It’s no fun being upset on Easter weekend, just ask a few coaches across the State League Men’s competition.
Indeed, that was the flavour as we saw not one, not two but three ‘upsets’ across this weekend’s action.
Whilst elsewhere, we travelled down to the coast to see South Coast Flame claim a valuable win at the end of a turbulent week and Condors continued their flying start.
Match Report: South Coast Flame v Balmain Tigers
South Coast Flame have bounced back from a rather tough week and defeated Balmain Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
The Flame, fresh from the resignation of their inaugural coach Paul Robaard were composed throughout. They secured victory through goals to Louis Connell and Jayden Smileski either side of half time.
Balmain Tigers on the other hand were made to pay for a lack of ruthlessness up front. Both goals were conceded came soon after a chance of their own. It unfortunately just turned out to be another chapter in an all too familiar story.
In truth, it took the game a while to get going. Allowing those in attendance to settle into their seats on a beautiful afternoon, with the only chances of note being a couple of long-range sighters from the visitors.
Balmain were doing a good job in keeping possession but the same couldn’t be said about their chance creation as they struggled to break down the home sides defensive shape.
Flame were finding their joy in transition and their first chance of note came just after the 20th minute when Louis Connell found space in the right-side channel. His effort sailing across the face of goal.
South Coast thought they took the lead just before the half hour mark when Andrew Christie put the ball in the back of the net only to be adjudged offside in doing so.
The game was opening up and two chances within two minutes showed the difference between the two sides. At one end, the Balmain right winger broke free of the defence and had three options in the middle to play it too. Unfortunately, he could only find the gloves of Flame keeper Matthew White.
White then started a sweeping counter attack which resulted in Connell scoring from a simple tap in after a Hiroaki Ushijima shot was saved into his path.
That lead could’ve been doubled on numerous occasions during the period leading into and after the half time break as Balmain continued to struggle with Flames transition game.
However, Balmain clicked into gear around the hour mark and for a time there looked like equalising. The only thing that stopped that was Matthew White who saved the home side on numerous occasions.
There was another goal in this one and it came through Jayden Smileski who got his first goal for the club. The young attacker poking home beating the keeper with a determined effort which saw the ball roll into the net.
It proved to be the final death knell for the visitors with the wind taken out of their sails leaving them with a long drive home to Sydney. Thinking, “what could have been?”
Caretaker South Coast Flame head coach Neil Mineef.
“The boys were really resilient, came together well after a tough week and they deserved the win tonight.
“We had our opportunities early, but we were lucky to have Matt White at the back today who pulled off some great saves today which was enough to grind out a win”.
Balmain Tigers coach Sasha Tirovski was disappointed in his team’s effort.
“Today was just not good enough, we were promising in pre-season and we seem to have just gone away from it a bit.
“We’ve got players to come back but once again it’s no excuse and the players out there should be doing better.”
South Coast Flame: 2 (Connell 36’, Smileski 77’)
Balmain Tigers: 0
Referee: Nathan Mccrist.
Assistant Referees: Liam Webb, Wayne Lenardon.
South Coast Flame: 1. Matthew White, 4. Daniel Lucas, 5. Grant Wilson, 8. Andrew Christie, 9. Louis Connell, 13. Alexander Boardman, 15. Jayden Smileski, 16. Hiroaki Ushijima, 17. Justin Smith, 18. Yuki Mandai, 19. Seiya Oba.
Subs: 2. Andrew Bova, 22. Caleb Grace, 35. Wade Wilton, 44. Deakin Southern.
Balmain Tigers: 1. James Conaghan, 4. Yianni Moustakas, 11. Miki Bisceglia, 12. Daniel Bakrdanikoski, 14. Niko Muscio, 17. Michael Zezovski, 18. Raoul Zaccariotto, 19. Diawoye Sangare, 21. Robert Di Meglio, 22. Joel Cook, 24. Aleksandar Al-Shamiry.
Subs: 7. Manuel Angelopoulos, 9. Marcelo Turdera, 10. Mario Garcia, 26. Arthur Assa, 28. Kallen Ferrero.
Around the Grounds
Central Coast United 2-3 Prospect United
Now that we’ve got the “normal” result out of the way. We move on to a few surprises around the grounds and none more surprising than Prospect United defeating Central Coast United.
Indeed, this is the first time ever Central Coast United have lost up at Pluim Park and if we’re honest it didn’t look likely for significant portions in this fixture. The home side came back from a goal down on two occasions and looking perhaps the stronger leading into the final stages of the fixture.
