Round 11 Review – PS4 NPL 3 NSW Men’s

A scrappy afternoon of football at Magdala Park.Neither side took advantage of their chances. The match finishing 0-0(Photo by Jeff Walsh/ © Quarrie Sports Photography for Football NSW)

The PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition has a distinct look about it following the completion of Round Eleven over the last three days, with the top two sides, Rydalmere Lions and Fraser Park, extending their lead at the top to 11 and 9 points respectively following their victories over the weekend, and remaining undefeated in the process, having drawn when they met head on back in Round Seven.

In the meantime, Sydney University trounced nine man Dunbar Rovers 5-1 in the season’s first instalment of Friday night football; Hawkesbury City and Granville Rage shared the spoils amidst controversy at Richmond; Dulwich Hill and Gladesville Ryde Magic also drew, in a match that came to life in injury time at Arlington; SD Raiders gave Rydalmere a battle royale at Ernie Smith before succumbing 3-4 to the Lions; Balmain Tigers grabbed their maiden victory of the season by easily beating Western NSW Mariners at Wentworth Park in a match that saw four players sent off; and Stanmore Hawks beat Inter Lions in a closely fought match on Sunday evening.

Football NSW visited the inner west suburb of Marrickville on Saturday evening to view the eagerly awaited top three clash between St George City FA and Fraser Park.



Fraser Park survived a late onslaught by St George City FA on Saturday night before taking home the spoils in a narrow 1-0 victory in an enthralling top of the table clash in the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition.

Going in to the match, St George City were in 3rd position on the competition ladder, six points adrift of second placed Fraser Park, with Rydalmere Lions sitting at the summit.

St George came in to the match without right back, Sean Thomas, and influential top scorer, flanker, Aleksander Jovovic, scorer of eight goals so far this season, whilst Jim Tsironis was out suspended.

Fraser Park themselves were still without experienced keeper, Anthony Costa – although Chris Becerra showed once again that he is a more than capable replacement – whilst Jordan Simpson took his place on the substitutes bench.

The first couple of minutes was a tale of two corners, both with different outcomes.

St George City managed to win a corner within the first minute, and even though central defender, Chris Lawson managed to connect, he couldn’t help but send his header over the cross bar.

Sixty seconds later and it was Fraser Park who reciprocated, with their very first corner, with a very different outcome. Peter Crevani sent over a beautifully weighted outswinger, and striker Tai Smith made a dash towards the near post to powerfully drive his header into the St George City net before wheeling away to celebrate with his team mates.

St George City were shell shocked, but recovered well enough to stay composed and try and revert back to their game plan.

St George’s Luke Maait made a weaving diagonal run from the left wing on 18 minutes, sliding past three Fraser defenders before hitting a low shot that was well saved down low by Chris Becerra in the Fraser goal.

A patient build up in the 25th minute saw the ball land in front of James Spanoudakis, and the St George number 10 snapped a volley that cleared the Fraser cross bar by inches.

Fraser Park then had a great opportunity to extend their lead when they were awarded a penalty in the 26th minute.

Tai Smith picked up the ball near the halfway line and ran at the St George defensive line with purpose, slipping a fantastic pass in to space for Nathan Sansom to run on to.

St George City goal keeper, Marko Bozic, was alert to the danger, racing off his line, but was adjudged to have brought Sansom down, conceding a penalty and earning a yellow card for his troubles.

Bozic redeemed himself by pulling off a remarkable double save to keep his side in the match, parrying Peter Crevani’s initial penalty, and the diverting Nathan Sansom’s rebound from point blank with another instinctive stop.

St George City seemed inspired by Bozic’s save, and went close to equalising on a number of occasions thereafter before half time.

St George’s skilful midfielder, Mark Kamara, made a brilliant dribbling run in the 38th minute, his shot from the edge of the box well blocked by a desperate diving challenge by Fraser Park skipper, Nick Dimitropoulos.

Another attacking foray within sixty seconds saw the ball land at the feet of James Spanoudakis, but his angled shot from a few metres was diverted for a corner by Chris Becerra, the Fraser Park custodian.

Juan Chavez almost netted for St George from the ensuing corner, his looping header clearing the cross bar by a matter of centimetres with Becerra back pedalling to try and get to the ball.

Then incredibly against the run of play, Fraser Park themselves nearly made it 2-0 in first half injury time, with Nathan Sansom’s header – from yet another superb Crevani corner – hitting the top of the cross bar on the way out of play.

Reprieve for the players following a frenetic first half came seconds later after a shriek of the referee’s whistle, with very much still to play for.

Fraser Park would’ve been ruing their penalty miss, because a two goal buffer would’ve given them the confidence to control proceedings a little more effectively. But whilst the scoreline remained 1-0, St George City remained focussed and committed, and they pushed hard in a determined second half to try and equalise.

Luke Maait had the first effort on goal for St George after the break, snapping a volley from the corner of the box that hit the near post side netting in the 48th minute.

St George City produced a wonderful passing movement in the 57th minute, with Jordan Janic starting the move from the left back position, and, after an interchange of passes, finishing the move by being upended inside the Fraser box. St George’s penalty shouts fell on deaf ears.

Fraser Park then had two wonderful opportunities to extend the lead, and effectively end the contest, but spurned both.

A Peter Crevani corner in the 71st minute was met by the unmarked Musashi Kokubo, but he inexplicably skied his header, whilst skipper, Nick Dimitropoulos, did likewise, after connecting with a Jordan Roberts free kick taken from out near the left corner flag.

Farres Aoun and Sam Salameh were working hard in defence for Fraser Park as right and left backs respectively, with some timely interventions, but St George City kept throwing numbers forwards in search of that elusive goal.

An intricate move down the left hand side involving Sam Messam and James Spanoudakis in the 78th minute saw the ball played out to the edge of the box. Nicholas Napoli smacked a low drive that was destined for the bottom corner, only for Chris Becerra to produce a wonderful save, diving full stretch to tip the ball around the upright.

With everyone expecting James Spanoudakis to hit a free kick for St George on the left side of the Fraser penalty area in the 80th, up stepped Jordan Janic to hit his effort across goal, the ball flashing wide of the Fraser upright with both sets of players frozen on the spot.

Once injury time came, it was all hands on deck for Fraser Park as St George threw caution to the wind.

Fraser’s keeper, Chris Becerra, produced a superb one handed save to divert a curling free kick from James Spanoudakis in the 91st minute, whilst Becerra was at it again from the ensuing corner, tipping the ball over the bar following a close range volley from Sean Richardson that was destined for the top corner.

With that last play, the referee brought proceedings to an end, with Fraser Park’s relief evident given St George City’s efforts in the final moments going ever so close to snatching an equaliser.

There were plenty of key players on the night, but as the scoreline would suggest, both defensive lines held firm throughout, and when they were pierced, it was the goal keepers that would stand tall, with both Marko Bozic (St George) and Chris Becerra (Fraser Park) outstanding in a typically predictable arm wrestle by two of the competition’s heavyweights.

The win and subsequent three points sees Fraser Park stay in second spot but move to 29 points on the ladder, two behind leaders Rydalmere Lions, and importantly, now sitting nine points ahead of St George City who are in third spot on 20 points.

PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s

Round Eleven

Saturday, May 20, 2017


FRASER PARK 1 (Smith 2’)

Fraser Park, Marrickville     

Referee – Andrew Beckett

Assistant Referees – Cameron Lee and Dale Fuda

ST GEORGE CITY FA; 1.M.Bozic, 17.M.Abaid (7.S.Messam 61’), 9.J.Chavez, 19.J.Janic, 15.M.Kamara, 16.D.Kartel, 4.C.Lawson, 29.L.Maait (13.S.Richardson 77’), 8.N.Napoli, 10.J.Spanoudakis, 3.B.Tsanidis (capt).

Substitutes Not Used – 32.K.Bangura, 11.J.Stojanovski, 24.R.Gledhill.

Yellow Cards – 1.M.Bozic 26’, 16.D.Kartel 59’.

Red Cards – Nil

FRASER PARK; 20.C.Becerra, 18.F.Aoun, 15.L.Burke, 4.P.Crevani, 5.N.Dimitropoulos (capt), 9.A.Euripidou (14.H.Harashima 46’), 6.M.Kokubo, 3.S.Salameh, 17.N.Sansom, 11.T.Smith, 13.B.Vidaic (20.J.Roberts 63’).

Substitutes Not Used – 10.J.Simpson, 8.A.Malmierca, 23.D.Marjanovic, 60.M.Hastings.

Yellow Cards – 6.M.Kokubo.

Red Cards – Nil

Sydney University – Dunbar Rovers   5-1

Sydney University may have a case for more Friday night football when they hammered Dunbar Rovers 5-1 at the University Football Ground.

The ‘students’ went in front on 18 minutes when Jovan Blagojevic seized on an Adrian Porcu through ball, slotting past Dunbar’s young custodian, Ayman Hill, to make it 1-0.

A corner moments later caused an almighty scramble in the Dunbar penalty area, and Uni skipper, Josh Karpes, headed home to make it 2-0 to Sydney University.

Dunbar responded with a super effort from Ryan Shaughnessy, his strike tipped over the bar by Uni keeper, Carl McMahon.

It was more of the same from the home side after the break, and Sydney University extended their lead in the 55th minute, Domenic Di Mento rifling a shot in to the top corner to make it 3-0.

Dylan Deep-Jones pulled a goal back for Dunbar Rovers in the 62nd minute with a clinical strike, but the Rovers chances of continuing the fightback took a knock when Hayden O’Kelly was dismissed from the field following his second caution of the evening.

Matthew Akehurst entered the fray as a substitute, and made an immediate impact, curling an effort from the edge of the penalty area in to the far corner of the net, making it 4-1 to the ‘students’.

Remarkably Dunbar Rovers were reduced to nine men in the 80th minute, following the dismissal of their skipper, Paul Rawlings, for a reckless challenge.

Jacob Blundell then rounded off the scoring in the 88th minute, taking a touch at the six yard box before slotting past Dunbar keeper, Ayman Hill, taking the final score to 5-1 to Sydney University.

The loss sees Dunbar Rovers remain on 9 points on the ladder, but drop to 12th position, whilst the resounding victory and subsequent three points puts Sydney University on 19 points in 4th position.

Hawkesbury City – Granville Rage   1-1

The points were shared at David Bertenshaw Field on Saturday afternoon between Hawkesbury City and Granville Rage, but the spotlight shone on a controversial first half incident.

Twenty minutes in to the match, Hawkesbury’s leading marksman, Santiago Pallares Palomeque, broke through to score clinically and give the home side the lead. Once the Hawks had finished celebrating and both teams lined up to kick off, the officials overruled their initial decision to Granville’s relief, but to the despair of the home side.

Shortly afterwards Granville Rage compounded the home team’s angst further when they opened the scoring, Troy Cheung finishing nicely from the top of the penalty area after a neat one-two gave him an chance to strike.

Santiago Pallares Palomeque was not to be denied, and did square the ledger just before half time, equalising for Hawkesbury City with a powerful header to send the teams in at the break all square.

During a frenetic second half, Hawkesbury City went close by hitting the woodwork on a couple of occasions, whilst Granville Rage looked dangerous on the counter attack, but there was to be no further addition to the scoreboard.

The point sees Hawkesbury City move to 15 in 7th spot on the ladder, whilst Granville’s sixth draw of the season sees them occupy 9th spot on 12 points.

Dulwich Hill – Gladesville Ryde Magic   1-1

Dulwich Hill and Gladesville Ryde Magic shared the spoils at Arlington Oval on Saturday night in a match that really came to life in injury time.

Both sides had central defenders missing on the night – Nathan Bowden-Haase (Dulwich Hill) and Yorgi Mavros (Gladesville) both injured and no doubt missed by their team mates.

Luke Giverin had the game’s first opportunity early on but his long range effort for Dully skewed wide of the mark, whilst Aaron Khan responded for Magic in the 14th minute, shooting at Michael Frost in the Dully goal after Chris Gaitatzis had put the midfielder in to space.

Heo Wookbum almost made Dully pay in the 16th minute after a defensive error, curling his shot from inside the box around the far post.

Gladesville skipper, Chris Gaitatzis was at it again in the 26th minute, this time electing to shoot from 25 metres, but alas, his effort cracked against the cross bar and went out to safety.

