Round 4 Review – NPL 3 NSW Men’s

Dunbar Rovers hosted Western Mariners at Hensley Athletics Field this afternoon, Easter Friday. Dunbar took 1-0 lead into the half time break. Mariners played to win, however came up short with a one all draw. {Photo: Jeff Walsh - Quarrie Sports Photography for FNSW}

There has been more swapping of positions on the 2018 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition ladder following the completion of Round Four over the weekend.

Only one of the seven matches finished in a draw, two teams won on the road, whilst four teams gave their home fans plenty to cheer about over the Easter weekend by picking up the chocolates on show at their respective home grounds.

The Western NSW Mariners picked up a point on their travels to Hensley Athletic Field following a 1-1 draw with Dunbar Rovers; Hawkesbury City’s early season momentum continued when they toppled league leaders, Gladesville Ryde Magic, 3-0 on the back of a Daniel Morsillo hatrick; Nathan Bowden-Haase scored a brace of headers in Dulwich Hill’s 2-1 win over Inter Lions at Arlington Oval; Stanmore Hawks climbed to 5th spot on the competition ladder with a 2-0 triumph at Fraser Park; the SD Raiders thumped Granville Rage 5-0 at Garside Park in a one-sided affair; and Camden Tigers scored a last gasp winner to defeat Sydney University 2-1 at Ron Dine Stadium.

Jensen Park was the venue for the Feature Match of the round, where home side, Bankstown City Lions, were hosting the visit of St George City FA in what promised to be a huge encounter.

Match of the Round

Bankstown City Lions vs St George City FA

Bankstown City Lions overcame a tentative start to beat St George City FA 3-1 on Saturday night at Jensen Park in a battle between two of the competition’s favourites.

Second half goals to skipper, Nikola Todorovski, as well as Ante Tomic, complemented Lachlan Willmore’s first half strike to give Bankstown City the spoils against a St George City side that replied late on via Bill Tsanidis.

In truth, the match never reached any great heights given the pre-match billing. These two sides show all the potential of being there at the business end of the season, but did not do much more than nullify each other for the most part.

Once Bankstown did edge themselves in front before the break, they had the ascendancy, and ended up going on with it before St George City struggled to muster any sort of fight back.

It was a cagey opening half hour, both sides very tight defensively and both keepers rarely troubled.

St George City striker, Geoffry Lino, got his head to a great dipping cross by Jordan Dimopoulos on 14 minutes, but his downward header was easily grasped by Bankstown’s custodian, Carl McMahon.

Lino would prove a menace all night for the Bankstown defence, using his big frame to shield the ball well and play as an effective number nine, but his St George support players were absent for the most part.

Alvaro Malmierca then ran direct and hard on 32 minutes down the centre of the park, hitting a 25 yard shot too straight, with the ball ending up in McMahon’s hands in the Bankstown goal.

The St George defence at this stage had seemed impregnable, with the Bankstown attack clueless and unable to make any inroads.

But Bankstown City veteran, Jeff Issa, had other ideas.

Seizing on a half cleared corner, Issa blasted a volley in the 35th minute that only just cleared the St George City cross bar. St George did not heed the warning.

Two minutes later, receiving the ball out wide, Issa showed all his experience to glide past his St George marker towards the goal line, cutting the ball back across the goal for the onrushing Lachlan Willmore to steer in to the net from close range.

The game was screaming for a goal to liven up proceedings, and it was the home fans who would be happiest, as the players trudged off for a drinks break soon after.

St George City had lost playmaker, James Spanoudakis, on 20 minutes, and when Steve Kuzmanovski was substituted a couple of minutes in to the second half, much of the team’s technical ability went with them.

Having said that, Michael Loupis did his best to take control of the ball in the centre of the park. Loupis produced a couple of very effective switch of plays with 30/40 yard balls, and was the only one intent of having a crack or two from distance.

Just before the hour mark, St George flanker, Sam Messam, also tried his luck, from 30 yards, no less, hitting an impromptu volley that cleared the cross bar, trying to catch Bankstown keeper, Carl McMahon, off his line.

Bankstown then extended their lead to 2-0 on 72 minutes.

The ball was half cleared by the St George defence towards the edge of the box, where Ante Tomic took possession, swivelling before slipping a short pass into space behind the City backline.

Bankstown’s Nikola Todorovski was all of a sudden faced with a one-on-one, and he guided the ball past St George keeper, Christopher Marques, inside the far post to double his team’s advantage.

If the result was at all in question, those doubts were extinguished in the 81st minute when Ante Tomic let fly from all of 25 yards, his rifling effort bouncing down and over the goal line after cannoning off the underside of the cross bar to make it 3-0.

After being unable to create any clear cut opportunities for the best part of the encounter, St George all of sudden sprung in to gear and could’ve scored a few goals in the dying moments.

St George skipper, Bill Tsanidis, stabbed home to make it 3-1 in the 87th minute. Tsanidis was first to react to the rebound following a superb free kick from Jonathon Dimopoulos, his effort from the top of the penalty box beating Bankstown’s keeper, Carl McMahon, all ends up as it swerved and crashed against the base of the cross bar.

St George were at it again just two minutes later when Sam Messam made some in roads down the right flank, his beautifully weighted far post cross finding Emanuel Koumis who somehow nodded wide with the goal at his mercy.

There was no let up from the visitors and Messam went close in injury time, his header from yet another Dimopoulos cross looping against the Bankstown cross bar, before Lino somehow scuffed the rebound from right in front.

Full time blew shortly afterwards, and it was Bankstown City Lions who took all three of the points, climbing to equal first on the ladder on 10 points following their 3 wins and a draw to start the season.

Once they took the lead just after the half hour mark, Bankstown could smell the win, and held firm, upping the ante for a period in the second half where they scored twice more to win the contest.

St George City FA would no doubt be extremely disappointed to lose this match, but well know they have plenty more left in their tank, and were far from their best. Losing two of their more technical players for the best part of the match didn’t help, and if they could transfer the application they showed during the final moments for an entire ninety minutes, they will no doubt prove more effective next time around.

National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s

Round Four

Saturday, March 31, 2018

BANKSTOWN CITY FC 3 (Willmore 32’, Todorovski 72’, Tomic 81’)

ST GEORGE CITY FA  1 (Tsanidis 87’)  

Referee – Toby Plasto

Assistant Referees – Stephen Ellsmore and James Barnes

BANKSTOWN CITY LIONS: 8.A.Berg, 31.A.Do Pao (19.J.Kanayama 57’), 6.A.Hess, 7.J.Issa (17.A.Savetta 90’ + 1’), 24.D.Jakimovski, 5.T.Markovski, 20.C.McMahon (GK), 16.M.Sehic, 9.N.Todorovski (capt) (18.J.Douglas 84’), 11.A.Tomic, 32.L.Willmore.

Substitutes Not Used – 26.M.Williamson, 15.N.Lopino.

Yellow Cards – 16.M.Sehic.

Red Cards – Nil

ST GEORGE CITY FA: 4.L.Burke, 14.J.Dimopoulos, 6.M.Kokubo (9.E.Koumis 79’), 17.S.Kuzmanovski (13.R.Thomson-King 47’), 18.G.Lino, 8.A.Malmierca, 1.C.Marques (GK), 7.S.Messam, 10.J.Spanoudakis (12.M.Loupis 21’), 2.S.Thomas, 5.B.Tsanidis (capt).

Substitutes Not Used – 3.K.Mori, 45.A.Josipovic.

Yellow Cards – 14.J.Dimopoulos 88’.

Red Cards – Nil

Dunbar Rovers – Western NSW Mariners 3-1

Dunbar Rovers continued their spluttering start to the season when they were held 1-1 at Hensley Athletic Field on Good Friday by the travelling Western NSW Mariners.

It was unseasonably hot conditions that welcomed the two teams, but Dunbar started at a cracking pace, and created a few opportunities via Yoel Silvestre out wide. Ryan Shaughnessy was linking up well with Ruben Mendes and Christian Garces, but Rovers had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.

But Dunbar did eventually break through, and it was Yoel Silvestre who netted after a nice interchange between Ryan Shaughnessy and Christian Garces.

There was a scare before the break when Shaughnessy and Mariners captain, Nikki Spice, collided, with both players taken to hospital after nasty head wounds. On behalf of FNSW and the wider football community, we wish both players a speedy recovery.

WNSW goal keeper, Brock Logan, had been working overtime to keep his team in the game, and his efforts paid dividends when Adam Scimone scored an equaliser to make it 1-1, a scoreline that the visitors managed to hold on to until full time.

Hawkesbury City – Gladesville Ryde Magic 3-0

Hawkesbury City’s great start to the 2018 campaign continued on Saturday evening at David Bertenshaw Field when they beat the previously unbeaten competition leaders, Gladesville Ryde Magic, 3-0. Daniel Morsillo was the home town hero with a well-executed hatrick.

Both sides came in to the side depleted, so it would be a real test of strength of the depth of both squads.

The home fans had barely settled in to their seats when they were jumping right out of them again given Daniel Morsillo’s opening minute goal.

Gladesville Ryde Magic turned over possession on the half way line, and a long ball down the middle of the field landed in the Magic box for Morsillo to lob it over the head of an advancing Kiriakos Tohouroglou in the Magic goal.

The next opportunity fell to Joaquim Veliz Coccolo, the Hawkesbury number 10 receiving the ball in space, on the right hand side, before dribbling towards goals and letting fly with a powerful shot that flew over the cross bar.

Former Gladesville Ryde Magic player, Majid Eslami was full of running on the left hand side for the Hawks, and his combination with James Mawein was proving a giant headache for the right hand side of the Gladesville defence.

Magic captain, Chris Gaitatzis, worked tirelessly in attack and defence, and Chris Triantis was trying hard to conjure up an opportunity for the visitors, but it just didn’t seem like it was going to be Gladesville’s night.

Hawkesbury continued to battle hard and  create opportunities in attack. A long ball found Daniel Morsillo in a one-on-one situation with Tohouroglou in the Gladesville goal, but the keeper deflected Morsillo’s low shot away from his goal.

In the final minute of the first half, Hawks’ Eslami fouled Chris Gaitatzis just outside the penalty box. Chris Tomaras took the resultant free kick, but a close range header from Jonathan Gowdy just missed the target.

Daniel Morsillo doubled his and his team’s advantage on 48 minutes with a superbly taken free kick that beat the Gladesville wall all ends up.

Magic brought on young striker, Peter Voukidis, in an all-out attempt to salvage something from the game, with his introduction upping the tempo in the front third for the visitors.

On one such run, Voukidis received the ball on the halfway line, beat his marker on the way to the goal-line where he played a well weighted ball to Abanoub Mickhael, whose shot was blocked by the feet of Daniel Schwarzer in the Hawkesbury goal.

Hawkesbury wrapped up proceedings in the 75th minute via the penalty spot. Daniel Morsillo’s initial kick had to be retaken because of encroachment, but he was not to be denied, earning his side the three points and clinching his hatrick in the process.

Dulwich Hill – Inter Lions 2-1

Dulwich Hill finally cracked it for their maiden victory of the 2018 season when they overcame a stubborn Inter Lions 2-1 at Arlington Oval on Saturday night.

Both goals for Dully were scored by big defender, Nathan Bowden-Haase, with far post headers, one in each half.

Rosario Occhipinti, Inter’s experienced marksman, had in the second half netted an equaliser for Inter, but the visitors could not hold on and succumbed to a second late goal.

Fraser Park – Stanmore Hawks 0-2

Stanmore Hawks continued their good form of late with a 2-0 away win at Fraser Park on Saturday night.

Steven Georgiou and Jackson McMenamie were the goal scorers for Stanmore, with the three points putting the Hawks on 7 and in to 5th spot on the competition ladder.

Fraser Park remain without a victory following two draws and two defeats in their opening four league matches of the 2018 competition. 

Granville Rage – SD Raiders 0-5

Granville’s early season stern defensive displays were blown away by SD Raiders at Garside Park on Saturday night, with the Raiders scoring five goals without reply.

The Raiders have now managed 19 goals in their four league games this season, a remarkable return, and a reflection on coach, Nicky Carle’s, attacking philosophy.

The five goals on the night were scored by Goran Ljuboja, Lucas Rossi, John Fahmi, and Daniel Bittar, who netted twice.

The victory and subsequent three points puts SD Raiders on 10 points with Bankstown City Lions and Hawkesbury City, but they are first on the back of a much more healthier goal differential.

Camden Tigers – Sydney University 2-1

Camden Tigers scored a last gasp winning goal to topple Sydney University 2-1 at Ron Dine Stadium on Saturday night.

But it was the depleted ‘students’ who started the brightly, and should’ve taken the lead when Scott Tonkin played in Tim Bowman, but the Uni striker dragged his shot wide.

At the other end the in-form Camden striker, Jayden Russell, twice went close but was denied on both occasions by Oliver Gibson in the Sydney University goal.

Scoreless at the break, but that wasn’t to remain for much longer as Camden snuck in to the lead in the 52nd minute.

A measured cross from the right found Bailey Simpson inside the box and his looping header found the far corner to edge the Tigers in to the lead.

Despite missing a number of guilt-edged opportunities, Sydney University kept at it and drew level in the 75th minute when a clever back heel from Adrian Porcu found Scotty Tonkin, and the striker burst clear before clinically tucking the ball in to the net to silence the home crowd.

Both sides poured forward looking for the winner and in the last moments of the match it was the home side who grabbed the dramatic winner.

A free kick was hoisted into the Uni box and the flick on found Andrew Cotten at the back stick. Amidst cries of offside, Cotton guided his header goal wards, only to be denied by Uni keeper, Oliver Gibson, who made a brilliant reaction save. However, the ball dropped to Blake Szumski who swept the hall home to send the vocal home crowd into raptures.