Their goals came from Adam Woodbine who scored on ten minutes and Corey Atkinson who caressed the ball into the net in the last ten minutes which looked to have secured the home side a point. But Prospect managed to score again and the home side had one last opportunity to score from point blank range but it wouldn’t go in.
It’s at this point we need to pay tribute to the Graveyard conquerors Prospect United. In doing so we join their coach Darren Camilleri who praised his “16 brave men” who also put away some recent demons which saw them give away a lead in their past five fixtures.
They took the lead through Stephen Vukovic early who placed the ball into the far side netting from the left side of the 6-yard box. Once again, they took the lead early in the second half when the other Vukovic brother Daniel finished off the pick of the goals with a strike from outside the 18-yard box. After they were pegged back again, it was captain Thomas Kasunic who headed in a Nic Valjak corner with a minute to go.
Nepean FC 0-1 FC Gazy Auburn
It’s been a tough week for Nepean FC (see below as well), FC Gazy Auburn won’t care though as they became the second side within a week to conquer “fortress Cook Park”.
There is only one way to describe this fixture, a war of attrition as chances were few and far between in a tense battle. It was the visitors who took a surprise lead ten minutes before half time as Esoghume Dominic who pounced on a through ball which split the Nepean defense and calmly finished.
As expected, Nepean came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and would’ve counted on an equalizer when they were awarded a penalty. However once again, FC Gazy Auburn keeper Pablo Meza came up with a crucial penalty save.
The home side continued to push forward in numbers and almost were caught on the counter as a Haydar Al-Ameri volley from 20 yards hit the post.
FC Gazy were able to withstand further attacks throughout the remainder and came away with their first win of the season.
Hurstville FC 1-0 Fraser Park
Hurstville FC have bounced back perfectly from last week’s Hurstville derby defeat and in turn ended Fraser Park’s undefeated start to the season.
It was the visitors who started the better of the two sides carrying on the momentum of recent positive results. They weren’t able to take advantage of their control though and Hurstville slowly grew into the fixture. It was the hosts who finished the first half looking more composed.
The second half continued as an even contest. As the half went on, the game opened up with the visitors in particular pushing for a winner. However sometimes things don’t go to plan and with players pushed forward, Hurstville countered successfully. The goal scorer? The returning Dario Borovickic who capped off a well worked attacking move which included his partners in crime Adrian Livio and Paul Gagro.
Fraser Park weren’t without their own chances though as only a crossbar denied them an equaliser late on.
Western Condors 4-1 UNSW FC
Western Condors have continued their perfect start to the season winning comfortably in just their second home game of the season.
The home side didn’t waste any time in taking control of the fixture creating plenty of early chances before eventually taking the lead. That lead was taken through Kaito Ikarimoto who got a first half brace in quick fashion. He was joined on the scoresheet by Christian Leiva Martinez who secured his 4th of the season.
Maybe it was a case of the home side taking their foot off the gas, maybe it wasn’t but the second half turned into a much more even contest. Matt Newton once again found himself on the scoresheet and in turn gave his team a brief glimmer of hope scoring from a tight angle.
That hope didn’t last long though as the three-goal lead was restored with Chun Him Yau scoring. In conclusion, Condors very good whilst it’s back to the drawing board for UNSW FC.
Nepean FC 1-3 Hurstville City Minotaurs (Round 2 catch up)
Some unfavourable weather saw a couple of fixtures from round two played midweek. On Tuesday night, Hurstville City Minotaurs made it two wins in three days in beating Nepean FC.
However, it was the home side who opened the scoring with a goal scored by Kuag Reec. The lead didn’t last long though as the Minotaurs not only equalised but took the lead before the half time whistle courtesy of a Thiago Rabinovitch double.
Victory was secured twenty minutes into the second half for the away side when Juan Botero scored a third goal as Nepean pushed forward.
Western Condors 4-2 Balmain Tigers (Round 2 catch up)
Yeah, I kind of spoilt the result of this one before you started reading this one. But Western Condors had another good win during the week, this time over Balmain Tigers.
The Condors once again got off to a flyer scoring within 25 seconds through Chum Him Yau. Balmain were resilient at least during the first half and were rewarded through a Mario Garcia free kick.
Unfortunately, though for the visitors they couldn’t hold on during the second half. A combination of Condors class and individual mistakes from Balmain resulted in the second half blowing out.
The league leaders scored three goals in quick fashion through Jay Takahashi, Kaito Ikarimoto and Gustavo Maya Valiente proved too much of a mountain for Balmain to climb. Although they did manage a consolation with Aleksandar Al-Shamiry getting on the scoresheet.
By Justin Smith