With just one side in the top six failing to win, it was a pretty much a case of ‘as you were’ in the National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition after the completion of Round Eighteen on the weekend.
League leaders, Stanmore Hawks survived an almighty fright at Arlington Oval on Saturday night, prevailing by the odd goal in seven against a gallant Dunbar Rovers; SD Raiders left it late but managed the three points on offer when they defeated Dulwich Hill 3-2 at Ernie Smith Reserve; Bankstown City Lions put an end to their mid-season mini slump with a 3-1 victory over Camden Tigers at Jensen Park; Inter Lions put Granville Rage well and truly to the sword at FNSW headquarters, winning 11-0 with six different players getting on the scoresheet; Bankstown United upstaged Gladesville Ryde Magic at Christie Park with a 4-2 win to keep up their positive form of late; and Parramatta came away from Lithgow with the spoils after accounting for the Western NSW Mariners 3-1 on Sunday afternoon.
FNSW took their seat at the picturesque Sydney University Football Ground on Sunday afternoon to watch the home side, Sydney University, do battle with the visiting Hawkesbury City.
MATCH OF THE ROUND
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY – HAWKESBURY CITY 1-0
Sydney University grabbed a very valuable three points on Sunday afternoon after scrapping to a narrow 1-0 win over a plucky Hawkesbury City.
It took a wonder strike of sorts to seal the points, with Michael Loupis scoring direct from a corner kick just before the half hour mark to give ‘the students’ the spoils.
With incessant rain in the days leading up to the encounter, there was a thought that the game could be in danger of being washed out. The pitch at the Football Ground at Sydney University was muddy in patches, and slippery in most parts, but the game went ahead and the teams battled on.
Ian Hillier was first to threaten for Sydney Uni on just 4 minutes, after he took a long throw in on the left sideline, with the ball headed back towards him by a Hawkesbury defender. Without hesitation, Hillier cracked a first time volley that flew inches over the Hawkesbury cross bar, much to the angst of the home crowd.
Sydney University threatened once more on 19 minutes after James Tsokos put Michael Loupis in to space down the left wing, with Loupis firing a cross shot at speed towards the Hawkesbury goal. Hawks’ custodian, Daniel Schwarzer, was alert to the danger and saved comfortably.
Hawkesbury had their first real opportunity in the 23rd minute, following a delightful through ball by Daniel Morsillo from the half way line. Joaquin Velizcoccolo got on the end of the pass, and tried to slip the ball past the onrushing Uni keeper, Daniel Axford, who managed to parry the effort with his feet.
Up to this stage, Sydney University’s Michael Loupis had been ‘finding his range’ with a number of set pieces, from long range free kicks played in to the box, to in-swinging corner kicks. Awarded another corner kick in the 27th minute, Loupis hit a pearler, the ball curling and dipping at pace – just like a free kick – as it nestled inside the far post, edging Sydney University in to the lead as the young attacker raced off the celebrate with the referee’s assistant.
Brad Gibson and Daniel Morsillo were starting to make their presence felt in the middle of the park for Hawkesbury, both playing their team mates in to space with some telling passes, most of which, however, failing to eventuate in to any real danger for the home side.
Loupis had another go in the 41st minute for Sydney Uni from a direct free kick, this time the 20 yard effort going over the bar as the ‘students’ tried to extend their lead.
Kwadwo Boamah-Addai made some flamboyant runs on the right wing for Hawkesbury in an energetic first half display, and he almost equalised in the 42nd minute with a neat bicycle kick that was well held by Sydney Uni keeper, Daniel Axford.
Referee, Mr.Roberto Mattei, then brought proceedings to a half with a quick shriek of his whistle, and the teams trudged off for a well earned reprieve.
After a cautious opening quarter of an hour in the second half, it was Michael Loupis who looked the more likely to score with the left sided attacker going close on numerous occasions for Sydney University.
Ian Hillier beat a couple of players in a 58th minute run across the field before teeing up Loupis whose left foot shot went over the Hawkesbury cross bar.
Loupis was at it again a minute later, firing a bullet from a tight angle that was well tipped around the upright by Hawkesbury’s captain and keeper, Daniel Schwarzer.
The two protagonists were at it again in the 64th minute, with the same outcome, Schwarzer denying another arrow from Loupis with a parry down low to his right.
I’m certain Hawkesbury would’ve been more than happy to see the back of both Hillier and Loupis, both substituted shortly afterwards, whilst Hawkesbury emptied their bench also, hoping for some much needed injection in their attempt to rescue something from this match.
It almost worked wonders for the visitors, as the Hawks created two great chances to snare a point at a minimum late on.
Alexander Murrel made a decisive run down the right wing in the 85th minute, beating a couple of Uni challenges as he slipped the ball inside to Joaquin Velizcoccolo, who instantly slammed the ball across the face of the goal.
Hawkesbury’s Kwadwo Boamah-Addai flung himself at the ball at the far stick, but alas, missed connecting by a matter of inches.
Hawks’ defender, Kyle Walker, then played a diagonal weighted ball in to the box for Daniel Morsillo to run onto on 87 minutes, with Morsillo immediately cutting it back in to the path of Joaquin Velizcoccolo. If there is a player you would want the ball to land to inside the box late in the game it would have to be Velizcoccolo, but the playmaker took a touch before scuffing his shot past the upright from close range.
That was all she wrote as referee, Mr Mattei, called a halt to proceedings, amongst the cheers of the home faithful with the scoreboard reflecting a 1-0 win to Sydney Uni.
The match seemed destined to be an arm wrestle from the start, given the teams’ respective positions on the ladder, as well as the slippery surface of the pitch.
Hawkesbury City came alive towards the back end of the encounter, but just couldn’t snare an equaliser, whilst Sydney University got their noses in front and were content to try and hang on and strangle the match a little to deny their visitors.
The loss sees Hawkesbury City remain in 9th spot on 23 points, whilst Sydney University stay 11th on the ladder, despite climbing to 18 points courtesy of the 1-0 triumph.
National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s
Saturday, July 7, 2019
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY 1 (Loupis 27’)
HAWKESBURY CITY 0
Sydney University Football Ground
Referee – Roberto Mattei
Assistant Referees – Ayad Naji and Aidan Lee
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY; 1.D.Axford, 31.D.Barrett, 17.I.Hillier (40.E.Jaggers 65’), 12.C.Hinckson, 35.J.Kougias, 30.J.Lapi, 7.M.Loupis (16.J.Johnson 79’), 14.J.Makridopoulos, 11.N.Sharpley, 20.J.Tsokos, 34.F.Williamson (74.O.Mokhtar 46’).
Substitutes Not Used – 5.M.Borovina, 25.O.Gibson.
Yellow Cards – 1.D.axford 8’, 7.M.Loupis 65’, 30.J.Lapi 90’ + 2’.
Red Cards – Nil
HAWKESBURY CITY; 1.D.Schwarzer (capt), 2.J.Thurtell, 4.K.Walker, 7.D.Morsillo, 8.T.Pannowitz, 11.K.Boamah-Addai, 14.J.Veliz Coccolo, 16.A.Murrell, 23.B.Gibson (9.J.Newman 65’), 13.R.Fahey (10.S.Rodriguez 56’), 6.R.Faulkner (32.L.Zahra 68’).
Substitutes Not Used – 12.S.Di Marino, 30.C.Morley.
Yellow Cards – 6.R.Faulkner 66’, 16.A.Murrell 71’.
Red Cards – Nil
Stanmore Hawks – Dunbar Rovers 4-3
Stanmore Hawks retained their spot at the summit of the NSW NPL 3 Men’s ladder, but they were made to work for it by Dunbar Rovers at Arlington Oval on Saturday night.
Dunbar in fact can count themselves very unlucky not to take anything away from the encounter, leading twice, before seemingly snatching a point with a late penalty.
On 13th minutes, Alex Crane slipped in behind the Stanmore defence from a delightful Paul Orgad assist to slot past the Hawks keeper, Nicholas Carosi, and give Dunbar a 1-0 lead. Earlier Crane had been instrumental in two huge chances for the Rovers, failing to convert a one-on-one before having an angled shot cleared off the line.
The lead didn’t last long, with Stanmore equalising just two minutes later, the 1-1 stalemate remaining until the half time break.
But Dunbar edged in front once again soon after the teams returned from the sheds, with Heo Wookbum netting after Stanmore’s keeper, Carosi, had parried a shot from Dunbar’s Steven Chester. Wookbum had a great chance moments later after snatching the ball from a Stanmore defender, but his shot rolled agonisingly wide as his former employers were on the back foot.
Stanmore regrouped, and showed why they are perched atop the league ladder, equalising on 69 minutes, before dramatically taking a 74th minute lead.
Dunbar are known for refusing to give in, and Paul Orgad showed all his experience from the penalty spot, snaring an equaliser in the 88th minute.
Incredibly, the contest wasn’t over, and the pendulum swung back in favour of the home side, who found a late injury time winner to snare all three points.
The four goals for Stanmore were scored by Alberto Perea Henche, Timothy Wohlfiel, and skipper, Jovan Blagojevic, who managed a brace.
The loss keeps Dunbar Rovers on 23 points in 8th spot, whilst the win and three points means Stanmore Hawks retain first position on the competition ladder, moving to 41 points, with SD Raiders a further two points behind.
SD Raiders – Dulwich Hill 3-2
SD Raiders and Dulwich Hill shared a five goal thriller on Saturday night at Ernie Smith Reserve, with the Raiders prevailing due to a late winner.
The Raiders raced away to a 2-0 lead after just 16 minutes, and held that advantage until the teams trudged off for a half time break.
But it was Dully who came out firing after the break, pegging a goal back through a clinical Peter Crevani finish in the 49th, before Emmanuel Ponce found an equaliser for the visitors in the 51st minute.
But the Raiders regrouped, and found a winner in the 85th minute, much to the delight of the home fans. The league’s top marksman, Anthony Proia, helped himself to a brace of goals, taking his tally to 21 for the season, whilst Damien Smith also found the scoresheet.
The loss keeps Dulwich Hill on 24 points in 7th spot, whilst SD Raiders keep turning on the heat near the summit, the win moving them to 39 points and in to second place on the ladder, just two points from first placed Stanmore Hawks.
Inter Lions – Granville Rage 11-0
The Lions from Inter did what lions do best, feasting on Granville Rage in a demolition on Saturday night, winning by the remarkable score of 11-0 at Valentine Sports Park No.3.
Inter opened their account early through Zac Ribeiro, and then raced to a 6-0 lead at the break, before going on with it in the second half to notch up one of their biggest wins in recent years.
Neram Yalda didn’t help his team by receiving his marching orders before half time, meaning Granville had to play more than half the match with ten men.
Stevan Ilic helped himself to four goals, whilst Nicholas Paras and Fikret Berisha each bagged a double. Other than Ribeiro, Chris Lawson and Alex Becerra also got their names on the scoresheet, meaning a total of six players found the mark on the night for Inter.
The loss sees Granville remain in 13th spot on 10 points, whilst the win and subsequent three points moves Inter Lions on to 32 points, retaining 6th spot.
Bankstown City – Camden Tigers 3-1
There was a welcome return to the winner’s circle for Bankstown City Lions on Saturday night at Jensen Park, the home side victorious over Camden Tigers to the tune of 3-1.
No match details were evident at the time we went to press, however, the loss keeps Camden Tigers in 10th spot on 21 points, whilst Bankstown City remain 4th as they climb to 36 points.
Gladesville Ryde Magic – Bankstown United 2-4
Bankstown United delivered a real statement of intent at Christie Park on Sunday afternoon, coming from behind to overcome Gladesville Ryde Magic by 4-2 in a comprehensive second half display.
United snuck in front as early as the 8th minute, following a slalom run from Dalibor Malesevic, the tricky flanker sending the ball across the face of goal for Lachlan Willmore to strike home.
Magic equalised in the 22nd minute via Peter Voukidis, the 1-1 score, as well as the balance of play, remaining quite even heading in to the half time break.
Both teams came out after the rest looking to grab the match by the scruff, and it was Gladesville who edged themselves in front in the 51st. with the experienced Chris Triantis converting a penalty after a handball in the Bankstown box.
Bankstown United, however, restored parity on the hour mark, and once again it was as a result of a Malesevic run, this time his cross converted by Kallie Bangura for 2-2.
Bankstown United then stepped it up a gear, and remarkably took the lead only minutes later with a screamer from all of 25 yards from debutant, Matthew Trotter, who sent the visiting fans into raptures.
United definitely had the ascendancy at this stage, and on 71 minutes were awarded a penalty of their own after a foul on Kallie Bangura inside the Gladesville box. Dalibor Malesevic got some reward for his excellent personal display by converting the spot kick to increase Bankstown’s lead to 4-2.
The visitors then did well to put a stranglehold on proceedings, holding out the home side to snare all three points.
The loss sees Magic slide in to 3rd position as SD Raiders hurdle them in to second, with Gladesville remaining on 37 points. The win continues Bankstown United’s purple patch of late, with the subsequent three points moving them to 33 on the ladder as they remain 5th, and within striking distance of those above them.
Western NSW Mariners – Parramatta FC 1-3
Parramatta FC made sure to make their trip back from Lithgow a happy one when they snatched all three points on offer from their clash against the Western NSW Mariners on Sunday afternoon.
Played at Marjorie Jackson Field, the visitors won 3-1 to make it two wins in their past three outings.
No match details were available by the time we went to press, however, Parramatta’s 5th win of the season sees them move to 15 points, in 12th spot, but within a win of Sydney University above them.