A little bit of everything for everyone this week in the State League Men’s competition as we entered into the second half of the season.
Our match of the round saw Balmain Tigers claim their second win of the season and they are only going to get stronger.
Elsewhere, Central Coast United got some revenge, Fraser Park cruised past the Minotaurs and a couple of tight draws.
Match of the Round: Balmain Tigers v Prospect United
In football you learn to expect the unexpected. This week’s clash between Balmain Tigers and Prospect United provided exactly that in a game which had more red cards than goals.
And it was the efforts of super-sub Frank Calcagno which proved the difference between the two sides, the attacker scoring twice for the Balmain Tigers.
Prospect United on the other hand were punished for not taking their chances throughout, even managing to miss a penalty late on whilst attempting to get back into the match.
The visitors started the better of the two sides, with both Rocco Romeo and Stephen Vukovic having chances to open the scoring within the first fifteen minutes.
Most of the game was playing out in Balmain’s half of the pitch proven by it taking till the 33rd minute for the Tigers to create a meaningful chance through Alexander Barnstone.
As the minutes continued to tick on, Balmain continued to gain confidence and Mario Garcia forced Prospect keeper Mario Farias into a good save just before the break.
The scoring was finally opened ten minutes into the second half when substitute Calcagno found himself one on one with the keeper. The striker then showed the composure which has arguably been missing for the Tigers much of the season, calmly taking the ball around the keeper before slotting it home.
That seemed to wake their visitors up though as they created the next two meaningful chances which both fell to Nic Valjak. One of which forcing the Balmain keeper into a save before hooking a shot wide of the far post minutes later.
However, things seemed to have taken a turn for the worse for the visitors when Rocco Romeo was sent off with fifteen minutes to go. But the disadvantage didn’t last long as Anthony Villazon was sent off for Balmain.
It was an action-packed period of play as Valjak once again found himself with another chance but couldn’t convert seemingly scuffing his effort when it mattered.
And Prospect were punished for the missed chances when shortly after…
Calcagno had the taste for goals and doubled the advantage with little time remaining. This time lobbing the ball over the keeper on the half volley from inside the box leaving the Prospect keeper helpless and doubling the lead in turn.
Prospect then were awarded a penalty and in turn Balmain were reduced to nine with 3 minutes to go but it just wasn’t to be the visitor’s day, the penalty flying wide of the target.
Balmain Tigers coach Sasha Tirovski was pleased with his team’s improvement across the ninety minutes, “First half we were quite flat defensively. I don’t think our structure was followed through as it should be. At half time we made changes and it changed the game, hopefully the result is the first step towards turning our season around”.
On new signing Frank Calcagno, “I’ve played with him years ago. We needed someone up top to put chances away, we had chances in the first half of the season but not converted like he did today”
Prospect United coach Darren Camilleri “That was a weird game. I thought that we were good enough to go one or two goals ahead before half time. We unfortunately just weren’t good enough to put the ball away. Second half the game turned just by a five-minute period where we just weren’t doing our job defensively. We were creating chances but frustratingly we couldn’t put them away.”
Balmain Tigers: 2 (Calcagno 56’84)
Prospect United: 0
Balmain Tigers: 1. Ayman Hill, 2. James Duvcevski, 5. Nico Muscio, 6. Marley Jackson, 10. Mario Garcia (32. Anthony Villazon), 11. Miki Bisceglia, 14. Declan Monro, 17. Michael Zezovski (3. Nicholas Ivassi), 18. Alexander Barnstone (25. Frank Calcagno), 21. Raoul Zaccariotto, 24. Daniel Bakrdanikoski.
Subs: 26. Arthur Assa, 7. Manuel Angelopoulos.
Prospect United: 1. Mario Farias, 2. Daniel Mihajlovic, 3. Andrew Cotton, 4. Thomas Kasunic, 5. Matthew Morosin, 6. Poda Da, 8. Rocco Romeo, 9. Benjamin Lam, 11. Stephen Vukovic, 14. Joel Bayubahe (12. Mortaza Safdari), 19. Simon Zahra (7. Nicholas Valjak), 20. Jordan Winckle.
Subs: 10. De’Shan Rosa-Martin, 13. Keren Ibraham.
Hurstville FC 0-0 FC Gazy Auburn
The game that needed a goal, and the goal never came. Yes, this match saw two opponents with a lot to lose come face to face in a tense, emotional contest at Seymour Shaw Park.
Coming into the fixture, Hurstville had lost their past three and I guess that’s what happens when you concede a lot yet score very few. They will take confidence from a clean sheet from this contest whilst there is still a lot to do at the other end. Several times in this contest the ball was put into a dangerous area yet no one was on the end of it. The game could have been a whole different story if Cristian Di Meglio scored just before the half time whistle but it wasn’t to be for the hosts.
FC Gazy Auburn have made a habit of coming out after half time the stronger. This was the case once again in this one. In fact, I only counted one meaningful effort in the first half courtesy of Samuel Head getting a shot off from a narrow angle only for it to be deflected into the side netting. Second half was a different story though, and they controlled the game in terms of chances, the most notable being an Esoghume Dominic drive which went wide of the right-hand post.
As the minutes ticked away, the pressure valve was turned right up and FC Gazy were perhaps unlucky not to get a spot kick. But wasn’t to be and I have now witnessed a 0-0 in the division after 40 plus games.
Western Condors 2-2 South Coast Flame
South Coast Flame have picked up a valuable away point away at the Western Condors in a Saturday evening contest.
It’s a sign of the progression in this South Coast Flame team having walked away from their previous two clashes without reward. Despite an improved team effort, their reward came due to the efforts of Matthew White and Matthew Mazevski at either end. White was crucial in keeping two or three opportunities out of his net. Whilst Mazevski displayed a performance of which we’ve come to expect from him, netting a long-range effort before converting from the spot.
Frustrations are building for the Condors after being on the end of another result in which they feel they should’ve won. The home side jumped out to a lead either side of half-time courtesy of goals to Kaito Ikarmoto and Chun Him Yau however they were unable to close in out on either occasion. It continues their average run of form over the past couple of months which has seen them win only one of their past seven games.
Central Coast United 2-0 Nepean FC
A little bit of revenge for Central Coast United. The home side came out on top in a high-quality contest against Nepean FC.
It was a sloppy start for the home side who went into the fixture after the bye. They struggled to get going for much of the first half. Good teams hang in there though and having held the visitors at bay in the first half, they switched on the style in the second. Daniel Mcfarlane opened the scoring with a long-range effort of which the Nepean keeper couldn’t get enough on too keep the ball out.
The lead was doubled shortly after with Scott Mcginley continuing his goal-scoring run with a goal from a corner. United were then happy to sit back and were successful in repelling further Nepean attacks.
Somethings got to give for Nepean FC, having had their chances once again in this fixture, they couldn’t break through and that just won’t do against opponents such as Central Coast United. Chances are running out for them to mount a finals challenge and they face a must-win clash against the Hurstville City Minotaurs next weekend.
Hurstville City Minotaurs 1-5 Fraser Park
Well, unfortunately this game didn’t get going as we wanted it too due to a red card for the home side inside five minutes of it beginning.
But credit where it is due, you can only play what’s in front of you and that’s exactly what Fraser Park did. Capitalizing on that early send off, they raced out to a two-goal advantage within the first twenty minutes courtesy of goals to Matthew Nezval and Luiz Lobo. Perhaps they became two comfortable as a lapse of concentration resulted in them conceding a penalty which was converted to half the lead.
In the end though fitness and an extra man began to show in the second half. Fraser Park perhaps with memories of last weeks near disaster in the back of their heads, made sure of it. Nezval doubled his tally with the teams third goal before Eric Tomesek and Shu Torihara also put their names on the scoresheet.
For the Minotaurs, it’s hard to read much into the performance being down a man and all. Matheus Pontes scored from the spot to bring it back to one in the first half before new signing Nick Mouzourakis could have equalized shortly after but his shot went wide. They will be keen to bounce back and keep eleven men on the park next week.
By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin)