Round 14 Review – PS4 NPL 3 NSW Men’s


The commencement of the return fixtures of the second round of the 2017 PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition didn’t start too well, with Mother Nature causing the postponement of two matches via waterlogged pitches, and a third only went ahead due to a late switch of venue.

Only five games were completed in Round Fourteen, four of them played on artificial surfaces, whilst Magdala Park was the solitary grass pitch that defied the rain.

Stanmore Hawks overcame Dunbar Rovers by the solitary goal in a tight affair at Arlington Oval; Inter Lions did the double over Western NSW Mariners with a last gasp win at Fraser Park late on Sunday afternoon; Gladesville Ryde Magic continued their surge up the ladder with a 3-1 victory over Sydney University at Magdala Park; whilst SD Raiders and Balmain Tigers played out a 0-0 draw on Sunday evening.

Football NSW ventured to Marrickville on a cold and wintry Saturday evening to watch third-placed St George City FA play host to second-placed Rydalmere Lions.


Rydalmere Lions were much sharper than their opponents, and much hungrier for the three points on offer, dismantling St George City FA 5-0 at a cold and wet Fraser Park on Saturday night.

Rydalmere proved ruthless in front of goal, scoring three times before the break to effectively end the contest as they powered their way back to the top of the competition ladder with a powerhouse display.

Both sides came in to the match without a key attacker – Aleksander Jovovic for St George City, and Zak Elrich for Rydalmere Lions – but it was the Lions who adjusted better to flex their variety of attacking strengths on the night.

St George’s experienced attacker, Juan Chavez, tried a couple of cheeky long range efforts within the first five minutes, trying to catch Rydalmere keeper, Harrick Sinpraseuth, off his line, but the attempts sailed wide.

Rydalmere responded with a well worked passing move in the 7th minute that finished up with Zac Watters twisting on the edge of the box before firing a volley, with St George City keeper, James Drahalivas, doing well to divert for a corner.

It was a short reprieve for St George City, however, because Ahmad Elrich swung the corner in towards the near post, with Mitchell Gibbs – arguably one of the shortest players in the box – scooping to direct his header past Drahalivas and put Rydalmere Lions 1-0 up.

Gibbs almost added to the scoreline in the 15th minute, chesting and turning in the one move on the edge of the box to fire a volley over the bar after Zac Watters had found his team mate with a neat pass.

Rydalmere did in fact make it 2-0 on 22 minutes following a clinical piece of improvisation that St George City could do nothing about.

Alistair McKie flew down the left flank before cutting the ball square to Ahmad Elrich on the edge of the penalty area. Elrich took a touch, before being played in behind a flat St George backline via a killer one-two with Amaury Gauthier, lobbing St George keeper, James Drahalivas, as he sped off his line.

It was deadly goal by the ex-Socceroo, showcasing his composure and skill with a great execution.

St George City were definitely competing at this stage, evident especially with George Codrea’s ball winning in the midfield, but they just couldn’t penetrate the stern Rydalmere backline.

Nicholas Napoli went close for St George City in the 25th minute, but his glancing header from Jordan Janic’s swerving free kick bounced wide of the Rydalmere upright.

St George City then had another great opportunity to reduce the deficit on 32 minutes, but George Codrea blasted inches over the bar from just outside the box after Juan Chavez had played the midfielder into space with a super through ball.

Rydalmere Lions effectively ended the match as a contest in the 43rd minute, with a sweeping move from left to right that ended with Ahmad Elrich playing the ball to Zac Watters in the right channel. Watters steadied with a touch before unleashing an arrow from the corner of the penalty area that flew across and past St George’s keeper, Drahalivas, almost ripping the net off its hinges to put Rydalmere Lions 3-0 to the good at the break.

If St George City had hoped to start the second period on the front foot, any remote chance of coming back in to the match was snuffed out within the opening quarter of an hour by Rydalmere, who scored twice with two sweeping counter attacks.

Before the two goals, however, Playstation NPL 3 top scorer, Amaury Gauthier, cracked an effort over the cross bar on 47 minutes following Zac Watters’ cutback, after Alistair McKie had played Watters into space with a superb diagonal ball over the top from left to right.

St George City didn’t heed the warning, and Rydalmere went one better on 50 minutes with almost a replica move. This time Watters hit a square pass which reached Ahmad Elrich just inside the penalty area, and Elrich drove home first time, making it 4-0 and notching his double in the process.

It was 5-0 in the 57th minute, and again it was that man, Alistair McKie, doing the initial damage, penetrating down the left in a swift counter attack. Receiving the ball on the touchline in the middle of the St George half, McKie played an immediate swerving ball in behind the retreating St George defence for team mate, Addison Sayan, whose first time point blank shot was well saved by St George keeper, James Drahalivas.

Alas, Mitchell Gibbs was first to the rebound, stroking home from the edge of the penalty area to grab his second of the night and Rydalmere’s fifth.

Drahalivas was at it again in the 65th minute, the St George keeper this time saving from close range from Zac Watters who latched on to yet another great through ball by Alistair McKie.

St George City did in fact muster a few late efforts, none of which troubled the scoreboard.

Skipper, Bill Tsanidis, connected with a header on 70 minutes from Jordan Janic’s corner that was cleared off the line, Nicholas Napoli let fly with a 30 yard blast that whistled past the Rydalmere upright in the 82nd, whilst James Spanoudakis cracked a free kick over the cross bar a minute later.

On the day it was the main difference between the two sides – Rydalmere were far more clinical in front of goal, and that, on a night where top scorer, Amaury Gauthier didn’t find the net, and Zak Elrich was missing from the lineup, showcasing the team’s attacking prowess once again.

Rydalmere Lions pressed in packs until they stole possession, they kept the ball moving with purpose giving the ball carrier options, and they counter attacked with venom. Ahmad Elrich played the role of the conductor, connecting with midfield and attack alike, scoring two goals and setting up a few chances as well, whilst Alistair McKie was influential down the left side, defending fiercely, and attacking with speed and purpose. Mitchell Gibbs and Addison Sayan were effective across the midfield, both supporting the attack and Gibbs helping himself to two goals.

St George City were well in the match in the early stages, moreso in terms of possession, but lacked the final threatening shot, rarely troubling Rydalmere’s keeper, Harrick Sinpraseuth. Sean Thomas won most of his battles in the right channel, and George Codrea threw himself about in midfield until his substitution in the 67th minute, but City seemed to lose all hope after Rydalmere’s third goal, and tapered off in the second half.

St George City are still well placed despite the loss, remaining 3rd on the ladder on 24 points, but remarkably, have conceded half of their 24 goals in their two matches against Rydalmere Lions.

Rydalmere Lions on the other hand move to 37 points courtesy of the win, and go back to first place on the Playstation NPL 3 competition ladder, two points ahead of rivals, Fraser Park, who have a game in hand.

Match Stats

PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s

Round Fourteen

Saturday, June 10, 2017


RYDALMERE LIONS 5 (Gibbs 8’ / 57’, Elrich A. 22’ / 50’, Watters 43’)

Fraser Park, Marrickville      

Referee – Adam Susz

Assistant Referees – Nathan Lara and Victor Parra

ST. GEORGE CITY FA; 1.J.Drahalivas, 2.S.Thomas, 3.B.Tsanidis (capt), 6.G.Codrea (13.S.Richardson 67), 7.S.Messam (36.J.Lazarevski 75’), 8.N.Napoli, 9.J.Chavez, 10.J.Spanoudakis, 15.M.Kamara (32.K.Bangura 52’), 19.J.Janic, 16.D.Kartel.

Substitutes Not Used – 17.M.Abaid.

Yellow Cards – 16.D.Kartel 12’.

Red Cards – Nil

RYDALMERE LIONS; 1.H.Sinpraseuth, 2.A.Sopina, 3.D.Ortega Roman, 6.A.Sayan, 8.M.Gibbs, 9.Z.Watters, 11.A.McKie (5.K.Allybokus 76’), 15.M.Mayora (capt),10.J.Aguirre, 21.A.Elrich (26.M.Safdari 68’), 24.A.Gauthier (12.M.Aoki 80’).

Substitutes Not Used – 30.A.Safdari, 122.M.Barkho.

Yellow Cards – Nil

Red Cards – Nil

Hawkesbury City – Dulwich Hill at David Bertenshaw Field, Sat @ 5-30pm WASHED OUT  

Granville Rage – Fraser Park at Garside Park, Sat @ 7-00pm WASHED OUT

Stanmore Hawks – Dunbar Rovers 1-0

Stanmore Hawks continued their impressive form of late with another three points on Saturday night at Arlington Oval, this time at the expense of the visiting Dunbar Rovers.

Dunbar came in to the match on a real high following two successive victories, but it was always going to be a difficult task for the Rovers minus two of their main protagonists, Andrew Doddy and Tod Bamber.

Stanmore held firm as they have been doing in recent weeks, snuffing out any of Dunbar’s potential threats, before eventually scoring the game’s solitary goal on 55 minutes.

Stanmore stole possession to send Michael Toscano into space, and he slotted past Dunbar’s keeper, Stephen Deasy, to give the Hawks another valuable victory.

The loss sees Dunbar Rovers remain 10th on 15 points, whilst Stanmore Hawks move to 20 points and climb to 6th position on the ladder.

Gladesville Ryde Magic – Sydney University 3-1

Magdala Park was the only grass pitch to defy the rain over the weekend, and Gladesville Ryde Magic took advantage by overcoming Sydney University 3-1 on Sunday afternoon.

Following some settling in time early on, it was Sydney Uni who had the first real opportunity, with Jovan Blagojevic hitting a long range left foot shot that was well save by Magic’s experienced custodian, Kyriakos Tohouroglou.

Gladesville responded with a swift passing movement on 27 minutes, where the ball travelled from Chris Gaitatzis to Majid Eslami before finding the feet of Chris Tomaras, who cracked his effort straight at Uni’s goalkeeper, Carl McMahon.

The teams traded further blows just after the half hour mark, with Blagojevic once again going close in the 32nd minute, shooting just over the cross bar from outside the box, whilst Chris Gaitatzis replied for Magic in the 38th minute, his low effort well saved by Carl McMahon in the ‘students’ goal.

The opening goal finally arrived just before the break, and it came via Gladesville’s number 10, Chris Tomaras, who created space for himself inside the box before slotting it past Uni’s McMahon to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

Sydney Uni’s Christian Calderon almost equalised before half time, when he drove past a defender into the box before shooting just wide of the mark.

But Calderon didn’t have to wait too long to grab his goal, heading into the back of net from an Adrian Porcu corner to restore parity for Sydney University on 54 minutes.

But Gladesville edged themselves back in front just five minutes later in the 59th minute, courtesy of an Aaron Khan header following a great run and cross by Bibek Panta.

Magic wrapped up proceedings in the 75th minute, when Majid Eslami went on a long run in to the Uni penalty area before passing to Chris Gaitatzis, and the Gladesville skipper stroked it high into the roof of the net from the penalty spot to make it 3-1.

Sydney University remain in 5th spot on 20 points, but the win and three points sees Gladesville Ryde Magic climb to 8th position on the ladder, just two points behind the ‘students’ on 18.

Inter Lions – Western NSW Mariners 2-1

Inter Lions snatched a most welcome three points late on Sunday evening at Fraser Park, scoring a last gasp goal to overcome the Western NSW Mariners 2-1.

It was the Mariners who scored first, James Christie doing the honours to put the visitors in front, but Clayton Musumeci equalised for Inter Lions before the half time break.

Just when it looked like the two sides were going to share the spoils, up popped Michael Sidoti to score a 90th minute winner, sending the Inter Lions contingent into delirium.

The Western NSW Mariners remain in 13th spot on 9 points, whilst Inter Lions move to 15 points and 11th position courtesy of the victory.

Balmain Tigers – SD Raiders 0-0

A switch of venue meant the match between Balmain Tigers and SD Raiders could go ahead, with the encounter taking place late on Sunday evening at Valentine Sports Park No.2 and finishing in a 0-0 stalemate.

Even though both sides would’ve loved the victory and three points, both would’ve been very pleased with a clean sheet, especially Balmain, given it was their first of the 2017 season.

Pat Ferrara was in inspired form, especially in the first half, where the Balmain keeper saved numerous times when faced in one-on-one challenges with the Raiders’ attack.

It was only Balmian’s fifth point of the season, but continues the club’s improved form of late, whilst SD Raiders move to 17 points as a result of the draw, but drop to 9th spot on the competition ladder.