Round 22 Review – State League Men’s


Well we knew it was an unpredictable competition, and the State League Men’s lived up to that till the very end with the finals positions not sorted till the very last minutes of the regular season.

Match of the Round: Hurstville FC v South Coast Flame

It’s a massive win for South Coast Flame, potentially the biggest in their two-year history overcoming Hurstville FC by two goals to one at St George Stadium.

The result sets up a spicy rematch between the same two sides next weekend in the elimination final. A first half goal to Andrew Christie set up the victory before Yuki Mandai made sure of it midway through the second half ensuring a nervous wait for Hurstville FC.

It was apparent very early on that there wasn’t going to be many chances in this one as both teams struggled to get used to the conditions.

In terms of chances, the closest either side got in the opening 15 minutes was Daniel Kocina who was played through one on one but was denied by Flame shot stopper Matthew White.

Hurstville FC perhaps frustrated resorted to long range efforts, Nicholas Kougious seeing his shot fizz wide shortly after.

Flame were slowly but surely coming into the game and were rewarded before the half hour mark. It came throuogh Julio Mushaba who put a free kick delivery into the middle which was flicked on by Louis Connell into the path of Andrew Christie who finished at the back post.

Chances were still coming at the other end, and Kougious was looking most likely, this time skiing his effort from a set piece.

The scores remained that way as the players went off for half time.

Once again it was the “hosts” who came out the better side after the break but couldn’t capitalize in terms of creating chances. That was until a moment of madness from the Flame shot stopper nearly allowed Jesse Gagro and Kougious to equalize but they both scuffed their shots.

Instead at the other end, South Coast Flame doubled their lead. Julio Mushaba doubled his assist tally by playing it into the avenue of doubt between the centre backs and the keeper. Yuki Mandai then snuck in to tap home.

Two nearly became three shortly after when Justin Smith (Nice name) got in behind and cut it back to Louis Connell. Unfortunately for the young striker his effort deflected wide.

Not knowing the results around the grounds, Hurstville FC then pushed forward looking to get back into the match. Firstly, a tasty ball from the right couldn’t be finished at the back post by Sebastian Coello. Before Cristian Di Meglio saw his shot spilled by Matthew White, only for a desperate Flame clearance to deny him.

It just wasn’t to be on the day for Hurstville FC who were wasteful on the day and met an efficient South Coast Flame. Bring on next week!

South Coast Flame coach Neil Mineef lavished praise on his team, “There was only way we could make the post season, we prepared for this throughout the week and they delivered. The boys showed a lot of heart, it wasn’t the prettiest game but definitely one of the most important in the club’s history.”

Whilst Hurstville FC coach John Gagro was disappointed by his teams attacking efforts, “We were totally outplayed today, they transitioned well throughout today and punished us. We’re lucky to be there given we haven’t scored in recent weeks. Just hopefully the boys step up next weekend.”

Match Stats

Hurstville FC: 0

South Coast Flame: 2 (Christie, Mandai)

Hurstville FC: 1. Matthew Massarotto, 4. Sebastian Coello, 6. Koichi Ohtomo, 7. Pedro Almeida, 8. David Pavey, 9. Jesse Gagro, 10. Paul Gagro, 11. Adrian Livio, 12. Daniel Kocina, 13. Aleks Trenoski, 14. Daniel Maras, 15. Nicholas Kougious, 19. Cristian Di Meglio, 20. Rhys Turner, 21. Anthony Vrinat.


South Coast Flame: 1. Matthew White, 3. Darren Jones, 8. Andrew Christie, 9. Louis Connell, 13. Alexander Boardman, 15. Jayden Smileski, 17. Justin Smith, 18. Yuki Mandai, 22. Toru Suzuki, 35. Wade Wilton, 39. Julio Mushaba

Substitutes: 4. Daniel Lucas, 30. Ethan Lehn, 32. Lachlan Morgan, 37. Preston Ridley, 44. Deakin Southern.

Western Condors 3-2 Fraser Park

Let’s give a bit of credit to the Western Condors, shall we? Barry Zambrano’s team have come from nowhere and earnt themselves a double chance in finals action. In this one, they made it two from two against the top two in beating Fraser Park.

It was the visitors though who opened the scoring from who else but Matthew Nezval, the striker converting a spot kick. The lead didn’t last long though as a Condors outfit full of character equalized from their own spot kick, Christian Leiva Martinez the scorer and the two sides went into the break level.

Fraser Park then went ahead in the second half through the exact same method (Nezval scoring a penalty).

Once again though, the Condors fought back and were rewarded when a counter down the left side which saw some nice interchange passing resulted in Garcia scoring. They weren’t satisfied with a draw though, and they pressed on. Eventually to be rewarded with one of the last kicks of the game by you guessed it, last weeks hero Gustavo Maya Valiente.

These two sides will play out the preliminary final next weekend.

Nepean FC 1-2 Prospect United

This one hurts. Prospect United have delivered a brutal blow to Nepean FC and their now non-existent finals hopes.

Yep someone had to miss out and unfortunately for their departing coach Magdy Andrawes, it was his men who didn’t make it.

Prospect United took the lead early on through Daniel Vukovic. Daniel dribbled his way past the Nepean defense before unleashing a shot which left the Nepean goalkeeper helpless. One then became two through the over Vukovic brother Stephen. He slotted it in from close range from a low cross into his path.

Two nil and with it all to do. Nepean FC had to respond and to be fair to them, they gave it a fair old crack. Unfortunately, though, they couldn’t create enough chance and despite a goal to Jayden Young on 80 minutes. In which Young finished off a passing move with a delicate touch, their season has ended abruptly.

Prospect United coach Darren Camilleri wanted to pay particular tribute to the three Daniels (Farias in goal, Vukovic up front and Mihajlovic in centre back) who were crucial throughout the ninety minutes.

Hurstville City Minotaurs 0-5 UNSW FC

“What could’ve been?” UNSW finished their utterly bizarre season with a victory over Hurstville City Minotaurs at Ilinden Sports Centre. Yep, the students complete the season in tenth place with a positive goal difference (you heard that right). And if not for some rather harsh luck with injuries earlier in the season, we’re left wondering “What could’ve been?”

Anyway, back to this contest. It was once again the Nima Beik show (well at least the first half was). The now golden boot winner got himself a first half hattrick, finishing off a long ball for the first. Then finishing two cutbacks from Des Ford and Daniel Cooper too complete the hattrick.

UNSW then opted not too show any mercy in the second half and scored a further two through Ilan Kessler off a corner and Des Ford who tapped home a Christopher Phillips volley. Special mention should also goto Conor Winn who saved a penalty from Thiago Rabinovich.

It’s a disappointing end to the season for Hurstville City Minotaurs, who only picked up four points throughout the second half of the season.

Balmain Tigers 1-3 FC Gazy Auburn

Balmain Tigers saved their worst performance of the season till their last and in turn went down to FC Gazy Auburn at Fraser Park.

Indeed, it was the away side who sent out their season on a positive note. They took the lead in the game through an own goal from an Ali Al Waeli cross. One became two, before the break from the penalty spot, Javier Diaz stepping up and converting. The win was then made sure of by Haidar Riad who finished off, this time Diaz contributing with an assist. Overall, for FC Gazy Auburn, it’s a pleasant ending to the season after some tough results in the second half of the campaign.

At the other end, Balmain Tigers had chances aplenty but were unable to convert them. A goal from Marley Jackson who finished off from 18 yards after Frank Calgano hit the crossbar from close range was a rare highlight.

Special mention and congratulations should also go to James Barnes. Barnes refereed his last game after 50 years in the job.

By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin)