It’s time to pay them their due, Central Coast United have taken a massive step towards promotion this week and are now at very short odds for promotion.
Elsewhere Wagga City Wanderers and FC Gazy Auburn provide some upsets whilst Nepean FC put themselves back on track ahead of some tough fixtures.
Match of the Round – Central Coast United FC vs UNSW FC
Let’s start this week’s report a little different, imagine a game with two desperate sides going toe to toe at the pointy end of the season going for promotion. Well congratulations, I don’t have to tell you much more about how Central Coast United defeated UNSW FC on Saturday evening.
It’s a win that ensures that the home side carries a crucial twenty-one-point club championship lead going into their fixture against Bankstown United next weekend. A headed goal from Cade Mapu ensured that they went into the break ahead before a brilliant individual effort from captain Daniel Mcfarlane rounded off the victory in the second half.
For UNSW FC, it was almost a sense of deja vu from an earlier fixture this season against Nepean. Frustration from their own performances as well as some perceived wrongdoing from the officials got the better of them. Perhaps a return fixture against Nepean at home next week will provide a spark which they will need come finals.
The game was the polar opposite of the earlier meeting between the two clubs with the visitors taking an approach with less risk particularly during the first half. This plan nearly backfired early when Alex Nolan cleared a Cade Mapu header off the line after seven minutes.
UNSW were struggling to deal with Mapu’s pace on the right flank and they were made to pay. In a similar incident to what happened previous. The wide man caught his marker out heading home an Adam Blunden cross from the left home to take the advantage after 42 minutes.
Things looked to be going awry for the visitors as a penalty was awarded just seconds later after a foul on Woodbine. In what could’ve been a match turning occurrence. Goal keeper Ian Johnson produced a stunning save down to his left, palming the ball onto the post to keep the visitors in it.
Football is all about moments, an act can change the course of a game and for the visitors that came just after the break. An endeavour down the right ended up with Christian Soares delivering a pin point cross onto the head of Bede Leyland who just couldn’t seem to get on top of his header to tuck it home.
Chances were few and far between and the job for the visitors became more difficult with a red card on 63 minutes to Ilan Kessler.
This was followed ten minutes later by one of the individual goals of the season as Daniel Mcfarlane danced past four or five UNSW players with a determined run from the centre of the park before sliding it into net to give them an unassailable lead.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing from that point on though for Central Coast United. A few minutes later an Ignacio Pacheco free kick was tipped over the bar by Jack O’Mally in the home net. A late corner on 90 minutes saw the visitors have a shot cleared off the line before another hit the crossbar on the follow up, it just wasn’t their day.
Central Coast United coach Stu Davis summed everything up nicely, “The result was the most important thing today, was a big big day for the club with the 18’s and 20’s getting the job done as well. Really happy with the first half but the second half I’m not happy with at all to be honest”.
“In terms of players, our centre backs Geordie Howe and Graham Toope epitomize what this club is about even fighting for a clean sheet late on”.
UNSW coach Gabe Knowles paid credit to Central Coast United as a whole. “Hats off to Central Coast they’re a top side and the support they get at Pluim Park is fantastic. It’s like they’ve got an extra man or two out there at times, must be a real lift for the players.”
Match Stats – Saturday 28th July, 2018 Pluim Park, Lisarow
Central Coast United: 2 (Mapu 42’, Mcfarlane 74’)
UNSW FC: 0
Referee: Miles Allen-Scott
Assistant Referees: Logan Jones & Noah Chaplain
Central Coast United: 1. Jack O’Mally, 2. Scott Mcginley, 3. Adam Blunden, 4. Geordie Howe, 6. Jack Ragen, 9. Adam Woodbine, 10. Alexander Arbelo, 13. Cade Mapu, 15. Graham Toope, 23. Joshua Swadling, 24. Daniel Mcfarlane.
Subs: 11. Bayley Appo, 14. Tom Mallett, 16. Liam Broughton, 20. Thomas Marsh, 99. Tom Lyons.
UNSW FC: 21. Ian Johnson, 2. Ryuji Takeuchi, 3. Alex Nolan, 6. Ignacio Pacheco, 7. Christian Soares, 9. Nima Beik, 10. Luiz Lobo, 12. Bede Leyland, 17. Bastian Monroy Vargas, 19. Giles Penfold, 20. Joshua Chahal.
Subs: 8. Ilan Kessler, 11. Des Ford, 18. Marcus Naoum, 31. Nicholas Croucher, 39. Florim Binakaj.
Yellow Cards: Kessler, Leyland, Nolan, Pacheco
Red Cards: Kessler
Wagga City Wanderers 2-1 Balmain Tigers
Wagga City Wanderers finally got their just reward for improved performances of recent times as they defeated Balmain Tigers at home.
Perhaps the lack of pressure on either side who are both well adrift of finals football enabled an entertaining contest which swinged back a and forth throughout. The visitors Balmain took the early advantage with a goal to John Nkpolukwu on the rebound after a previous shot was saved into his path.
It didn’t take long for an equalizer to come, a Caylum Barber long range effort took a deflection and flew into the net to restore parity from thirty yards. Not for the wanted trying, neither side could tip the scales before the break.
However, lets credit Wanderers coach Ross Morgan here as his half time talk clearly made a difference with the hosts scoring early on in the second period. A lovely bit of combination play between Sam jones, Stuart Smeeth and Henri Gardner resulted in the latter finishing off.
Things weren’t going right for the visitors and despite having a penalty, they couldn’t equalize ensuring a long trip back to Sydney.
Western Condors 0-1 FC Gazy Auburn
It turns out this was a weekend of surprises, FC Gazy Auburn secured their fifth win of the season over Western Condors.
The away side have become renowned for some solid defensive performance in recent times and they delivered again. The goal came early on in the fixture when a long range free-kick was flicked on a couple of time before Lee Myungjae finished it off from around the eighteen-yard box.
Condors who saw their season flashing before their eyes were desperate from that point on but grew more and more frustrated as the game went on. That frustration didn’t help though and despite large periods of the second half spent camped in the front third, they couldn’t break the defence. The closest they came coming being a free kick which was spectacularly saved by Pablo Meza.
However, the visitors were stoic with good performances by Cristiam Chavarro, Leon Sansone, Edoardo Panizzari and Benjamin Eisikovich.
Hurstville FC 2-2 Hurstville City Minotaurs
We’ve been waiting a while for a proper derby type fixture between these two teams. However, the wait is no longer after a fiery contest at Seymour Shaw Park.
The visitors who will be licking their wounds more though as once again they saw a half time lead not converted into a win. Their first goal coming after a lapse of concentration led to Deegan Hunter finishing off. It was a game of swings and roundabouts, the first of which came when the returning FC captain Paul Gagro delivered a corner which was met well by James Galic whose header flew into the top corner.
Hurstville City were determined to go into the break with the advantage and that determination paid off. A quick passing move inside the opposition box involving three of four players was finished off by Hassan Abdul who scored his fourth in three appearances.
However, was again, fatigue was an issue for the Minotaurs who conceded once again with about thirty minutes on the clock with another Paul Gagro delivery finding Raul Carrizo for the equalizer. Neither side were able to find a winner from that point on with perhaps the home side having the best opportunities.
Prospect United 1-4 Bankstown United
“So, you’re telling me there’s a chance”? Let’s pay a bit of tribute to Bankstown United here, Scott Belgre’s men could’ve folded after they heard news of Central Coast United’s results. Instead, they secured their tenth victory in a row to keep a little bit of pressure on.
In a professional display, the visitors opened the scoring inside the first ten minutes through Shane Webb who scored another long-range goal from 25 yards out. It was doubled soon after as Steve Wright scored from a free kick. Bankstown United were feeling it and were in no mood to show any mercy towards their opponents. Mitch Cross took advantage, going through off a Shane Webb through ball to make it three.
The second half started off with a fightback of some sort from the hosts and were rewarded with a goal to Joel Bayubahe, the striker being on the end of a brilliant build up involving Brett Stephens. Any hope was lost though, as a repeat of the third occurred with Mitch Cross going through one on one and yeah well. I really don’t have to say it at this point.
Nepean FC 5-1 South Coast Flame
It only took one win and suddenly Nepean FC are back. This week they had a statement win over South Coast Flame which will increase confidence leading into a tough couple of fixtures against UNSW FC and Bankstown United.
If there were any doubts on Nepean FC, those came to a head when South Coast Flame scored within a couple of seconds with Louis Connell as he launched the ball home from inside the box. It didn’t last long as Michael Fakiye equalised just a min later.
Nepean hit the lead soon after as Paul Chester broke down the right and his shot was bundled home by Hayden Pronin, the youngster impressing in his first outing. Pronin continued to be involved missing a penalty before squaring a ball to Mubarak Saeed who doubled the advantage.
Things got worse for the visitors who got a red before the break. The second half wasn’t much of a different story for them as Nepean striker Mario Ghobrial tallied a double in the second half.
By Justin Smith