And just like that we have reached the end of the regular season in the 2019 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition. The past six months have provided us with all the passion and excitement that we have come to expect as we look back on the last full set of fixtures.
The final league standings are locked in, with Stanmore Hawks this season’s Premiers whilst SD Raiders, Bankstown City, Gladesville Ryde Magic, Bankstown United and Inter Lions are the five sides alongside front runners Stanmore who will be fighting it out for the Championship.
Dulwich Hill and Hawkesbury City played out a 2-2 draw at Arlington Oval; SD Raiders were 3-1 winners away to Gladesville Ryde Magic; Dunbar Rovers triumphed 4-1 at home to Bankstown City; Bankstown United and Stanmore Hawks shared the points in a 2-2 draw at Jensen Park; Camden Tigers registered a 3-0 win against Parramatta at Melita Stadium; Inter Lions booked their spot in the finals, courtesy of a 3-1 win against Western NSW Mariners in Orange.
Sydney University Football Ground was this week’s venue for match of the round, with Sydney University taking on Granville Rage on Sunday afternoon.
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY SFC – GRANVILLE RAGE 4-2
Sydney University claimed all three points in their encounter against Granville Rage, with 4-2 the final score at Sydney University Football Ground on Sunday afternoon.
Finals were out of the question for both sides heading into this fixture, so it was just a matter of playing for pride as the 2019 season ended for both teams.
Given the downpour over Sydney over the last couple days, the playing surface was heavily affected and both teams had to do their best with the conditions they were forced to contend with.
Uni forged most of the opportunities in the first half with Nathan Sharpley coming close on 11 minutes after his volley from teammate Daniel Barrett’s cross forced a save from Granville’s Samuel Bortolazzo.
The home side had another chance to open the scoring in the 22nd minute after Michael Loupis’ effort struck the inside of the right post before rebounding back into play.
A resurgence from Rage towards the end of the half saw them finally trouble the hosts’ defence.
Rage’s Christian Agliozzo thought he had put his side in front on 34 minutes, however his curling effort sailed just wide of the post, much to the relief of the onlooking Daniel Axford.
That brought an end to the action in the first half, leaving both sets of fans hungry for more following the break.
Their wishers were finally granted after the restart with a goal extravaganza making up for what was a rather dour first half.
Jordan Makridopoulos opened the scoring eight minutes after the restart when he pounced on Bortolazzo’s parry.
The introduction of Uni’s James Tsokos a minute later changed the complexion of the match with the striker scoring a hat trick and sealing the win for his side.
The first of Tsokos’ goals arrived 57 minutes in after he blasted his shot into right hand corner of the goal after being teed up by Sharpley’s cut back on the edge of the six-yard box.
Tsokos’ second and the ‘students’ third of the afternoon arrived in the 70th minute after he stroked the ball past the Rage goalkeeper after being picked out by Panayoti Gotsis’ perfectly weighted through ball.
Tsokos completed his hattrick five minutes later after some pinball in the penalty area which saw Milan Borovina tee up the striker for a straightforward finish from point blank range.
The hosts three goal advantage was short lived as Jackson Warwick pulled one back on 77 minutes with a cracking strike from outside the 18-yard area after weaving his way through several Uni players.
The visitors kept on plugging away at Uni’s goal and were able to find a second with one-minute remaining after Mitsuya Takizawa volleyed in Ryan Sadler’s hopeful ball into the box.
The three points and a memorable outing for Tsokos means that Uni concluded their campaign on a relatively positive note, finishing up in 11th spot on the table with 28 points.
That was the last fixture for Rage in this competition and they will bow out of the league in 13th position on the ladder with 15 points.
National Premier League’s 3 NSW Men’s
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Sydney University Football Ground
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY SFC 4 (Makridopolus 53’, Tsokos 57’, 70’, 75’)
GRANVILLE RAGE 2 (Warwick 77’, Takizawa 89’)
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY SFC; 1.D.Axford(gk), 2.P.Kardasis(21.F.Kerameas 76’), 5.M.Borovina, 6.D.Mifsud(37.K.Sarigiannis 81’), 7.M.Loupis, 10.P.Gotsis, 11.N.Sharpley, 12.C.Hinckson, 14.J.Makridopolus, 31.D.Barrett, 40.E.Jaggers(20.J.Tsokos 53’).
Substitutions Not Used – 4.N.Makridopolus, 25.O.Gibson.
Yellow Cards – 5.M.Borovina 66’.
Red Cards – Nil.
GRANVILLE RAGE; 1.S.Bortolazzo(gk), 3.M.Joseski, 4.M.Chaalan(8.M.Yousif 65’), 5.A.Lajin, 6.R.Sadler, 13.J.Warwick, 14.N.Blagojevic, 17.S.Prasad(9.J.Lamotta 65’), 18.C.Agliozzo(16.B.Mottram 80’), 19.M.Takizawa, 21.M.Luc.
Substitutions Not Used – 5.C.Peterson, 22.J.Shong.
Yellow Cards – 21.M.Luc 68’.
Red Cards – Nil.
Dulwich Hill FC – Hawkesbury City FC 2-2
An injury time equaliser ensured that Dulwich Hill took a share of the spoils in their encounter with Hawkesbury City at Arlington Oval on Sunday afternoon.
The Hawks took the lead early on in this contest with Daniel Morsillo breaking the deadlock after six minutes.
Dully stalwart Josh Sama had an afternoon to remember as he capped off his final appearance for the club with two goals, the first of those arriving in the 15th minute when he got his side back on equal terms.
The visitors replied soon after with Morsillo once again on hand to put his side into the lead on 33 minutes.
All three points appeared to be going the way of the Hawks until a penalty was awarded to the home side in the dying minutes of the contest.
Sama converted the resulting the spot kick and signed off in style in front of the Dully faithful at Arlington.
The point was not enough for Dully to secure a position in the finals as they finish the season in 9th spot on the table with 36 points.
This fixture signaled the end for the Hawks in the NPL3 competition, they end up in 10th position with 30 points to their name.
Gladesville Ryde Magic – SD Raiders FC 1-3
SD Raiders triumphed 3-1 away to Gladesville Ryde Magic at Christie Park on Sunday afternoon.
The all-important victory for Raiders means that they leapfrog Bankstown City into 2nd on the league table and earn the all-important rest period when the finals commence next week.
Edward Yoong scored in the first half for Magic however Raiders’ goal scorers were not forthcoming as we went to press.
Magic finish the season in 4th position on the ladder, they will now face Bankstown United in one of the two elimination finals scheduled for next weekend.
Dunbar Rovers FC – Bankstown City FC 4-1
Dunbar Rovers gave departing captain Andrew Doddy and veteran Paul Orgad a fitting send-off as they dispatched of Bankstown City 4-1 at Hensley Athletic Field on Sunday.
Dunbar’s Aram Tayebi opened the scoring on 25 minutes before Orgad popped up with a belter ten minutes later to make it two to the good.
Nikola Todoroski pulled one back for the visitors five minutes after the restart after he capped off a quick counterattack with a tidy finish.
The hosts scored their third of the contest in the 72nd minute with Tayebi grabbing his second for the afternoon.
They put the game to bed in the 83rd minute thanks to Ahmad Taleb’s effort.
The win and subsequent three points see Dunbar end their season on a high note as they finish in 8th spot on the table with 38 points. Meanwhile, Bankstown remain on 54 points and drop to 3rd position, they will meet Inter Lions in the other elimination final next weekend.
Bankstown United FC – Stanmore Hawks FC 2-2
Bankstown United and Stanmore Hawks could not be split in their affair at Jensen Park with 2-2 the full-time score.
United were first to get on the scoresheet in this fixture, with Dalibor Malesevic on hand to give his side the lead.
A quick-fire double from Hawks’ Peter Yannopoulos and Jonah Caragher after the restart gave the Premiers the lead as they approached the final half hour of the tie.
Lachlan Willmore later cancelled out Stanmore’s lead, his goal ensured that they took a share of the points whilst it importantly tied up 5th spot ahead of the finals.
Stanmore finish at the top of the table in the regular season with 60 points, they now have the week off as they prepare for their preliminary final in a fortnight’s time.
Parramatta FC – Camden Tigers FC 0-3
Parramatta fell to a 3-0 defeat against Camden Tigers at Melita Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers opened the scoring on 25 minutes before doubling their lead in the 63rd minute.
The third and final goal of the fixture was scored nine minutes later as Dean Bradley’s side capped off their season with a routine victory.
Inter’s win against the Mariners spoiled Tigers’ finals hopes as they finish the 2019 campaign in 7th standing with 39 points, whilst Parramatta conclude the season with 20 points in 12th position on the ladder.
Western NSW Mariners – Inter Lions FC 1-3
A 3-1 win for Inter Lions against Western NSW Mariners saw the men from Concord book their place in the upcoming finals series.
All eyes were fixed on this fixture, with Inter needing the three points to guarantee their position in the top six.
A nervy first half saw both sides create chances of their own and it was not until the back end of the half that we were able to see the net ripple for the first time.
Fikret Berisha opened the scoring after he pounced on a long ball before evading the Mariners’ defence and tucking it past Western shot stopper Brock Logan.
The hosts began the second half on the front foot and soon restored parity thanks to a penalty which was converted by Josh Ward.
Mariners pushed men forward in the final quarter of an hour as they went in search for the all-important winner, however that left them exposed at the back as Inter scored on the counter twice to make sure of the points.
Domenico Di Mento scoring the second for Inter while Berisha rounded off the scoring with his second of the afternoon soon after.
The subsequent three points means that Inter finish the regular season in 6th place with 40 points, securing the last finals position that was on offer.
Meanwhile, Mariners’ time in NPL 3 comes to an end as they wind up the campaign in 14th position on the ladder with 11 points.
-By NPL 3 NSW Men’s Chief Writer Samuel Greco Schwartz (Twitter handle: @SamuelGS97)