NPL 3 NSW Men’s – Round 1 Finals Series Review


The National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s Championship series is under way, with Week One spelling the end of the 2018 campaign for two clubs.

Gladesville Ryde Magic and Bankstown City Lions will regroup and commence planning for the 2019 season, whilst SD Raiders and Dunbar Rovers move in to Week Two of the Championship after winning their respective semi finals on Saturday afternoon.

Let’s take a closer look at how the weekend’s two semi finals panned out, with Arlington Oval hosting the SD Raiders – Bankstown City clash, whilst Gladesville Ryde Magic tackled Dunbar Rovers at Christie Park.

Elimination Semi Final

SD Raiders – Bankstown City 1-1 after extra time

(SD Raiders won 6-5 on penalties)

SD Raiders move in to Week Two of the NPL 3 NSW Men’s Championship Series after winning an arm wrestle at Arlington Oval on Saturday afternoon, overcoming Bankstown City Lions 6-5 on penalties after the two teams were locked at 1-1 at the end of extra time.

In a battle royale between two evenly matched sides, the game produced 14 yellow cards and 2 reds – both reds to Bankstown City – as the teams ploughed through extra time and in to sudden death penalties before a winner could be determined.

Bankstown City came in to the clash without Jacob Boutoubia, Ante Tomic and Ante Markovic, whilst skipper, Goran Ljuboja, was missing from the Raiders lineup, with both sides relying on their depth, especially as the game wore on and the bench was emptied.

Semi finals are often tense affairs, but an early goal can be just the tonic to open up a game.

Lawrence Hanna provided that for the Bankstown contingent in the 13th minute, stroking home in to the bottom corner from right in front after Jeffrey Issa had provided a perfect cutback in to his path.

You could see the Lions puff out their chests at this point as they began to control proceedings, defending stoutly and knocking the ball around with purpose.

On 27 minutes, Bankstown skipper, Nikola Todorovski struck a free kick that took a deflection off the Raiders’ wall, the ball dipping over keeper, Michael Rutherford, as it crashed against the cross bar.

Jeffrey Issa was first to the rebound, but Rutherford did ever so well to protect the Raiders’ goal by parrying Issa’s point blank header.

Within a minute Bankstown went close again, with a Tommy Markovski long throw met by Todorovski, but his header looped on to the top of the cross bar and to safety with the Raiders seemingly on the ropes.

Carl McMahon had been relatively untroubled in the Bankstown goal up to this point, but he showed all of his alert instincts in the 31st minute, reacting brilliantly to keep out Matias Toro Suazo’s close range header following an inswinging Sebastian Malfara free kick.

Raiders went close again when another far post free kick by Malfara on 34 minutes was met by Daniel Bittar, with his header clearing the cross bar as the Bankstown defence back pedalled.

The half time whistle brought a halt to proceedings, with both sets of players retreating to the sheds for some reviewed tactical instructions from their respective coaches.

The second half descended somewhat in to a game of cat and mouse.

Bankstown City had a lead to protect, and held a firm line across the back third, with Tommy Markovski at left back and Nathan Lopino in the middle especially fierce. Mirza Sehic sat in front of the back four as an additional cover, and as a result, the Raiders were struggling to make any in roads in attack.

The game had a consistent supply of intermittent fouls, and as a result, the yellow cards kept coming, with 14 being produced over the course the evening.

The stoppages, due to the cards as well as the substitutions, didn’t help the Raiders’ plight, as they struggled to find any fluency during the second half.

Raiders threw John Fahmi in to the fray on the hour mark to give them a little more impetus in attack, and the number 10 responded on 65 minutes with a fierce shot that just cleared the Bankstown cross bar.

The game seemed to be meandering towards a narrow Bankstown win when drama erupted in the 89th minute.

The Raiders played a ball into the box which was met by Lucas Rossi, but Bankstown defender, Aaron Berg, was adjudged to have fouled Rossi, and the Raiders had a lifeline with the referee awarding a penalty kick.

It was Berg’s second caution of the match, so he was off for an early shower, whilst John Fahmi took the resultant spot kick. Fahmi struck the ball firmly, low to his right, and even though Bankstown’s keeper, Carl McMahon, produced a wonderful attempt to stop it and got his hand to the ball, he couldn’t keep it out, and the Raiders were level.

