Not even the heavy downpour could stop the show from going on as Round 3 of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s copped a dose of unpredictable Sydney weather.
Three was the flavour of the weekend, with all but one winning side scoring three goals on their way to victory, including a result which leaves only one team left unbeaten.
Find out who had fun in the rain and those who went home drenched and in sorrow.
Match of the Round: Macarthur Rams v North Shore Mariners
The North Shore Mariners kept themselves focused in a comfortable win over Macarthur Rams, taking the points and leaving the Rams to wring themselves out.
The home side struggled to make an impact throughout the full ninety minutes barely making any threats on goal.
It was anything but pretty as the weather influenced the fixture from kick off to the final whistle leaving the players drenched from head to toe. During the first fifteen minutes of the match, each side fought hard to get a foothold as the surface changed from slippery to soppy back and forth.
Both sides looked to build on their momentum from last week’s wins but neither could find the right combination upon hitting the final third with attacks at either end of the field breaking down easily.
Midway through the first half, North Shore began to find their feet and made headway towards the opening goal. A Daniel Saric free kick seemed like it might sneak in at the front post but for Jair Fernandez parrying it away, only into the path of Rainer Smahel who threw his head back in despair as he knocked the ball over the crossbar from close range.
It would be a sign that obviously the visitors did not pick up on as soon after Mitchell Smith did give the visitors the lead. A pinpoint pass from Ricky Woodward found Smith on the edge of the box who turned on his defender and wriggled into space before firing low and hard squeezing the ball past the front post and into the back of the net.
North Shore should have doubled their lead minutes later, but it was hands on head in disbelief. A deep corner forced Rams keeper Jair Fernandez to attempt to punch it clear though it dropped short for Harrison Quirk. His snap shot should have hit the target, but from six yards he pushed it wide with the open goal begging.
As the players returned to the field for the second half, so did the rain. The downpour soured the flow of the match and once again it became a struggle for both sides to gain control. Just as it had slowed the match, as soon as the rain halted the pace lifted and North Shore were once again the side who took advantage.
Breaking forward quickly, North Shore fired the ball up to Mitchell Smith who made a beautiful turn on his defender but lost possession on his second touch. Fortunately, the ball was knocked into the path of Joshua Mbakwe who displayed pace and power, racing into the box whilst holding off his defender, before sliding a past the keeper.
Minutes later it was the third and final goal for North Shore sealing the deal and eventually the three points. Daniel Saric firing in a dangerous cross to the far post was spilled by Jair Fernandez and in the ensuing scramble Braden Cheng was quickest to react, knocking the loose ball into the back of the empty net.
The match began to open up, however, it was more of the same. A battle in the midfield of the park as creating chances in the final third became a rarity.
Macarthur’s best chance came as injury time was looming, looking to grab a consolation for their efforts. Ben Cornish tried a most audacious volley from the edge of the area which was struck clean and true, however right into the hands of the keeper.
Macarthur Rams FC 0
North Shore Mariners FC 3 (M. Smith, J. Mbakwe, B. Cheng)
Macarthur Rams: C. Cooley, B. Cornish, M. Elongo, L. Fatica, J. Fernandez, A. Guzman, A. Haddad, C. Hanagan, M. Mclintock, S. Onana Awono, M. Sadler, C. Sheerin, E. Squillacioti, M. Stojanovski, S. Tomasich, M. Trotter
North Shore Mariners: B. Cheng, B. Jamba, C. Linsday, J. Mbakwe, J. Piriz, T. Purcell, H. Quirk, C. Rosano, D. Saric, N. Separovic, R. Smahel, M. Smith, M. Smith, J. Wilde, R. Wood, R. Woodward
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC vs. Mounties Wanderers FC
The clash has been left to simmer as it was postponed due to the weather.
GHFA Spirit FC 3 vs. Rydalmere Lions FC 2
Spirit remain the only side undefeated as they picked their moments against a Lions opposition in a highly entertaining match that ran all the way.
