The National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition continued this weekend with a mixed bag of results, including 4 away wins, 3 home triumphs, with 13 of the 14 teams managing to find the net in Round Twenty.
The quagmire at the top continues to be as murky as ever, with just 8 points separating the top five teams, and the top 8 sides all still in the hunt for a finals spot come September.
League leaders, St George City FA, didn’t have things their own way but scraped a 2-1 away win against the Western NSW Mariners in Orange on Saturday afternoon; Gladesville Ryde Magic turned the screws on Inter Lions on Saturday night with a 5-1 thumping at Fraser Park; SD Raiders overcame Dulwich Hill at Arlington Oval on Saturday night by the odd goal in five; Granville Rage came from a goal down to defeat Fraser Park 2-1 at Garside Park; the fortress at Ron Dine Stadium came undone on Saturday night when Bankstown City Lions grabbed the spoils in a 3-1 victory over Camden Tigers; Dunbar Rovers defeated Stanmore Hawks 3-0 at Hensley Athletic Field on Sunday afternoon.
Football New South Wales ventured out to David Bertenshaw Field at Richmond for the Hawkesbury City – Sydney University clash.
MATCH OF THE ROUND – HAWKESBURY CITY – SYDNEY UNIVERSITY 2-1
On a freezing night in Richmond, the high flying Hawkesbury City edged out Sydney University in a tightly contested, but at times scrappy, affair.
Sydney University came in to the clash on the back of a 10 match unbeaten run, an enormous effort given the coaching and playing rearrangements they made to their staffing roster almost three months ago.
The run had seen the ‘students’ make a huge ascent up the ladder, and all of a sudden, they were accommodating thoughts of finals football, being six points outside the top five going in to this clash.
The Hawks on the other hand had suffered a couple of stutters in recent weeks after leading for much of the first round, both with results, and also with personnel, losing a few key players at crucial times.
But Hawkesbury are a different proposition this season, and have come out swinging a few times when having their backs against the wall.
One thing Hawkesbury were not prepared, though, was to go behind early.
Sydney University made the perfect start with less than 2 minutes on the clock.
Blake Serafin played the ball forward to target man, Scott Tonkin, and the big striker cleverly slipped in Panayoti Gotsis.
Gotsis couldn’t believe what had transformed in front of him, and kept his cool to guide the ball past the equally shocked Hawkesbury City goal keeper, Daniel Schwarzer.
1-0 to Sydney University and it was just the start the visitors wanted.
The Hawks were not to be deterred, however, and started to work their way back into the game patiently.
The Hawkesbury players began to have a physical presence, winning their duals across the park, and eventually drew level just after the half hour mark.
The Sydney University defence were caught across the back and were slow to react to a sweeping upfield movement, with David Gardiner striking home after connecting with a superb Daniel Zahra cross for 1-1.
That’s the way it stayed until the half time break, as both teams headed out of the cold and into the changing rooms as the fans struggled to stay warm.
The second half kicked off with both sides struggling to find any rhythm on the bumpy track.
But Hawkesbury did find the mark from a set piece in the 65th minute.
Bradley Gibson rose highest to head the home side into the lead off a James Maewin delivery, sending the local fans in to delirium.
Thereafter, the home side had some wind in their sails, and Sydney University goal keeper, Charlie Fanner, had to be alert to deny the Hawks extending their lead and kept his side in the contest.
But as the clock ticked down, it was Sydney University who missed two great opportunities to snare a point.
Firstly, Scott Tonkin was denied when Daniel Schwarzer produced a great parry to keep the big man out, and then a deep free kick by Michael Loupis found Daniel Mifsud, but his close range header missed the target, much to the angst of the travelling contingent.
That was all she wrote as the referee blew the full time whistle, with Hawkesbury prevailing 2-1 in a nail biter.
Sydney University will no doubt be despondent, given their 10 game unbeaten run has come to an end. But they have well and truly resurrected their season, and despite the loss, they are only 9 points off a finals position, with 18 points still up for grabs – something to play for.
For Hawkesbury, it was a most welcome three points, especially needing to show the character to win the contest after falling behind so early.
The three points moves Hawkesbury to 40, and they are currently holding down 3rd position on the ladder, sitting just 5 points off the summit, currently occupied by St George City FA.
National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s
Saturday, July 21, 2018
HAWKESBURY CITY 2 (Gardiner 31’, Gibson 65’)
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY 1 (Gotsis 1’)
David Bertenshaw Field, Richmond
Referee – Darren Richards
Assistant Referees – Greg Roberts and Steve Dachazso
1.D.Schwarzer (capt), 8.T.Elliott-Orr, 19.D.Gardiner (9.M.McCrory), 14.B.Gibson (12.J.Rogers), 7.J.Mawein, 13.D.Zahra, , 23.F.Scarone, 15.D.Bourke (5.J.Ekehov), 2.J.Thurtell, 4.K.Walker, 22.R.Wilson.
Substitutes Not Used – 20.A.Gornall.
Yellow Cards – 23.F.Scarone, 4.K.Walker.
Red Cards – Nil
1.C.Fanner, 24.D.Barrett, 13.P.Gotsis, 20.L.Flack, 17.P.Kardasis (2.ASmith), 23.M.Loupis, 6.D.Mifsud 18.B.Serafin (5.F.Strati), 14.N.Sharpley, 9.S.Tonkin (capt) 12.J.Tsokos (19.P.Lee)
Substitutes Not Used – 3.A.Casali, 21.O.Gibson.
Yellow Cards – 23.M.Loupis.
Red Cards – Nil
Western NSW Mariners – St George City FA 1-2
Leaders St George City FA did what they had to do in Orange on Saturday afternoon, snaring all three points on offer in a narrow 2-1 victory over the Western NSW Mariners.
On paper this match seemed a foregone conclusion, with 1st placed St George up against the 13th placed Mariners, but football is played on the field, not on paper, and the home side can count themselves unlucky not to have taken something out of the match.
St George took the lead in the first period, but the Mariners equalised when Duncan Logan capitalised on a fumble by St George keeper, Chris Marques, following a corner, leaving the teams even at 1-1 until the break.
Despite chances at both ends, it was St George City who nabbed the second and winning goal, taking all three points back to Sydney, and keeping their three point lead at the summit in the process.
The gallant Mariners were left to lick their wounds, and they will look to bounce back next week when they entertain the visit of Inter Lions.
Inter Lions – Gladesville Ryde Magic 1-5
Despite their improved performances of late, Inter Lions couldn’t cope with the firepower in the Gladesville Ryde Magic side, losing 1-5 at Fraser Park on Saturday night.
But it was Inter who mustered the game’s opening opportunity in the first minute of play, with Domenic Arcella shooting wide after making space for himself inside the Magic penalty area.
Gladesville replied just two minutes later, and actually went one better, with in-form Michael Gaitatzis curling a delicious free kick around the Inter wall and in to the net to give Magic an early lead.
Arcella was at it again for Inter on 10 minutes, connecting with a left wing cross, but slicing his effort wide of the mark.
Gladesville then extended their lead in the 16th minute to 2-0. Chris Triantis went on a slalom run upfield, beating a couple of Inter defenders before striking home for the visitors.
It was Chris Triantis once more shortly afterwards who continued to weave his magic on the left flank, this time crossing for youngster, Nick Ioannides, to score and make it 3-0 to Gladesville.
Ioannides in fact extended Magic’s lead in the 41st minute, scoring his double after latching on to a Chris Gaitatzis through ball to give Gladesville an unassailable 4-0 lead before half time.
The evergreen Chris Tomaras entered the fray in the second half, and he set up Michael Gaitatzis in the 67th minute for a strike on goal. Inter’s goalkeeper, Robert Fanella, managed to parry the effort, but Michael Gaitatzis was quickest to the rebound to make it 5-0.
It was the second goal of the night for Michael Gaitatzis, and his 22nd of what has been a fruitful season in front of goal.
Chris Lawson grabbed a consolation goal late on for Inter, but it was too little too late, and Gladesville coasted home to a comfortable win.
The result sees Inter remain 12th on 16 points, whilst Gladesville move to 39 points, still in 4th spot, but within reach of the teams above them.
Dulwich Hill – SD Raiders 2-3
SD Raiders continued their good form of late, taking all three points at Arlington Oval with a 3-2 win against Dulwich Hill.
It was a tight contest, with neither team giving an inch in a scoreless first period.
But the Raiders raced to a 2-0 lead within 25 minutes of the restart, before Harry Browell reduced the deficit with a goal for Dully in the 75th minute.
The Raiders responded immediately by making it 3-1 within a minute, and even though Browell scored his brace by netting in the 89th minute, the Raiders hung on for a valuable three points.
The win sees SD Raiders move into outright 5th place on 37 points, and they now have a three point gap on Camden Tigers below them.
Granville Rage – Fraser Park 2-1
Granville Rage made it three weeks on the trot without a loss on Saturday night, coming from behind to overcome Fraser Park 2-1 at Garside Park.
Fraser hit the lead in the first half when Andrew de Brito spinned away from a defender to score a great goal, giving the visitors hope of an upset away from home.
But the Rage responded with energy and determination after the break, scoring twice to snatch all three points on offer.
David Muller’s red card didn’t help matters for Fraser, who remain at the foot of the table, 4 points behind the Mariners.
For Granville it was a welcome three points after two successive draws in recent weeks, a result which has taken them to 20 points and 10th spot on the ladder.
Camden Tigers – Bankstown City Lions 1-3
The fortress at Ron Dine Stadium is no more, with the Bankstown City Lions becoming the first side this season to take anything from a visit there, winning 3-1 against Camden Tigers on Saturday night.
But things looked like they were going to script at Ron Dine early on, just like they have in 9 previous matches, with Camden taking a 13th minute lead through the league’s top scorer, Jayden Russell.
Russell latched on to a through ball before striking a low effort in to the bottom corner past the Bankstown keeper, Carl McMahon.
But Bankstown didn’t read the script, and equalised on 33 minutes. A great through ball found Tommy Markovski, who rounded the Camden keeper to make it 1-1.
The tight affair seemed to turn on its head in the 50th minute.
Bankstown’s keeper, Carl McMahon, made a great save with his legs, before starting a counter attack with a quick release.
The counter attack ended when Lachlan Willmore looped a header over the Camden keeper to edge the visitors in front, after some great lead up play from the experienced Jeff Issa.
The game was over in the 70th minute, with Jeff Issa this time netting himself after seizing on a long ball upfield by his keeper, Carl McMahon, to give the Lions all three points.
Camden’s first loss at home sees them remain in 6th spot on 34 points, 3 outside the top five, whilst Bankstown keep the heat on leaders, St George, moving to 42, three points off the summit.
Dunbar Rovers – Stanmore Hawks 3-0
Dunbar Rovers returned to winning ways on Sunday afternoon, downing Stanmore Hawks 3-0 at Hensley Athletic Field.
It was a welcome relief for Dunbar, having suffered two consecutive heavy defeats in recent weeks, whilst Stanmore found it tough going, having backed up after a monumental 1-0 midweek victory over Bankstown City.
Henry Kamleitner opened proceedings for Dunbar when he netted on just 6 minutes, before Alex Crane doubled the advantage for the Rovers in the 20th minute.
Kamleitner nabbed his brace on 50 minutes to round off the scoring at 3-0 for the home side, with the victory putting Dunbar Rovers up in to 7th spot on 31 points.