While St George are in a strong position, it is no clearer for the rest, as the race for the five comes down to the final few weeks. Midweek wins for Fraser Park and Spirit FC has complicated things for many clubs meaning that this weekend’s fixtures take on even more importance.
St George v Hills Brumbies Saturday 7pm, St George Stadium, Kyeemagh
St George will look to make it four wins in three weeks when they tackle Hills Brumbies on Saturday. The Saints are flying high at the moment escaping to a six point lead following their win at Mount Druitt on Tuesday, combined with Mounties Wanderers’ turnaround against Fraser Park the same night. It may look good for St George at the moment, but the level headed Manny Spanoudakis will make sure that his team do not get carried away just yet. Juan Chavez and Sam Messam shared four goals on Tuesday night and the Saints will be looking for the competition’s leading scorers to continue in their rich vein of form.
Hills’ gallant efforts may not have gained their reward this year but they have certainly been a tougher outfit in this, their third season at this level. A strong finish to the season will be Mark Abi-Arrage’s intention, and after defeating the Berries 5-2 just a few weeks ago, will have hopes of causing an upset here.
Macarthur Rams v Mounties Wanderers Saturday 7pm, Lynwood Park, St Helens Park
It was a disappointing night for Mounties on Tuesday when they were overhauled by Fraser Park, going down 3-2. The loss meant that Mounties remain third but now within reach of a clutch of teams all seeking to challenge for that double finals position. For the Wanderers, looking to recover from that setback, they don’t come much tougher than a trip to Lynwood Park. Macarthur v Mounties is always a tough affair and this promises to be no different.
Just one point separates the two clubs with the advantage to the Rams who also have the extra game still to play. If Mounties wish to finish higher than Macarthur, a win here is virtually imperative.
Macarthur continued with their A-League friendlies on Wednesday, this time meeting Western Sydney Wanderers. They may have been defeated 2-0 but put in a good performance all the same, which augers well for this Saturday.
Spirit FC v Fraser Park Saturday 7pm, Christie Park, Marsfield
There seems little can stop Spirit FC at the moment. Another three points midweek moved Spirit into outright fourth position, just one win away from second placed Macarthur Rams, who they meet in the final rescheduled match in two weeks time. That fixture must be something Spirit are looking forward to, especially now that they have started to score a bit more regularly. Their defence still remains relatively tight too, something Fraser will need to overcome on Saturday.
Fraser Park surprised many when they turned over the scoreline against Mounties during the week. They are well in the hunt for a top five position although their adverse goal difference won’t help their cause. But with just three games to go, Fraser Park are sure to battle all the way, and considering that in recent seasons they have spent the final weeks fighting against relegation, often until the final day, this challenge will be a welcome change.
Sydney University v Parramatta FC Saturday 10 August 7pm, Hensley Field, Pagewood
Parramatta will have a clearer idea of their standing once they complete their fixture against Northern Tigers on Thursday night. The Eagles were pushed out of the five following the midweek results, and will face Uni as their second game in three days. Two losses in their past two games didn’t help Parramatta and depending on the Tigers result, the trip to Uni may take on even more urgency.
Sydney University have set up a good foundation for next year and while scorelines haven’t gone their way, they haven’t been too far away from better results. They still face the task of staying above Mount Druitt Town in the battle for the wooden spoon, so Parramatta will still need to be on their game, despite the difference in league standing.
Bankstown Berries v Mount Druitt Town Rangers Saturday 7pm, The Crest, Bass Hill
Things aren’t going right for Bankstown Berries at the moment. They have gained only one point from the past fifteen and after Wednesday’s loss to Spirit, have now dropped to seventh on the table, their lowest position all year. That poor run of form is a surprise as the Berries have been one of the dominant clubs for most of the year. With just three games to turn that around, it looks likely to be an increasingly uphill battle as September looms.
Mount Druitt succumbed on Tuesday against St George and are fast running out of games to avoid bottom. With the Berries fighting for dear life for the five, they can expect another tough game against a finals challenger.
Bankstown City v Northern Tigers Sunday 3pm, Jensen Park, Sefton
It hasn’t been the best of seasons for either of these two clubs, after the ding dong competition between the two last season. Northern Tigers will know more of their fate after the match against Parramatta on Thursday but if that was lost, it will make this Sunday’s game last chance saloon. Their striking woes don’t appear to have been solved and the loss to injury of attacking players such as Liam McConaghy and Tom Spencer certainly hasn’t helped. But for now, they are still the reigning premiers and champions, and until that changes, expect a competitive and spirited Tigers outfit.
Bankstown City’s cause wasn’t helped by the midweek wins of Fraser Park and Spirit FC. While it really is a logjam in the middle of the table, the odds of the Lions sneaking through are still long. But with three home games out of their four remaining, anything can happen.
Fraser Park v Mounties Wanderers
Rescheduled Round Fifteen
Tuesday 6 August 2013
It was a remarkable turnaround at Fraser Park as the home side and Mounties contested the second half of this match originally abandoned at half time the previous week. With Mounties leading 2-1, they would have skipped above fierce rivals Macarthur Rams had they held on to their lead, but Fraser Park had other ideas.
Following their win over Sydney University on the weekend, Fraser knew that a result here would place them well within the finals fight and that is exactly what has occurred. After two goals to Alvin Singh had given the Mounties the lead last Tuesday, in reply to Fraser’s Ben Vidaic, Sash Tirovski drew Fraser Park level on the night with a goal twenty minutes from time.
The joy for Fraser was complete when Thomas Taylor scored the winner with seven minutes left.
Fraser Park 3 (Ben Vidaic 3’, Sash Tirovski 70’, Thomas Taylor 83’) v Mounties Wanderers 2 (Alvin Singh 32’, 40’)
Mount Druitt Town Rangers v St George
Rescheduled Round Fourteen
St George moved six points clear at the top after a comfortable 4-1 victory over Mount Druitt Town on Tuesday night.
The Saints dominated possession from the off, with Rangers seemingly content to rely on the pace of Hosyar Cakal up front as their main threat. St George didn’t take too long to threaten as a result with Matt Sadler going close on thirteen minutes before Sam Messam opened their account five minutes later. Messam had the simple task of knocking in a Daniel Conway parry from close range.
Aleks Jovovic looked to make it 2-0 fifteen minutes later when clear on the keeper but Conway denied the opportunity, saving well with his legs.
A lapse of concentration at the back for St George allowed Cakal to equalise, the Rangers’ leading scorer doing extremely well to score from an acute angle, nine minutes before half time.
But St George continued their dominance all the same, and after the break went ahead through a Juan Chavez penalty when Messam was upended in the box.
Chavez then scored his second of the night, netting from close range at an unfortunate time for Rangers who had central defender Dylan Owusu off seeking treatment at the time.
With one minute to go, Messam got his second, and St George’s fourth, to seal the win.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers 1 (Hosyar Cakal 36’) v St George 4 (Sam Messam 18’, 89’, Juan Chavez 58’ pen, 75’)
Tuesday 6 August 2013
at Popondetta Park, Emerton
Referee: Khodr Yagi
Mount Druitt Town Rangers: 1. Daniel Conway 14. Christopher Prothero 2. James Thurtell 15. Dylan Owusu (3. Aaron White 75’) 16. James Mawein 18. Mitchell King 12. Luke Boyd 5. Ryan O’Shea (c) (7. Shayne Ardle 64’) 11. Glenn McPherson (17. Adam Luzi 70’) 8. Brendan King 10. Hosyar Cakal.
Subs not used: 4. Daniel Wells 20. Jarrod Marsh
Coach: Nick Verdos
St George: 23. Dion Shaw 6. Sean Thomas 2. Michael Smith 5. Bill Tsanidis 35. Costa Andricopoulos 12. Aleks Jovovic 19. Nick Napoli 33. Simon Verrender 22. Matt Sadler (10. Bruno Pivato 61’) 9. Sam Messam 11. Juan Chavez (c) (7. George Lagoudakis 80’).
Subs not used: 60. Daniel Nash 8. Marino Musumeci
Coach: Manny Spanoudakis
Bankstown Berries v Spirit FC
Rescheduled Round Fourteen
Spirit FC’s excellent run of results continued with a 3-1 win over Bankstown Berries, consigning the home side to their fourth defeat in five games.
There can be no doubt as to who was man of the match with Spirit’s keeper Murray Nelson pulling off at least four standout saves, all important ones too as it was only in the final seconds that Spirit made the game safe.
The first series of saves came after just six minutes as the Berries started well, but Nelson denied John Tsironis firstly, before the ball was somehow cleared away, after an extended period ricocheting within the area.
After Spirit survived that initial spell, they received a godsend when Henry Wells was brought down in the area by Adem Kir. Matthew Clowes stepped up to convert, but only just, as Nestor Tsioustas came very close to a save.
A free header by Brad Gibson almost made it 2-0 just before the break but in turn and then almost immediately, at the other end it was close to 1-1. But Nelson, for the second time, tipped away a Tsironis effort, to keep Spirit’s noses in front.
Akwasi Agyei was proving to be a thorn in the Berries’s side and his enthusiasm and involvement in play was in evidence all night. But for a horrible miskick, he could have made it 2-0, but the increase in the scoreline did come not long after when Gibson knocked home a parry.
It looked tough for the Berries from there but they were given a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty after Tsironis was impeded in the box. Again, Nelson excelled in saving Ante Deur’s actual spotkick, but the rebound was scrambled home by Kodjo Adjassou.
The Berries lifted after this and it looked like an equaliser was on the cards. But Nelson had other ideas and it was no small thanks to the Spirit captain that they survived. Then as he has done in the past, Andrew McKie came on to provide some fresh legs, and in the dying moments, as the Berries were all pressing forward, he skipped clear from half way, slotting away for 3-1 with just seconds left.
Bankstown Berries 1 (Kodjo Adjassou 65’) v Spirit FC 3 (Matthew Clowes pen 13’, Brad Gibson 56’, Andrew McKie 93’)
Wednesday 7 August 2013
at The Crest, Bass Hill
Referee: Jerry Bitas
Bankstown Berries: 40. Nestor Tsioustas (1.George Bouropoulos 46’) 2. Adam Savetta 22. Peter Zorbas (7. Chris Gaitatzis 55’) 6. Gary Hill 3. Adem Kir (21. Pan Gotsis 76’) 5. Shannon Burgin 13. Kyle Ewart 8. Ante Deur (c) 14. Nicholas Paras 9. Kodjo Adjassou 10. John Tsironis.
Yellow Cards: Ante Deur, Adem Kir
Coach: John Calleja
Spirit FC: 1. Murray Nelson 6. Michael Fakiye 12. Nick Trimble (11. Tom Lovell 70’) 4. Paul Nicolaou 2. Lachlan Harte 5. Henry Wells 8. Matthew Clowes 14. Grant Cornwell 3. Alistair McKie 7. Akwasi Agyei (10. Andrew McKie 70’) 9. Brad Gibson (13. Ben Simpson 76’).
Yellow Cards: Paul Nicolaou, Grant Cornwell, Matthew Clowes, Lachlan Harte
Coach: Rob di Ceglie