It was the visitors who got themselves going early in this fixture and they had the best of the first twenty minutes of the match. Hassan Jalloh was looking to wreak havoc down the wing and was rewarded for his intent to score. After a menacing run that eventuated in a penalty he stepped up and converted.
The Lions had a golden chance to double their lead shortly after but will be ruing a missed one-on-one opportunity.
In front of home Spirit fought back and their patience payed off yet again when they equalised through golden boot front runner Duncan Stewart. A handball in the box was all it took for the striker, as he stuck his penalty into the back of the net with authority on the stroke of half time, giving his side momentum as they headed into the sheds.
Spirit found their rhythm and became more dominant in the second half, bagging their second and third goals in quick succession midway through the second half. Louis Bozanic and once again Duncan Stewart getting their names in highlights..
A late push came from the Lions as they attempted to rescue a point, scoring through Luke Grima to put pressure on the hosts but it eventuate as a consolation to end the match.
St George FC 3 vs. Canterbury Bankstown FC 1
Finally, the Saints have their first win of the season, whereas it’s a familiar story for the Berries.
St George got themselves onto the front foot early and did not look back with three first half goals all that was needed for the home side as they took apart the Berries defence.
Marcus Beattie netted a brace with an early opener and following it up again to give the home side a two goal advantage. The first half dominance was capped off by Bradley Bartels and the Saints marched into the sheds full of confidence.
The second half proved a different game as Berries, forced to make changes due to injury, looked a side awake and ready to play. They pressed hard and took the game to the Saints creating themselves chances to get back into the match.
St George would hold strong and almost put another nail in the coffin, only to miss a late penalty.
Despite losing the fixture the Berries won the second half as Gino Cerasoli scored from a corner to give his side consolation in injury time.
Northern Tigers FC 2 vs. Hills United FC 3
In another exciting affair, Hills grabbed three points and the upset result of the weekend, when they scored late in the tie to stop the Tigers in their tracks. A fair and well spirited game that had all supporters screaming for more.
There was a clear sign of intention from the visitors when they opened the scoring through Nathan Rayner just five minutes into the match.
Tigers would respond in kind by taking their own measures of control over the game and found a response just before the twenty minute mark when Joshua Swadling hit the net.
Several minutes later they had taken the lead, this time with long serving Luke Dawson curling a beauty into the top corner adding another goal to his collection.
Most would have expected the Tigers to carry on the momentum from the first half yet it was Hills who struck back and grabbing a goal from Jordan Parfait just after halftime, setting up a fight to the finish.
It was an open game through much of the second half and both Hills and Tigers worked their way into numerous good goal scoring opportunities. Each had their chances in front of goal, neither finding the right shot to hit the mark.
As time was running out, Hills caught the Tigers out, getting the ball into a dangerous area in the box, Alex Vlismas was on hand to net the winner for the visitors.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 vs. Blacktown Spartans FC 1
Both sides copped late goals in their matches last week so it was no surprise to see that both teams were looking to attack and get on the scoresheet early.
On this occasion, it would be the Wanderers who rebounded best from last week by claiming victory .
After each side battled for supremacy through the opening stanza, Thomas Aquilina gave the home side the lead midway through the first half with a well taken strike from outside the area.
Spartans went tooth and nail with their opponents and had Christian Torelli to thank for snatching an equaliser, and momentum, on the stroke of half-time.
Despite carrying the momentum, Spartans were unable to get themselves going again in the second half. A quick fire brace from Marley Peterson just after play resumed gave the hosts a comfortable two goal advantage and they maintained their lead through the remainder of the match taking all three points.
St George City FA vs. Central Coast Mariners
After the torrential downfall that took place on Saturday evening, the match has been postponed.
-NPL 2 Chief Writer – Marcus Flottmann
Twitter – @MarcusFlottmann