Three goals scored in three games, three weeks before the National Premier Leagues 4 NSW Men’s competition finals.
As the weather literally heats up, so does the action in this shortened competition as the top four almost look set for finals action.
This week we traveled to Hawkesbury to see them continue their perfect home record, whilst UNSW FC, Fraser Park continue to go tit for tat whilst Nepean lurk just behind.
Feature match: Hawkesbury City FC v Granville Rage
Another game at David Bertenshaw Field, another win for Hawkesbury City FC. However, such a statement fails to consider a brave Granville Rage side who pushed the Hawks to their limit.
First chance, first goal. While some were still settling down for the match ahead. Granville Rage wasted no time finding the net within five minutes. Asheem Thapa on hand to finish a move which saw the ball make its way central from the right. Thapa’s shot taking a deflection on its way into the net.
Thapa then had another chance a few minutes later, this time launching a long-range shot which saw the Hawkesbury keeper make a save.
At the other end, the home side were finding joy on the flanks through Callum Elliott and Daniel Morsillo. Elliot having their first shot on ten minutes from just inside the area.
However, it was the visitors who had the better of the opening twenty. And they nearly made it count once again, right back Grant Burbage teeing up Daniel Bortolazzo after a great run down the right. Bortolazzo hitting the post with his effort.
Slowly, the hosts were finding their feet. A process accelerated by Morsillo cutting in off the left before shooting from distance, only the crossbar in the way of his dipping shot.
As the game was slipping out of their control, Rage frustrations were beginning to mount. A near critical error following, with ten minutes to go in the first half allowing Emmanuel Ponce to hit the post with his right footed free kick.
Although It was Granville to have the last chance of the half, a corner forcing a scramble in the box, but the Rage just could not poke home.
As the second half begun, it was clear how it was going to play out. With the home side mounting wave after wave of attack towards the clubhouse end. The visitor’s content to sit back and strike on the counter.
A dangerous game, as proven firstly by a goal line clearance from Mitchell Luc fifteen minutes into the half to deny Daniel Morsillo.
Before Alexander Murrell found the net with the best toe poke you will see this weekend from about 25 yards after Gregory Kondek laid the ball off to him.
That goal seemed to do two things. Firstly, it gave Hawkesbury momentum at one end, whilst also opening the field for a counter at the other.
On this occasion however, it was the momentum which won out as it seemed only a matter of time before the hosts took the lead.
And so, it was, Kondek again central in the lead up, putting in a well weighted ball behind the Rage defense for Brad Gibson to run onto. Gibson beating the keeper at the bottom right hand facing corner.
With fifteen minutes plus injury left, Granville were then determined to get an equalizer and created two good chances. Firstly, a ball in from the right which found the head of James Law between two defenders, his header missing right of the goal. Before goal scorer Thapa had an opportunity, again with the head, not being able to find the target.
Hawkesbury City sit in fourth position and face UNSW FC next weekend. Whilst Granville Rage sit last, with a game against Prospect United on the horizon.
Hawkesbury City FC: 2 (Murrel, Gibson)
Granville Rage: 1 (Thapa)
South Coast Flame FC 1-4 Nepean FC
The straw that broke the camel’s back. Nepean FC have returned to their pre-bye form with their first win on the road this season. They found the net through Matthew Crossley and Majid Eslami, both picking up a brace.
For home side, South Coast Flame. They were slow out of the blocks and paid a hefty price, conceding three goals in the first half hour. A goal to Matthew Mazevski ten minutes into the second half proved sole consolation on a forgettable night.
The first goal of the match came three minutes in when a failed clearance fell to Matthew Crossley who finished with a half volley from the top of the box. One became two just before twenty minutes, Majid Eslami slotting the ball past the keeper with a toe poke. Three goals inside the half hour? Don’t mind if they do, Majid picking up his second on the night, this time via his head.
An early goal in the second half for the visitors, saw the result put beyond doubt, Crossley scoring a similar goal to his first. Before Mazevski scored a well taken free kick but they were unable to trouble the visitors further.
Hurstville FC 3-0 Camden Tigers FC
Finals hopes hanging by a thread, Hurstville FC needed to win against Camden Tigers Saturday night. And so, they did, securing a three-goal victory over their visitors from South West Sydney courtesy of goals to Jaefar Al Khulaifawi, Jesse Gagro and Julian Bittar.
For the Tigers, they managed to control possession for sections of the match but failed to make it count in the front third.
Indeed, it was a weekend for early goals, this time through Al Khulaifawi who cut inside onto his left after being fed from the back before finding the net. Their lead was doubled before the half time break, Pedro Almedia playing a give and go with his fullback before squaring it to Jesse Gagro to finish.
The visitors responded positively, winning their fair share of possession. Despite this, the closest they came was a shot over the bar. Hurstville’s win was capped off late, courtesy of a Julian Bittar goal.
Parramatta FC 1-3 Fraser Park FC
The train just keeps on rolling. Fraser Park once again made it back to back wins at Melita Stadium, Sunday afternoon.
Game a month? I meant goal a game. Dominic Siu was the player to open the scoring for the visitors. Pouncing on a Nico Muscio through ball before the keeper could get to it, heading home.
However, things became more difficult for the visitors soon after. Christian Desa seeing red after a last man challenge on Ali Dulleh.
Against ten men, the home side began to control the ball, possession does not win games though and they were caught out either side of half time on the counter.
David Adjassou converted from the spot after Jonathan Green was brought down by the home keeper.
And the same two again combined for the third, this time Green brought down by a defender in the area. Adjassou converting.
Three goals down, it was going to take a massive effort for the hosts to bring it back. And despite an Adrian Epifanino goal (assist for Ali Dulleh) with fifteen minutes to go and Clement Waoci chance. They just could not pull it back.
UNSW FC 2-1 Prospect United SC
If the measure of a good team is their ability to win games when they’re not at their best. Well, UNSW FC are a good team. This week edging past a youthful Prospect United SC side at Lambert Park, Sunday night.
The game started off in even fashion, with either side creating a half chance of their own. UNSW at one end when Kevin Lopes stuck a foot out to block a clearance, the ball landing on the netting above the goal. Whilst Nic Valjak looked to create his own chance from nothing, shooting from outside the area, Conor Winn saving comfortably.
Slowly the hosts gained a grip on the fixture, their best period of the half coming twenty minutes in. Maison Mcgeechan first having his effort saved from a narrow angle after a high through ball found him. Which saw a penalty kick awarded from the following corner. Kevin Lopes stepping up to see his effort saved into the path of Mcgeechan who left no doubt with the follow up.
Perhaps surprisingly then, it was Prospect to have the next major opportunity through Samuel Head who both won and converted the penalty just before the half hour mark. Unfortunately, though the visitors struggled to create from that point on, only coming close on a couple of occasions.
Whilst at the other end, UNSW were creating plenty just not applying the finishing touch. And as time ticked on it was perhaps fitting then that their winning goal was indeed an own goal. Matthew Morosin the unfortunate player to get the last touch as the ball flashed across from the left.
Oh and Des Ford had a good game (at least that’s what he told us).
Western NSW FC – Bye
By Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)