Western Sydney Wanderers remain top of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s but their lead is reduced to just one point after a 2-2 draw with Canterbury Bankstown.
North Shore Mariners and Hills United are right on their heels, one point adrift while early competition leaders GHFA Spirit are a further point behind.
Match of the Round
Macarthur Rams v St George
How St George contrived not to take all three points from this one will forever remain a mystery.
Despite going a goal down after just three minutes, a neat ball catching out the Saints defence which gave Craig Cooley a clear chance on goal which he didn’t waste, St George largely dominated the rest of this game but simply didn’t take advantage of their many opportunities.
Within a minute of the Rams taking the lead, Kevin Lopes had the perfect opportunity to immediately draw the Saints level but spurned the chance, striking into the side netting instead of the open goal. It was just the first chance of the night for the visitors which wouldn’t be taken, one of many.
Daniel Loe was one of the principals of the St George fightback, his strong runs down the right always causing danger. In the 20th minute, his low cross from the byeline after a superb ball from Bradley Bartels split the Rams defence, was frantically cleared after heavy pressure.
Five minutes later, Marcus Beattie broke through and took on Jacob Madden, the towering Rams keeper. But Madden was equal to the task, denying Beattie, and keeping the Rams in front, but only just.
That pressure was to tell eight minutes before the break, when Loe again, winning the ball through sheer determination, crossed into the area where an unfortunate handball by Matthew Trotter saw the first penalty of the night. Up stepped Matias da Silva Santos, who slammed the spotkick into the net for the equaliser.
Just three minutes after that, St George were awarded a second penalty, again for handball, this time against Masudi Elongo. It seemed the game was starting to turn.
Da Silva Santos again went to the penalty spot, but the power this time was lacking and Madden did well to save. Not, as time would tell, for the last time.
Even stevens at the break, the Rams came out for the second period with some renewed early vigour. They may still have been relying on breaks, mainly through Eli Squillacioti, but there was danger all the same.
But when central defender Stephen Tomasich was carded for a second time and earned a red in the 53rd minute, it would really put the Rams under the pump. Squillacioti moved in to the backline, removing that threat up front, and the St George domination returned. This time against a ten man Rams.
Remarkably, St George were awarded a third penalty and again Madden was to save. Beattie took the spotkick this time, Da Silva Santos erring on the side of caution, but it made no difference. It remained 1-1.
It didn’t end there though. With fifteen to go, Beattie worked his way clear and this time he did beat Madden, but not the post. It clearly wasn’t going to be St George’s night.
Musashi Kokubo was just wide, Shaqil Ali had a flick turned brilliantly away by Madden, and Lopes was wide with a header with five to go. The Rams were hanging on valiantly, helped by a man-of the match performance by the Rams keeper.
If this wasn’t bad enough for St George, who were throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Macarthur, the game was almost sensationally lost in time added on. A late Macarthur charge upfield saw the Rams awarded a penalty of their own. This would really have been the cruellest of blows to St George.
Yet again though, the keeper denied the taker, Costa saving low against Clement Ebahace Waoci.
The scoreboard may have only shown a final score of 1-1 but for a game of missed chances, this was up there with the best.
Macarthur Rams 1 (Craig Cooley 3’) v St George 1 (Matias Da Silva Santos 39’)
Saturday 13 April 2019
at Lynwood Park
Referee: Andrew Higgins
Assts: Adam Weir and Nick Ritchie
Macarthur Rams : 20. Jacob Madden 2. Craig Cooley (c) 4. Cooper Hanagan 5. Stephen Tomasich 6. Masudi Elongo 9. Eli Squillacioti 11. Sam Onana Anono (15. Clement Ebahace Waoci 68’) 12. Michael Stojanovski 13. Lorenzo Fatica (3. Danny Lazarevski) 14. Jamie Dib (7. Matthew Sadler 90+4’) 19 Matthew Trotter.
Subs not used: 1. Jair Fernandez 16. Joel Le Beau
Yellow Cards: Stephen Tomasich, Masudi Elongo, Eli Squillacioti, Matthew Trotter, Danny Lazarevski
Red Card: Stephen Tomasich
St George: 21. Anthony Costa (c) 2. Daniel Loe 3. Ali Nasreddine 4. Bradley Bartels 6.Musashi Kokubo 7. Matias Da Silva Santos (20. Shaqil Ali 69’) 9. Kevin Lopes 10. Chanhwee Jeong 12. Marcus Beattie (18. Matias Paz 89’) 14. Paolo Mitry 19. Toby Norval (17. Aleksander Lekoski 63’)
Subs not used: 1. Bailey Kubecka 5.Jacob Bandur
Yellow Cards: Bradley Bartels, Paolo Mitry, Shaqil Ali
Hills United 2 (Jacob Basden, Jordan Parfait) v Mounties Wanderers 0
Hills United continue to surprise, and a strong 2-0 win over Mounties is just more evidence of the distance that the club has come in recent times.
Goals to Jacob Basden and Jordan Parfait, one in each half, sent the Mounties home empty handed, although just as notable as the result is that Hills kept Mounties scoreless. It was the first time this season that Mounties haven’t found the back of the net, something that the Hills defence can take plenty of pride in.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Goran Subara 2’) v Central Coast Mariners Academy 1 (Dylan Ruiz-Diaz 82’)
It was a midtable deadlock at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre as the White Eagles and Mariners Academy fought out a 1-1 draw, a result which doesn’t really help either side in their quest to move up the ladder.
An early lead from Goran Subara just two minutes in looked likely to remain the only goal of the game as the clock ticked down late in the game, but with just eight minutes left, Dylan Ruiz-Diaz with his fourth of the season gave the Mariners something to take back up the freeway.
Rydalmere Lions 2 (Hassan Jalloh 20’pen , Luka Zepina 62’) v Northern Tigers 1 (Joshua Swadling 57’)
An early send off to Northern Tigers’ Jordan Ferrier put the visitors behind the eight ball, and when Hassan Jalloh took advantage from the spot, it was always going to be tough for the Tigers.
They did well though to remain in the game and a cracking free kick from Joshua Swadling from outside the area was well worthy of an equaliser.
But Rydalmere remained focussed on the job at hand, and within five minutes, had retaken the lead. Luka Zepina got the winner with just under thirty minutes to go, a fine scoreline for the Lions, who leapfrog the Tigers on the ladder as a result.
GHFA Spirit 2 (Duncan Stewart, Futoshi Kondo) v Blacktown Spartans 2 (Christian Torelli, Garang Awac)
After winning their first four games, Spirit have now hit something of a road hump, going three without victory but their undefeated home record remains intact. Spirit took the lead twice against Spartans, Duncan Stewart and Futoshi Kondo putting them ahead on each occasion, but Blacktown replied through Christina Torelli and captain Garang Awac.
The result sees Spirit drop to fourth, but they still remain only two points from top, in a tightly packed first four.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Daniel Wilmering 9, Mohamed Adam 22’) v Canterbury Bankstown 2 (Toshihisa Saikawa 51’, George Vagerakas 59’)
It was looking good for league leaders Western Sydney Wanderers as they took an early 2-0 lead against Canterbury Bankstown on Sunday. Daniel Wilmering got on the end of a Tate Russell cross to head the Wanderers in front before Mohamed Adam doubled the lead midway through the first half. Adam got to the ball first after the Berries keeper parried a Wilmering cross, leaving Adam with the simplest of finishes.
Canterbury could have been forgiven for thinking the game against the leaders was gone but they showed plenty of spirit and their efforts were rewarded after the restart when Toshihisa Saikawa brought one back in the 51st.
Eight minutes later, George Vagerakas brought the scores level, ensuring a share of the points for Canterbury, an excellent result as they look to get their season back on track.
North Shore Mariners 1 v St George City FA 0
In Sunday’s late evening kick off, North Shore Mariners were too good for St George City FA, claiming the points with a narrow one goal victory.
The win lifts North Shore to second on the table, on goal difference ahead of Hills United, and further cements their position in the top six.