It is finals time in the State League Men’s Competition. A time when we find out who wants the glory of a championship more and two sides issued an emphatic statement in the first week.
Nepean FC move through to a semi-final against UNSW FC after possibly their best performance of the year whilst Central Coast United capitalised on having a man up for the majority of their game and face Bankstown United in week 2 for a place in the grand final.
Elimination Final: Prospect United 0-3 Nepean FC
Nepean FC ultimately proved to be all to strong as they cruised past Prospect United on Saturday evening at Valentine Sports Park.
One word comes to mind in reflecting on Nepean’s performance in this one, Dominant. They took the initiative early on in the game and never let go of their chokehold on the opposition in a relentless performance. Goals from Mubarak Saeed, Michael Fakiye and Jamie Dib ensured a statement victory.
Conversely, Prospect United were caught like a deer in the headlights. Many players in their team hadn’t played semi-finals football before and unfortunately it became all to apparent on the pitch. Moving forward though, they will be better off as a club having gone through it.
It didn’t take long for the first goal to come in this one with the first major chance resulting in a goal. Paul Chester found space on the right wing beating his marker before squaring the ball dangerously across goal which was finished off by Mubarak Saeed who powerfully finished from inside the six-yard box at the back post.
Nepean were controlling the game well in the midfield, rarely allowing Prospect to play their natural game on the break. A rare chance for Prospect fell to captain Thomas Kasunic after twenty five minutes with his effort at the near post saved comfortably.
The worst time to concede in football is just before half time and Prospect know that all to well now. A menacing run from Michael Fakiye on the right side in which he beat his man before dribbling right through to goal resulted in the second goal of the night.
We’ll play credit to Prospect United though, they came out with a point to prove in the second half with a higher tempo game. That unfortunately came back to bite them soon after when they went down to ten after a rough challenge saw Alex Bit sent off.
In no mood for sympathy, Nepean weren’t going to take their foot of the gas yet and possibly their best on the night put himself on the scoresheet. A familiar pattern returned as well as a defensive mistake down Prospect’s left-hand side which was pounced upon by Nepean’s number 10 Jamie Dib, who showed his class comfortably dribbling into the are before drilling it into the far corner of the net.
Perhaps because Nepean had taken their foot of the gas, Prospect enjoyed some late joy but were unable to open their account despite a free-kick effort from Kasunic and a Brett Stephen’s shot which was saved onto the post.
It wasn’t to be though and we now farewell Prospect United from this year’s competition after a valiant season.
Nepean FC coach Magdy Andrawes was pleased without getting carried away. “I’m very happy, the boys came into this game in good form for the last five or six weeks. We controlled the game, put two goals away in the first half and showed maturity in seeing the game out.”
“The boys today showed today what we’re really capable, played really well in this one but as with every finals series we’ll need to back it up next week”.
Prospect United coach Darren Camilleri paid full credit to their opposition. “We were outplayed tonight, Nepean wanted it more from the first whistle often winning the battles in the midfield and once they took a two-goal advantage it was theirs too lose.”
Reflecting on the season he said, “Credit to our guys, we’ve faced several obstacles this season with injuries, holidays and other things whilst coming with a respectable finish.”
Prospect United: 0
Nepean FC: 3 (Saeed 11’, Bit (OG) 42’, Dib 71’)
Referee: A. Weir
Assistant Referees: D. Richards & O. Ferguson
Prospect United: 1. Mario Farias, 2. Mitsuya Takizawa (13. Brett Stephens), 4. Alexander Bit, 5. Sebastian Kalos, 6. Liam Higgins, 7. Nicholas Valjak, 8. Thomas Kasunic, 9. Benjamin Lam, 10. Wiltar Jajaw (11. Adrian Vulcik), 14. Joel Bayubahe, 16. Slaven Ljuboja (15. Nathan Niski).
Subs Not Used: 20. Aiden Mantouroglou, 3. Dylan Owusu.
Yellow Card: Niski
Red Card: Bit
Nepean FC: 1. Thomas Hamilton, 2. Kurt Machut, 3. Daryl Watson, 5. Michael Fakiye, 7. Mubarak Saeed (20. Alex Moore), 10. Jamie Dib, 12. Paul Chester, 14. Rory Mcgeown (25. Kelvin Ofori-Amanfo), 19. Hayden Pronin (8. Mario Ghobrial), 24. Simon Ly, 26. David Adjassou.
