Round 18 Review – State League Men’s


Round 18 of the State League Men’s competition saw its best shine through.

Twenty-four goals across five fixtures and if you love your symmetry (or have OCD), have we got the competition for you.

Lets kick on, our match of the round took us to Football NSW HQ for the first time this season.

Match of the Round: Hurstville City Minotaurs vs Central Coast United

It’s one of those matches when just looking at the score line does one team a disservice. Central Coast United overcame some early jitters, in turn scoring four goals before the half time break to steady the ship against league stragglers Hurstville City Minotaurs.

The game started off in an open fashion. Both teams creating chances within the first few minutes. Hurstville City Minotaurs seeing a ball flash across the face of goal whilst Yuki Morikawa couldn’t find Alex Arbelo with a defense splitting through ball at the other end.

Surprisingly, it was the Minotaurs who took the lead in the fifth minute. The hosts capitilising on some lethargic passing at the back with Seyfullah Eser the beneficiary striking the ball low and hard into the bottom left corner.

To quote Central Coast United coach Stu Davis, “Things are never done easy by this club come July/August.” And you certainly couldn’t disagree with him given what we were seeing on the pitch. United struggling to string passes together.

Slowly but surely though, they began to stick and the usual Central Coast United began to shine through on the pitch. First came a few warning shots with Alex Arbelo hooking and effort past the far post after finding himself on the end of a four on three break. Then Adam Woodbine forced a good save from Minotaurs keeper Gareth Jamieson whilst Daniel Mcfarlane missed the follow up.

If United scored one, they would score again, and didn’t that prove to be true in a ruthless final fifteen minutes of the first period.

Firstly, Scott Mcginley finished off after the half hour mark getting on the end of the Arbelo head down inside the box for him to finish.

Suddenly the floodgates were open and Central Coast United began to find space out wide. That’s where the next goal came from, with a low powerful cross from the right tapped home by Adam Woodbine at the back post.

The pressure was well and truly on the home side and the scores just kept ticking over. An initial Adam Woodbine shot was saved well but in turn went out for a corner. And from that resulting corner, Daniel Mcfarlane stepped up and scored a header whilst unmarked in the box.

And three became four shortly after when a corner was returned to it’s sender before the ball once again found Mcfarlane who put the game well beyond doubt.

That said, there was still a second half to play and at this point we were fearing the worst for the hosts. However perhaps surprisingly they put in a good shift come the second half which could perhaps set up a good final run of the season.

Whilst at the other end, Central Coast United couldn’t add to their advantage with their best chance coming through Arbelo hitting the bar with ten minutes to go.

Central Coast United coach Stu Davis was happy with how his team bounced back. “We were punished for a cheap turnover early on and you could see they were rattled given what happened last week.”

“Once they worked it out and became comfortable, the quality in the contest told. Most important thing from here on in is winning as many matches as possible, step one was today.”

Match Stats

Hurstville City Minotaurs: 1 (Eser)

Central Coast United: 4 (Mcfarlane 2, Mcginley, Woodbine)

Prospect United 3-2 UNSW FC

It’s been a while, in fact almost two months. But Prospect United have finally stole a victory from the jaws of defeat.

Ok, jokes aside. The victory is very welcome out west and now they are in with a shot of getting a finals spot. About the game itself, well it followed the classic State League template for the season, plenty of goals in an open affair.

It was UNSW FC though who started the better, creating a couple of clear-cut chances (one from the penalty spot), only to be denied by Prospect shot stopper Daniel Farias. And they were punished for not taking them.

Two goals inside the space of ten minutes from Daniel Vukovic and Ibrahim Kerem saw Prospect United grab the ascendency. And as a bonus they both came in similar fashion, coming from a midfield run in which they combined well with teammates.

UNSW needed a response and the students were awarded a penalty with five minutes to go in the half, this time they converted it through Nima Beik.

But once again, they just couldn’t take advantage of that momentum, with Prospect striker Vukovic grabbing his second inside a crowded box to extend the advantage once again.

To their credit, UNSW continued to fight and brought it back to one goal through a Des Ford deflection charging down the keeper.

They couldn’t score again though and Prospect United live another week in the finals race.

Western Condors 3-2 Nepean FC

A spark to ignite. Western Condors came from a goal down with five minutes to go to overcome Nepean FC.

Overall, it’s not been a season to remember for the Condors with more misses than hits. But this will be a game which will stick long in the memory for the club. Having been down a goal with five minutes to go, they scored two in the remaining minutes to claim victory.

But firstly, lets back track in the fixture. It was the visitors who began the brighter and were rewarded with the first two goals. Jayden Young opened the scoring from a header. Before Kyle Jones doubled the advantage.

Hope was restored for the Condors before the break though when Josh Obeng finished off a cross from the right to half the deficit.

And so, it remained till just five minutes remained on the clock. The equalizer came after a shot was parried into the path of Christian Martinez who put the ball in the net. Before the third goal came from Jay Takahashi who finished off a volley inside the box.

It’s a result that further tightens the race for the final two finals spots. Six doesn’t go into two.

Fraser Park 4-1 FC Gazy Auburn

Comfortable wins are oh so valuable in this competition particularly when it’s against decent opposition. So, Fraser Park will be delighted with their three-goal victory over FC Gazy Auburn on Sunday night.

The home side simply blew their opponents off the park in the second period racking up three unanswered goals.

That wasn’t to say they didn’t control periods of play earlier in the fixture though. The hosts opened the scoring within the first five minutes courtesy of a Matthew Nezval goal.

It wasn’t 1-0 for long though as Gazy slowly brought themselves into the contest in classic Gazy style. The equalizer coming from Esoghume Dominic who controlled the ball inside the box beautifully before finishing off.

From that point until the half time break, the game was played on their terms. However, they couldn’t take further advantage and both teams went in level.

Fraser Park once again started the better of the two sides in the second period and were rewarded. Luiz Lobo converted a penalty into the right-hand facing side of the net after Christian Soares was brought down.

They weren’t to be caught this time though as the hosts turned on the style once again with striker Matthew Nezval picking up his second of the night (14th of the season) with a one on one finish.

A reaction was bound to come from a now fired up Gazy and despite going down to ten men, they won a penalty. But Fraser Park keeper Ian Johnson did what a good keeper should do after conceding a penalty and saved the resulting shot.

With the wind well and truly sucked out of the visitors, Luiz Lobo then scored his second of the evening to round a good night for the second placed side.

Balmain Tigers 1-3 Hurstville FC

Touching distance indeed, as third placed Hurstville FC claimed a priceless victory over fourth placed Balmain Tigers at Ilinden Sports Centre.

In a season which has been highlighted by their defensive efforts. Hurstville FC produced some of their best football in this one. Relatively new acquisition Pedro Almeida opened the scoring after getting on the end of a Nicholas Kougious through ball.

The home side rallied and were rewarded with a goal before the half time break courtesy of a Marley Jackson goal. This season we’ve been waiting for something special from Hurstville skipper Paul Gagro. And it’s finally come, the attacker scoring an absolute screamer cutting off his wing. Late on, the win was sealed via Sebastian Coello who finished off with a wonderful individual effort from his own half.

The win is a blow for Balmain Tigers with a tough three games awaiting them in the run in whilst Hurstville FC have now all but assured post season football.

By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin)