There were seven hard fought contests over the weekend in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition.
The top two have managed to build a slight gap, however the race for the top six is as close as ever.
Match of the Round: Hills United v Western Sydney Wanderers
This week’s featured match took us to Lily Homes Stadium for a highly entertaining affair. A first half blitz from Hills United did the trick as they defeated Western Sydney Wanderers 4-2.
Hills got off to a dream start, winning a penalty with a little over three minutes played when Adrian Valenti fouled Kento Sakurai. United skipper Daine Merrin took the responsibility, using a futsal-style one step run-up and stroking the ball past Jack Greenwood.
Patrick Zwaanswijk’s men would double their lead before the quarter hour mark. Glen Kelshaw and Daniel Fogarty combined to find Jordan Parfait in space, and the winger scored a beauty, using the outside of his boot to place the ball in the top corner.
However, the Wanderers hit back almost immediately. A lovely ball over the top from Noah Pagden released Marley Peterson, and he made no mistake to halve the deficit.
The goals kept coming, and Hills made it 3-1 with half an hour played. Sakurai cut in from the right wing, beating one defender, nutmegging another and curling the ball past Greenwood.
United then grabbed a fourth goal five minutes later in fortuitous circumstances, as Mohamed Al Taay lunged at a through ball intended for Parfait, sending the ball looping into his own goal.
The youngsters in Red & Black needed a lifeline, and they got one as halftime approached. Predictably, it was Mohamed Adam who found the net. The striker pounced on a loose ball in the area, and despite a very acute angle, he blasted the ball in via the underside of the crossbar.
Both teams continued to play an open game in the second half. Fogarty’s 20 yard effort was inches wide, while at the other end Jacob Vasiliou sent a shot whistling just past the post.
The Wanderers had a great opportunity to pull within a goal on 61 minutes when Shaun Catlin fouled Jake Trew. Peterson stepped up, but Catlin would redeem himself, diving low to his right to save the spot kick.
Midway through the second half, Parfait almost had his second of the evening after Fogarty’s cross wasn’t cleared, shooting wide from inside the area.
Hills looked more likely to score again, and in the 83rd minute Fogarty broke away, however his square pass to the onrushing Eoin Montford was intercepted by Greenwood.
There were a couple of late chances for the Wanderers. Trew headed wide off a cross from fellow substitute Evan Tsakos, and Adam tested Catlin with a long range free kick, but Hills held out until the final whistle.
The victory sees Hills remain two points behind league leaders North Shore Mariners. Next Saturday, Patrick Zwaanswijk’s side travel to Blacktown Football Park to face Blacktown Spartans.
Meanwhile, the Wanderers stay in fourth, and will look to bounce back next weekend when they meet Rydalmere Lions at Valentine Sports Park.
Hills United 4 (Daine Merrin 4’, Jordan Parfait 15’, Kento Sakurai 30’, Mohamed Al Taay og 35’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Marley Peterson 16’, Mohamed Adam 44’)
Saturday 29 June 2019
at Lily Homes Stadium
Hills United: 1. Shaun CATLIN, 3. Jarrod DODDS, 5. Marcus ZARANTONELLO, 8. Eoin MONTFORD, 9. Alexander VLISMAS (30. Adolph KOUDAKPO 75’), 10. Jordan PARFAIT (7. Wade GIOVENALI 69’), 11. Daine MERRIN (c), 19. Glen KELSHAW, 22. Kento SAKURAI (99. Santino SWANSON MANUEL 86’), 44. Daniel FOGARTY, 45. Jacob BASDEN
Unused subs: 32. Jordan GEDDES, 88. Nathan PHILIPS
Yellow cards: 44. Daniel FOGARTY 60’, 7. Wade GIOVENALI 86’, 8. Eoin MONTFORD 88’
Western Sydney Wanderers: 20. Jack GREENWOOD, 4. Mohamed AL TAAY, 7. Bailey RULE, 8. Yousef SAWALHA, 9. Marley PETERSON, 12. Andrea AGAMEMNONOS (c), 13. Adrian VALENTI, 14. Mohamed ADAM, 15. Noah PAGDEN, 21. Jacob VASILIOU (23. Jake TREW 60’), 25. Jarrod CARLUCCIO (11. Evan TSAKOS 72’)
Unused subs: 1. Oliver KALAC, 5. Callum WATT, 16. Lochlan CONSTABLE
Yellow cards: 13. Adrian VALENTI 4’, 12. Andrea AGAMEMNONOS 79’
Macarthur Rams 1 (Mohamed Kardoli 40’) vs GHFA Spirit FC 1 (Travis Cooper 51’)
90 minutes of exciting football wasn’t enough to separate the teams at Lynwood Park, as Macarthur Rams and Spirit FC drew 1-1.
Although Spirit forward Duncan Stewart struck the post when the score was 0-0, Macarthur were the better side in the first half. The Rams got their reward just before halftime, a good strike from Mohamed Kardoli putting them in front.
David Perkovic’s side came out for the second half with renewed purpose and drew level soon after the restart, Travis Cooper netting his seventh goal of the season.
Following the equaliser, the three points were up for grabs. Macarthur hit the woodwork twice, and Spirit had some late opportunities, but neither side was able to find a winner.
Spirit FC stay in third after the draw, while the Rams can take some confidence from a good performance against one of the title challengers.
Mounties Wanderers 3 (Noah Chianese 39’, Mitchell Davidson 70’, Sean Rooney 76’) vs St George FC 1 (Kevin Lopes 68’)
Mounties’ push for a top two spot has gained momentum, thanks to a 3-1 victory over St George FC.
In a first half where both teams looked threatening, it was Mounties who would make the crucial breakthrough. Tai Smith had the keys to unlock the defence, playing a perfect pass for Noah Chianese to score.
The Saints kept going, equalising midway through the second half. A decent cross caused a scramble in the penalty area, and although Juan Carlos Romero was denied, Kevin Lopes was on hand to net from close range.
However, Mounties retook the lead almost straight away, Mitchell Davidson’s powerful strike finishing off a good team move. Six minutes later, Sean Rooney’s header off a Bruno Pivato free kick ensured a fifth win in six games for Brian Brown’s side.
Mounties were rewarded for clinical finishing, and the Saints may consider themselves unlucky to not get a result from this game.
Canterbury Bankstown FC 2 (Goncalo Paradanta, Jake Bradshaw) vs Northern Tigers 5 (Rory Spiers 21’, Liam McConaghy 33’ 68’ 87’, Oliver Wiggin 90’)
Northern Tigers prevailed in a shootout at The Crest to draw within two points of the top six.
It was the Tigers who drew first blood, Rory Spiers finishing off a great passing move which started down the right side. However, Canterbury didn’t let their heads drop, equalising almost straight from the kick-off.
A Liam McConaghy penalty had the Tigers back in front by halftime, but Branko Culina’s men weren’t going down without a fight, and they made it 2-2 in the 56th minute, scoring a headed goal off a corner.
McConaghy’s second goal from another move down the right flank put his team 3-2 up, however with the game in the balance Canterbury had a fantastic chance to draw level when they won a spot kick of their own. Northern Tigers goalkeeper Tonu Liiband performed heroics, flying to his right to make the save.
That would prove to be the turning point, and in the 87th minute McConaghy completed his hat trick by converting another penalty, before Oliver Wiggin rounded off the scoring in the final minute of normal time.
Rydalmere Lions 1 (Mitchell Gibbs 42’) vs Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Sam Gallaway 26’)
Rydalmere ended their losing run courtesy of a 1-1 draw with Bonnyrigg at Valentine Sports Park.
After a couple of early chances for Aaron Peterson and Nikola Zonjic, Bonnyrigg took the lead. Sam Gallaway provided some set piece magic, putting a free kick right in the top corner.
In the 42nd minute, Rydalmere equalised in spectacular fashion. Mitchell Gibbs won the ball in midfield and, quickly spotting the goalkeeper off his line, sent a 45 yard lob into the goal. The Lions could even have gone into the break holding the lead, and Garang Awac was desperately unlucky to see his powerful effort hit both the crossbar and the post.
The second half introduction of Ray Miller would help Bonnyrigg regain some control, and he went extremely close to breaking the deadlock, striking the post from outside the area.
Late on, Rydalmere had their goalkeeper Harrick Sinpraseuth to thank for a couple of good saves which preserved the draw.
Lions coach Chris Camilleri praised his young squad for an improved performance, one which they can build upon in the remainder of the season.
St George City FA 1 (Matthew Mayora 28’) vs Blacktown Spartans 2 (Shun Tokuno 14’, Lachlan Rose 87’)
In this battle between two sides looking to make ground on the top six, it was the Spartans who came out on top.
Paul Hubbard’s side struck first, Lachlan Rose whipping in a fantastic cross and putting it on a plate for Shun Tokuno. City drew level just before the half hour, Matthew Mayora capitalising on a defensive error to net his fifth goal of the campaign.
The second half didn’t match the first for goalmouth action, and the game was mainly played in the midfield after the interval. However, there was time for late drama as the Spartans launched a counter attack and won a penalty. Rose held his nerve from the spot, and now his side are only outside the top six on goal difference.
Central Coast Mariners 0 vs North Shore Mariners 1 (Ricky Woodward 50’)
A healthy crowd at Pluim Park saw North Shore squeak past Central Coast to remain top of the league.
It was a first half of few chances, the best moment for the league leaders coming when Chris Lindsay’s free kick was saved well by Aidan Munford.
Central Coast then nearly scored from a set piece of their own. Kyle Johnson’s low shot was cleverly directed towards goal by Maximilien Balard, however North Shore captain Ricky Woodward was in the right place to clear off the goal line.
Just after half time, Central Coast winger Michael Katsoulis was through on goal following a defensive slip, but Ryan Wood made a huge one on one save.
The missed opportunity would prove to be crucial, as barely 60 seconds later North Shore hit the front. Mitchell Smith did well to make space in the area, and when his shot rebounded off the underside of the crossbar, Woodward had a simple headed finish to put his side 1-0 up.
North Shore could then have made it two after some fantastic work from Braden Cheng. The flying winger beat three defenders, only to be denied by a good save from Munford.
The away side continued to press for a second goal, and with a little over 20 minutes left Munford came to his side’s rescue again, tipping a rasping drive from Lindsay over the crossbar.
Central Coast had a late flurry, going close in the 86th minute when Joey Jevtic’s 25 yard strike rebounded off the crossbar. There was one last chance for them in the fifth minute of stoppage time, but the ball didn’t fall their way during a scramble in the North Shore penalty area.
By Eric Subijano
Twitter – @eric_subijano