Round 25 Review – PS4 NPL 3 NSW Men’s

A solid win by Dulwich Hill at Arlington Oval.A closely contested start to the match blew out by the final whistle.Dulwich Hill 8-1(Photos: Jeff Walsh Quarrie Sports Photography for FNSW)

Just like a thrilling action movie, the 2017 PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition continues to build towards what looms as an exciting final round crescendo following the outcomes of the seven Round Twenty Five matches over the weekend.

It has been one of the most fiercely contested competitions in recent seasons, and as we move in to Round Twenty Six, we have the Premiership, positions for the Top Six Finals Series, and the coveted Club Championship, all yet to be decided.

Hawkesbury City’s finals’ spot hangs in the balance following a 0-2 reverse at home at the hands of SD Raiders, who in turn are all but assured of a semi final place; Dulwich Hill have forced Rydalmere Lions to put their Premiership tilt on hold after dishing out a 5-1 hiding to the league leaders at Arlington Oval; Granville Rage took a huge leap towards salvation with a 2-0 victory over Stanmore Hawks at Garside Park; Fraser Park grabbed the spoils in a 3-1 triumph away at Sydney University to keep the heat on Rydalmere at the summit of the competition; St George City FA continued their positive run into the finals series with a 7-0 hiding of the Western NSW Mariners, including an 18 minute hatrick by Juan Chavez; Gladesville Ryde Magic snuck in to 6th spot with a 5-2 win over Balmain Tigers at Wentworth Park on Sunday; Dunbar Rovers inflicted more pain on Inter Lions with a record breaking 14-3  drubbing in the late game on Sunday night.


Gladesville Ryde Magic came from a goal down to splutter their way to a 5-2 win over Balmain Tigers at a bitterly cold and windy Wentworth Park on Sunday afternoon.

There was plenty at stake in this match, with Gladesville Ryde Magic needing the points to climb in to the top six at the expense of Hawkesbury City, whilst Balmain Tigers dropped to the bottom of the Club Championship over night following Granville Rage’s victory over Stanmore Hawks 24 hours earlier.

Balmain were gifted an opportunity as early as the 4th minute, when Magic keeper, Kyriakos Tohouroglou, inexplicably cleared the ball straight to the feet of the Tigers’ skipper, Rosario Occhipinti, on the edge of the Gladesville penalty area.

Occhipinti took a touch before drilling a shot goalwards, only for Tohouroglou to redeem himself with a superb diving effort.

Gladesville replied three minutes later, when a swift passing movement upfield ended with a Chris Tomaras half volley from 20 yards that flashed past the Balmain upright.

Tomaras was at it again in the 11th minute, but this time his free kick was finger tipped around the post by Balmain’s keeper, Adriano Varnier.

The match was evenly balanced on a knife’s edge, but it swung the way of the home side when Balmain opened the scoring on 18 minutes.

A Gladesville counter attack was stopped in its tracks about 25 yards from goal, and Balmain’s Liam Cole seized the opportunity, striking a delicious half volley that sailed over the head of Tohouroglou in the Gladesville goal to make it 1-0 to the Tigers.

Balmain had barely finished celebrating when they conceded an equaliser within sixty seconds. Chris Gaitatzis found an unmarked Chris Tomaras in space on the right side of the box, and the Gladesville number 10 took a couple of composed touches before slotting past Balmain keeper, Varnier, to restore parity.

The action was flowing at either end, and it was Magic that went close again in the 29th minute with Chris Gaitatzis blasting just wide of the upright after neat lead up work by Tomaras and youngster, Nicholas Ioannides, who laid the ball into the path of his skipper for the shot.

Balmain conjured up a great chance just after the half hour mark, with Rosario Occhipinti drawing a couple of defenders before playing Dario Vujovic into space on the edge of the Magic penalty area. Vujovic’s low struck effort was easily saved by the ever alert Magic goal keeper, Tohouroglou.

It was Tohouroglou in fact who had a hand in Gladesville’s second goal on 32 minutes, a real contender for goal of the year.

Stealing the ball out of the air from a Balmain corner, Tohouroglou spotted team mate, Chris Tomaras, upfield, sandwiched between a couple of Balmain defenders, so he released a long punt well into the Balmain half.

The ball was allowed to bounce, and Tomaras didn’t need an invitation, hitting a sublime left foot angled volley from all of 25 yards that flew over the head of Varnier in the Balmain goal, before nestling in to the net.

The goal put Gladesville in to a 2-1 lead that they would hold until the break, although Balmain skipper, Rosario Occhipinti, did threaten in the 34th minute with a right foot volley that cleared the Magic cross bar after he latched on to a Gavin Wenyon flick on.

Balmain came out after half time desperate to get back in to the game with so much at stake, and pushed men forward, although it was Gladesville who looked likely to score with the additional space in their attacking third.

Gladesville’s two youngsters combined within a minute of the restart, with Nicholas Ioannides setting up Peter Voukidis for a half volley that was well saved by Balmain’s keeper, Adriano Varnier.

Chris Tomaras almost grabbed his hatrick in the 49th minute, when he stole the ball from the Balmain defence and lobbed Balmain’s keeper, Varnier, from 30 yards. Alas for the Gladesville playmaker, the ball dropped just over the Balmain net.

Magic kept counter attacking in numbers, and went even closer to stretching their lead on the hour mark.

Peter Voukidis showed good feet to wriggle free of a couple of would be challenges from Balmain defenders on the right side of the box, squaring to Nicholas Ioannides, whose close range snap shot was blocked by Balmain keeper, Adriano Varnier.

But the ball landed at the feet of Magic midfielder, Michael Sada, who returned serve immediately with a low shot that was cleared off the goal line by Balmain’s Anastasios Georgiou.

The pressure eventually told and Gladesville made it 3-1 in the 63rd minute, following a needless foul outside the box by the Balmain keeper, Varnier.

Chris Tomaras sent a swerving free kick into the danger area, and amongst a flurry of activity inside the six yard box, the ball ended up in the back of the Balmain net, with credit to the Gladesville playmaker.

Balmain went three at the back and grew in intensity in the attacking third, eventually reducing the deficit to 2-3 in the 78th minute when Frank Calcagno struck a low shot following a jinking run towards the penalty area.

But desperate to retrieve something from the match, Balmain left themselves scarce at the back, and eventually conceded two late goals to give the scoreline an emphatic look.

Balmain’s keeper, Adriano Varnier, miskicked a clearance in the 85th minute, with the ball falling at the feet of Gladesville’s captain, Chris Gaitatzis, who promptly rounded the stranded keeper before tapping home goal number four.

And four became five in injury time, with Chris Tomaras this time supplying Gaitatzis, who hit a well struck angled arrow underneath Varnier to round off the scoring at 5-2.

That was all she wrote, referee Dale Fuda called time with the visitors picking up a valuable three points on the road.

For Balmain Tigers, it was a damaging loss, given they now enter the final round of the competition at the foot of the Club Championship ladder, hoping results go their way and that they can pick up some valuable points themselves. When you notice that next week’s final game is at the ground of Rydalmere Lions, you can see what the monumental hurdle is that is facing the Tigers in Round 26.

The midfield trio of Gavin Wenyon, Liam Cole, and Frank Calcagno were industrious in their work, tenacious in the tackle, and the latter two were rewarded with nicely taken goals.

The win for Gladesville Ryde Magic was invaluable, given they have now snuck into the top six, and have destiny in their own hands – win the final match next week versus St George City FA and they will be playing finals football.

Playmaker Chris Tomaras had the ball on a string, netting two goals, claiming a third, and setting up a fourth, whilst he was ably supported by his captain, Chris Gaitatzis, who himself scored a brace and nabbed an assist. Sergio Tarazona was a real presence in the centre of defence, fiercely protecting his goal as Balmain pushed men into attack late on.

Match Stats

BALMAIN TIGERS 2 (Cole 18’, Calcagno 78’)

GLADESVILLE RYDE MAGIC 5 (Tomaras 19’ / 32’ / 63’, Gaitatzis 85’ / 90’)

Wentworth Park, Glebe

Referee – Dale Fuda

Assistant Referees – M.Wright and L.Villarroel

BALMAIN TIGERS: 28.A.Varnier, 15.N.Ballard, 8.F.Calcagno (20.M.Angelopoulos 79’), 10.A.Casali, 42.L.Cole, 2.A.Georgiou, 6.T.Machisa (5.H.Brown 54’), 9.R.Occhipinti (capt), 16.R.Osa, 17.D.Vujovic, 22.G.Wenyon.

Substitutes Not Used – 1.P.Ferrara, 35.D.Siu, 41.J.Wong.

Yellow Cards – 2.A.Georgiou 10’, 8.F.Calcagno 44’, 28.A.Varnier 62’, 42.L.Cole 81’.

Red Cards – Nil

GLADESVILLE RYDE MAGIC: 33.K.Tohouroglou, 9.C.Gaitatzis (capt), 4.L.Harte, 44.N.Ioannides, 13.B.Kerr, 5.A.Khan, 8.J.Martinez, 6.M.Sada, 3.S.Tarazona, 10.C.Tomaras, 16.P.Voukidis.

Substitutes Not Used – 1.N.Gongolidis, 2.Y.Mavrou, 12.T.Nelson, 30.A.Daskalopoulos, 53.T.Sands.

Yellow Cards – 3.S.Tarazona 82’.

Red Cards – Nil

Hawkesbury City – SD Raiders 0-2

In a real ‘six-pointer’ at David Bertenshaw Field on Saturday afternoon, SD Raiders returned from their away trek with all the spoils after knocking over Hawkesbury City 2-0.

John Fahmi and Danny Martinez did the damage for the Raiders with a goal each, providing the platform for a valuable three points for the visitors.

With both sides locked on 38 points going in to the match, SD Raiders have now climbed to 41 points courtesy of the win, standing solely in outright 5th position on the ladder.

Hawkesbury City not only remain on 38 points, but have been surpassed by Gladesville Ryde Magic, and have now precariously dropped out of the top six and sit in 7th spot on the competition ladder.

Dulwich Hill – Rydalmere Lions 5-1

Dulwich Hill put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons at the summit of the competition by handing out a 5-1 hiding to the league leaders, Rydalmere Lions, on Saturday night at Arlington Oval.

Dully hit the lead within the first ten minutes, when an overhit cross shot by Angus Chance looped into the net to make it 1-0.

Rydalmere Lions came in to the match knowing a victory would hand them the Premiership title, and equalised soon afterwards with a neat goal by ex-Socceroo, Ahmad Elrich.

Gosue Sama then edged Dulwich Hill back in front with a tidy near post header, before striking his second and Dully’s third when he connected with a Henry Wells cutback to give the hosts a 3-1 lead at the break.

Rydalmere predictably came out firing after the break, but found Dully keeper, Michael Frost, in inspired form, the experienced custodian pulling off numerous classy stops.

Further goals to Angus Chance, and second half substitute, Nathan Bowden-Haase, both on the counter attack, produced an unlikely scoreline but one that gave the home fans plenty to cheer about.

The three points keeps Dulwich Hill in 4th spot on 45 points, just one behind 3rd placed St George City FA.

Rydalmere’s loss sees the gap at the top of the first grade table reduce to just two points, with the Lions still first on 64 points, and Fraser Park breathing down their neck on 62, leading into next week’s final round of the competition proper.

The Club Championship ladder is just as tight, with Rydalmere Lions desperately holding on to a narrow lead over Fraser Park with the final round to be played next week, putting a real emphasis on the outcomes of all three grades next week.

St George City FA – Western NSW Mariners 7-0

St George City FA made light work of the Western NSW Mariners on Saturday night, racing to a 5-0 half time lead at Fraser Park before rounding off the easy victory with a couple more goals after the break.

