Finals Series Round 1 Review – State League Men’s


Well we have our first victim of the State League Men’s finals series. South Coast Flame showed plenty of heart to keep their season live another week in defeating Hurstville FC at home.

Whilst in the other game, Fraser Park edged out on Western Condors in a nail biter at Fraser Park.

Elimination final: South Coast Flame v Hurstville FC

Come this time of the year, all that matters is victory. And despite having their backs against the wall for most of the fixture, South Coast Flame have condemned Hurstville FC to be the first team exiting this finals series.

As mentioned before, the Flame did it ugly with heart and spirit taking precedence over well worked passing moves. This was perhaps summed up by their goal and eventual winner scored by substitute Yuki Mandai. Why was he on the bench you ask? Well that’s a story for another day.

For their opposition Hurstville FC, there’s only so many times you can write the same narrative. They created the better chances throughout the fixture but a man of the match performance from opposition goalkeeper Matthew White and a lack of confidence in front of goal ended up costing them dearly.

The first ten minutes of the fixture were played very much in the home sides half as the Flame struggled to find an outlet out of their defensive third. And they were nearly made to pay when Hurstville FC captain Paul Gagro hit a powerful shot destined for the top of the net, only for it to be saved acrobatically by White.

It took 23 minutes for the Flame to respond with a chance of their own. A blistering counter down the left led by Louis Connell was halted by a foul. The resulting free-kick saw a Matthew Mazevski free-kick flash across the target.

However, that was aa one-off in the opening half, as Hurstville continued to control field position without an end product. Their two best chances came just before half time, a corner from the left finding the head of Sebastian Coello who couldn’t control his header from point blank.

Before shortly after through another set piece, the visitors were denied on the line with a goal line clearance coming from Darren Jones.

The home side noticeably improved early in the second half and they fired two warning shots on the visitors’ goal. Their first shot on target of the match came 57 minutes in coming from a Wade Wilton effort which for a moment there had Hurstville keeper Matthew Massarotto worried.

This was followed a minute later when Louis Connell squared a ball into the path of Mandai who couldn’t get enough purchase to trouble the keeper.

At the other end, Flame keeper White was feeling it and he did well to deny Adrian Livio from close range in a one on one opportunity.

And for not taking that chance they were punished as a couple of minutes later when Yuki Mandai scored the game’s solitary goal. The midfielder won the ball in an advanced position before making his way to the byline, seeing his initial cut back blocked before curling a left footed effort into the far side of the net.

Seeing an end point to their season, Hurstville FC then pushed for an equalizer coming close on a couple of occasions. Through Paul Gagro whose shot from just outside the 18-yard box stung the palms of the keeper before being desperately cleared and a free-kick which hit the top left corner of the goal frame. And through Adrian Livio who hit his effort straight at the keeper with five minutes to go.

South Coast Flame then nearly doubled their lead through a Johnny Vicoriski shot which went over the bar marginally.

It served as a disappointing end for Hurstville FC’s season which promised so much more just a matter of weeks ago.

Whilst reflecting on the performance of his side. Neil Mineef praised his team, “We were under pressure off and on throughout the match. The boys ground it out and did really well defensively. As the game went on, we grew into the game and were rewarded through the Yuki Mandai goal.”

Match Stats

Saturday 24th August, 2019

Ian McLennan Park, Kemba Grange.

Referee: K. Davies

Assistant Referees: N McCrist & J. Garcia

South Coast Flame: 1 (Mandai 63’)

Hurstville FC: 0

South Coast Flame: 1. Matthew White, 3. Darren Jones, 8. Andrew Christie, 9. Louis Connell, 10. Matthew Mazevski (11. Johnny Vicoriski), 13. Alexander Boardman, 15. Jayden Smileski, 17. Justin Smith (18. Yuki Mandai), 22. Toru Suzuki, 35. Wade Wilton, 39. Julio Mushaba (44. Deakin Southern).

Subs: 4. Daniel Lucas, 32. Lachlan Morgan.

Hurstville FC: 1. Matthew Massarotto, 4. Sebastian Coello, 6. Koichi Ohtomo, 7. Pedro Almeida, 9. Jesse Gagro (13. Costandi Fallas), 10. Paul Gagro, 14. Daniel Maras, 15. Nicholas Kougious (11. Adrian Livio), 17. Aleks Trenoski, 19. Cristian Di Meglio, 20. Rhys Turner (12. Daniel Kocina).

Subs: 8. David Pavey, 21. Anthony Vrinat.

