NSW Super League Round 18 Preview


With Bankstown Berries winning on Wednesday, they lie a further three points behind, but with that extra game played.
The Lions this Sunday travel to Garside Park to meet Granville Rage after both clubs played midweek fixtures. Bankstown City had to come from two down to defeat St George and scored a late winner, as they have done with some regularity. They are an impressive side and it will take something special, or an off night it seems, for the Lions to taste another defeat. Granville will need to be at the top of their game if they want to be the club to cause that loss, but fighting spirit is something Granville have in abundance. The 3-0 loss to Bankstown Berries on Wednesday didn?t help their finals cause but they are still in with a large shout, nonetheless.
Northern Tigers face Hills Brumbies, also on Sunday, at Blacktown Olympic Park.  This was a 3-2 victory to the Tigers in round seven, a close result, but a similar scoreline here will surely satisfy the visitors, as they fight that ding dong battle with the Lions.  Hills came away with a very valuable win at Fraser Park last round, and will be up for this clash at home. It was 2-2 for large parts of that game earlier in the season, so Hills, with maybe an eye of their own on fifth, will make the Tigers work very hard.
The other Sunday game sees Bankstown Berries at Spirit FC. The Berries had their fifth win on the trot midweek so they are really hitting some form. Dimitri Zakilas continues to score, the Berries now being the second highest scorers in the league. The title would appear a bridge too far, although anything can happen, but third placing is the aim now. Spirit need the win for their finals push, and with the best defence outside the current top five, and the only one of those clubs with a positive goal difference, that alone may be worth an extra point when the numbers are crunched on the last day.
But before these three games kick off, there are three Saturday games which start the weekend.
Sydney University will look to move off the bottom of the table when they meet the travelling St George. The Saints tried valiantly against Bankstown City during the week, against tremendous pressure, and failed by eight minutes to come away with a point, and will want to recover from those exertions before meeting Uni. Uni have been close lately without quite getting the result they need, their fortunes are due to turn soon.
Just above Uni are Dulwich Hill and Paul Carter?s side face his old club in Macarthur Rams. As a result, this game is always looked forward to and a tough fixture usually ensures. Fabio Ferreira remains, after postponing his return to Europe, and with Dully needing points to steer further away from bottom and the Rams still hoping for third, there is plenty to play for in this. It was a 4-0 win for the Rams at Lynwood Park, but a similar result is unlikely at Arlington.
Mounties Wanderers and Fraser Park, two further clubs with an eye on the finals, and that coveted fifth spot, clash at Cook Park. Fortunes have been mixed for both clubs lately, and neither have been able to strengthen their position. It is a particularly important game for Fraser Park, who face a tough run in, while a Mounties win could create a little breathing space.  
Bankstown City FC v St George
Rescheduled Round Five
Robert Mileski came on at the 79th minute mark, scored what proved to be the winner three minutes later, and was subsequently replaced five minutes after that, as Bankstown City FC steamrolled St George to eventually take a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.
Mileski, who had started the game on the bench due to a hamstring strain picked up against Spirit last weekend, took advantage of a rebound after Gosue Sama had hit the bar, with eight minutes to go. Coach George Nohra didn?t take too long in replacing the Lions ace, his job seemingly done for the night. A more fruitful eight minutes you would be hard to find.
It had been a strong comeback by Bankstown City who had found themselves two goals down after just over half an hour. They had started like a house on fire of course, but it was the visiting Saints who took an early lead. And it came from an unlikely source, defender Daniel Fallico striking home following a corner, only his second goal for the club, and his first since 2008.
Bankstown City had a great chance or two to equalise, Gosue Sama heading wide from a good opportunity before Nicolo Sama, from the right, drove across the face of goal, the ball evading all and sundry when all it needed was a tap.
Despite their possession, it was not all one way traffic though, and David Smith for St George could hardly have come any closer to scoring after setting off on a dynamic run from half way, beating the defence and keeper but the shot was pushed just wide of the upright.
The chance for the equaliser appeared certain when Matt Sadler handled on the line after a Reuben Lagos piledriver, on thirty four minutes, and a penalty was awarded. The Lions, who had missed a spotkick against Spirit, proceeded to do the same again, this time Gosue Sama being denied by a flying save from Daniel Nash. There was plenty of power in the kick, but Nash chose the right way.
So instead of 1-1, it soon became 0-2 and this time Smith made no mistake. A quick throw in, a chance, and Smith drove high into the net from distance. A shock to Bankstown City, who were now looking at a loss for the first time since round four.
But as Bankstown have proven all season, they drive forward at every opportunity. They set to their task with relish, using their width of the pitch relentlessly with Reuben Lagos, Steve Liavas and Shannon Burgin all amongst the action. St George defended admirably though, getting a foot in, clearing, perhaps unspectacularly at times, but managing to keep the Lions at bay. That was until five minutes before the break, Nicolo Sama poking home following a deep free kick. 
It was more of the same in the second half, Burgin squeezing between two to head over before the equaliser finally came. A loss of possession in the middle for St George, and the ball fell perfectly for Gosue Sama, who rarely misses these. 2-2 with just under half an hour left.
Bankstown continued to press, needing the win to go top over Northern Tigers, and St George defended stoutly. Simon Verrender, for one, was everywhere, arriving at just the right moment time and time again to clear the danger, while Michael Yarnold looked to grab any chance to move forward.
But the Lions prevailed with that man, Mileski.
Despite now being behind, St George didn?t concede, coach Kory Babington bringing on young striker Stephen Grbevski up front for defender Simon di Natale. Some late pressure of their own didn?t quite get the dividend they sought.
The result was then blown but the drama didn?t end there. Nohra, after earlier picking up a yellow card just prior to coming on as substitute, collected another after the whistle from referee Khodr Yagi, for comments made. A red card naturally followed, a late send off for the Lions leader.
For Nohra, the win was a result which always seemed likely.
?I really thought that St George played a negative brand of football, and really, are probably one of the weakest teams in the league. I thought it was only a matter of time before we got the goals [we needed]?, was the succinct summary.  
Bankstown City FC 3 (Nicolo Sama 40?, Gosue Sama 68?, Robert Mileski 82?) v St George 2 (Daniel Fallico 10?, David Smith 34?)
Tuesday 17 July 2012
at Jensen Park
Referee: Khodr Yagi
Bankstown City FC: 1. Zlatko Joseski 7. Steve Liavas 2. Matthew Presello 5. Richard Luksic (c) 14. Nathan Ristevski (31. D Prodanovic 73?) 6. Reuben Lagos 22. Zac Vallorani 9. Shannon Burgin 41. Adem Kir 11. Gosue Sama 18. Nicolo Sama (10. Robert Mileski 79?, rep by 8.George Nohra 87?).
Subs not used: 23. Anthony Doumanis 40. Evangelos Petratos. 
Yellow cards: Zlatko Joseski, George Nohra, Gosue Sama, Adem Kir
Red Card: George Nohra   
Coach: George Nohra
St George: 1. Daniel Nash 12. Matt Sadler 4. Daniel Fallico 14. Mark Bariamis 15. Simon di Natale (70. Stephen Grbevski 82?) 7. George Lagoudakis (18. Steven Ilic 65?) 5. Simon Verrender (c) 3. David Smith 8. Michael Yarnold 19. John Nassif (9. Pablo Cardozo 79?) 10. Sam Messam.
Subs not used: 29. Lucas Gonzalez 33. Jacob Madden
Yellow Cards: David Smith
Coach: Kory Babington
Under 20s: Bankstown City FC 0 v St George 1 (Stephen Grbevski)
Bankstown Berries v Granville Rage
Rescheduled Round Thirteen
Bankstown Berries continued their run of good form with another win, consolidating their third position and moving themselves six points clear of fourth placed Macarthur Rams.
The 3-0 win over Granville Rage was relatively comfortable, Liam McKenna stabbing home from a corner to put the Berries one up after thirty three minutes. But Granville had a golden chance to equalise right before the break, with Michael Dowling sweeping over from close range.
The second goal for the Berries came ten minutes after half time, good work from Steve Wright down the left, a cross to the middle and Dimitri Zakilas headed home, from right in front. It was Zakilas? fifteenth goal of the season, a tally now higher than last season?s total, when winning the Golden Boot.  
From there, Bankstown Berries were not likely to lose, although Granville certainly made the effort to come back into it, but Wright?s own header, from a corner, with nine minutes to go, erased any doubt.
Bankstown Berries 3 (Liam McKenna 33?, Dimitri Zakilas 55?, Steve Wright 81?) v Granville Rage 0
Wednesday 18 July 2012
at The Crest
Referee: David Christie
Bankstown Berries: 22. George Bouropoulos 3. Steve Wright 4. Alex Becerra 5.Liam McKenna 11. Aram Tayebi (16 Brad Gibson 75?) 7. Peter Peralta 18 David Stojic 9. Ante Deur (21. Ben Delicata 71?) 12. Stefan de Jesus 8. Kodjo Adjassou 19. Dimitri Zakilas (23. Naim Ramahi 81?). 
Subs not used: 17. Michael Zezovski 22. Nick Tsioustas.
Yellow Card: David Stojic.
Coach: Tony Pace.
Granville Rage:  1. Adriano Varnier 2. Andrew Vitucci (12. Jake Bradshaw 65?) 13. Daniel Carrozza 25. Manut Yel 16. Johnathan Ekehov (21. Joseph Sahni 81?) 19. Michael Dowling (9. Kris Holbrook 55?) 6. Suad Ameti 7. David Harding 18. Pat Cappuccio 10. Jeffrey Issa 20. Almir Dizdaric.
Subs not used: 5. Mauricio Islas 22. Carl McMahon.
Yellow Card: Manut Yel.
Coaches: Mauricio Islas/Jason Holmes.  
Under 20s: Bankstown Berries 3 (P Crevani 24?, J Lopez 61?, S Kerfoot 89?) v Granville Rage 0
Leading Goalscorers
15 –       Gosue Sama                 (Bankstown City FC)
Dimitri Zakilas               (Bankstown Berries)
12 –       Almir Dizdaric                (Granville Rage)
10 –       Robbie Shields (Dulwich Hill)
Tom Spencer                (Northern Tigers)
9 –        Max Glanville                (Northern Tigers)
            Wassim Hijazi                (Fraser Park)
8 –        Robbie Mileski              (Bankstown City FC)
7 –        Stefan Donevski           (Macarthur Rams)
            Fabio Ferreira                (Dulwich Hill)
Sam Messam                (St George)
-By Peter Rowney