Round 24 Review – PS4 NPL 3 NSW Men’s

A cool night at Lambert park saw Rydalmere defeat SD Raiders. Scoring a goal in each half was enough for the lions to take the points.

The completion of Round Twenty Four in the 2017 PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition brings us no closer to any decisive outcomes, with the Premiership, the Top Six Finals and the Club Championship all yet to be decided.

Having said that, Rydalmere Lions are just that little bit closer to both the Premiership and Club Championship, on the back of their 2-0 win over SD Raiders at Lambert Park on Saturday night.

In the other matches, Granville Rage have thrown the cat amongst the pigeons at the base of the Club Championship table following their 2-0 triumph over Hawkesbury City at Garside Park on Thursday night; Sydney University have continued their momentum and are now a point outside the top six following their 3-1 away triumph over Dunbar Rovers; the Western NSW Mariners and Balmain Tigers shared the points in a 1-1 draw at Mudgee; Peter Stefadouros scored four goals to steer Stanmore Hawks to a 9-1 drubbing of a nine-man Inter Lions at Arlington Oval; and Gladesville Ryde Magic and Dulwich Hill shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon at Magdala Park.


Fraser Park’s Premiership and promotion hopes suffered a huge blow on Friday night when St George City FA inflicted a 4-1 defeat in a clinical second half display.

Coming in to the match, Fraser Park needed the win to keep the pressure up on Rydalmere Lions, who lead both the 1st Grade competition as well as the Club Championship.

But after a promising opening half hour where they dominated the bulk of play, Fraser Park suffered a sucker punch goal just after the half hour mark, and eventually succumbed to a heavy scoreline as they chased the result during a frenetic second half.

Fraser’s Chris Hatfield had the ball in the St George City net on 10 minutes, finishing from close range after a series of short crisp passes put him into space inside the box, but the referee’s assistant flagged the winger offside.

Fraser Park’s intensity was there to see in the first thirty minutes, spraying the ball from left to right, with St George City on the back foot.

Fraser Park skipper, Nick Dimitropoulos was finding both wingers – Peter Crevani and Chris Hatfield – with some exquisite diagonal passes from the centre of defence, with the wingers attacking the flanks at speed and causing havoc with some dangerous crosses.

Hatfield was at it again in the 33rd minute, showing quick feet inside the St George City penalty area before slamming a close range shot that James Webb, the St George keeper, did ever so well to parry before the danger was cleared.

Even though it looked more and more that Fraser Park would be the ones to open the scoring, it was in fact St George City FA who broke the deadlock with a superb strike in the 37th minute.

Closed down by some tight defending on the edge of the Fraser Park penalty area, Sean Richardson played a couple of neat one-twos with George Codrea before steadying and blasting a dipping right foot shot that flew in to the top corner, clipping the underside of the crossbar on its way into the net.

Codrea in fact threatened himself in the 40th minute, his header from a Juan Chavez corner stretching Fraser keeper, Anthony Costa, into a good save above a series of challenging players.

The half time whistle brought a groan from the home fans as they wondered how their side found themselves 0-1 down after so much early possession.

St George City on the other hand, went in to the sheds with confidence, being 1-0 up against the run of play, knowing the points were there for the taking if they could step up a couple of gears in the second half.

Fraser Park had a wonderful opportunity to draw level just 25 seconds after the break.

Goncalo Paradanta flicked on a cross with the ball landing at feet of Peter Crevani inside the St George City penalty area. Crevani steadied before blasting at goal, but St George City keeper, James Webb, brilliantly parried by closing down the angles and diverting the close range shot.

Fraser went close once again in the 50th minute, when Peter Crevani delivered a swerving left wing cross that was begging to be tucked away, but Michael Gaitatzis’ stretched effort only resulted in the ball going skywards before it was gobbled up by James Webb in the St George goal.

Fraser Park kept at it in search of the equaliser, and yet another patient build up involving a handful of swift passes ended with a curling effort from Paradanta that cleared the St George cross bar.

Musashi Kokubo then should’ve done better for Fraser on 67 minutes, heading over from right in front after Chris Hatfield had cushioned his own header perfectly in to the path of his team mate.

St George City had weathered the storm and hit Fraser with a knockout second goal in the 68th minute. A patient build up of precise passing ended with the ball in the path of Jason Lazarevski inside the right channel of the box.

Lazarevski settled before cracking a low effort across the face of the goal, with Anthony Costa, the Fraser Park keeper, doing well to get down and parry the shot.

St George City’s James Spanoudakis pounced on the loose ball to slam home from close range and extend the visitor’s lead to 2-0.

Fraser Park had no option but to throw caution to the wind, but any hopes of a comeback were dashed when they went further behind in the 75th minute.

St George City substitute, Peter Yannopoulos, collected a turnover of possession on the half way line, and commenced to run at an angle straight at the Fraser Park goal.

With the Fraser defence retreating in all directions to cover the excellent runs of the St George players, someone forgot to close down the ball carrier. Yannopoulos entered the penalty area before slotting clinically to his right to give St George City an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Fraser Park did pull a goal back on 87 minutes via Jordan Roberts, who cracked a brilliant angled volley from just inside the penalty area over James Webb and inside the far post of the St George net, but it was too little, too late.

St George City in fact rubbed salt in to the Fraser Park wounds by making it 4-1 in the 4th minute of stoppage time, with Peter Yannopoulos grabbing his second with a neat close range finish in to the roof of the net after a superb run and cutback by Jordan Janic down the left.

That was all she wrote and the final whistle went moments later, much to the relief and joy of the St George contingent.

The loss was a real blow to Fraser Park, who are still on the chase for a couple of titles.

Even though they controlled different passages throughout the match, they couldn’t find a way past James Webb in the St George goal – except for Jordan Roberts’ late brilliant effort – and in the end it is goals that wins you games.

Conceding 4 goals after having conceded a miserly 13 goals all season was not reflective of the Fraser Park we know – in fact, it just the first time all year that they conceded more than two goals in a game.

Jordan Roberts worked hard throughout, supporting whenever the team went forward, and was rewarded with a super striker near the end, whilst skipper, Nick Dimitropoulos, guided his team well over the first hour before they pushed players forward to try and peg the game back.

For St George City FA, the victory over a side chasing for honours was a real boost for moral leading in to the finals series in a few weeks’ time. The win and subsequent three points puts the club on 43 points in 3rd spot, confirming their finals position in 2017.

Key attackers and the team’s two top goalscorers, Aleksander Jovovic and Sam Messam, were both missing from the lineup, as was industrious midfielder, Nicholas Napoli.

It would be very refreshing for the club to know that the depth of young talent can step up to the mark if given a shot, and did they deliver in a big way on Friday night.

Amongst many strong performers on the night, James Webb showed why he won the Division’s keeper award last season with some telling saves at crucial times; Sean Thomas and captain, Bill Tsanidis, were rocks in defence, whilst George Codrea showed his experience and enterprise in a solid midfield display.

PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s

Round Twenty Four

FRASER PARK 1 (Roberts 87’)

ST GEORGE CITY FA 4 (Richardson 37’, Spanoudakis 68’, Yannopoulos 75’ / 90’ + 4’)

Fraser Park, Marrickville

Referee – Jerry Bitas

Assistant Referees – Nicholas Farmer and Stephen Ellsmore

FRASER PARK; 21.A.Costa, 22.L.Burke, 4.P.Crevani, 5.N.Dimitropoulos (capt), 17.M.Gaitatzis (13.B.Vidaic 58’), 20.C.Hatfield, 6.M.Kokubo (10.Z.Ribeiro 74’), 8.A.Malmierca, 19.G.Paradanta, 3.J.Roberts, 16.S.Salameh.

Substitutes Not Used – 23.F.Aoun, 18.N.Lopino, 1.C.Becerra.

Yellow Cards – 13.B.Vidaic 90’.

Red Cards – Nil

ST GEORGE CITY FA; 1.J.Webb, 9.J.Chavez, 6.G.Codrea (12.P.Yannopoulos 57’), 19.J.Janic, 4.C.Lawson, 36.J.Lazarevski (16.T.Megase 81’), 13.S.Richardson (26.A.Georgiou 86’), 10.J.Spanoudakis, 2.S.Thomas, 3.B.Tsanidis (capt), 5.D.Webster.

Substitutes Not Used – 41.J.Drahalivas, 33.M.Liemich.

Yellow Cards – 5.D.Webster 49’.

Red Cards – Nil

Granville Rage – Hawkesbury City 2-0

Granville Rage have well and truly put the cat amongst the pigeons at the base of the Club Championship on the back of their 2-0 victory over Hawkesbury City.

The opening match of Round Twenty Four was played on Thursday evening, and proved a fruitful choice for the home side, with the Rage picking up all three points on offer at Garside Park.

After a scoreless opening period, Granville netted twice through Nenos Bobo and Zac Pardinas to earn their second win in just four days, catapulting them to equal 10th on the competition ladder.

But even more importantly, the points have now moved Granville Rage within striking distance of Balmain Tigesr near the bottom of the Club Championship table, and given the club a real chance of retaining their Playstation NPL 3 status.

It was a disappointing night for the Hawks, who went close with a Santiago Lopez Otero free kick which came back off the woodwork, and the loss leaves them outside the finals spots in 7th position on 35 points, with plenty of work to do in the remaining rounds.

Dunbar Rovers – Sydney University 1-3

Sydney University’s late surge towards a Finals spot has continued with a 3-1 away triumph over Dunbar Rovers on Friday night.

The ‘students’ came away from Hensley Athletic Field with all three points to register their fourth successive victory, now placing the club in equal 7th position on 35 points.

But the visitors did not have it all their own way early on, given Dunbar Rovers opened the scoring when Micaiah Te Rata netted on 13 minutes.

Sydney University restored parity when Adrian Porcu scored on the half hour mark with a neat effort from outside the penalty area, and then edged themselves in front just before the break when Brian Caulker picked up a pass from Jovan Blagojevic before slotting past Dunbar keeper, Dylan Wilson.

Sydney University made sure of the points with a quarter of an hour remaining.

A Dunbar corner was cleared and the ‘students’ effected a slick counter attack which ended with Blagojevic slotting home from close range after Dunbar’s Dylan Wilson had parried a Matthew Akehurst effort.

Western NSW Mariners – Balmain Tigers 1-1

The Western NSW Mariners and Balmain Tigers shared the spoils at the Glen Willow Stadium on Saturday in an even 1-1 draw.

Balmain opened proceedings in the 19th minute when the Mariners defence made a hash of a Gavin Wenyon cross, allowing the experienced Rosario Occhipinti to take a touch before dispatching the ball into the net.

The Tigers almost doubled their advantage minutes before the break when Occhipinti played in Yanni Moustakas, but Mariners’ keeper, Brock Logan, saved well.

The Western NSW Mariners came in to the battle moreso as the match wore on, eventually equalising from the penalty spot from John Henry after a Balmain defender committed a handball offence.

Despite both sides searching for a winner, there were no more goals and the teams shared a valuable point each.

Stanmore Hawks – Inter Lions 9-1

Stanmore Hawks brought their recent dismal form to an abrupt end when they annihilated Inter Lions 9-1 at Arlington Oval on Saturday night.

After scoring 5 goals in their past 9 matches, the Hawks well and truly found their scoring boots in a one sided affair.

Inter Lions plight wasn’t helped with the first half sending off of two players – Eric Tomasek in the 14thminute, and Alexander Clarke in the 37th minute.

Stanmore lead at the break by 3-1, but produced a goal fest in the second half to deliver one of their biggest results in recent years.

Peter Stefadouros helped himself to 4 goals on the night in a clinical display of finishing, whilst Alec Caragher netted 2 goals. Other scorers for Stanmore were George Haroulis, Chris Kolistasis, amd Peter Theodosi, with Adam Funari grabbing Inter’s consolation goal.

The win and subsequent three points puts Stanmore Hawks on 26 points, climbing above Granville Rage and Dunbar Rovers in to 9th position.

Rydalmere Lions – SD Raiders 2-0

Rydalmere Lions took advantage of Fraser Park’s slip up the night before against St George City to move a step closer to Premiership – and Club Championship – glory on Saturday night by overcoming SD Raiders 2-0 at Lambert Park.

The Lions move to 64 points on the 1st Grade competition ladder, and eight points clear of rivals Fraser Park courtesy of the victory, and now look odds on to win the league with just two competition rounds proper remaining.

Having come to terms with losing inspirational skipper, Matthew Mayora, for the season with a knee injury, Rydalmere regrouped and won on the back of two goals from the league’s top goal scorer, Amaury Gauthier.

Gauthier netted a goal in each half to earn his side a victory, taking his remarkable tally for the campaign to 31 goals.

SD Raiders remain in finals contention in 5th spot on 38 points, but have three teams breathing down their necks and within three points on the ladder with two rounds left to play.

Gladesville Ryde Magic – Dulwich Hill 2-2

Gladesville Ryde Magic and Dulwich Hill shared the goals and the points in an exciting 2-2 draw on a crisp Sunday afternoon at Magdala Park.

But just as they did last week when they came back to snatch a late equaliser against the SD Raiders, Magic likewise this week came from 0-2 down to draw level and keep their season alive.

Dulwich Hill were missing their dynamic duo in attack in Luke Giverin and Tommy Bentham, but managed a goal either side of half time through Gosue Sama and Callaghan Sharpe to take what looked like a solid 2-0 lead with just over half an hour to go.

Chris Tomaras pegged a goal back for Magic on 68 minutes with a free kick, before Aaron Khan came to Gladesville’s rescue once again like he did last week, netting in the 87th minute to give the home side a point.

The point sees Dully move to 42 on the ladder, dropping to 4th behind St George City, whilst Gladesville Ryde Magic move to 36 points in 6th spot, one point above both Hawkesbury City and Sydney University