As Forrest Gump might say, the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. Round 21 had some tight contests, and some games with plenty of goals.
Match of the Round: Hills United v GHFA Spirit FC
Lily Homes Stadium was the venue for our featured game this week, as Hills United hosted Spirit FC.
Hills, wearing a special green kit as part of their Heritage Round celebrations, ended up strengthening their grip on second spot thanks to a 4-1 victory. Captain Daine Merrin sent the home side on their way, before a Daniel Fogarty double and a Wade Giovenali strike took United into a four goal lead. Duncan Stewart would grab a second half consolation goal for Spirit.
It was the away side who made the brighter start, Stewart having a couple of early chances. Five minutes had been played when Shaun Catlin denied him with an excellent low save, and soon afterwards he fired wide from inside the area.
Hills had their first efforts on goal around the quarter hour mark as Daniel Fogarty had a couple of tries from long range, however both shots were easy for Tomi Romic.
The breakthrough came in the 28th minute when Fogarty broke away from a defender and raced into the area, winning a penalty after being brought down by Futoshi Kondo. As usual, Merrin took the responsibility, sidefooting the ball down the middle for his fifth goal in four weeks.
Fogarty was at it again on 35 minutes, trying an acrobatic volley which flew over the crossbar. Kento Sakurai then tried to repeat his spectacular long range goal from last weekend, but his 40 yard chip shot was off target.
The Hills pressure paid off again in the 41st minute, as they doubled their lead following a swift counter attack. Jordan Parfait played the ball up to Alexander Vlismas, who slipped a nice reverse pass behind the defence, allowing Fogarty to dribble around the keeper and find the empty net.
On 45 minutes it was three. Sakurai found Eoin Montford’s overlapping run down the right side, and the cross into the centre was perfect for Fogarty to head home – that’s his 15th goal of the year.
Hills kept it up in the second half, scoring again in the 49th minute. This time Fogarty was the provider, outpacing a defender before crossing from the right side for halftime substitute Wade Giovenali, who sent a crisp volley into the top corner.
Spirit would have a good spell, and Bozanic had a close range effort deflected over the crossbar by Greg Giovenali. Then on 63 minutes, Spirit pulled a goal back when Kondo’s shot was parried by Catlin, Stewart finding the roof of the net from the rebound.
David Perkovic’s side could have grabbed another four minutes later after Kondo’s shot was deflected towards Arditti, Catlin making an excellent save to keep him out.
Hills would regain control, and Romic was forced into two good saves in the space of a minute from Parfait and Sakurai. Fogarty could even have completed his hat trick with four minutes left in normal time following Sakurai’s clever through pass. He got around Romic, but was forced wide and couldn’t hit the target.
The victory puts Hills United in prime position to secure a bye in the first week of the finals – they’re now seven points clear of third placed Bonnyrigg White Eagles. They travel to Pluim Park next weekend to face Central Coast Mariners.
Meanwhile, Spirit drop to sixth, and will look to get back to winning ways in the next round against the Wanderers at Christie Park.
Hills United 4 (Daine Merrin 28’, Daniel Fogarty 41’ 45’, Wade Giovenali 49’) vs GHFA Spirit FC 1 (Duncan Stewart 63’)
Saturday 20 July 2019 – Lily Homes Stadium
Hills United: 1. Shaun CATLIN, 3. Jarrod DODDS, 8. Eoin MONTFORD, 9. Alexander VLISMAS (30. Adolph KOUDAKPO 76’), 10. Jordan PARFAIT, 11. Daine MERRIN (c), 16. Gregory GIOVENALI (19. Glen KELSHAW 71’), 22. Kento SAKURAI, 44. Daniel FOGARTY, 45. Jacob BASDEN (7. Wade GIOVENALI 46’), 70. Myeongsu PARK
Yellow cards: 45. Jacob BASDEN 25’, 16. Gregory GIOVENALI 38’, 9. Alexander VLISMAS 64’
GHFA Spirit FC: 1. Tomislav ROMIC, 3. Jacob HARRIS, 4. Futoshi KONDO, 5. Andrew ROBERTSON (c), 6. Emilio MANOS, 7. Dominic FURNESS (20. Jason PEREZ 68’), 9. Duncan STEWART, 10. Louis BOZANIC (23. Christopher ARDITTI 56’), 13. Pasqualino CAPPUCCIO, 17. Ahmed SWEEDAN (11. Travis COOPER 84’), 21. Lewis BEUMIE
Yellow cards: 6. Emilio MANOS 54’, 3. Jacob HARRIS 91’
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 6 (Ray Miller 20’ 73’, Asmir Kadric 32’, David Vrankovic 54’, Amar Adilovic 57’, Jordan Crighton 75’) vs Northern Tigers 0
Bonnyrigg are now in third courtesy of a dominant performance at Bonnyrigg Sports Club on Saturday night.
Influential midfielder Ray Miller opened the scoring on 20 minutes. Twelve minutes later, Asmir Kadric doubled Bonnyrigg’s lead with his seventh goal in seven games, applying the finishing touch to a shot from Aaron Peterson.
It was 3-0 nine minutes after the break as David Vrankovic ensured that he scored in back-to-back rounds, and this was soon followed by Amar Adilovic’s first goal of the campaign. Miller netted his second of the evening in the 73rd minute, while two minutes later Bonnyrigg substitute Jordan Crighton completed the scoring.
The result sets Bonnyrigg up perfectly for next weekend, when they travel to Northbridge Oval to take on league leaders North Shore Mariners.
Macarthur Rams 1 (Sam Onana Awono 43’) vs Central Coast Mariners 1 (Michael Katsoulis 45’)
Macarthur recorded their third draw in four weeks against a Central Coast side missing a few of their more experienced players.
It was the Rams who drew first blood just before halftime. The move came down the right side, Michael Stojanovski playing a cross into the middle and Sam Onana Awono finishing well.
However, the sides would go into the break level after Michael Katsoulis got behind the Macarthur backline, beating the goalkeeper to the ball and finding the net.
The game was up for grabs in the second half. Central Coast played some good football, and the Rams hit the woodwork, but neither side was able to find another goal.
Canterbury Bankstown FC 1 (Josh Gersbach 42’) vs North Shore Mariners 2 (Claudio Rosano 82’, Mitchell Smith 83’)
North Shore Mariners left it late to get the job done at The Crest, maintaining their five point lead over Hills United.
Despite the league leaders dominating possession, it was Canterbury who struck as halftime approached, Josh Gersbach scoring his first goal for the club since his midseason transfer from Parramatta FC.
In the end, Joe Haywood needed to go to his bench to get back in the contest. Claudio Rosano had just come on, and he picked a fantastic time to score his first goal of the year, making a well-timed run and slotting the ball in the bottom corner.
It got even better for North Shore a minute later, as talismanic striker Mitchell Smith played a one-two with Chris Lindsay on the left side, before firing a shot into the top corner to complete the comeback.
Rydalmere Lions 0 vs Blacktown Spartans 0
Rydalmere Lions and Blacktown Spartans couldn’t be separated in their Saturday evening clash at Valentine Sports Park.
The Spartans had the best chances of the first half through Adam Voloder and Christian Torrelli, while Rydalmere did well to stay in the contest following the early departures of Mitchell Gibbs and Kuot Maliet.
After the break, the Lions went close a couple of times. Rydalmere forward Garang Awac performed well against the club he left midseason, seemingly doing everything but find the net.
However, it was the Spartans who went closest to grabbing the winner. Josh Orchard’s cross was cleared to Shun Tokuno, who fired a low shot against the post.
Despite the stalemate, both coaches were pleased with how their sides played on the night.
St George City FA 0 vs Mounties Wanderers 5 (Sean Rooney 22’, Matthew West 29’, Tai Smith 62’, Noah Chianese 65’ 90+2’)
Mounties moved up three places to fourth thanks to a resounding victory at Jubilee Oval.
Brian Brown’s side drew first blood midway through the opening period. Sean Rooney was released behind the defence, going around City goalkeeper Christopher Marques and finding the net from an acute angle.
Nicholas Sullivan then hit the post for City, before Mounties doubled their lead with what was nearly a carbon copy of the first goal. This time it was Matthew West who would get on the scoresheet, getting past Marques and tucking the ball away to break a long goal drought.
City’s uphill battle became even more challenging after Paul Turrin was dismissed early in the second half, and Mounties took advantage of the extra player.
On 62 minutes, Michael Jeffrey hit the post. Mounties would keep the play alive, the ball finding its way to Tai Smith, who blasted home from 25 yards. Three minutes later, substitute Noah Chianese scored with almost his first touch, holding off a challenge and slotting past Marques.
West could have made it five when his header hit the crossbar, but instead Chianese netted the fifth in stoppage time, tapping in at the far post following a nice run and cross from fellow substitute Michael Cklamovski.
Western Sydney Wanderers 0 vs St George FC 3 (Marcus Beattie 33’, Juan Carlos Romero 69’, Bradley Bartels 90+2’)
The Sunday night fixture saw St George FC record their second consecutive 3-0 win as they convincingly defeated Western Sydney Wanderers at Lily Homes Stadium.
Juan Carlos Romero and Kevin Lopes had great early chances for the Saints, however it was rapid winger Marcus Beattie who opened the scoring, heading home from Romero’s pinpoint cross.
The Wanderers went close after the interval when Evan Tsakos’s effort was deflected onto the crossbar by Alexander Kyriacou. Romero then doubled his side’s lead with some magic, showing great skill to get away from a defender and blast the ball into the bottom corner.
St George FC completed the scoring in stoppage time. Aleksandar Lekoski beat a couple of opponents and although his shot was saved by Elliot Carwardine, Bradley Bartels was in the right place to score from the rebound.
By Eric Subijano (@eric_subijano)