Goals aplenty in Round 14 of the State League Men’s competition, just not at the match we attended.
Nevertheless, there’s a lot to write home about. A competition leader change, the further tightening in the race for the finals and much more. So, grab an umbrella and follow along with this week’s recap.
Hurstville FC v UNSW FC
Well it’s happened. After 40 weeks reporting on this competition, I have to write a match report on a 0-0 for the first time. You could say it was self-inflicted, however don’t be so put off by the score line, it still proved a clash with a bit to write about.
It’s been a while since Hurstville FC have found the net. Confidence particularly in the front third seems to be lacking, with their strikers not able to take advantage of some guilt edged chances in the fixture.
The point marks an improvement for UNSW FC. They too had their chances on the night and perhaps deserved to take maximum points looking back on the match. You’d suspect a win isn’t far away for the club currently at the basement.
Daniel Gonzalez opened the game in terms of chances for NSW with a low shot from a corner missing the near post. Both teams were having joy in terms of getting balls into the box but not much past that.
A ball from the left wing just after the ten-minute mark saw Hurstville FC create their first half chance, but they were unable to capitalize with the ball taking a few deflections before going out.
At the other end, Nima Beik looked like continuing the goalscoring threat from the week before when he hit a left footed shot from twenty-five yards only for the shot to rattle the crossbar.
Beik almost turned provider next when he broke free down the left wing and delivered a low cross to Des Ford. Unfortunately for the visitors though, the ball seemingly got caught between the strikers’ feet and it trickled into the keeper’s hands.
Hurstville FC weren’t creating as many chances as the hosts but perhaps should’ve gone ahead with a Michael Di Meglio effort. His strike took a wicked deflection which for all money was in the net but for a Conor Winn readjustment which produced a remarkable save. This chance was followed up by a header from the resulting corner flashing across the face of goal.
Suspicions of a momentum change were further confirmed soon after when Aaron Richmond clattered into the ankles of a Hurstville player. Of which Richmond was given his marching orders just before the break.
However, you wouldn’t have picked who was down to ten after the resumption (or the table positions of both teams).
Des Ford had a chance to make up for his earlier miss, when a corner was whipped in, he couldn’t control the ball though and it went begging.
Hurstville’s frustration was building and that was perfectly summed up before the hour mark when Cristian Di Meglio received a second yellow for kicking the ball away.
It’s not often, two teams are down to ten men at the same time and that seemed to show for the remainder of the contest.
The last notable UNSW chance of the half came from Nima Beik on sixty-five minutes, with the attacker going by himself through the middle of the park before hitting a shot which never looked like troubling the opposition keeper.
UNSW were pushing for a goal, the consequence of that was more space further back for Hurstville to exploit.
Adrian Livio was the first to break free for an opportunity but a mix of desperate defending and poor finishing saw his shot saved comfortably.
But the chance of the match came with fifteen minutes remaining on the clock when Michael Di Meglio saw his effort on the end of a three on one situation saved. The chance hadn’t passed though and Paul Gagro for all money had scored before Jordan Clark blocked his shot on the goal line.
Hurstville FC coach John Gagro “I suppose it shows that confidence is lacking within the team. Even with a player up for that 15 minutes, there was still no connections, not many things happening.”
“We are just struggling at the moment; we had a couple of chances throughout. We need to keep going, keep working hard. It’s the only way out of it. Overall, a draw is a pretty fair result.”
UNSW coach Gabe Knowles, “I’m content with the effort and application out there tonight. On another day, I think we created enough chances to win it.”
“We didn’t concede a goal across all three grades today so that’s a nice boost for the club. Onwards and upwards.”
Hurstville FC: 0
UNSW FC: 0
Hurstville FC: 1. Matthew Massarotto, 4. Sebastian Coello, 5. Stephan Perak, 8. Dario Borovickic, 9. Jesse Gagro, 10. Paul Gagro, 12. Daniel Kocina, 13. David Pavey, 14. Michael Di Meglio, 17. Aleks Tenoski, 18. Cristian Di Meglio.
Subs: 21. Anthony Vrinat, 6. Raul Carrizo, 7. Pedro Almeida, 11. Adrian Livio, 20. Rhys Turner.
UNSW FC: 21. Conor Winn, 3. Christopher Phillips, 6. Daniel Gonzalez, 7. Aaron Richmond, 8. Marcus Naoum, 9. Des Ford, 10. Nima Beik, 13. Jakub Buris, 19. Joshua Chalal, 30. Jordan Clark, 39. Florim Binakaj.
Subs: 1. Nic Nelson, 11. Bede Leyland, 12. IIan Kessler, 18. Benjamin Sunderland, 24. Matthew Newton.
Around the grounds
Central Coast United 9-1 FC Gazy Auburn
It’s hard to figure out what this result really is telling us. Are Central Coast United that good? Or are cracks starting to appear for FC Gazy Auburn? One thing is for sure though, Central Coast United are now top of the standings and they’ll be hard to dislodge.
It was described as the “best performance of the season” by coach Stu Davis, United were ruthless throughout and their visitors couldn’t cope.
The scoring was opened by Jarred Steen who beat an onrushing keeper to the ball before finishing into an open net. Steen then went on to score a hat-trick continuing his impressive goalscoring form.
It’s not often a hat-trick effort is outdone by a team-mate but that was exactly the case in this one with captain Daniel Mcfarlane going on to score four goals. The highlight of his goals being a diving header to make it six for his team.
Three plus four only equals seven though so it’s worth mentioning Alex Arbelo and Corey Atkinson also got on the scoresheet. Pretty convincing in the end.
For FC Gazy Auburn, their brightest moment was a goal from Javier Diaz who beat the Central Coast United keeper from a tight angle. From there it was all downhill though.
Fraser Park 1-4 Balmain Tigers
It’s taken fourteen rounds, but every team has now lost a game at their home ground. In what could be the upset of the season so far, Balmain Tigers sent shockwaves throughout the competition with a victory over Fraser Park.
So how did they achieve such a feat? In short, it was simply a superb squad performance from top to bottom (all 14 players including subs). The scoring was opened through Marley Jackson after a finish from the far post was driven into the net. And they doubled the scoring before the break. Michael Zezovski cut in from a wide position before ambitiously chipping the Fraser Park keeper with a right footed effort.
After the break Fraser Park understandably began to show desperation to get into the match, only problem with that is it left more space to be pounced upon by the Tigers. Miki Bisceglia was the first to capitalize pouncing on a one on one opportunity to finish. Before Frank Calgano continued his scoring run beating a few players before his shot hit the post bouncing into the back of a helpless Fraser keeper to make it 4. The resulting celebration saw a second yellow which allowed Fraser to snatch a late consolation goal through Matthew Nezval.
Back to the drawing board for Fraser Park who face another daunting challenge against Nepean FC next week. Whilst all of a sudden, such is the closeness of this competition (at least in the middle), one more Balmain win could see them in the top 5.
Nepean FC 3-0 South Coast Flame
Come this time of the year, Cook Park is in um interesting condition. It becomes about who adjusts sooner in the contest and most times that would be the home side Nepean FC. And it was in this one, as Nepean took control of the contest and never let go against South Coast Flame.
Yep, for the first time since round one of the competition, Nepean FC find themselves inside the top five. The game started out by the book with a period of adjustment required.
That was until centre back Michael Fakiye opened the scoring inside the last ten minutes of the half. Panther as his known by those at the club did well to win the ball in midfield before playing a one two, finishing with a drive past the keeper.
The second half started in the worst possible fashion for the visitors. Hayden Pronin was brought down in the box and David Adjassou finished his penalty. The win was finished off by Farres Aoun who was able to get in behind the Flame defense before finishing from an angle.
For the Flame, it serves as another learning experience and will probably be better off next time they run in to similar ‘conditions.’
Western Condors 4-4 Hurstville City Minotaurs
As if we didn’t have enough goals on the Saturday. The sole Sunday fixture provided more with an entertaining four all draw between Western Condors and Hurstville City Minotaurs.
Two points dropped, an all too familiar feeling for the Western Condors in recent times. The home side took the lead on three separate occasions throughout the match but just couldn’t get the job done.
They went one nil ahead from the first of two Gustavo Maya Valiente goals. But they were pegged back soon after before once again taking the lead. Following me?
Having fell behind the Condors rallied and Kaito Ikarimoto equalized to make it three, Jay Takahashi then scored what they thought was a winner before being denied at the death.
So, if it felt like a loss for the Condors, the Hurstville City Minotaurs will take the point and run. They had their moments throughout the fixture with the chance to close the game out when 3-2 ahead. But they couldn’t and had to settle for a last-minute equalizer. Thiago Rabinovitch and Juan Botero both secured doubles.
By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin)