Round 21 – National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men Review


The congestion at the top of the National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition continues after the weekend’s results, with four of the top six sides failing to register a win in Round Twenty One.

Moreso, wins to Dunbar Rovers and Sydney University have kept their respective finals’ ambitions alive as they close the gap on the sides in the top six places, whilst the top four teams on the ladder are now separated by just four points as the race for the Premiership remains as exciting as ever.

Western NSW Mariners got the spoils by beating Inter Lions 2-1 on Saturday afternoon at Marjorie Jackson Field; Hawkesbury City kept the heat up on the teams at the top with a narrow 1-0 win over Stanmore Hawks at Arlington Oval; Dunbar Rovers kept their finals hopes well and truly alive when they overcame Fraser Park 2-0 on Saturday evening; Camden Tigers and Granville Rage shared the points in a six goal thriller at Ron Dine Stadium on Saturday night; Sydney University thumped Dulwich Hill 4-1 at the Uni Football Ground; Gladesville Ryde Magic handed Bankstown City Lions a 5-1 thrashing in the final game of the round on Sunday afternoon.

Football NSW made our way to Ernie Smith Reserve for the SD Raiders – St George City FA match.



Two of the National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition heavyweights, SD Raiders and St George City FA, produced a tense but combative 0-0 draw on Saturday night at Ernie Smith Reserve.

Both sides came in to the clash desperate for the points – St George City FA doing their best to fend off a few sides snapping at their heels at the summit of the competition, whilst SD Raiders are doing likewise at the fringes of the Top Six.

With both sides usually adopting an attractive technical style of play throughout the season, the uneven and dusty surface at Ernie Smith Reserve was not conducive to free flowing football, so there was quite a heavy dose of long balls throughout the evening.

The match did not produce a wealth of goal scoring opportunities, but for the enjoyment of the purist, much of that was due to the focus and determination of both defensive groups.

Daniel Bittar was first to spring in to action, with the Raiders flanker cutting inside from the right in the 13th minute before unleashing a left foot drive that was well parried by St George custodian, Chris Marques.

Sebastian Malfara seized on the rebound and hit an angled shot at goal, only for Marques to spring in to action and parry the second effort as well.

The Raiders had the slightly better of possession in the opening half, but were coming up against a brick wall in the St George defence. Bill Tsanidis and Paul Turrin were towers in central defence, forcing the Raiders to use the flanks without much effect.

Bittar was at it again in the 24th minute, his speed helping him reach a bouncing ball that he so skilfully lifted over the head of the advancing St George keeper, Chris Marques.

Sean Thomas, who was impregnable at right back all night for St George, had trekked around his keeper to clear the ball almost off the goal line.

Just as the Raiders had Daniel Bittar doing his best to prise open an opportunity for the home side, St George City had Steve Kuzmanovski doing likewise for the visitors.

Kuzmanovski possesses a neat touch and quick feet for a big man, and always looked dangerous on the right flank, with two Raiders often doubling up on him most times the ball was played to his feet.

The teams came out after the break with the hope that they would throw a little caution to the wind in the hope of snagging all three points, rather than be concerned about losing.

St George’s left back, Kyoji Mori, played a long 40 yard ball in the 54th minute that sent Sam Messam in to space down the left. Messam reached the goal line, before cutting back on his right and cracking a snapshot that Raiders’ keeper, Michael Rutherford, did ever so well to parry.

The Raiders responded within a minute, with Malfara clipping a perfectly weighted ball over the retreating St George defence, only for John Fahmi’s close range shot to be brilliantly diverted by St George keeper, Chris Marques.

Daniel Bittar – uncharacteristically on the night due to the St George defence – found himself in space on 69 minutes after seizing on to a Mathew Barkho through ball. Bittar hit a cross shot that Marques once again did well to parry with the home fans up out of their seats.

The Raiders defence had been standing firm for most of the night, lead by skipper, Goran Ljuboja, and Shaun Irwin in the centre, whilst Lucas Rossi was his usual busy self on the right.

As the changes started to ring for both sides, St George City FA threw on their wild card, the recently acquired and experienced Matthew Mayora.

Despite playing as a centre back in recent seasons for Rydalmere Lions, Mayora is also well acquainted with the striker role, and made a nuisance of himself in the final twenty minutes, almost stealing the win on two occasions.

On 81 minutes, Mayora took control of a bouncing ball some 25 yards from goal, and without hesitation, hit a dipping volley that agonisingly dropped inches over the Raiders cross bar.

Mayora went even closer in injury time, rising high to a Mori cross to glance a header centimetres wide of the Raiders upright, with the Raiders’ players holding their breath as the ball bounced out.

The referee shrieked his whistle moments later to bring the evening to a close, with the two combatants sharing the points.

The point means little in terms of placings, with the Raiders remaining 5th on the ladder, moving to 38 points, 3 ahead of Camden. But below them, victories to both Dunbar and Sydney University mean the gap has closed in what looms as an interesting run home for finals football.

The point for St George City FA keeps them top on 46, but similarly, both Hawkesbury City and Gladesville Ryde Magic close the gap with wins over the weekend, with the race for the Premiership title well and truly on with just five matches remaining.


National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s – Ernie Smith Reserve, Moorebank

Round Twenty-One – Saturday, July 28, 2018

SD RAIDERS                         0

ST GEORGE CITY FA           0

Referee – Danny Horstead

Assistant Referees – John Garcia and John Lalic



1.M.Rutherford, 24.M.Barkho, 7.D.Bittar, 10.J.Fahmi (20.M.Toro Suazo 64’), 2.S.Irwin, 4.G.Ljuboja (capt), 15.S.Malfara, 21.D.Molina, 8.J.Raiti (3.D.Marjanovic 84’), 12.L.Rossi, 6.D.Stivala.

Substitutes Not Used – 25.M.Massarotto, 19.L.Mesiti, 42.L.Polinsky.

Yellow Cards – 21.D.Molina 25’, 7.D.Bittar 40’.

Red Cards – Nil



1.C.Marques, 6.M.Kokubo, 16.K.Kumsuz, 17.S.Kuzmanovski (23.R.Zenari 78’), 8.A.Malmeirca, 7.S.Messam (10.J.Spanoudakis 64’), 3.K.Mori, 2.S.Thomas, 28.M.Trajkovski (21.M.Mayora 70’), 5.B.Tsanidis (capt), 20.P.Turrin.

Substitutes Not Used – 26.E.Davis, 11.A.Euripidou.

Yellow Cards – 6.M.Kokubo 36’, 23.R.Zenari 29’.

Red Cards – Nil


Western NSW Mariners – Inter Lions 2-1

The Western NSW Mariners grabbed their third victory of the season at Marjorie Jackson Field on Saturday afternoon, defeating Inter Lions by 2-1.

Ryan Campbell got things going for the Mariners on 16 minutes, receiving the ball on the right flank before cutting inside a defender, strikng an effort low and hard in to the bottom corner of the Inter net.

The Mariners doubled their advantage before the break when Paul Long was fouled inside the penalty area, with the referee awarding them a spot kick.

Lachlan Thomas stepped up and smashed it past Inter custodian, Robert Fanella, to make it 2-0 at halftime.

Inter Lions came out with renewed vigour after the break, and even managed to reduce the deficit when Chris Lawson scored with a header.

However that was all she wrote, and the Mariners hung on for the win and three points.

The Mariners remain in 13th place on the ladder on 14 points, but have now cropped the gap between them and 12th placed Inter to just 2 points, with the Lions sitting on 16.


Stanmore Hawks – Hawkesbury City 0-1

Hawkesbury City snared all three points at Arlington Oval on Saturday night, beating Stanmore Hawks 1-0 in a tightly contested affair.

Stanmore settled in a little better than Hawkesbury early on, with Sam Awad making his presence felt in the midfield and Heo Wookbum looking dangerous up front.

Hawkesbury slowly ground their way in to the encounter, and went close when Bradley Gibson guided a near post header centimetres wide of the mark.

Hawkesbury looked to have given the perfect opportunity to edge themselves in front when they were awarded a penalty kick just before the break, when a shot from Sebastian Gallegos Berriel was cleared by the arm of a Stanmore defender.

Although Stanmore keeper, Nicholas Carosi, was equal to the task, saving the spot kick from Gallegos Berriel, keeping the sides scoreless at the break.

Stanmore continued to look dangerous after the break from set pieces, with the height of Sam Awad always looking ominus, but Carosi in the Stanmore goal was kept busy, doing his best to keep the visitors out time and time again.

The visitors were gasping again late on when a Gallegos Berriel cross found its way past Carosi in the Stanmore goal, but it was halted from crossing the line by some desperate defending.

Just as the sides were slipping towards a scoreless draw, Hawkebury substitute, Jessie Swain, from the club’s U/18s squad, struck home after strong work from Bradley Gibson to give Hawkesbury all three points.

The loss means Stanmore remain 11th on the ladder on 19 points, whilst Hawkesbury City climb to 43 points and in to 2nd position, just 3 points from league leaders, St George City FA.


Sydney University – Dulwich Hill 4-1

Sydney University kept their finals hopes alive and kicking with a 4-1 drubbing of hapless Dulwich Hill at the picturesque Sydney University Football Ground on Saturday night.

Although it was the away side who started the better, and in fact opened the scoring via flanker, Henry Wells, who fired home a lovely angled volley which flew past Universty keeper, Charlie Fanner to give Dully the lead.

The ‘students’ responded almost immediately when Panayoti Gotsis was brought down in the Dully penalty box to earn Sydney Uni a penalty. Gotsis took the resulting spot kick himself, but experienced Dully keeper, Michael Frost, was equal to the task, diving low to his left to repel the kick. Daniel Mifsud was quickest to the rebound however, slamming it home to give Sydney Uni an equaliser.

Shortly afterwards Sydney Uni hit the lead when a Michael Loupis free kick was headed home at the far post by Conor Quilligan, making it 2-1 at the break.

Things became a little worse for Dully when their captain, Sean Burke, didn’t return after half time due to a hamstring injury, resulting in a reshuffle for the visitors.

The second half began at a frenetic pace indeed, and after opportunities at both ends, it was Sydney Uni who grabbed the all important third goal to put the game out of the reach of the visitors.

Michael Loupis burst through the Dully backline and, although keeper, Michael Frost, did well to save his initial effort, the rebound fell kindly to Loupis and he buried the ball into the empty net.

However, just when it looked like an impossible mountain to climb for Dully, Sydney Uni were reduced to ten men with half an hour or so to go when substitute, Paul Lee, was given a straight red card for striking out at a Dully defender.

The away side poured numbers forward in search of a goal, and even though Gosue Sama threatened the Uni goal on more than a few occasions, Sydney Uni held firm at the back.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, the home side managed a fourth and final goal to wrap up proceedings.

Daniel Barrett and Andrew Green combined well to tee up Scott Tonkin, and the experienced goal poacher showed quick feet to create space for himself inside the box before calmly sliding the ball past Dully keeper, Michael Frost, making it 4-1 at full time.

The loss means Dully remain in 9th spot on 24 points, whilst the positive run continues for Sydney University, the win and subsequent three points taking them to 31 points, just 4 points shy of a finals position.


Camden Tigers – Granville Rage 3-3

Camden Tigers and Granville Rage put on a real goal fest at Ron Dine Stadium, sharing a six goal extravaganza on Saturday night.

Jayden Russell continued on his rich goal scoring rein, netting a superb 18 minute hatrick in the first half, giving his side a 3-2 lead at the break. But Rage stormed home to snare a point with a second half equaliser.

Russell scored the game’s first 2 goals, netting on 20 and 30 minutes respectively to hand Camden a 2-0 lead.

Andre Guzman reduced the deficit when he scored for Granville in the 31st minute, but Russell was at it again on 38 minutes to make it 3-1 to the Tigers.

Just as the referee was looking at his watch for half time, Andres Sanchez Bustos snuck in a goal to make it 3-2 to the home side as the teams trudged off to the warmth of the sheds.

Martin Joseski gave the visiting fans something to cheer about when he managed the equalising goal for Granville Rage, and despite opportunities falling at both ends, the teams settled for a point apiece.

The point means Granville climb to 21 points but they remain in 10th spot on the ladder, whilst Camden Tigers retain 6th place on 35 points, but they do have Dunbar and Sydney Uni breathing down their necks.


Fraser Park – Dunbar Rovers 0-2

Dunbar Rovers won the spoils at Fraser Park on Saturday night, scoring a goal in each half to register a 2-0 triumph.

Both sides traded blows early on, with Ryan Shaughnessy hitting a volley from distance that was well saved by Mark Villaescusa in the Fraser goal, whilst Fraser’s Daniel Fornito hit the upright at the other end as the home side started to take control.

It was then Dunbar’s turn to strike the woodwork via a Pat Lloyd header from a corner.

The deadlock was broken just before half time after a wayward pass out of defence was intercepted by Paul Orgad, who found Ryan Shaughnessy.

Shaughnessy played a brilliant crossfield pass into the path of Henry Kamleitner, the big striker slipping the ball under Villaescusa in the Fraser goal to make it 1-0 to Dunbar.

Fraser almost drew level on 72 minutes, when a fierce free kick was well kept out by  Dunbar’s young 18 year old keeper, Luke Del Vecchio.

Ryan Shaughnessy then replied almost immediately for Dunbar, scoring from close range to tidy up the match at 2-0 for the visitors.

The win and subsequent three points moves Dunbar Rovers on to 34 points in 7th spot on the ladder, and they have now crept to be just one point from 6th placed Camden Tigers, with a game in hand against the Mariners still to come.



Bankstown City – Gladesville Ryde Magic 1-5

Forget about the cat – Gladesville Ryde Magic have put the ‘lion’ amongst the pigeons with a resounding 5-1 hammering of high flying Bankstown City Lions on Sunday afternoon at Potts Park.

The victory secures the double for Gladesville over Bankstown this season, having beaten the Lions 3-1 earlier this campaign at Christie Park.

The match was all over bar the shouting by half time, with Magic racing to a 4-0 lead by the break.

Gladesville hit the front after just 5 minutes. Johhny Martinez found Chris Gaitatzis inside the box, and the Magic skipper beat two Bankstown defenders on the turn before shooting high into the roof of the net.

It was 2-0 on 17 minutes when a Chris Triantis corner ended with a shot that was well parried by Carl McMahon in the Bankstown goal.  The rebound however, fell to the feet of big central defender, Lachlan Harte, who knocked the ball home to double the home side’s advantage.

It was only a matter of time before top goal scorer, Michael Gaitatzis, got in on the act for Magic. The Gladesville attacker made space for himself on 20 minutes before slotting the ball into the back of Bankstown net for 3-0.

Michael Gaitatzis was at it again just before the break, but this time as a provider. Making a run down the right flank, Gaitatzis played the ball into space inside the Bankstown penalty area, and youngster, Nick Ioannides, raced in to connect and strike home goal number four.

Bankstown finally got themselves on the scoresheet in the 73rd minute, with Alexander Do Pao slotting home after seizing on to a Tommy Markovski flick on.

However Gladesville had to have the last say, and netted their 5th goal of the day when Michael Gaitatzis struck after reaching an Aaron Khan cross.

This result means that Gladesville Ryde Magic now join Bankstown City Lions on 42 points, with the Lions ahead and in 3rd spot only on goal differential. Importantly, both sides are just one point behind 2nd placed Hawkesbury City, and 4 points off the competition summit – occupied by St George City FA on 46 points – as the Premiership run home commences to heat up with just five games remaining.