Dulwich Hill responded with efforts by David Han with a header in the 28th minute, and another long range effort by Luke Giverin in the 35th minute, but both attempts failed to find the mark for the home side.

Both teams continued to trade blows in the second half, with Gladesville’s Chris Tomaras almost netting with a speculator in the 65th minute, whilst Magic keeper, Kyriakos Tohouroglou, saved well in the 69th minute from Dully’s Henry Wells.

Gladesville Magic gave a debut to 17 year old Tyler Sands with eight minutes remaining, in the hope the wildcard could expose the Dully defensive rear guard.

Just as the fans commenced to head for the exits, the game sprung to life in injury time.

Gladesville’s Aaron Khan spotted Dulwich custodian, Michael Frost, off his line, and tried a speculator from 40 yards that sailed over the keeper’s head and in to the goal. The visiting contingent celebrated, believing they had snatched the win at the death.

But Dulwich Hill rolled the dice one more time, and incredibly managed to equalise with the final kick of the match, big striker Tommy Bentham volleying home at the far post to give Dully a share of the spoils.

The point sees Dully move to 16 points in 6th spot on the ladder, whilst Gladesville Ryde Magic lie in 11th spot on 11 points.

SD Raiders – Rydalmere Lions   3-4 

There was an absolute goal fest at Ernie Smith Reserve on Saturday night, with SD Raiders pushing Rydalmere Lions all the way before succumbing 3-4 in a thriller.

Mark Symington managed a brace for the home side, taking his personal tally to six for the season, whilst John Fahmi scored his 4th goal of the campaign.

For Rydalmere Lions, they kept up their average of four-plus goals a game, with their scorers on the night being Amaury Gauthier, Ahmad Elrich, Mitchell Gibbs and Zak Elrich.

The Raiders remain 5th on the competition ladder on 16 points, whilst Rydalmere Lions stay in pole position on 31 points, two points ahead of second placed Fraser Park.

Balmain Tigers – Western NSW Mariners   4-1

Balmain Tigers finally got to sing their team song on Sunday afternoon, comprehensively beating the Western NSW Mariners 4-1 at Sydney United Sports Centre to record their first victory of the season.

Dario Vujovic went close to opening the scoring for Balmain on 14 minutes but his strike smacked against the upright and bounced to safety.

The Mariners then took the lead shortly afterwards, and it was that man again, Jaiden Culbert, who did the damage, continuing his fine form of late to put the visitors in front.

Liam Cole equalized for Balmain soon after with a sharp volley following a neat assist from Rosario Occhipinti, before Occhipinti himself netted with an opportunist effort, getting on the end of a Rentaro Osa cross to scramble it home from close range.

The Tigers went in at the break 2-1 up, and extended their lead within ten minutes of the restart, when Stephen Hrysanthos was fouled inside the box. The wily campaigner, Rosario Occhipinti, stepped up, and sent Mariners’ keeper, Brock Logan, the wrong way, to make it   3-1 to Balmain Tigers.

The home side won another penalty minutes later, resulting in a second yellow and subsequent red card to Jackson Fuda. Occhipinti was denied his hatrick when Brock Logan guessed right, saving his spot kick, and keeping the score at 3-1.

The referee then sent three players in for early showers – Duncan Logan and Nicky Spice from the Mariners, and Andrew Casali from Balmain Tigers, reducing the playing personnel to 10 vs 8 in favour of the home side.

With a clear numerical advantage, Balmain Tigers closed off the match when Dario Vujovic netted with a neat finish after dribbling a couple of defenders on his way through to goal, making it 4-1 to the home side.

This match was a real six pointer at the foot of the table, and their first win of the competition has allowed Balmain Tigers to climb to 4 points, closing the gap to Western NSW Mariners, who are second last on 8 points.

Inter Lions – Stanmore Hawks   0-2

Stanmore Hawks snatched a valuable three points on Sunday night when they accounted for Inter Lions 2-0 at Fraser Park.

The difference between the teams was the experience of Lloyd Owusu, with the big centre forward netting a goal in each half to put paid to Inter, the second a well executed spot kick.

Inter Lions remain on 12 points but drop to 10th on the ladder, whilst Stanmore’s win and three points sees them move to 13 points, and climb to 8th spot.