Peter Yannopoulos was rewarded for his recent goal scoring form with a start, and put St George City into the lead after just 4 minutes.

Juan Chavez made it 2-0 in the 8th from the penalty spot after Yannopoulos was brought down, before Sam Messam marked his return from suspension by netting St George City’s 3rd in the 20th minute.

Juan Chavez showed all his experience to score two further goals in the 25th and 26th minutes, capping off a remarkable 18 minute hatrick on the way to giving St George City FA an unassailable 5-0 lead before the half hour mark.

James Spanoudakis helped himself to what was on offer with a brace of his own, scoring in the 58th and 65th minutes, the first a superb free kick, wrapping up an emphatic 7-0 scoreline for St George City FA.

The win and subsequent three points puts St George City FA on 46 points, and keeps them in 3rd place ahead of the finals, one point ahead of Dulwich Hill on 45 points.

Granville Rage – Stanmore Hawks 2-0

Granville Rage’s late season surge continued at Garside Park on Saturday night with a 2-0 victory over Stanmore Hawks.

The win was the club’s 3rd triumph in their last four matches, and took them above their match day opponents into 10th position on the competition ladder on 26 points.

Furthermore, with the club’s U18s also victorious on the night, Granville Rage have moved off the bottom of the Club Championship ladder at the expense of Balmain Tigers, and now have the destiny of retaining their Playstation NPL 3 status in their own hands going in to next week’s final round.

Sydney University – Fraser Park 1-3

Fraser Park has moved to within striking distance of Rydalmere Lions at the top of the competition ladder by overcoming Sydney University 3-1 on Saturday night.

Fraser Park took an early lead courtesy of Ben Vidaic, who was first to react to his own initial header that had rebounded off the upright to edge Fraser in to the lead.

Sydney University replied soon afterwards with a great header by Jovan Blagojevic, getting on the end of an Adrian Porcu free kick to equalise for the hosts.

Desperate for the three points, Fraser Park threw caution to the wind after the break, and were rewarded with goals by Zac Ribeiro and Chris Hatfield, completing a 3-1 scoreline in the end.

The loss sees Sydney University remain on 35 points in 8th spot, and despite their positive late season form that saw them win four games on the trot, Gladesville Ryde Magic’s victory means the ‘students’ officially are out of the running for a 2017 finals position.

On the other hand, the hope for Fraser is renewed, with Rydalmere’s loss meaning Fraser Park are now just two points behind the Lions in the chase for Premiership glory, with all to play for next weekend in the final round.

Inter Lions – Dunbar Rovers 3-14

Dunbar Rovers inflicted one of the competition’s biggest ever results when they demolished Inter Lions 14-3 at Fraser Park in the late game on Sunday night.

The Rovers lead 6-1 at the break, and went on it with in the second half, scoring at regular intervals with no less than nine players finding the net.

Hezio Neto Silva got things going after 5 minutes, and Cristian Garces netted a quickfire brace to have Dunbar 3-0 up after 13 minutes.

Hayden O’Kelly made it 4-0 in the 27th minute, before Daniel Fogarty pulled a goal back for Inter Lions on 36 minutes.

Ricardo Meneses and Dylan Deep-Jones rounded off the scoring for Dunbar at 6-1 at half time, but the Rovers were far from finished.

Hezio Neto Silva netted a brace after the break to grab his hatrick, Meneses got his second in the 52nd, whilst Tod Bamber chimed in with two goals of his own.

Saxon Hardingham, Jaefar Al Khulaifawi and David Adamo all scored singles to bring up Dunbar’s remarkable total of 14 goals on the night.

Christian Soares and Lachlan Wright grabbed second half goals for Inter Lions in reply, but Dunbar were already into double figures at that stage, and kept their foot on the gas until time was up.

The win sees Dunbar join both Granville Rage and Stanmore Hawks on 26 points, but the Rovers move ahead of both in to 9th spot on goal differential.