We promised finals like action and didn’t it deliver in round twenty-one State League Men’s action.
As we saw a combination of nerves, tight fixtures and high emotions around the grounds.
So, without further to do, let’s tuck in as we feature two games this weekend.
Central Coast United 1-2 Western Condors
It’s not over yet! Indeed, Western Condors have given themselves every chance of a finals position with a win over Central Coast United.
They didn’t make it easy for themselves though, as they left it late after going behind midway through the second half. But late goals to Gustavo Maya Valiente and Chum Him Yau have put the Western Condors into a finals position jumping the South Coast Flame.
For Central Coast United, the champagne goes on ice as they’ll have to wait to celebrate the first-grade premiership. An own goal put them ahead, but they couldn’t hold own and will wait till next week.
Well I promised finals football had come early in the competition and it proved to be the case both at Pluim as well as elsewhere. The first half in this contest was tight with most of the contest played between the two defensive lines.
That just means you need to take advantage of the few chances you do get. Something Matt Crowell couldn’t do in the twelfth minute with his shot lacking the power to trouble the Condors keeper.
The best chance of the half though fell to the visitors. Joshua Obeng was played in behind accidentally, but his shot one on one with the keeper went wide of the right-hand facing post.
At the other end, Central Coast United looked more dangerous from set-pieces although they didn’t create many chances of note.
They made us wait but the scoring was finally opened twenty-five minutes into the second half by the home side, well kind off. A Jack Ragen cross from the right was finished off spectacularly by a Condors centre back in the middle. One hand on the trophy?
Not if Western Condors had anything to say about it. And with their season slipping away before their eyes, they threw caution to the wind.
This of course left them open at the back and if it wasn’t for Jake Jose Mendes in goal, it would be a totally different story as the Condors keeper produced a couple of crucial saves. And they all the more important when just a few minutes later with Gustavo Maya Valiente opening their account on 85 minutes.
Maya Valiente got on the end of a Cristian Martinez through ball before shielding the ball well from Nathan Cowell in defense and slotting the ball into the net.
The momentum was with them, and when they get going. They aren’t easy to stop and so it proved when into injury time Chun Him Yau scored the winner.
Yau (their top scorer) perfectly timed his run in the middle to get on the end of a Maya Valiente cross and got enough on it to send the visitors and their fans into raptures.
The Condors now face Fraser Park at home whilst Central Coast United will likely have the next couple weeks off.
Central Coast United: 1 (Gomes OG 70’)
Western Condors: 2 (Maya Valiente 85’, Yau 92)
Central Coast United: 1. Jack OMally, 2. Jack Ragen, 8. Scott Mcginley, 12. Graham Toope, 13. Matthew Crowell, 16. Nathan Cowell, 20. Yuki Morikawa, 24. Daniel Mcfarlane, 31. Jarred Steen, 94. Oscar Torres Inchaustti, 99. Thomas Lyons.
Substitutes: 10. Alexander Arbelo, 14. Geordie Howe, 21. Tom Marsh, 23. Cayleb Murray, 30. Adam Woodbine.
Western Condors: 1. Jake Jose Mendes, 2. Kizyala Kiemo, 3. David Moreira Muller, 4. Gabriel Gomes, 5. Revedacs Adonteng, 7. Jay Takahashi, 8. Kaito Ikarmoto, 9. Chun Him Yau, 10. Cristian Gerardo Leiva Martinez, 11. Joshua Obeng, 14. Mario Garcia.
Substitutes: 6. Alejandro Arregin, 12. Gaston Roy, 13. Hiraku Takase, 15. Rodrigo Ezequiel Medina, 16. Gustavo Maya Valiente.
Hurstville FC 0-2 Nepean FC
Well, given the previously mentioned result. Nepean FC have claimed a vital win over Hurstville FC at Seymour Shaw on Saturday evening.
Two brilliant first half individual efforts from Nepean attacked Clement Waoci proved enough for the visitors to claim the win.
Whilst Hurstville FC will simply have to avoid losing to South Coast Flame next weekend to ensure they will play finals in a couple of weeks.
Much like everyone’s circulation on a cold night across the grounds, this game took a while to get going with the first opportunity coming fifteen minutes into the first half.
And it was Hurstville FC who looked more likely to open the scoring. Striker Jesse Gagro was causing the Nepean defense all sorts of headaches. He just couldn’t apply the final finish, most notably from a one on one opportunity through on goal.
The game really kicked into gear though when the home sides period of dominance looked to have paid dividends when another Gagro shot hit the base of the left-hand post.
However, that’s when things began to go wrong with a swift counter which ended on the at the feet of Clement Waoci. The striker (winger on the night), showing a turn of pace to track down a ball on the left wing before cutting inside and blasting a shot into the far side-netting.
It became a one-two punch soon after where a switch of play once again found him in his left-wing position. Waoci then isolated his defender, beating him on the inside before beating the keeper this time at the near post.
If we’re honest though, the game was a lot closer then the half time score line (2-0 Nepean) suggested and Hurstville FC looked to bounce back.
And honestly, they did, controlling the field position and tempo of play for much of the second half. Creating chances wasn’t easy as they were running into the wind, which made Adrian Livio’s miss with twenty minutes left when it was easier to score prove more costly.
At this time of the year, even one goal can change everything, and Hurstville FC continued in search of it. And Nepean started to get more chances in response at the other end on the counter. One of which through Jamie Dib, was saved well by the hosts keeper.
It wasn’t to be though with both sides unable to score which sets up a big final day in relation to finals spots.
Hurstville FC: 0
Nepean FC: 2 (Waoci 32’38’)
South Coast Flame 1-3 Fraser Park FC
In terms of the final’s equation, this was the other game of importance. And despite a brave effort against the odds, South Coast Flame were swept aside by a classy Fraser Park side.
The visitors Fraser Park with a gusty wind at their backs started the better of the two sides with usual suspects Luiz Lobo and Matthew Nezval having early chances. And they finally took advantage twenty-seven minutes into the contest when Shu Torihara broke the offside trap before squaring it to Matthew Nezval to finish.
It wasn’t a good start for the hosts, and it was made worse when Matthew Mazevski received his marching orders on the half hour mark.
Fraser Park needing a mammoth nineteen goal swing to claim the premiership clicked into gear scored soon after with a goal to Luiz Lobo with a Dominic Siu assist.
However, the hosts then did well to halt the visitor’s momentum, that being so despite Nezval claiming his second five minutes into the second half.
At this point, South Coast Flame had nothing to lose and put in a respectable effort to halt them to three goals whilst getting one for themselves.
It came from Jayden Smileski who beat two defenders on the left wing before delivering into the middle which caught Ian Johnson by surprise as it floated over his head into the net.
Both these sides will next week be involved in games which will decide the finals picture. With Fraser Park travelling to Western Condors whilst South Coast Flame face a must win clash against Hurstville FC.
UNSW FC 7-0 FC Gazy Auburn
Well, sometimes it takes the pressure being turned off too produce a performance and that’s exactly what happened in this one as UNSW FC thumped FC Gazy Auburn at home to get off the basement of the table. Yep, it’s as comfortable as it sounds and means that FC Gazy Auburn have now conceded sixteen goals in their past three games.
Let’s focus on this one however and once again UNSW FC striker Nima Beik played a huge part. He opened the scoring cleaning up after a Jakub Buris shot from twenty-five yards was saved. It’s rare that you see Marcus Naoum on the scoresheet yet here we are. He made it two with a deflected shot finding the net before the break.
And it Naoum who opened the second half scoring this time finishing at the back post from a Florim Binakaj free kick. Not to be outdone, Beik popped out and scored another two goals in quick succession before being substituted. At which point, Bede Leyland stepped up and got himself a double.
UNSW FC will finish their season against Hurstville City Minotaurs next weekend whilst FC Gazy Auburn face Balmain Tigers.
Prospect United 3-1 Hurstville City Minotaurs
With finals out of the question, pride was on the line for both Prospect United and Hurstville City Minotaurs. And Prospect United took bragging rights with a victory at William Lawson Park.
Prospect United, who hadn’t won in their previous three games before this one opened the scoring inside the first ten minutes through midfielder Poda Da. However as with multiple fixtures this season, they took their eyes off the prize and their opposition struck.
The Minotaurs goal coming through a Riad Agnache header, after not taking advantage of a few chances earlier.
It only proved to be a limited resurgence though as Prospect United came out from the break and dominated the rest of the fixture. And they were rewarded with a goal to each of the Vukovic brothers in the second period.
Stephen’s goal (the second), came through a good combination in the middle of the park before the striker finished off. Then Daniel got in on the act with a free kick which he put into the top corner.
Prospect United have the chance to play spoiler at Nepean FC next weekend whilst the Minotaurs host UNSW FC next weekend.
By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin)