In a case of blink and you’ll miss it, Week one of the National Premier Leagues 4 NSW Men’s competition has now passed us by.
It took just 40 seconds for the first goal of the season to be scored. Whereabouts?
You’ll have to read on to find out.
Elsewhere, UNSW showed some ruthless class to go past South Coast Flame, Hurstville FC frustrated Fraser Park once again and Newcastle Jets secured their first three points of the competition.
We on the other hand, trekked out to Christie Park to see two relegated sides in Granville Rage and Camden Tigers slog it out.
Granville Rage v Camden Tigers
It wasn’t pretty, rather gritty but Granville Rage will take it as they opened their season with a home win over Camden Tigers.
It took a high-quality finish from Daniel Bortolazzo on the half hour mark to separate the two teams in an even game.
For Camden Tigers, it was very much a case of “on another night” with and if a few variables went just slightly the other way, the result could’ve been flipped.
Indeed, it was the away side who opened the game in terms of chances when Rajniel Chand’s effort from just outside the 18-yard box was hooked wide of the left post.
In a frantic first few minutes, the hosts threw a punch of their own with an effort from Daniel Bortolazzo forcing an acrobatic stop from Tigers keeper Michael O’Rourke.
Chances were few and far between, with both sides trying to gain a midfield advantage. And when they did come, they came from distance.
The next chance of note came from Camden’s Jordan Cracknell on twenty minutes, when a cleared cross fell to him on the edge of the area. He then launched an effort which went over the bar by mere millimeters.
Then came the rain, and with it came a goal for the home side. Daniel Bortolazzo controlled the ball on the edge of the area, produced a turn to envy before his left footed effort hit the top left facing corner of the net.
From there on out till half time, chances were few and far between as the rain bucketed down.
It was evident early in the second half that not much had changed in terms of the dynamic of the game.
Well so it seemed, before Camden Tigers upped the gears and chances began to flow.
The best of which came first, a quick break down the right wing saw Cormack Stevens whip a cross in. Of which Lachlan Rixon couldn’t turn home at the back post, his volley missing wide left.
Following on from that Anthony Haddad tried his luck, testing Granville Rage keeper Samuel Bortolazzo who produced a good stop at the near post.
The Rage then had the opportunity to kill the game off when Alen Lajin found Mitchell Luc down the right whose ball rolled across the face, nobody able to get a touch. Before Michael O’Rourke produced a tremendous double save to keep the tigers in it.
Camden then had one last opportunity to draw level when Keaton Bate’s running header was glanced just past the right-hand facing post with three minutes to go.
Granville Rage coach Vic Zapia was pleased with the result; “Proud of the players efforts. It was a hard-fought win. They came at us and I was pleased that we held strong. Rounded off with a good goal from Daniel Bortolazzo.”
Camden Tigers coach Rod Henderson was pleased with his team’s effort; “I thought our performance was really good. The effort was fantastic from the lads, but it wasn’t falling for us tonight. We created plenty of chances, just couldn’t find the back of the net.”
Granville Rage will be looking to take that winning momentum out to Prospect United next Sunday night.
Whilst Camden Tigers welcome Western NSW to Ron Dine Stadium for the first time this season.
Saturday 7th March 2020
Granville Rage: 1 (Bortolazzo 30’)
Camden Tigers: 0
Granville Rage: 1. Samuel Bortolazzo, 2. Mitchell Luc, 3. Declan Monro, 4. Dean Rassios, 7. George Issa, 8. Daniel Bortolazzo, 9. Dragan Savic (18. Manuel Angelopoulis), 10. Alen Lajin (17. Michael Zezovski), 13. Jackson Warwrick, 14. Mamady Conde, 79. Rylan Sadler.
Substitutes: 11. Maldeini Yousif, 12. Alex Lamond, 23. Jacob Navan.
Camden Tigers: 1. Michael O’Rourke, 3. Mitchell Green, 5. Luke Bell (16. Keaton Bates), 6. Jordan Cracknell, 7. Matthew Lynch, 8. Anthony Haddad, 9. Nathan Bertolissio, 10. Rajniel Chand (12. Eric McGuire), 11. Lachlan Rixon, 15. Marko Jez, 17. Cornack Stevens (19. Matthew Pace)
Substitutes: 20. Matthew Johnston, 18. Markos Galla.
UNSW FC 3-1 South Coast Flame
Four second half goals lit up a Sunday afternoon clash at Heffron Synthetic fields.
What a difference quality attacking player’s make to a side in this division. Those quality players? Striker Kevin Lopes with a brace and an assist. And Naruyuki Kato with a sealer late on.
However, it was the visitors South Coast Flame who took the lead in the contest through Jonathan Mushaba ten minutes into the second half.
The first half could be split right down the middle. With UNSW controlling the first twenty minutes, best chance coming from a Jakub Buris volley which forced Flame shot stopper Matt White into a save low down.
Before the Flame played themselves into the contest, creating a few headed chances of their own.
They continued that momentum into the second half as well and were rewarded with a goal on the quick counter. Matthew Mazevski feeding Jonathan Mushaba who slotted the ball past the keeper.
That goal merely seemed to wake the UNSW up though. And two stunning efforts from Kevin Lopes were the highlight of the clash. The first saw Lopes dribble forth with speed and launching a shot low into the bottom right corner. Before with ten minutes to go, a slalom run saw him beat three defenders before producing a delicate finish into the far side netting.
The win for the students was complete with five to go when Lopes this time fed Naruyuki Kato who wasn’t going to miss with a right footed curled effort.
UNSW host Hawkesbury City FC next weekend in the 2nd of back to back home games. Whilst South Coast Flame welcome Parramatta FC.
Western NSW 2-6 Parramatta FC
A high scoring affair opened the NPLNSW4 season as Western NSW welcomed Parramatta FC to Lithgow on Saturday afternoon.
And it took just 40 seconds for Parramatta’s Ali Dulleh to score a header from a long-range free kick. Dulleh was feeling it and soon turned provider setting up Neram Yelda to double their lead.
Western NSW needed to strike back, and they did from the penalty spot. James Christie was fouled in the box and Adam Scimone stepped up to convert.
However, Parramatta regained their two-goal advantage soon after when an Adrian Epifanino long ball played in Ali Dulleh who duly finished racking up a double.
More first half action? Don’t mind if we do. And the deficit was halved once again, this time, James Christie scoring with an assist coming from Tom Miller. The sides went into the break with Parramatta leading 3-2.
As Western NSW kept chasing the game in the second, they were exposed at the other end. Neram Yalda opened the second half account from the spot. Captain Chris Godoy Bascur scored a curling free kick “David Beckham would be proud of”.
Before Clement Waoci provided made an instant impact setting up Ben Welsh to make it six.
Western NSW will want to cut their errors out before travelling to Camden next week. Whilst Parramtta continue their road trip down at South Coast Flame.
Fraser Park 1-1 Hurstville FC
Another fixture vs Hurstville FC, Another frustrating night for our reigning champions Fraser Park.
The hosts had the better of the first half. And made the most of it via an Anthony Musumeci strike. The goal came after captain Alexis Wenzel played a ball to Cam Philpot on the left who squared it for Musumeci to finish off.
However, they were unable to hold on. As Hurstville grew into the fixture and scored an equalizer in the second half. Paul Gagro started the move in midfield winning the ball before finding brother Jesse Gagro who cut inside and found Caleb Bartier. Bartier then curled the ball from just inside the 18-yard box into the top right corner.
From there the scorers were untroubled and the home side we’re ruing their inability to not make the most of their chances.
Fraser Park head out west to play Nepean FC next week, whilst Hurstville FC welcome Newcastle Jets to Ilinden Sports Centre.
Newcastle Jets 1-0 Prospect United
Well they all count, Newcastle Jets have made a solid yet unspectacular start to like in the fourth tier of NSW football.
Newcastle Jets took control of the fixture early, controlling much of the first twenty minutes. And in turn were rewarded with a penalty which was scored by Sam Donnellan.
As the minutes ticked on, Prospect United slowly gained confidence and created some chances of their own. And they too were rewarded with a penalty of their own. Stephen Vukovic stepped up, only to be denied by Jets keeper Brodie Volkiene.
The second half much like the first was an even affair, with chances few and far between coming at either end. The closest of which saw Prospect United hit the crossbar late on.
It wasn’t to be however, and Newcastle Jets will look to make it two wins from two against Hurstville FC. Whilst Prospect United, buoyed on by this result host Granville Rage next Sunday night.
By Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)