Fraser Park v Western Condors

There’s something about clashes between these two sides. Fraser Park and Western Condors have played out another classic in the State League Men’s Qualifying Final. And it was Fraser Park who came away with the victory despite some nervous moments at the end.

The home side went down early before hitting back with three consecutive goals. Cam Philpot starred with a double before Dominic Siu added a vital insurance goal mid-way through the second half.

For the Western Condors, there goals book ended the fixture taking the lead through an early goal to Gabriel Gomes before giving themselves hope late on courtesy of super-sub Gustavo Maya Valiente. It wasn’t to be though as they were left frustrated come the final whistle.

In contrast to the Elimination final, this game looked like it had goals in it right from minute one. A couple of early chances fell the way the of home side Fraser Park early on, with a luiz Lobo freekick going wide before a shot with power flashed past the left post.

Western Condors were to open the scoring though through a set piece. With Gabriel Gomes making a trademark run into the box finishing into the bottom left corner (not that were sure he knew much about it).

There was plenty of space in the midfield throughout this game which allowed for multiple chances at both ends keeping a victorious healthy crowd entertained.

Fraser Park went about looking to hit back and it didn’t take them long to hit back courtesy of some good work from Luiz Lobo. Lobo worked himself out of a tricky position on the left wing by the byline before delivering a low cross to the feet of Cam Philpot who duly finished off.

Half chances were then shared between the teams all the way up to the half time whistle.

Despite the openness of the fixture. Most of the chances were now coming from the good old-fashioned set piece. And that’s where the next goal came from through Cam Philpot who glanced a header from a corner into the far side netting after 55 minutes from a Lobo delivery.

And the lead was doubled under ten minutes later, this time a delivery made its way through to the back post where Dominic Siu guided his header through a sea of bodies before finding the net.

Needing to change things, Western Condors brought the calvary on with Chun Him Yau and Gustavo Maya Valiente making their way on to the field.

Yau was the first to nearly make a difference pouncing on a stray back pass before rounding the keeper. He then unfortunately seemed to lose his balance and his shot didn’t trouble the keeper.

However, a lifeline was to come through fellow substitute Gustavo Maya Valiente who brought the deficit back to one with a shot from a tight angle after Yau flicked the ball into his path.

Spurred on by the goal, they pushed on without any luck in the latter stages leaving them to face South Coast Flame next weekend. Whilst Fraser Park now look forward to a grand final qualifier against Central Coast United.

Fraser Park coach Renato Jelen was pleased with the character his team showed, “We did it the hard way tonight, it was a proper finals game tonight with a lot of emotion from both sides.”

“We showed a lot of character to come back from a goal down and that’s something I’ve felt that’s been missing in previous games, so I’m pleased about that.”

Western Condors coach Barry Zambrano, “There always goals in these games isn’t there? I felt if there was a bit more time, we could’ve taken them.”

“I think overall, there was a lot of waiting to see what the opposition would do in that game, a couple of soft goals ended up costing us in the end and we’ll move to next week.”

Match Stats

Sunday 25th August, 2019

Fraser Park, Marrickville

Referee: S. Quinn

Assistant Referees: A. Weir & A. Hosnani

Fraser Park: 3 (Philpot 17’55’, Siu 64’)

Western Condors: 2 (Gomes 3’, Valiente 82’)

Fraser Park: 1. Ian Johnson, 2. Talan Myers, 4. Alexis Wenzel, 7. Christian Soares, 8. Dominic Siu (18. Kaito Tokumoto), 10. Luiz Lobo, 11. Shu Torihara, 13. Rodrigo Cataldi, 14. Eric Tomesek, 42. Cam Philpot, 45. Matthew Nezval.

Subs Not Used: 5. Edilson Farias, 23. Jesse Manolas, 32. Maurilio Borri Junior, 33. Miles Beeston.

Western Condors: 1. Jake Jose Mendes, 2. Kizyala Kiemo, 3. David Moreira Muller, 4. Gabriel Gomes, 7. Jay Takahashi, 8. Kaito Ikarimoto, 10. Cristian Leiva Martinez, 11. Joshua Obeng (16. Gustavo Maya Valiente), 12. Revedacs Adonteng (9. Chun Him Yau),14. Mario Garcia, 15. Rodrigo Ezequiel Medina.

Subs Not Used: 5. Hikaru Takase, 6. Alejandro Arregin, 13. Mina Youssef.

Image Courtesy of Richie Wagner. @Richieriches sports shots.

By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin)