The entry of the IGA NPL NSW Mens 1 teams certainly added some interest around Round 4 of the Waratah Cup, with the round of 32 producing some mouth watering clashes between teams across no less than six tiers of football in NSW.
The draw pitted together NPL NSW Mens 1 sides, Central Coast Mariners Academy and Blacktown City FC, as well as Manly United FC and South Coast Wolves, whilst Parklea, Dunbar Rovers, Maroubra United, and West Pymble flew the flag for their respective local Associations, hoping to continue their fairytale Cup runs.
The Illawarra were well represented also, with Port Kembla, Wollongong United and Bulli Football Club hoping to pick up some big scalps as they looked to emulate the run of Dandaloo in the 2012 tournament.
Our match of the round was at Mills Park, Asquith, on a brisk Tuesday evening, when home side, SUPA IGA NPL NSW Mens 2 side and current champions, Northern Tigers, hoped to deflect the challenge of giant killing, Dunbar Rovers, from the Eastern Suburbs Football Association.
Northern Tigers – Dunbar Rovers 2-1
Dunbar Rovers made the trek to Asquith on Tuesday night to take on Northen Tigers in Round Four of the 2013 NSW Waratah Cup, hoping to continue their fairytale run by knocking out their more illustrious opponents.
The team from the Eastern Suburbs Football Association had made it this far by trouncing Springwood United FC 11-1 in Round One, Padstow United 3-0 in Round Two, and State League One side, Balmain Tigers, 3-1, in Round Three.
Northern Tigers entered the fray in Round Three, and overcame an early setback to trounce State League One champions, Gladesville Ryde Magic, to the tune of 6-1 to progress to Round 4 of the Cup.
Northern Tigers coach, Jason Eager, gave a bulk of his first graders the night off, preferring to promote quite a number of his Under 20s into an arena of competitive first team football. Having said that, regular first teamers Tom Spencer, Stuart Page, Travis Oughtred, Brendan Salameh, Aram Tayebi and Stefan De Jesus provided the backbone of the starting line up which in the end was the catalyst that held together the team’s on field structure.
The opening exchanges showed that Dunbar Rovers were not going to be pushovers, showing a high level of intensity, especially when closing down the Tigers players in possession.
Stefan De Jesus, a real thorn on the night for the Dunbar defence with his technical ability, found some space on six minutes to send over a tantalizing cross that Tom Spencer could only manage to head over.
Dunbar responded moments later with a shot from distance by Andrew Sang, the ball skewing well wide of the mark and not troubling Tigers’ custodian, Stuart Page.
Dunbar’s enthusiasm was forcing the Tigers to release the ball quickly, and they often strung together some effective passages of swift passing as they looked to press open the Rovers’ defence.
The Tigers’ Matthew Alessi stung the palms of Dunbar’s keeper, Steve Deasy, in the 21st minute when his low shot was gathered up at the second attempt by the Rovers custodian.
These games are always a ‘banana skin’ for the more favoured side, and a relatively early goal tends to have the effect of calming the nerves somewhat. This goal the home side craved came in the 25th minute, when De Jesus collected a loose ball just on the edge of the Dunbar box, before swiveling on a six pence and curling a beauty inside the far side netting to give Northern Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Dunbar were determined not to be overawed by this goal, and tried valiantly to hold their own across the park, with Paul O’Shaughnessy, Paddy Millington Buck and Anthony Glasheen leaving their mark in their own personal duels.
Braden Cheng, up from the Northern Tigers U/20s, showed blistering pace down the left flank in the first half, and one such slalom run on 40 minutes ended with a low shot that was parried by Dunbar’s keeper, Steve Deasy, with his feet.
The Tigers upped the tempo leading into the break hoping to extend their lead, and Tom Spencer nearly did just that in the 42nd minute when he tried a snap shot from 25 yards that went wide after a turnover of possession from the Rovers.
Two minutes later and another sweeping left side movement for the Tigers involving Cheng and Aram Tayebi ended with the ball landing at the feet of De Jesus just outside the six yard box. The Tigers playmaker jinked before pulling the trigger, Deasy once again keeping his Dunbar goal intact by deflecting with his feet.
Just when experienced referee, Dave Finlay, who on the night was playing the advantage rule to perfection, was about to blow the half time whistle, Dunbar almost pulled a goal back out of nothing.
Northern Tigers goalkeeper, Stuart Page, was caught in possession trying to play the ball out of the back, and Dunbar’s ever alert, Robbie Deasy, stole the leather, chipping a shot from out near the corner flag, only to see the ball bounce agonizingly across the face of the open goal.
Even though Dunbar were giving a good account of themselves, the question was whether they could keep it up for 90 minutes. Northern Tigers had their lead, and their youngsters had stepped up to the plate in the opening 45 minutes, but they knew they needed a second goal to snuff out the visitors’ fire.
Both teams were rather tentative in the opening fifteen minutes after the break, the battles fierce in the middle of the park as neither wanted to lose the arm wrestle.
Braden Cheng escaped the shackles of the Dunbar defence after a swift passing movement from the Tigers, spraying his bullet grasscutter inches wide of the far upright from all of 25 yards.
But the Tigers remained composed and patient when in possession, and extended their lead in the 67th with a clinical piece of football.
Stefan De Jesus, often the link man between midfield and attack, collected the ball some thirty yards from goal. De Jesus chipped the ball towards the edge of the box, where Tom Spencer nodded down for the onrushing Michael Rolston, and he coolly side footed past a stranded Steve Deasy in the Dunbar goal.
Rolston had been one of the best of the park all night, tough in defence as he stalled the Dunbar attack, and his foray up field and subsequent goal was just reward for a solid performance for the Tigers’ central defender.
For most spectators, you would’ve been forgiven for thinking the match was all but over, but Dunbar had other ideas.
Rovers coach, Will Cullen, had brought on some fresh legs via a couple of substitutions, and they threw caution to the wind in the final quarter of an hour.
Dunbar’s skipper, Jonathan Smith, challenged at a corner on 78 minutes, and his snapshot smashed against the Tigers’ crossbar and away to safety after his initial close range header was blocked.
Following on from a chance to sow the game up for Northern Tigers when substitute, Sebastian Bendall, headed wide on 83 minutes after a great run and cross by Brendan Salameh, Dunbar pushed forward in numbers and were rewarded with a goal.
A Dunbar corner was cleared straight back to the executor, Paul O’Shaughnessy, and this time his perfect cross was nodded over Tigers’ keeper, Stuart Page, by Paddy Millington-Buck, to send the cat amongst the pigeons for the final few minutes.
But the experience of the Northern Tigers elder statesmen was on display as they drained the life out of the final few minutes to protect their lead and progress into Round 5 of the 2013 Cup.
For Dunbar Rovers, their 2013 Cup run has come to an end, but they should proud of their efforts, picking up three scalps on their way to a respectable performance against a high flying NPL NSW Mens 2 team. The Rovers scored 18 goals in their four matches, and showed the spirit of this type of knockout format is well and truly alive within the Waratah Cup.
Northern Tigers were able to hold course throughout the match courtesy of De Jesus’ early goal, and showed the depth within the club will hold it in good stead in coming months. They have progressed to the Round of 16, and will tackle the might of the inform NPL NSW Mens 1 side, the Sutherland Sharks.
Northern Tigers 2 (De Jesus 25’, Rolston 67’)
Dunbar Rovers 1 (Millington-Bank 85’)
Wednesday, May 7, 2013
Mills Park, Asquith
Referee: Mr D Finlay
Assistant Referees : Mr A Thearle and Mr K Robinson
Bench: J. Woods, Z. Elrich, W. Angel, V. Rigoli, I. Johnson.NORTHERN TIGERS: 1.S.Page (capt), 2.T.Oughtred, 5.S.Ryder, 7.D.Kanaley, 14.B.Salameh, 12.S.De Jesus, 10.A.Tayebi, 24.T.Spencer, 26.M.Alessi (8.J.Lim 70’), 4.M.Rolston, 15.B.Cheng (9.S.Bendall 80’).
Substitutes Not Used: 16.A.Apanian, 3.N.McInerney, 20.J.Unicomb.
Yellow Cards: 15.B.Cheng 17’.
Red Cards: Nil
DUNBAR ROVERS: 1.S.Deasy, 2.J.Lynch, 5.A.Sang (12.L.Barry 67’), 14.C.Delaney, 4.A.Simpson (13.G.Mackey 87’), 18.J.Smith (capt), 16.P.O’Shauhnessy, 3.S.Van Rooyen, 7.R.Deasy, 10.A.Glasheen (15.D.Overton 59’), 6.P.Millington Buck.
Substitutes Not Used:11.D.Curley, 17.P.Stuart.
Yellow Cards: 2.J.Lynch 31’.
Red Cards: Ni
Waratah Cup Review
The Waratah Cup Round Four fixtures were played over two nights on Tuesday and Wednesday, and spread from the Central Coast to the Illawarra and everywhere in between as clubs vied for a spot in the last 16.
Firstly, there were two other matches on Tuesday night apart from our feature clash, one of those seeing Northern Suburbs Association side, West Pymble FC, taking on St George at Auluba Oval, South Turramurra.
Unfortunately for the locals, there was to be no upset in this round four battle, and in fact, the night couldn’t have started any worse, when a Sam Messam cross was turned into their own net after just thirty seconds to give the Saints an early lead.
West Pymble managed to recover from that early mishap, and almost drew level when they had a shot cleared off the line after half an hour. But predictably, it was the higher ranked side who eventually took control, Chris Gomez doubling the lead after some quick passing movement between him and Messam, while Sean Thomas bundled the ball over in a goalmouth scramble to make it 3-0 before half time.
Messam then picked up a loose ball after a poor clearance to make it 4-0 midway through the second half. The honours may have gone the way of St George but West Pymble certainly made a game of it, much to the delight of the large crowd in attendance.
Pluim Park in Lisarow saw an all NPL NSW Mens 1 Premier League clash as the Central Coast Mariners Academy hosted the visit of Blacktown City, with the Mariners defying their league form to run out 4-3 winners in an entertaining match.
Both clubs fielded reasonably strong sides for this Round 4 encounter, and it was the Central Coast who edged in front on the half hour with a goal by Daniel McFarlane. Even though Sean Rooney equalised for Blacktown on the hour mark, the Mariners took a real stranglehold on the match with goals by Daniel Bragg (65’) and Chris Payne (72’) to give them a 3-1 lead.
A frenetic last few minutes saw Blacktown pull a goal back through Yanni Fragogiannis in the 86th minute, before 17 year old substitute, Shayne D’Cunha, equalised in the 89th.
Jed Prater was the hero for Central Coast with a last gasp winner, sending the Mariners into the last 16 of this year’s Cup.
Rockdale City Suns made light work of Parklea FC, from the Blacktown & District Football Association, running out 7-0 winners on Wednesday night at Morgan Power Reserve, Kings Langley.
Suns’ coach, Branko Culina, displayed the depth of his squad by fielding a mixture of regular first teamers and U/20s, and the Suns edged their way to a 2-0 half time lead courtesy of Alec Urosevski, who took advantage of a couple of defensive lapses from the home side.
Rockdale continued to dominate possession after the break as Parklea tired, and the result was turbo charged with the introduction of Richie Cardozo in the last half hour, as he helped turn possession into movement on the scoreboard.
The Premier League’s ace marksman grabbed a brace with some clinical finishing, the first within a minute of entering the fray, and could’ve had a couple more. Huseyin Jasli and Toufic Alameddine, promoted from the U/20s, snatched a goal apiece, with an own goal completing the rout.
Manly United gave many of their U20s a run against South Coast Wolves at Cromer Park, and they gave a good account of themselves before coming unstuck from the dreaded penalty shootout.
Ricky Zucco gave the Wolves the lead on 23 minutes, but that was extinguished by Dominic Ferguson, drawing Manly level in the 34th minute. The match produced plenty of goalmouth action but no more goals by the completion of the regulation 90 minutes, nor in extra time, so it was to the spot to decide the night’s events.
When Manly United missed their third spot kick, it gave the ascendancy to the Wolves, and Joey Lavalle made it five from five for the South Coast by converting his team’s fifth penalty to send them into the last 16.
On the brand new artificial surface at the Sydney United Sports Centre, Chris Triantis bagged a double for Sydney United to send Bulli Football Club packing, whilst Sutherland Sharks accounted for Mt Druitt Town Rangers at Popondetta Park, with Perry Moustakas, Nathan Elasi, and Panny Nikas finding the net for the Sharks in a 3-2 triumph.
Maroubra United, from the Eastern Suburbs Football Association, had reached Round 4 by beating Revesby Workers 5-0 in Round 1, Randwick 6-1 in a derby of sorts in Round 2, before knocking out State League One side, Camden Tigers, 4-2 in Round 3.
United however were no match for Premier League side, APIA Lechhardt Tigers, at Lambert Park, the Tigers winning 4-0 with goals by David D’Apuzzo, Jason Oswell, Nikola Taneski and Brad Bartels.
NPL NSW Mens 1 Premier League side, Blacktown Spartans, made the trek to Macedonia Park in Berkeley, losing 2-0 to Illawarra Premier League side Wollongong United.
The Spartans fielded a youthful team missing a number of first team regulars, and came unstuck when Montanari and Tsovolos scored second half goals to send Wollongong into the last 16.
Elsewhere, David Rezo grabbed a brace For Parramatta FC in a 3-1 victory over Nepean FC, Marconi sent Fraser Park packing with a 5-0 triumph at Marconi Stadium, whilst likewise, Sydney Olympic smacked Macarthur Rams by the same scoreline at Lynwood Park.
In two all SUPA IGA NPL NSW Mens 2 clashes on the night, Sydney University defeated Bankstown Berries 4-1 at The Crest Athletic Centre, whilst Mounties Wanderers overcame Spirit FC 2-1 at Cook Park, St Marys.
At Bonnyrigg Sports Ground, Bonnyrigg White Eagles had speedster, David Gullo, back running amok on the flank after a long term injury, and with Alex Mansueto and Aaron Peterson amongst the goals, over ran Western NSW Mariners 6-1 with four late goals even though the teams were dead locked at 1-1 at the half time break.
In the final match of the Round, Granville Rage continues to fly the flag for the State League One clubs, needing extra time however to over come Illawarra Premier League outfit, Port Kembla, 2-1, after extra time.
So sixteen clubs have survived to progress to Round 5 of the 2013 Waratah Cup, with some mouthwatering battles to look forward to as we near the business end of the competition.
Of the sixteen remaining sides, 9 come from the IGA NPL NSW Mens 1 competition, 5 are from the SUPA IGA NPL NSW Mens 2 league, 1 club is from State League One, and 1 from the Illawarra Premier League.
There are a number of battles looming between teams from the NSW Mens 1 and 2 leagues, with current Mens 2 league leaders, Mounties Wanderers, taking on the Central Coast Mariners Academy, whilst Northern Tigers are up against Sutherland Sharks, and Sydney Olympic will meet Sydney University.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles meet fellow NPL NSW Mens 1 team, South Coast Wolves, whilst an all NPL NSW Mens 2 battle looms as Parramatta meets St George.
Wollongong United will hope to keep their Cup dream alive, but have it all to play for as they meet Sydney United, whilst Granville Rage similarly will have their work cut out if they are to progress at the expense of the Rockdale City Suns.
Arguably the match of the round pits together traditional rivals, an Italian derby of sorts, as APIA Leichhardt Tigers go head to head with Marconi Stallions.
For detail of venues and kick off times, stay tuned to the Football NSW website over the coming weeks.