It was another hard-to-predict round in the National Premier League 2 NSW Men’s competition, as four of the top six teams dropped points.
North Shore Mariners kept their place at the top of the standings, but the weekend’s results did little to make the finals picture any clearer.
Match of the Round: St George City FA v Northern Tigers
Two sides hoping to make ground on the top six met at Jubilee Stadium in our featured match, as St George City FA met Northern Tigers.
A 1-1 draw was the result. The Tigers drew first blood through William Foristal, before City ensured a share of the points thanks to a late strike from Nicholas Sullivan.
St George City were quicker to get into the game, however Steve Kuzmanovski and Kerim Kumsuz were unable to hit the target from outside the area.
Northern Tigers responded, a long range shot from Lachlan Lloyd flying wide of the goal.
Just over 20 minutes had been played when Tigers striker Liam McConaghy went off injured and was replaced by Nicholas Kalogerou, with Foristal moving up front.
City took the initiative, and Kuzmanovski was asking questions of the defence. In the 28th minute he found space following a couple of trademark stepovers, but could only shoot straight at Tonu Liiband.
A minute later, Tigers forward Rory Spiers got into the area after a nice pass from Lucas Dawson, Christopher Marques making a low save.
On 33 minutes, Foristal’s positional switch paid off as he grabbed his first goal of the year, getting on the end of Jamie Lobb’s teasing cross, and volleying past Marques.
Then in the 38th minute, an incident involving Kerim Kumsuz and Tigers winger Ollie Wiggin resulted in Kumsuz being sent off, while Wiggin received a booking.
Despite going down to ten players, City were still very much in the game. Three minutes before halftime, Hiten Satoh did well to bring down a looping cross, however he couldn’t hit the target from an acute angle.
St George City kept the pressure on the Tigers in the second half, and three minutes after the restart Kuzmanovski tested Liiband from distance.
Six minutes later, Wiggin was in space on the right side following some quick passing, with his dangerous ball into the middle cleared by Matthew Mayora.
Liiband was called upon again in the 65th minute, diving to his left to save Satoh’s swerving free kick.
Satoh had another set piece opportunity on 77 minutes, and he picked out Geoffry Lino from a corner, but the header was easy for Liiband to save.
Ten minutes were left in normal time when Marques saved from Karim Moursi, and this save would prove crucial as City equalised less than 60 seconds later. Kuzmanovski’s cross was cleared to Sullivan, who did the rest, evading a defender and planting the ball in the top corner.
Northern Tigers almost hit back straight away after a quick throw from Matthew Warner released Moursi, Marques making another big save to deny him.
The Tigers then went close to grabbing all three points in injury time. Marques was needed again to save from Dawson and Wiggin, while Foristal put the ball in the net, only to be denied by an offside flag.
In the end, the draw doesn’t really help either team’s chances of finals football. Northern Tigers remain in ninth, four points off the top six, with St George City FA one place and three points further back.
Both clubs are at home next week. St George City FA host league leaders North Shore Mariners, and Northern Tigers face off against Rydalmere Lions.
St George City FA 1 (Nicholas Sullivan 81’) vs Northern Tigers 1 (William Foristal 33’)
Saturday 6 July 2019
at Jubilee Stadium
St George City FA: 1. Christopher MARQUES, 2. Sean THOMAS, 5. Bill TSANIDIS (c), 7. Tacettin KUMSUZ (23. Nicholas SULLIVAN 71’), 10 Hiten SATOH, 11. Corey GAMEIRO (8. Alvaro MALMIERCA 61’), 15. Matthew MAYORA (40. Reuben AWARITEFE 79’), 17. Steve KUZMANOVSKI, 18. Geoffry LINO, 22. Jonty BUSCH, 27. Kerim KUMSUZ
Unused subs: 6. Hayden MORTON, 31. Evan DAVIS
Yellow cards: 7. Tacettin KUMSUZ 33’
Red card: 27. Kerim KUMSUZ 38’
Northern Tigers: 1. Tonu LIIBAND, 4. William FORISTAL, 6. Jordan FERRIER, 8. Alexander BROWN (Joel HARDWICK 81’), 9. Liam McCONAGHY (5. Nicholas KALOGEROU 21’), 13. Ollie WIGGIN, 15. Lucas DAWSON (c), 16. Lachlan LLOYD, 17. Jamie LOBB, 18. Matthew WARNER, 21. Rory SPIERS (11. Karim MOURSI 67’)
Unused subs: 3. Jamie CRAIG, 22. Benjamin TAYLOR
Yellow cards: 13. Ollie WIGGIN 38’, Lachlan LLOYD 78’, 6. Jordan FERRIER 86’
Central Coast Mariners 5 (Matthew Hatch 28’, Joshua Nisbet 48’ 67’, Alec Vinci 62’, Mark Moric 90’) vs Canterbury Bankstown 1 (Zac Elrich 58’)
Central Coast bounced back from last week’s defeat in the Mariners Derby, keeping their finals hopes alive courtesy of a convincing 5-1 victory at Pluim Park.
The Mariners started well, taking the lead in the 28th minute after an excellent strike. Jordan Smylie set it up for Matthew Hatch, who cut inside and found the top corner with his weaker right foot.
Joshua Nisbet came on at halftime and made an immediate impact for the Yellow & Navy, lobbing the goalkeeper from 35 yards out to double Central Coast’s lead.
A nice finish from Zac Elrich gave Canterbury some hope ten minutes later, but Central Coast would soon pull away. Alec Vinci headed in to make it 3-1, and five minutes later Nisbet grabbed his second of the afternoon from the edge of the area.
New Mariners signing Mark Moric netted the fifth goal from the spot, and Nick Montgomery will be delighted to see his team pick up some momentum ahead of next weekend’s crucial game against Bonnyrigg.
Blacktown Spartans 3 (Richard Blanco 36’, Finley Hayhurst 73’, Connor Eldridge 83’) vs Hills United 2 (Daniel Fogarty 19’, Daine Merrin 68’)
Blacktown Spartans boosted their chances of finals football thanks to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory at Blacktown Football Park.
Kento Sakurai and Daniel Fogarty would be a constant threat for Hills during this match, and it was the latter who made it 1-0 when he pounced on an error – that’s Fogarty’s 12th goal of the campaign.
However, the sides went into the dressing sheds with the scores level, Richard Blanco breaking free of the defence at a corner to make it 1-1.
The game was very attacking after the interval, and Hills retook the lead midway through the second half through a Daine Merrin penalty.
Paul Hubbard’s team stayed in the contest, equalising five minutes later. Some nice passing put Shun Tokuno into a good crossing position, and his delivery was perfect for Finley Hayhurst to head home.
The decisive moment came in the final ten minutes when Josh Orchard’s header was handled on the goal line by Wade Giovenali. The inevitable penalty and red card followed, and Connor Eldridge blasted the spot kick into the net to ensure a fifth win in six weeks for the Spartans.
Paul Hubbard was pleased by the performance of his young players, and paid credit to goalkeeper Michael Figueira for two crucial saves.
GHFA Spirit FC 1 (Louie Zacharopoulos 50’) vs Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3 (Ray Miller 56’, Asmir Kadric 62’ 86’)
Bonnyrigg’s unbeaten run stretched to five games on Saturday night following a crucial 3-1 victory at Christie Park.
In an entertaining match, Spirit created more chances in the opening period. Travis Cooper had the best of these, firing over the crossbar.
The scoring began in the second half, Louie Zacharopoulos netting with a thumping header from a corner to give Spirit the lead.
Bonnyrigg began to press higher up the field, and were quick to equalise thanks to a trademark strike from Ray Miller, the midfielder finding the bottom corner from outside the penalty area.
It got even better for Wayne O’Sullivan’s men six minutes later, Asmir Kadric putting them in front with a neat finish.
Kadric would show his finishing ability again to seal the win four minutes from the end, another cool finish securing the three points for the White Eagles.
St George FC 0 vs North Shore Mariners 2 (Marquin Smith 65’, Mitchell Smith 71’)
North Shore Mariners extended their lead at the top of the table to five points, a clinical performance leading to their fourth consecutive win.
It was the Saints who created the better opportunities in the first half, however they were unable to break the deadlock.
Wally Savor’s side were disrupted by an injury in the defence after the break, and the match began to swing North Shore’s way.
With 25 minutes remaining, the Mariners won a spot kick for a high foot in the area, and Marquin Smith made no mistake to give North Shore the lead.
Six minutes later, a swift counter attack led to a goal from the ever-reliable Mitchell Smith (now on 16 for the season), and the Mariners were able to see out the game.
Mounties Wanderers 1 (Tai Smith 9’) vs Macarthur Rams 1 (Sam Onana Awono 41’)
For the second week in a row, Macarthur Rams held a top six outfit to a draw.
Mounties used their set piece ability early on, Tai Smith opening the scoring from a well worked corner routine.
The Rams equalised near the end of the first half when they forced a quick turnover. Anthony Haddad played the key pass to Sam Onana Awono, who finished well.
The second half could have gone either way as both teams created chances. In the end, Macarthur were able to keep the Mounties attack at bay, and the sides shared the points.
Rydalmere Lions 1 (Malcolm Omar Dixon 40’) vs Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Mohamed Adam 29’)
Fans at Valentine Sports Park witnessed a stalemate on Saturday night between Rydalmere and Western Sydney Wanderers.
Both goalkeepers were on show in the early stages. Rydalmere’s Harrick Sinpraseuth was at full stretch to deny Marley Peterson, and soon afterwards Wanderers shotstopper was needed twice in quick succession, making excellent saves from Sam Perre and Mitchell Gibbs.
The Wanderers hit the front just before the half hour mark. As has been the case in most of their games, it was Mohamed Adam getting his name on the scoresheet, this time sending Sinpraseuth the wrong way from the spot following a handball in the area.
Rydalmere continued to press, and they made it 1-1 in the 40th minute. Malcolm Omar Dixon showed quick feet to get away from a defender, and he fired the ball past Greenwood with the help of a deflection.
Arthur Diles’s team could still have ended the first half in front, and Adam was unlucky to see his 25 yard effort hit the underside of the crossbar and bounce clear of the goal.
The second half was less eventful, although Gibbs continued to trouble the Wanderers, while at the other end Evan Tsakos looked lively in his starting debut for Red & Black. However, a winning goal was not forthcoming, so both Rydalmere and the Wanderers maintain their position on the ladder.
By Eric Subijano
Twitter – @eric_subijano