Subs Not Used: 23. Jake Senior, 31. William Proctor.
Qualifying Final: Central Coast United 4-1 UNSW FC
Central Coast United returned to their customary winning form with a comfortable win over UNSW FC in the other fixture just metres away from the other game.
It was the perfect bounce back for Central Coast United after the devastation of last weeks events. After being aided by an early send off, the ‘hosts’ were good enough to capitalise on the extra man scoring four goals throughout the remainder of the fixture. Their goals coming from Alex Arbelo, Cade Mapu, Daniel Mcfarlane and Nathan Blunden.
You can’t win a game in the first twenty minutes but you can definitely lose one. Unfortunately, that was the fate of which UNSW FC faced once again this season. A late goal to Bede Leyland was merely consolation for the third placed side this season who know face a do or die contest next weekend against Nepean.
Despite the score line, it was actually UNSW who started the better of the sides. Their best chance coming when Luiz Lobo and Nima Beik had their respective shots blocked before a Bastian Monroy Vargas went flying over the bar.
Central Coast United did start to settle after fifteen minutes and the game changed just after the 20th minute when Michal Lalik brought down Cade Mapu in a last man challenge and saw himself get marching orders as a result.
From the resulting free kick, things got worse for UNSW as Daniel Mcfarlane stepped up and scored a very similar free-kick to the one he scored against them earlier in the season with the ball curling into the right-side netting.
An equaliser so nearly came before soon after as a long-range effort from UNSW rattled the crossbar through Luiz Lobo and went out for a goal-kick. From which Central Coast swiftly countered and scored through Cade Mapu who ran down an Ian Mcandrew through ball.
Any hope of a comeback disappeared on the hour mark when Cade Mapu won a penalty on the hour mark. Nathan Blunden stepped up and scored into the bottom left corner to give them a three-goal lead.
Perhaps in a confidence boost for next weekend for UNSW, a slick passing move resulting in Bede Leyland tapping home after Christian Soares squared it to him from the left side by-line.
The win was however rounded off in style for Central Coast with the combination of Mapu and Alex Arbelo combining to see the latter score with a low drive from around 18 yards out.
Central Coast United coach Stu Davis was pleased with the character shown. “Really happy with the way the boys bounced back after last week. We had something to prove and showed our character after last week’s disappointment.”
“The task was made easier with them going down to ten but to score four goals without a striker is of course pleasing.”
UNSW coach Gabe Knowles was disappointed with his sides discipline. “It’s simple, you can’t win a game of semi-final football when you play seventy plus minutes with ten men.”
“Our lads need to be smarter for next week, we go again.”
Central Coast United: 4 (Mcfarlane 24’, Mapu 33’, Blunden 65’, Arbelo 90’)
UNSW FC: 1 (Leyland 87’)
Referee: B. Wright
Assistant Referees: P. Faithful & L. Villarroel
Central Coast United: 1. Jack O’Mally, 2. Scott Mcginley, 3. Adam Blunden, 4. Geordie Howe, 5. Nathan Blunden, 6. Jack Ragen (10. Alexander Arbelo), 12. Ian Mcandrew (11. Bayley Appo), 13. Cade Mapu, 14. Tom Mallett, 24. Daniel Mcfarlane, 99. Thomas Lyons (99. Peter Stewart).
Subs Not Used: 20. Thomas Marsh, 16. Oscar Torres Inchaustti.
Yellow Card: A. Blunden
UNSW FC: 1. Ian Johnson, 4. Michal Lalik, 6. Ignacio Pacheco, 7. Christian Soares, 8. Ilan Kessler, 9. Nima Beik (12. Bede Leyland), 10. Luiz Lobo, 17. Bastian Monroy Vargas, 18. Marcus Naoum, 20. Joshua Chahal (19. Giles Penfold), 39. Florim Binakaj (11. Des Ford).
Subs Not Used: 31. Nicholas Croucher, 23. Sam Wrublewski.
Yellow Card: Monroy Vargas
Red Card: Lalik.
By Justin Smith