ladder on Saturday evening when they overcame Fairfield Bulls 3-2.
It was sweet revenge for Balmain, who had lost 1-2 to the Bulls in a rescheduled match only four days earlier, with Daniel Georges and Niriam Kanoun doing the damage with first half goals for Fairfield.
At Hensley Athletic Field it was Ashur Zia that put Fairfield into the lead as early as the 5th minute, but Jamal Boutkabout equalized sixty seconds later in a frenzied opening to the match.
Johnny Buonavoglia then continued the home side?s recovery by putting Balmain in front on 11 minutes with his 6th goal of the season.
The Bulls were back on level pegging right on half time when Rafid Hirmiz sent the teams in at the break at 2-2.
This was familiar territory for the home side, coughing up a lead and letting the match slip from their grasp, but they were determined not to let it happen this time.
Industrious midfielder, Robbie Bruno, grabbed the all important winning goal for Balmain on 76 minutes, a result that sees them move to 13 points and climb off the bottom of the ladder.
Fairfield Bulls didn?t miss out entirely, as results elsewhere, and their three points in Wednesday?s rescheduled match, means they now occupy second position on the ladder on 26 points.
Schofields Scorpions ? Stanmore Hawks 0-0
3-00pm, Sunday, July 10 @ CSI Sport Ground
Schofields Scorpions and Stanmore Hawks continued their respective and steady climb up the ladder by playing out a scoreless draw on Sunday at CSI Sport Ground.
It is hard to imagine that the Scorpions occupied bottom position recently, given their improved results that include that masterful victory last week over the previously unbeaten league leaders, Mounties Wanderers.
Stanmore Hawks made a coaching change a few weeks back, and George Paradisis is unbeaten since he took over ? three draws and a win ? adding some steely resolve to the Hawks demeanour.
The one point sees both sides move to 16 points in equal 9th spot, with identical 4-8-4 win-loss-draw records, both reflecting a minus 6 goal difference also.
Fairfield City Lions ? Inter Lions 6-2
3-00pm, Sunday, July 10 @ Norford Park No.2
Fairfield City Lions were back to their mesmerizing best at Norford Park on Sunday afternoon, thumping a depleted Inter Lions to the tune of 6-2.
But Fairfield didn?t have it all their own way, even though experienced playmaker, Yavuz Ekinci, gave the home side an 18th minute lead.
Inter responded immediately and were back in front within ten minutes, with Anthony Foti equalizing in the 24th before Nick Ruoco edged them ahead on 27 minutes.
Being fearless in attack historically, Fairfield lived up to that tag and threw men forward in numbers, turning the game on it?s head with three goals before half time.
An own goal by an Inter player squared the ledger temporarily, whilst Ben Cronk (40th) and Mirwiss Amiri (43rd) sent Fairfield into half time with a commanding 4-2 lead.
Lively striker, Ben Cronk, hasn?t featured on the scorer?s sheet for a number of weeks now, but he made up for lost time by completing his hatrick in the second half, his goals on 48 and 67 minutes rounding off a resounding 6-2 win for Fairfield City.
Inter Lions have had a devastating few days, the two losses to Stanmore and Fairfield City condemning them to last position on the ladder. The defeats were supplemented by quite a number of players missing through injury and suspension, with the playing roster looking bleak for the next few weeks.
Fairfield City?s return to the winner?s circle sees them move to 23 points in 7th position, but they are only three points from 2nd placed Fairfield Bulls and have two games in hand.
UNSW ? Mt Druitt Town Rangers 0-1
3-00pm, Sunday, July 10 @ Popondetta Park
Mt Druitt Town Rangers restored some life back into their semi final aspirations when they overcame UNSW 1-0 at Popondetta Park on Sunday.
Hosyar Cakal was the hero for the Rangers, netting on 15 minutes, his 14th of the season, and that was all she wrote as Mt Druitt claimed all three points.
Mt Druitt have moved to 20 points in 8th spot, but importantly are only four points from 5th place, and will no doubt make a renewed effort to make the finals in the back end of the season.
UNSW will be disappointed with their second successive loss, dropping to 4th spot in a very congested ladder.
Gladesville Ryde Magic ? Camden Tigers 1-0
3-00pm, Sunday, July 10 @ Magdala Park
Gladesville Ryde Magic threw the cat amongst the Division One pigeons on Sunday by overcoming Camden Tigers via a solitary one goal margin.
Their victory sees them move to 24 points in 5th spot, keeping Camden within reach, and turning the ladder into a traffic quagmire with just three points separating no less than six clubs.
Young Scott Tonkin is the flavour of the month at Gladesville, replicating his injury time winning goal last week against Inter Lions by once again doing the damage this time against Camden.
Tonkin raced onto a great through ball in the 40th minute before toe poking it past the Camden keeper to give Gladesville all three points in front of their home fans.
Hurstville ZFC ? Mounties Wanderers POSTPONED
3-00pm, Sunday, July 10 @ Hurstville Oval
This match was postponed, and will be played at a date/time yet to be confirmed by FNSW, given Mounties Wanderers participation in the 2011 Waratah Cup Final at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre against Premier League outfit Manly United.
-By Frank Speranza