Round 14 – NPL 3 NSW Men’s Review


The reverse fixtures of the opening round of the 2018 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition – Round 14 – saw Mother Nature play a part, with two matches postponed over the long weekend, although one of those was hastily rearranged to be played on Monday evening.

Dunbar Rovers continued their positive form of late by overcoming St George City FA 2-1 on Saturday afternoon at Hensley Athletic Field; Western NSW Mariners and Fraser Park continued their winless run in 2018 when they produced a 1-1 stalemate at Orange on Saturday; Hawkesbury City returned to the winner’s list with a 2-1 triumph over Dulwich Hill at Richmond on Saturday night; the Sydney University-Bankstown City game fell foul of the weather on Saturday, but the ’students’ took advantage of the rearranged fixture to down Bankstown City 3-2 on Monday night at Lambert Park; Granville Rage snatched all three points at Garside Park in a 4-2 triumph over Inter Lions on Monday night; a waterlogged Ron Dine Stadium caused the postponement of the Camden Tigers – Gladesville Ryde Magic on Saturday.

FNSW travelled to Arlington Oval on Saturday night to watch the how the match between Stanmore Hawks and SD Raiders would unravel.



Despite trailing 1-0 for the majority of the match, Stanmore Hawks came alive in the final half hour or so and were unlucky in the end not to defeat SD Raiders, eventually scoring in injury time to snare a 1-1 draw at Arlington Oval.

There had been plenty of changes since the season’s opening round back in March when these two teams last met. SD Raiders were without a few players from that match, whilst Stanmore had eight changes from that opening day team sheet, changes that had a desired effect of sorts given the Raiders won 8-1 in that forgettable encounter for the home side.

The rain had meant Arlington Oval was a slippery surface, and both teams struggled to gain any sort of control early on, with opportunities far and few between.

Raiders’ striker, Ben Welch, had the game’s first chance, smacking a volley from the top of the box on 6 minutes that was gobbled up by Stanmore’s keeper, Nicholas Carosi.

Peter Theodosi replied for Stanmore in the 9th minute, the left back picking up a short corner before firing in an angled dart that was well held by Michael Rutherford in the Raiders goal.

Stanmore in fact should’ve broken the deadlock in the 13th minute.

Manoli Nicolaou sent over a wicked free kick towards the back stick from the left touchline, with Harrison Brown connecting with a diving header that agonisingly missed the target from close range.

Despite these close scares, it was the Raiders that took the lead, and it was a Daniel Bittar who got on the end of some swift interchange of passing to slice his shot in to the net from an acute angle on 21 minutes.

Bittar in fact had a glorious chance to double the advantage in the 34th minute, volleying well wide with the goal at his mercy after the ball dropped in to his lap unmarked in front of the Stanmore goal.

Sebastian Malfara was showing neat touches in the midfield, and he looked to make increase the advantage for the visitors in the 38th minute, but his long range lob cleared the cross bar after he spotted Stanmore keeper, Carosi, off his line.

1-0 to Raiders as the teams trudged off for a break, with all to play for in the second half.

The opening 20 minutes of the second half was lifeless to say the least – Stanmore Hawks look devoid of any attacking ideas, and SD Raiders seemed content to sit back and protect their lead.

Both coaches started to throw substitutes in to the fray like fire crackers, hoping to inject some spark, and it worked, with the game coming to life, much to the spectator’s delight.

On 67 minutes, Stanmore were presented with their best chance to draw level.

A handball inside the box and the Hawks had a penalty. Manoli Nicolaou stepped up, and confidently blasted the ball to his left, only to see Raiders’ custodian, Michael Rutherford, fling himself to his right to parry the effort, much to the angst of the home support.

Raiders’ then almost rubbed salt in to the wound a couple of minutes later when that man, Daniel Bittar, received the ball from a throw in just inside the Stanmore penalty area, and showed some neat footwork to swivel and prise open a yard of space before curling his effort inches over the Hawks cross bar.

Jonah Caragher had entered the pitch at half time and showed some nice glimpses of hope for Stanmore, one such opportunity coming on 73 minutes when the youngster raced on to a through ball and sliced his cross shot centimetres wide of the far upright with Rutherford scrambling in the Raiders’ goal.

Rutherford was called upon again in the 81st minute, producing a remarkable point blank save from Alec Caragher, after another substitute, Tainan Masch Marchiori, had headed the ball back across goal from a far post cross.

Stanmore Hawks kept coming in numbers, blow after blow, looking for the equalising punch, whilst the SD Raiders resembled the proverbial boxer curled up in the corner protecting himself from the wave of attacks.

Stanmore went close once again in the 83rd minute, Steven Georgiou and Jonah Caragher producing a wonderful series of ‘one-two’s’ down the right flank, opening up the Raiders rearguard, before Caragher squared for Masch Marchiori to somehow skew his shot over the bar from right in front.

The Stanmore fans were gasping, and given the wayward finishing from the Hawks, as well as facing Michael Rutherford in inspired form between the sticks for the Raiders, it looked like it just wasn’t going to be their night.

But deep in to the third minute of injury time, a Peter Theodosi free kick from the left touchline was thrown in to the mixer. Amidst a frenzied scramble, Jackson McMenamie slotted home from a tight angle to send the home contingent in to delirium.

It was the least Stanmore deserved based purely on their efforts in the final half hour, where the Hawks showed determination and desperation to try and snatch something from the match. The draw comes on the back of a win last weekend, which has seemingly stopped a miserable run of defeats before that, and pushes Stanmore Hawks on to 15 points in 10th position on the ladder.

Given the way the match ended, SD Raiders would be disappointed they couldn’t hold on for all three points, remaining in 6th spot as they move to 24 points on the ladder.

Match Stats

National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s

Round Fourteen

Saturday, June 10, 2018

STANMORE HAWKS 1 (McMenamie 90’ + 3’)

SD RAIDERS            1 (Bittar 21’)

Referee – Adam Susz

Assistant Referees – Darrin Richards and Gian-Carlos Anderson

STANMORE HAWKS; 19.N.Carosi, 11.R.Alassmi (6.V.Koutsoufis 70’), 8.S.Awad (3.T.Masch Marchiori 78’), 4.C.Bottalico (capt), 5.H.Brown, 12.A.Caragher, 18.S.Georgiou, 29.J.McMenamie, 14.M.Nicolaou, 23.P.Theodosi, 20.M.Toscano (17.J.Caragher 46’).

Substitutes Not Used – 31.D.Vaccaro, 21.C.Dionisopoulos.

Yellow Cards – 12.A.Caragher 89’.

Red Cards – Nil

SR RAIDERS; 1.M.Rutherford, 24.M.Barkho (25.M.Massarotto 69’), 7.D.Bittar, 42.M.Jonjic, 4.G.Ljuboja (capt), 15.S.Malfara, 3.D.Marjanovic, 8.J.Raiti (10.J.Fahmi 65’), 12.L.Rossi, 17.D.Smith (19.L.Mesiti 75’), 9.B.Welch.

Substitutes Not Used –16.M.Filipovic,13.Z.Hawchar.

Yellow Cards – 8.J.Raiti 59’, 42.M.Jonjic 67’, 7.D.Bittar 90’ + 2’.

Red Cards – Nil

Fraser Park – Western NSW Mariners 1-1

That elusive first victory of the campaign has eluded both Fraser Park and the Western NSW Mariners when the two sides produced a 1-1 stalemate at Jack Brabham Park in Orange.

Desperate for the win, both teams started the game on the front foot in rainy and cold conditions in Orange.

It was the Mariners who edged themselves in front, when Jackson Fuda played in Adam Scimone, who in turn played a give and go with Kenny McCall as the home side moved up the pitch. Scimone played the overlapping Jackson Fuda into space down the flank, and his low cross was met by a sliding Jaiden Cuthbert, the ball finding the bottom corner of the Fraser Park net to make it 1-0 to the home side.

But Fraser replied soon afterwards when Daniel Fornito slotted home on the counter attack, restoring parity before half time.

The second half was typically like a tug a war, with both sides creating a few opportunities, but both keepers, Brock Logan (Mariners) and Mark Villaescusa (Fraser Park) stood tall, denying the respective opposition any further goals.

The 1-1 draw keeps both sides in the bottom two places on the ladder as they both wait agonisingly for their first triumph.

Hawkesbury City – Dulwich Hill 2-1

Hawkesbury City put the last two weeks out of their mind as they returned to the winner’s circle, defeating Dulwich Hill 2-1 at David Bertenshaw Field on Saturday evening.

Two losses in succession threathened to derail the Hawks superb start to the season, but they bounced back on a wet track in front of their home fans, replicating their opening round 2-1 defeat of Dully earlier this season.

Given the rain that had fallen in the lead up to Saturday, the officials deemed the playing surface fit for play, but the conditions – which included a low fog – were difficult nevertheless for the players.

A surprisingly healthy crowd was in attendance despite the rain and fog, and the game settled nicely, but the Hawks gradually wore down the visiting Dulwich Hill to take a 2-0 lead after the half hour.

James Thurtell opened the scoring for Hawkesbury on 19 minutes, finishing well following a corner, whilst Joaquin Veliz Coccolo doubled the home side’s advantage in the 28th minute, finishing clinically at the near post after a slalom run into the box took him past a few Dully defenders.

Dully’s keeper, Michael Frost, was in the thick of the action, denying Hawkesbury a number of times during the remainder of the first half to somehow keep his side in the contest.

The cat was thrown amongst the pigeons in the 55th minute of the match when the visitors reduced the deficit.

A clearance reached the Gosue Sama at the top of the penalty area, and he lifted his effort over Daniel Schwarzer in the Hawks goal to make it 2-1.

Dulwich Hill lifted on the back of that goal, but simply couldn’t find an equaliser as the clock ticked over.

Substitute Daniel Zahra injected some energy with his entrance in the 66th minute, whilst James Mawein was standout for Hawkesbury, contributing at both fullback and midfield in a fierce display.

Dulwich Hill’s third loss in their past four games sees them remain in 7th spot on 23 points, whilst the win and subsequent three points sees Hawkesbury City climb to second spot to 30 points, just two behind league leaders, St George City FA.

Dunbar Rovers – St George City FA 2-1

Dunbar Rovers have added the scalp of the league leaders, St George City FA, to their recent conquests with a 2-1 victory at Hensley Athletic Field on Saturday afternoon.

Four wins and a draw in their past five matches has seen Dunbar Rovers move steadily up the table, and this result ends a remarkable run of 9 consecutive wins for St George City FA.

And to think Dunbar were without two of their most influential players in goal keeper, Stephen Deasy, as well as attacking midfielder, Ryan Shaughnessy.

The game commenced with a combative flavour to it with neither team giving an inch, and no goals saw the teams locked at 0-0 at the break.

The second half started in a similar aggressive vein and was crying for a goal, with the deadlock finally broken on 63 minutes.

Andrew Doddy is well known for his long range efforts, this time seizing a clearance from the St George keeper, Chris Marques, to produce a well directed strike from distance and give Dunbar a 1-0 lead.

St George kept at it and equalised on 71 minutes, Sam Messam slotting home from a wide angle to restore parity.

Andrew Doddy almost repeated his first half effort with another long range strike that had Marques scrambling in the St George goal, with the game looking destined to end in a draw.

But the Rovers had other ideas and conjured up a winning goal with ten minutes remaining.

A couple of flick-ons resulted in a race for the ball between Dunbar’s Cristian Garces, and St George’s Bill Tsanidis and keeper, Chris Marques.

Marques did well to block the initial effort, but the ball ricocheted off Tsanidis and in to the St George net to result in an unfortunate own goal.

The 2-1 outcome sees Dunbar Rovers move in to 4th spot on 26 points, whilst St George City FA remain first on the ladder on 32 despite their first loss in 10 weeks.

 Sydney University – Bankstown City 3-2

This match was originally postponed on the Saturday, June 9, given the Sydney University Football Ground became waterlogged under the rain that fell leading up to the weekend. The game was hastily rearranged, taking place at Lambert Park, Leichhardt, on Monday June 11, kicking off at 6-30pm, and it was Sydney University who continued their recent positive form with a 3-2 victory over Bankstown City Lions.

It was a very even opening 45 minutes, with Uni attacker, Michael Loupis, first to test Carl McMahon in the Bankstown City visitors goal with a long range free kick, but the ex-Uni keeper dealt with it well.

It was s similar story at the other end with Uni keeper, Charlie Fanner, called into action to gather a long range effort from the Lawrence Hanna, the Bankstown number 10.

Mid way through the half Sydney University opened the scoring when Jovan Blagojevic produced a moment of magic, turning two defenders inside out, before racing in to the box and driving the wall home.

The lead only merely 5 minutes when a quick counter attack from Bankstown resulted in a dangerous low cross from Lawrence Hanna for Tommy Markovski to produce a close range finish.

It stayed 1-1 until the break, and the teams came out of the sheds in much the same light,  competitive and not giving an inch.

Carl McMahon was at it again early on, the Bankstown keeper denying Uni’s Scott Tonkin in a one on one situation to keep the ‘students’ at bay.

However Tonkin was not be to denied, and minutes later he smashed home from close range after great work on the left from Jovan Blagojevic.

The lead was eliminated once again within minutes, with Bankstown breaking quickly and Ante Tomic getting on the end of the cross this time to make it 2-2.

The roller coaster nature of the game continued when Sydney University edged themselves back in front once more with a goal of real quality.

Conor Quilligan played a precise through ball behind the Bankstown defensive line, and Michael Loupis struck a first time bullet into the bottom corner which gave Bankstown keeper, Carl McMahon, no chance as it whistled in to the net.

Sydney Uni hung on to record a valuable three points, continuing their recent form. The coaching combination of Head Coach Alex Epakis and Assistant, Tommy Hyde, have worked wonders since taking the reins a few weeks ago, steering the team to a 5 match unbeaten run in the process. Jovan Blagojevic has returned to the club with a point to prove, and Michael Loupis has been a breath of fresh air and scoring regularly since he joined a games back, helping the team to move to 9th position on 17 points.

The loss sees Bankstown City remain in 3rd position on 27 points.

Granville Rage – Inter Lions 4-2

Granville Rage recorded their first win in six weeks when they overcame Inter Lions 4-2 at  Garside Park in the late game on Monday evening.

After a tense opening half hour, Granville took the lead in the 28th minute when a left wing cross ricocheted off Inter defender, Chris Lawson, on its way in to the net.

Inter went close to equalising on 40 minutes when a Jacob Di Mento free kick was diverted wide of the Granville goal by flanker, Sean Richardson. Richardson in fact had a better chance just 3 minutes later, but cleared the cross bar when facing Samuel Bortolazzo, the Granville keeper, in a one-on-one.

Right on half time, the Rage had their very own one-on-one opportunity, but Inter goal keeper, John Soulios, produced a great save to deny Andre Guzman.

Inter came out of the sheds determined to find an equaliser, and just after Juan Chavez missed a good opportunity on 50 minutes by striking wide of the mark, the Lions restored parity just five minutes later, with Hezio Silva Neto heading home a Jacob Di Mento free kick.

Parity didn’t last long at all, when a half clearance fell to the feet of Daniel Bortolazzo, and the Granville midfielder struck home to edge the home side back in front.

Junior Mushaba then made it a crazy few minutes, extending Granville’s lead to 3-1 in the 57th minute with a long range 25 yard shot that flew into the bottom left corner of Inter’s net.

In what had become a topsy turvy encounter, Hezio Silva Neto reduced the deficit to 2-3 in the 67th minute, giving the visitors some hope of pulling the game out of the bag..

But Granville could smell the kill, and wrapped up proceedings in the 74th minute, Alexander Murrell snatching possession before slotting home to give Granville a 4-2 win.

Inter substitute, Daniel Habib, cracked an effort against the upright in the 88th minute, but that was all she wrote, and Rage had their long overdue victory.

The win and subsequent three points sees Granville Rage hurdle Inter Lions into 11th spot, moving to 15 points in the process.

Camden Tigers – Gladesville Ryde Magic P-P

Ron Dine Stadium was deemed unplayable on Saturday night by the match officials – stay tuned to FNSW for details of this rescheduled fixture.