SELECT Futsal Premier League – Round 12 Open Men’s Review
Another thrilling round of matches underlined a close SELECT Futsal Premier League.
Round-12 Saturday games saw Campbelltown Quake edge Eastern Suburbs Hakoah 4-3, Dural Warriors beat UTS Northside 5-2, Enfield Allstars pipped Inner West Magic 1-0 in the derby, and Mountain Majik pipped Mascot Vipers 6-5.
Mountain (25 points) still lead Dural (23) and Inner West (20), but Enfield (19) leapfrogged Mascot (17) into the top-four to leave Northside (14), Easts (10) and Campbelltown (10) on the outer.
No matter what happens in the final two weekends, the 2018/19 premier league season will go down as the closest on record – and that’s testament to every club’s contribution.
As it stands the current gap between first and last is 15 points, six tighter than the overall record 21 that separated Dural from Mascot last year, which beat the previous record 24 points set the previous summer between Inner West and Mascot.
And suddenly there’s no breathing space at all in Futsal’s premier competition!
[Ed: another stat to underline how competitive the premier league has become] There’s been plenty of mentions about how a whopping 43% of all matches across 12 seasons have been decided by two goals or less.
However, more than a quarter (27%) have also resulted in blowout margins of five goals or greater – in 2018/19 there’s been ZERO 5+ margins, and a heart-stopping two-thirds of matches (69%) have been decided by two goals or less!
The golden boot chase remains tight as UTS star Mason Ireland (13) and Allstars ace Shervin Adeli (13) head Majik’s Jordan Guerreiro (12), Magic’s Daniel Fornito (11), Warriors weapon Greg Giovenali (10), Allstar Luiz Lobo (9) and Viper Jakov Radas (8).
Campbelltown Quake 4 (Harrison Bagot 2, Marko Filipovic, Angelo Kalamvokis) Eastern Suburbs Hakoah 3 (Robert Ezekiel, Gilad Swartz 2)
Dural Warriors 5 (Wade Giovenali 2, Nathan Niski, Bruno Pivato, Greg Giovenali) UTS Northside 2 (, own goal)
Enfield Allstars 1 (Shervin Adeli) Inner West Magic 0
Mascot Vipers 5 Mountain Majik 6
Quake hold off Hakoah
Campbelltown Quake had enough in them to keep a fast-finishing Eastern Suburbs Hakoah at bay following a nerve-wracking Saturday-afternoon clash at Minto Indoor Sports Centre.
The home side sailed to a 4-zip halftime cruise but hit a halftime iceberg that threatened to scuttle them to the bottom of the ocean as Hakoah went on a second-half surge that ultimately fell one-goal short in a Minto ripper.
Harrison Bagot bagged a brace for Campbelltown and Gilad Swartz scored a couple for Easts.
Quake’s third win of the summer finally ended a soul-searching seven-match losing sequence and capped off a great week for the ‘purples’ following their brilliant 6-3 dismissal of runaway PL2 leaders Sydney City Eagles in a spirited Futsal Cup midweek semi-final that sent Campbelltown into Wednesday night’s final against Dural at Valentine Sports Park.
After so much promise before the season Easts have ultimately been served a harsh taste of what top-flight Futsal is all about.
The newcomers went the entire summer without a road win – a 1-1 opening-round draw with Mascot (who actually use the same venue as them) their best ‘away’ outcome. The solitary point equals Sydney City Eagles (2012/13) as the second-lowest traveling-points accumulation in premier league history as Mascot registered ducks in 2011/12 and last summer.
Easts now join Campbelltown at the bottom of the table, with testing home games against Inner West and Dural to round out a tough debut season.
Dural defeat Northside
Dural Warriors were clinical in a 5-2 dispatch of UTS Northside at The Centre on Saturday evening, maintaining a comfortable 3-0 buffer from halftime to move back into second spot courtesy of Inner West’s loss to Enfield.
The home side was impressive at both ends of the court and Wade Giovenali opened the scoring in just the fifth minute of play following a good spell of sustained possession and a great strike from a tight angle.
The same man doubled the lead moments later with a simple tap-in after a good passing move before Nathan Niski gave Dural more breathing space with his own far-post tap-in following a brilliant passing raid, while Nick Starr was in scintillating form between the sticks in dealing with Northside’s long-range efforts.
The Warriors hiccuped after the restart and sloppy movement allowed UTS to creep back into the contest, but some high-pressure defence forced a turnover that Bruno Potato took full advantage of with a deadly finish from out wide to extend Dural’s lead.
Greg Giovenali then turned the ball into his own net to gift Northside’s second but made immediate amends with an accurate finish at the right end that restored Dural’s four-goal cushion and consigned UTS’ late strike to a mere consolation.
It was a ninth Warriors win in 10 UTS encounters, with Wade Giovenali scoring a fixture-best seven times even though it was his first goals against Northside since December 2015.
Allstars blind Magic
A sole Shervin Adeli strike separated a jubilant Enfield Allstars from frustrated neighbours Inner West Magic in a classic Saturday-night derby at Morris Iemma Indoor Sports Centre.
It was standing room only as the Centre became something akin to an indoor fireworks display, the players feeding off an electric atmosphere to go hammer-and-toe at each other in an eye-catching contest.
Defence at both ends was stoic until Magic wizard Daniel Fogarty exited the arena after receiving a second yellow card, and this allowed ‘Mr Premier League’ Shervin Adeli to break free and score what would be the match-winning strike (his 17th derby goal) seconds from the interval.
Inner West were ruthless in the second half but Enfield stood tall to deny them time and time again and earn a heroic 1-0 victory that put them 8-7 up in the derby head-to-head count.
More importantly it bundled Allstars into the top-four boot space – one slip from any team above them will give them the opening they need to crack a belated playoff place.
It’s only the second time in 20 encounters Enfield’s held Inner West to under two goals (1-1 draw last summer). In fact, it’s just the second time they’ve kept a clean sheet in 134 premier league runs – the only other time a 2-0 defeat of Boomerangs back in 2012/13.
Coach Christian Soares has definitely been a healthy influence on an Enfield side that always had the talent to score, yet also had the perpetuity to keep their opponents in the game with some rather loose defending.
“We made an impeccable match tonight,” said Soares, “The fact of not conceding a goal against a team as qualified as Inner West is already something remarkable.”
“We were consistent from the first minute to the last: the tactical application, the desire, and what the players delivered tonight was something that makes me very proud.
“Once again we had a full house – our supporters were amazing! I’m sure it was a great game to watch and I’m very happy we were the winners.
“We must keep the momentum now to make the finals series,” Soares added.
Inner West club manager Matteo Maiorana called the clash “the best most riveting 1-0 result ever. The crowd, the atmosphere, the tension was absolutely first class!” he remarked.
“The stadium was packed to the rafters – half in yellow, half in orange, and Stephen Spirou was absolutely unbelievable in the Enfield goal, singlehandedly keeping Magic scoreless even though we dominated the game,” he said.
“Derby day always brings out the best of both clubs. I thought our boys were absolutely brilliant and walked away – even with a loss – content with one of our best performances of the season. We were brilliant!”
“I thought we dominated for the majority of the game and had it not been for Spirou in goals the result would’ve gone the other way; but credit to Enfield, they always lift against Magic and hopefully they make the semis so we can play them again.”
On an individual plane, Adeli has scored in nine games this season. He holds the record with a remarkable 16 straight scoring matches in 2014/15 (it’s only possible to reach 17), four more than next-best Dural’s Greg Giovenali and Boomerangs star Daniel Fulton who both scored in a dozen 2011/12 matches.
Across 12 PL seasons, only 18 times has a player breached double-figures for games scored in (and only three times in the last four summers); interestingly, Adeli’s record is the only time he’s managed it to achieve it – Giovenali and Campbelltown’s Mark Symington have reached the mark three times each.
[For the record] Adeli’s 126 registered PL goals have come in a total 67 matches. Quake gun Danny Martinez has scored his 108 goals in 70 matches – the most number of premier league games a player has scored in.
Mountain stomp Vipers
Mountain Majik held off a fast-finishing Mascot Vipers to win 6-5 at All Sorts Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday night and stay ahead in the premiership race two weeks from the checkered flag.
The visitors bamboozled Mascot with a 3-0 halftime lead but the Vipers finally found their mojo and closed the gap, the sides trading barbs until the dust settled on Majik’s one-goal win.
Victory handed Mountain their best-ever premier league points-total, going one better than their debut 2013/14 season (21), with two matches still to come.
It’s the first time Majik’s held an above-zero goal-difference (currently +8, a long way better than the -11 returns they achieved in 2013/14 and 2016/17), plus their highest road-points total (12), and the chance to register a home-high too all comes on the back of their best-ever defensive record: 32 goals conceded currently 26 less than their previous-best 58 goals leaked last summer.
Mountain manager Adam Barbera praised his troops for getting their mind and gameplay back on the winning wagon.
“It was a good result and great to bounce back from last week’s loss,” he said.
“We started well and played at a good intensity early to take a good lead into halftime.
“It’s a little disappointing we conceded goals a few goals in the second half and know we need to remove those lapses of concentration from our game.
“We have another tricky test next week [vs UTS], and we’ll be looking to get back to playing full 50-minute performances.”
Next week’s games
SELECT Futsal Premier League round-13 Saturday matches pits Campbelltown Quake against Dural Warriors at Minto Indoor Sports Centre (4.50pm), UTS Northside meet Mountain Majik at PCYC Dee Why (6.30pm), Enfield Allstars face Mascot Vipers at Morris Iemma Indoor Sports Centre (8.05pm), and Eastern Suburbs Hakoah host Inner West Magic at All Sorts Indoor Sports Centre (8.50pm).
– By Dan de Nardi