Already week five? As the halfway point in the NPL 4 Men’s Competition nears.
Who are the teams to beat? And who needs to get a move on? Join me as we review week five of this years shortened competition.
Hurstville FC v South Coast Flame FC
In our featured match this week, Hurstville FC and South Coast Flame drew blanks in a physical contest at Ilinden Sports Centre.
On reflection, the result will hurt hosts Hurstville FC all the more having spent a lot of time in their opponent’s half.
For South Coast Flame, well at least they came away with something after one of their more disappointing outings of the season.
From the outset, it was the hosts who looked to gain the ascendency. Forcing the visitors into multiple errors playing out from the back. Whilst midfielders Pedro Almeida and Julian Bittar looked most likely to create something.
Eventually, the first noteworthy chance of the game fell to the hosts. Captain Paul Gagro finding himself outside his defender on the left-hand side. Gagro then hit his shot low, flashing across the face of goal on twenty minutes.
Not good for match reporters, the first half was played largely in the midfield, with both defensives looking solid. Leading to a barrage of long shots at either end before the break.
Thankfully then, the second half opened up.
After struggling to get touches prior to the break, Jesse Gagro nearly came up with an assist two minutes into the second half, flicking on a header into the path of Caleb Bartier, who couldn’t direct his effort goal wards.
However, as the hosts continued to break with pace. It seemed that the Flames defense, and particularly central defender Carlo Stella was always there.
At the other end, Flame looked to have created their first shot ten minutes into the half, but Sandy Lowcock was called offside before getting his shot away.
Dario Borovickic was next to go close for the hosts, his direct free kick missing, flying just over the crossbar.
In transition, both teams seemed happy to give away fouls and frustrations were mounting in both camps as the minutes ticked on.
Both teams then looked to their benches, Hurstville choosing to go for a like for like approach. And it nearly paid off when Jaefar Al Khulaifawi took on a man before curling his effort wide of the far top corner.
Flame on the other hand changed things up, sacrificing a midfielder for an attacker. And it so nearly paid of with ten minutes to go. Sandy Lowcock having an effort blocked into the path of Hiroaki Ushijima, who could not get his foot around the ball from six yards out, missing wide right.
Hurstville FC now look forward to a week off, whilst South Coast Flame host Parramatta FC next Saturday.
Hurstville FC: 0
South Coast Flame FC: 0
Western NSW FC 0-3 Hawkesbury City FC
The honeymoon is over. In this years sole Orange fixture, Hawkesbury City FC came away with a convincing victory over Western NSW FC.
It was a frustrating first half for the visitors, Attacker Daniel Morsillo alone missing two one on one opportunities and a penalty. The penalty saved well by WNSW keeper Jordan Bruce.
But the stubborn resistance was broken early on in the second period and the goals soon flowed. Morilso this time finishing off his chance after a good build up. Followed ten minutes later by Kwadwo Boamah- Addai who tapped home a low cross. And Emanuel Ponce scoring his second of the season to round off the victory.
The home side, Western NSW then had a chance of their own with five minutes to go, but Daniel Baumgartner was denied by a good save from Craig Morley.
Camden Tigers 0-5 Fraser Park FC
Boys against men. Fraser Park taught Camden Tigers a football lesson out at Ron Dine Stadium Saturday night.
The visitors took control of the fixture early on and never took their foot of the pedal eventually putting on five goals.
Indeed, it only took eight minutes for Frank Calgano to score his first of the season, pouncing on a Anthony Musumeci through ball.
Frustrated the week before, Fraser Park were in no mood to let their chances slip on this occasion, Cam Philpot finding a way in behind the hosts defense to double the advantage.
Two became three ten minutes after that one, Shu Torihara receiving a fine cross, before driving low into the “onion bag”.
The dominance continued after the break, Musumeci finishing off into an open net, the keeper occupied by Philpot. And the win was round off with a minute to go. Jonathon Green tapping home after Camden keeper did well to deny Lionel Glorieux and Philpot in the buildup.
Nepean FC 1-3 UNSW FC
Well they certainly past their test, didn’t they? UNSW FC secured a big win over fellow league challengers Nepean FC.
In a clash highlighted by a moment of Kevin Lopes brilliance, the students put in a gritty performance to overcome both their hosts and the elements.
Having relied on a few early Connor Winn saves, it took until the 40th minute for Lopes to strike. The striker controlling a header put slightly behind him with the outside of his foot, before taking two touches and finishing as coolly as you like.
With momentum behind them, they then doubled the lead. Captain Luke Burke finishing from close range, assisted by a Matt Cuda free kick.
Although that lead would soon be halved just before the break, Mitchell King finding himself free in the box, heading home.
It would be to no avail however, as the second half despite being a more open affair only resulted in the one goal.
A Des Ford strike with fifteen minutes remaining on the clock. Assisted by a pin-point Marcus Naoum cross which allowed Ford to peel of his man at the back post.
Parramatta FC 2-0 Prospect United SC
Parramatta FC showed enough to see off a brave Prospect United in our sole Sunday afternoon clash.
Coming into the clash following an involuntary week off, the home side made a positive start. And they were rewarded with a superb Ali Dulleh strike from 25 yards breaking the deadlock. The home side then went on to create a few more chances but Prospect United keeper Mario Farias was up to the task.
Game of two halves? In response, the visitors mounted a sustained offensive on the Parramatta goal. The only problem? They are lacking the cutting edge that their hosts showed. As things got desperate, the visitors were left exposed and Parramatta struck. Michael Martinovic getting on the end of a late counterattack to make it two.
Parramatta FC travel to South Coast Flame next weekend whilst Prospect United host Hawkesbury City FC.
Granville Rage – Bye
By Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)