Our Grand Finalists for the 2019 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition have been decided! Premiers Stanmore Hawks will go head to head with SD Raiders in the showcase event next weekend.
Spectators were treated to two breath-taking fixtures as the semi finals took centre stage over the course of an unusually warm September weekend.
Saturday’s action took place at Arlington Oval as Stanmore Hawks faced off against Gladesville Ryde Magic, whilst the second semi final saw SD Raiders and Bankstown City clash at Valentine Sports Park.
SD Raiders – Bankstown City FC 4-0
It was a case of third time lucky for SD Raiders after they smashed Bankstown City 4-0 in their semi final clash at Valentine Sports Park No. 2 on Sunday night.
Raiders were quick out of the blocks and looked much sharper compared to their counterparts in the opening 20 minutes.
Raiders young gun Charlie Abou Serhal had a night to remember, the skilful midfielder played a part in three out of his side’s four goals in this mammoth tie.
Abou Serhal orchestrated his side’s first chance of the match on five minutes after he played in Damien Smith on the left wing who in turn teed up Anthony Proia on the edge of the six-yard area.
Nicky Carle’s men continued to threaten Bankstown’s defence and manufactured the breakthrough in the 10th minute after Abou Serhal’s effort rocketed into the right-hand side of the goal.
They doubled their lead nine minutes later via the ever-reliant boot of Proia. The striker slotted his effort past Bankstown shot stopper Carl Mcmahon after being picked out by Abou Serhal’s missile of a cross from the right wing.
The hosts continued to dominate proceedings and came within a matter of inches of making it 3-0 in the 34th minute.
Once again, it was Abou Serhal who masterminded the opportunity after his expertly weighted through ball from within his half picked out Proia.
The Southern Districts’ striker rounded Mcmahon before his header struck the post and rebounded across the Lions’ goal line before being cleared.
A late opportunity in first half injury time fell the way of Bankstown, namely Ante Tomic whose volley rocketed just over the crossbar after Lawrence Hanna’s crafty flick pass found him in space.
Half time allowed Bankstown to regroup and they came out of the sheds with a renewed sense of hope.
Two golden opportunities fell their way as they looked to force their way back into the encounter.
The first of those chances fell the way of Jeffrey Issa, his shot whistled just over the crossbar whilst Nikola Todoroski came close to reducing the deficit on 56 minutes.
The Bankstown captain headed Issa’s cross into the turf before the ball bounced up and flew just over the upright.
Any hope of Bankstown pushing this fixture into extra time were put to bed in the 71st minute after Daniel Bittar punished Mcmahon’s wayward kick.
The Bankstown goalkeeper’s botched clearance fell into the welcoming path of Bittar on the edge of the 18-yard area. The Raiders’ number seven dribbled his way into the area before calmly slotting the ball into the goal.
Substitute Mathew Barkho proved a headache for the Lions’ defence from the moment he was introduced in the 86th minute.
The left winger eased his way through Bankstown’s shaky defence on 90 minutes before earning a free kick which sailed just wide of the post.
Barkho completed the rout only a minute later after he cut in from the left wing and struck the ball with venom into the Lions’ goal.
This convincing victory was sweet revenge for the Raiders after they fell short against their rivals in their previous two meetings throughout the regular season.
A Grand Final awaits Nicky Carle’s men next weekend as they look to cap off promotion to the NPL 2 with the Championship trophy.
National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s
Elimination Semi Final
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Valentine Sports Park No. 2, Glenwood
SD RAIDERS FC 4 (Abou Serhal 10’, Proia 19’, Bittar 71’, Barkho 90+1’)
BANKSTOWN CITY FC 0
SD RAIDERS FC; 1.M.Rutherford, 2.S.Irwin, 3.D.Marjanovic, 5.J.Letta, 7.D.Bittar, 8.J.Raiti, 11.T.Saikawa, 16.D.Smith(17.M.Barkho 86’), 20.C.Abou Serhal(6.D.Stivala 78’), 22.A.Proia(9.B.Welch 88’), 23.M.Toro Suazo.
Substitutions Not Used – 10.J.Fahmi, 28.N.Bratic.
Yellow Cards – 5.J.Letta 51’, 8.J.Raiti 55’, 11.T.Saikawa 76’, 6.D.Stivala 90+3’.
Red Cards – Nil.
BANKSTOWN CITY FC; 1.C.Mcmahon, 4.S.Dubocanin, 7.J.Issa(2.A.Savetta 63’), 9.N.Todoroski, 10.L.Hanna, 11.A.Tomic, 14.M.Filipovic, 16.M.Sehic(8.H.Silva Neto 80’), 20.L.Tweneboa, 21.T.Markovski, 72.S.Drewery(29.D.Adjassou 71’).
Substitutions Not Used – 23.A.Ismail, 27.A.Sopina.
Yellow Cards – 21.T.Markovski 45’, 20.L.Tweneboa 90’.
Red Cards – Nil.
Stanmore Hawks FC – Gladesville Ryde Magic 3-1 after extra time
Stanmore Hawks booked their finals berth with a 3-1 victory against Gladesville Ryde Magic at Arlington Oval on Saturday night.
The game could not be split over 90 minutes with 1-1 the score at the end of regulation time.
Magic custodian Kiriakos Tohouroglou was the man of the match in this tie, the veteran goalkeeper saved his side with a host of spectacular saves throughout the 120 minutes.
Tohouroglou was first called into action on 10 minutes or so after he palmed away Angus Chance’s long-distance strike before he had the woodwork to thank after Tim Wohlfiel’s effort from the edge of the 18-yard area hit the post around 10 minutes later.
Arlington fell to darkness around the half hour mark after the lights switched off unexpectedly.
The malfunction delayed the match for just over 10 minutes and seem to have benefited the visitors once play resumed.
They were on the front foot following the restart however Stanmore had shot stopper Nick Carosi to thank after he came to the rescue with a string of impressive saves to keep the visitors at bay.
The first goal of the contest arrived just before half time after Peter Yannopoulos capitalised off Wohlfiel’s cross at the near post.
Stanmore came close to doubling their lead on 65 minutes after Jovan Blagojevic found space in the box for his strike, however another top draw save from Tohouroglou denied the Hawks’ captain.
Just over five minutes later and Magic found the equaliser via a cracking volley from captain Chris Gaitatzis on the edge of the 18-yard area. The Magic striker was assisted by Tohouroglou’s inch perfect goal kick.
Gaitatzis’ magical strike almost came to nothing when Stanmore’s Blake Serafin had his header cleared off the line around the 80th minute mark.
That wrapped up all the action over the 90 minutes, as extra time awaited with the scores locked at 1-1.
The first half of extra time saw Gladesville’s Eddie Yoong miss an open goal, before an inspired performance from the hosts in the second half of extra time saw them blow their visitors out of the park.
Jonah Caragher regained the lead for his side after the ball ricocheted into his path following an excellent solo run from Aydin Kumburlu.
The Premiers third goal of the encounter arrived via the boot of Sam Awad, the veteran headed Nathan Niski’s corner into a cluster of Magic defenders before pouncing on the loose ball and thundering it into the back of the net.
Stanmore will now progress into next weekend’s Grand Final, whilst the defeat spells the end for Magic in this year’s competition.
-By NPL 3 NSW Men’s Chief Writer Samuel Greco Schwartz (Twitter handle: @SamuelGS97)