In addition to the usual round of five games, there was also a midweek catchup fixture in the National Premier League 2 NSW Men’s competition.
Some matches were tight, others were goal-fests, and all of them were great entertainment.
Round 4 catchup game: Hills United 3 (Daniel Fogarty 45+2’ 90’, Adolph Koudakpo 46’) Newcastle Jets 1 (Bailey Wells 82’)
Hills ended their five game winless streak on Wednesday night.
Newcastle were the first to go close after Lucas Mauragis collected possession inside his own half and ran straight for goal – his shot was deflected onto the post. The visitors had another opportunity when Maki Petratos beat a defender and cut the ball back for his brother Kosta, with the elder Petratos firing wide. Up to that point, United’s best chance was a Harry Drew miss from Adolph Koudakpo’s cross, however they did take the lead in first half stoppage time as Koudakpo presented Daniel Fogarty with the simplest of finishes.
Having scored just before halftime, Hills then scored within 60 seconds of the restart. Koudakpo was the one to double his side’s lead, hitting the net from close range after good buildup play from Fogarty and Drew. The Jets would push Hills back as they fought to get back into the contest, and a left footed effort by Kosta Petratos forced a good save from Harrick Sinpraseuth. Bailey Wells made the final minutes interesting when he volleyed a Mauragis cross into the net, but it would be United’s evening as in the 90th minute, Fogarty headed home off a great ball from debutant Jacob Lattuga.
Blacktown Spartans 1 (Nathan Separovic 26’) NWS Spirit FC 2 (Anthony Vastag 81’, Duncan Stewart 90+1’)
At Blacktown Football Park, Spirit FC maintained their Premiership challenge in dramatic fashion.
The early going saw Spirit skipper Andy Robertson send a low shot across the face of the goal, while at the other end Lachlan Rose’s curled effort brought the best out of Jack Greenwood. The Spirit goalkeeper however would be helpless on 26 minutes, as Nathan Separovic pounced on a loose ball and lashed the ball into the bottom corner from 30 yards. Separovic then almost inadvertently set up a goal: his long shot turned into a pass for Carle, who couldn’t hit the target. Rose would go close once more before the break, curling a shot just past the post from the outside the area.
Spirit ramped up the pressure in the second half, with Kota Odakura at the heart of their best moments. His free kick drew a fine save from Mitchell Evans, then he skipped past a tackle and sent Stewart away but the shot was wide. Odakura inevitably played a part in the equaliser, by curling a corner kick for Anthony Vastag to score with his first touch of the game – also his first goal for Spirit FC.
Chaos reigned in the final few minutes. Malcolm Ward cleared off the line to stop Abuzar Awaz from scoring the winner, however that clearance would count for nothing as less than 60 seconds later a Spartan handball gave Spirit a penalty. Duncan Stewart made no mistake, sending Evans the wrong way to complete the comeback. Even then the drama wasn’t over, as Greenwood was at full stretch to deny Rose almost straight from the restart. At the resulting corner, Eldridge broke free to head for goal, Odakura saving the day for Spirit by clearing off the line.
Hills United 0 Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2 (Jack Armson 2’, Asmir Kadric 77’)
A solid victory at Lily Homes Stadium for Bonnyrigg means their top four position is nearly guaranteed.
The White Eagles were ahead inside two minutes. Jack Armson started and finished the move: he intercepted the ball, then exchanged passes with Asmir Kadric and Ray Miller before firing a low left footed shot past Harrick Sinpraseuth. Hills United’s first chance fell to Stephan De Robillard after a barnstorming run from Adolph Koudakpo, however his shot was wide.
Miller was inches too high with a 20 yard effort just before the half hour, and the Bonnyrigg skipper would send another shot over the crossbar after being picked out by Aidan Taouil. As halftime approached Koudakpo and De Robillard would combine again, with De Robillard’s header brilliantly saved by Stefan Giglio.
In the second half, Armson could have doubled Bonnyrigg’s lead on a couple of occasions. It was nearly déjà vu when Miller set up Armson nine minutes after the restart, but Sinpraseuth was quick off his line to make the one on one save. Those two were at it again with just under 20 minutes remaining, as Armson found space in the area but couldn’t direct Miller’s cross into the goal.
The White Eagles had no need to worry about the missed chances. Radovan Pavicevic made space on the left wing and crossed for Kadric, who blasted the ball past a crowd of bodies to make it 2-0. Bonnyrigg finished strongly as well – Judah Cleur and Pavicevic both hit the frame of the goal, while Hiyori Kawaguchi was denied by Sinpraseuth.
Central Coast Mariners 6 (Matthew Cahill 18’, Harrison Steele 19’, Damian Tsekenis 30’ 64’ 65’, Cameron Windust 80’) St George FC 1 (Bradley Bartels 90+1’)
The yellow & navy goal machine shows no signs of slowing down: Central Coast have now scored 34 times in nine games.
Michael Katsoulis was denied by Jacob Botic in the opening minutes – the tricky winger didn’t end up on the scoresheet, but he did create plenty of havoc. Katsoulis notched his first assist after a move started by Mariners centre back Dan Hall, evading challenges in the area and squaring the ball to present Matthew Cahill with a tap in. It was 2-0 a minute later as Harry McCarthy collected a Katsoulis cross and laid the ball off for Harrison Steele to find the top corner. Cahill then had a goal ruled out for offside, but it wasn’t long before a third goal arrived.
On the half hour, a Katsoulis corner (there’s a theme developing here) made its way to Damian Tsekenis at the back stick, and Tsekenis obliged by heading past Botic. Max Balard was inches away from making it four when his 25 yard free kick rebounded off the post, while the Saints’ best chance of the opening period came when Mani Gonzalez headed over following good work from Bruno Pivato.
Balard was unlucky not to find the net in this game, hitting the crossbar early in the second half after being teed up by James Bayliss. Tsekenis then completed his hat trick with two rapid fire goals: his header from Louis Khoury’s cross made it 4-0, and Tsekenis played a 1-2 with Katsoulis before finishing clinically to make it five.
Khoury went close to adding a sixth as he was denied first by Botic and then by a goal line clearance from Bradley Bartels. Instead it was Cameron Windust who scored the next goal, bundling the ball home at a set piece. Mariners substitute Kyle Johnson was denied late on by two great Botic saves, and the Saints did leave with some consolation thanks to Bartels, who finished emphatically from Shaqil Ali’s cross.
Hakoah Sydney City East 2 (Matthew Nezval 55’ 81’) Newcastle Jets 1 (Kosta Petratos 18’)
Hakoah remain unbeaten at home after a second half comeback.
Jordan Koton was the first to threaten for the hosts, shooting over from the left side of the area. However, it was Newcastle who drew first blood as Kosta Petratos latched onto a Lucas Mauragis cross and finished from close range. Hakoah had further chances via Koton and Jan Schmidt, while in first half stoppage time Bruno Mendes couldn’t keep his 25 yard effort down.
Kosta Petratos was also too high from similar range early in the second half. The hosts would level the scores soon afterwards – Jack Green found Koton with a lovely backheel and Koton crossed for Matthew Nezval to head past Noah James. Nezval then almost doubled his tally after linking with Joshua Da Silva, but he could only find the side netting.
The Jets would have a good spell, with Mauragis firing wide after an adventurous run from left back, and substitute Sam Donnellan also had a couple of opportunities. They were made to pay for the missed chances nine minutes from time when Mendes showed that he can create as well as score: it was his flick on that released Nezval, who kept his cool and lobbed James. Nezval might even have completed his hat trick in time added on, however he fired over after a bustling run.
St George City FA 5 (Nathan Roberts 17’, Hiten Satoh 35’, Dominic Brischetto 48’, James Letta og 56’, Steve Kuzmanovski 74’) SD Raiders 4 (Anthony Proia 2’, Charles Abou Serhal 16’, Matias Toro Suazo 42’, Noah Chianese 78’)
There was non-stop action at Peakhurst Park, City eventually prevailing to move into seventh place.
As you might expect with a nine goal thriller, it didn’t take long for the goals to flow. 90 seconds had been played when the Raiders kept a corner kick alive long enough for Anthony Proia to score from close range. It was 2-0 just past the quarter hour after Mathew Barkho won a penalty, Charles Abou Serhal picking out the bottom corner from 12 yards.
City immediately responded with their own spot kick which was won and finished by Nathan Roberts. The equaliser also had a heavy Roberts influence, as he got the better of three opponents and cut the ball back for Hiten Satoh to score with a fine right foot strike. However, the Raiders would take the lead into the dressing sheds thanks to another set piece goal: Daniel Bittar’s corner kick was perfect for Matias Toro Suazo to leap above the crowd and head home.
Things didn’t slow down in the second half – they rarely do in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s competition. City made it 3-3 when Dominic Brischetto converted a Troy Danaskos free kick, and took the lead for the first time when Satoh’s cross was turned into his own net by the unfortunate James Letta. The hosts found some breathing room with just over 15 minutes remaining as Tarik Ercan and Christopher Arditti (who had both been excellent all afternoon) combined to set up Steve Kuzmanovski, who rounded the keeper and tucked the ball away. However, a game like this was destined for a nailbiting ending, and the Raiders ensured just that when Noah Chianese beat the defence to Adrian Valenti’s cross.
City’s attack was just too good on the day, and they kept their belief after falling behind early. SD Raiders couldn’t find a way to salvage a point, but there were positives: Bittar (normally a winger) performed well at fullback, and Sebastian Malfara is back from an ACL injury.
Bye: Northern Tigers
By Eric Subijano (@eric_subijano)