The spot kick was just the boost the Raiders needed, and they lifted in intensity and work rate and looked likely to snatch it injury time, but the Lions held firm and we were off to extra time.

Raiders’ midfielder, Dylan Stivala, cut in side and unleashed a ferocious drive in the opening minute of extra time, but Bankstown’s Carl McMahon flung himself to his right to keep the leather out.

The Raiders had the wind in their sails at this point, and Daniel Bittar threatened twice, in the 95th minute with a right foot grass cutter that whizzed past the far post, and then again in the 103rd minute, cutting in on his left before producing a dart that cleared the bar by inches.

A further set back for Bankstown in the 3rd minute of the second half of extra time, with Tommy Markovski receiving his marching orders, earning a second yellow card for dissent for challenging a decision not to award Bankstown a penalty after he looked to have been upended in the box.

It was backs against the wall for Bankstown now with just nine men on the park, and the Lions held strong as the Raiders predictably threw everything at them in the latter stages.

But that was all she wrote, and the match was off to penalty kicks to decide a winner.


If the nerves were there, they were not visible, as both sides proceeded to net all of the first five penalty kicks, and all with calm precision, with SD Raiders shooting first.

John Raiti, Daniel Bittar, John Fahmi, Damien Smith and Sebastian Malfara all scored their respective penalties for SD Raiders, whilst Nathan Lopino, Lawrence Hanna, Tiano Boutoubia, Jake Douglas and Adam Savetta did likewise for Bankstown City Lions, making it 5-5 after 10 penalties, which meant the teams then went in to sudden death spot kicks.

Lucas Rossi stepped up to take the 6th penalty for the Raiders, hitting the ball down the middle past the diving Bankstown City keeper, Carl McMahon.

Bankstown City’s Lachlan Willmore had the courage to take Bankstown City’s 6th spot kick, and struck it firmly enough, down low to his right, but Raiders custodian, Michael Rutherford, guessed correctly, diving low to his left to parry the effort, sending SD Raiders in to next week’s Semi Final against Hawkesbury City, much to the delight of the Raiders fans.

Match Stats

National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s

Elimination Semi Final

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Arlington Oval, Dulwich Hill

SD RAIDERS 1 (Fahmi pen 89’)

BANKSTOWN CITY 1 (Hanna 13’)

After Extra Time (SD Raiders won 6-5 on penalties)

Referee – Adrian Brett

Assistant Referees – Sarah Ho and Danny Horstead

SD RAIDERS; 1.M.Rutherford, 2.S.Irwin, 3.D.Marjanovic (42.M.Jonjic 79’), 6.D.Stivala, 7.D.Bittar, 8.J.Raiti (capt), 12.L.Rossi, 15.S.Malfara, 17.D.Smith, 16.M.Toro Suazo, 24.M.Barkho (10.J.Fahmi 60’).

Substitutes Not Used – 25.M.Massarotto, 19.L.Mesiti, 18.J.Mensah.

Yellow Cards – 6.D.Stivala 52’, 12.L.Rossi 71’, 10.J.Fahmi 80’, 15.S.Malfara 90’.

Red Cards – Nil

BANKSTOWN CITY; 20.C.McMahon, 5.T.Markovski, 8.A.Berg, 9.N.Todorovski (capt) (18.J.Douglas 87’), 10.L.Hanna, 14.J.Press (32.L.Willmore 75’), 15.N.Lopino, 16.M.Sehic, 17.A.Savetta, 25.K.Pace, 7.J.Issa (39.T.Boutoubia 109’).

Substitutes Not Used – 26.M.Williamson, 24.D.Jakimovski.

Yellow Cards – 7.J.Issa 15’, 10.L.Hanna 30’, 8.A.Berg 39’ / 89’, 15.N.Lopino 43’, 14.J.Press 70’, 16.M.Sehic 90’ + 3’, 5.T.Markovski 94’ / 108’, 18.J.Douglas 106’.

Red Cards – 8.A.Berg 89’, 5.T.Markovski 108’.

Elimination Semi Final


Dunbar Rovers sprung a surprise of sorts when they dished out a 4-1 hiding to Gladesville Ryde Magic in Saturday afternoon’s other Elimination Semi Final at Christie Park.

Having finished the competition proper in 6th spot, Dunbar Rovers had it all before them, playing 3rd placed Gladesville Ryde Magic on Magic’s synthetic pitch at Christie Park.

But it was Dunbar who started on the front foot by taking the lead on just 7 minutes.

It was no surprise to anyone that it was Ryan Shaughnessy in the midst of the action, with the attacking midfielder breaking away from the Gladesville defence to strike the ball past Magic custodian, Kyriakos Tohouroglou, with good lead up work by Henry Kamleitner.

Missing Chris Tomaras and Chris Triantis in attack, Magic continued their philosophy of blooding youth, with U20 player Darian Fanayan grabbing a start, whilst Zac Hando and Billy Sherwin were starting off the bench, Sherwin after netting 30 goals for the U18s this season.

It didn’t take the home side long to equalise, with Fanayan doing the honours in the 13th minute.

A ball played in from the left was controlled by skipper Chris Gaitatzis, and he set up Fanayan to restore parity, much to the delight of the home contingent.

Gladesville upped the ante before the break, and Dunbar keeper, Terry Dal Broi, was on hand to deny both Darian Fanayan and Michael Gaitatzis as the teams went off for a well earned half time rest at 1-1.

The second half, however, was a different state of affairs as it was Dunbar who lifted the intensity and basically put Gladesville Ryde Magic to the sword.

Within fifteen minutes of the restart, it was Dunbar’s Yoel Silvestre who struck home from inside the box to make it 2-1 in the 60th, whilst shortly afterwards, Henry Kamleitner smashed a shot into the roof of the net from an acute angle to put Dunbar in to a 3-1 lead in the 67th.

Gladesville Ryde Magic had nothing to offer at this point, and succumbed totally once Dunbar made it 4-1 in the 87th minute, with Ryan Shaughnessy snaring his double with a clinical strike to end the contest.

It was a disappointing way to end the season for Gladesville Ryde Magic, who, after a competitive showing with plenty of goals throughout 2018, they bow out after a home loss in their first final appearance.

Dunbar Rovers will march on with confidence and nothing to lose next week, in to a Semi Final against the competition’s Premiers, St George City FA, with a spot in this year’s Grand Final showpiece at stake.

Match Stats

National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s

Elimination Semi Final

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Christie Park, Marsfield


DUNBAR ROVERS  4 (Shaughnessy 7’ / 87’, Silvestre 60’, Kamleitner 67’)

Referee – H.Jomaa

Assistant Referees – N.Backo and J.Ewin

GLADESVILLE RYDE MAGIC; 33.K.Tohouroglou, 32.D.Fanayan (6.A.Mickael), 9,Chris Gaitatzis (capt), 17.M.Gaitatzis, 5.L.Harte, 34.N.Ioannides (53.B.Sherwin), 14.A.Jolly, 4.A.Khan, 8.J.Martinez, 2.C.Newton, 3.S.Tarazona (23.Z.Hando).

Substitutes Not Used – 1.G.Koliomihos.

Yellow Cards – Nil

Red Cards – Nil

DUNBAR ROVERS; 1.T.Dal Broi, 8.A.Doddy (capt), 20.C.Garces (7.M.Sealy 65’), 11.H.Kamleitner (14.A.Crane 81’), 2.M.Karagiannis (5.C.Welham 80’), 12.P.Lloyd, 23.P.Orgad, 10.R.Shaugnessy, 17.Y.Silvestre, 4.G.Swartz, 6.M.Te Rata.

Substitutes Not Used – 111.L.Del Vecchio.

Yellow Cards – 17.Y.Silvestre 90’.

Red Cards – Nil


Footnote – Thank You

In order to provide accurate details of results, goal scorers, and incidents, this journalist simply cannot be at each of the 7 NPL 3 venues each weekend, and relies on accessing a range of resources other than being able to attend one match, including online and social media sources.

I have been able to utilise a range of individuals in my National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Mens network, who have been reliable, honest and consistent in providing me with accurate and prompt data which has enabled me to construct weekly reports full of detail and context.

I simply cannot have eyes across seven venues, so without these individuals, I could not have produced the thorough reports on a weekly basis, so a huge amount of gratitude to each of you – and you all know who you are – thank you for your reliability and support, for putting your club on the map, and on a bigger picture, continuing to support this exciting National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition.