Three teams – Central Coast Mariners, Bonnyrigg White Eagles and NWS Spirit FC – are set to fight for the Premiership on the final weekend of the home and away season. Elsewhere, there was madness in Moorebank, a hat trick hero in Seven Hills, and a team ending their losing streak in Eastgardens.
SD Raiders 4 (Noah Chianese 14’, Daniel Bittar 45+1’, Mathew Barkho 46’, Anthony Proia 90+5’) Newcastle Jets 4 (Maki Petratos 12’ 19’, Joseph Langlois 79’ Lucas Mauragis 90+4’)
After sharing nine goals with St George City FA last weekend, SD Raiders ended their campaign with another high scoring affair.
Raiders winger Daniel Bittar was the first to go close for either side when his shot was deflected onto the crossbar. However, it was Newcastle who would draw first blood thanks to Maki Petratos. The Jets forward finished well (and celebrated with some acrobatics) after good lead up play from his brother Kosta and Archie Goodwin.
The Raiders equalised almost immediately when Declan Cotter and Bittar combined to set up Noah Chianese for a headed goal. Any thoughts of the home side building some momentum were quashed though, when Maki Petratos capped off a move that started inside the Newcastle penalty area, taking a Jack Simmons pass and picking out the top corner to make it 2-1.
Having scored one with his right foot and one with his left, Maki Petratos then almost completed a perfect hat trick near the end of the opening period, his header denied by Matias Toro Suazo’s goal line clearance. Instead, the sides would go into the interval on level terms as Bittar scored a tap-in from Chianese’s cross in first half stoppage time.
I hope Nick Carle wrote down what he said at halftime, because the Raiders scored less than a minute into the second period, taking the lead for the first time all game. Chianese was the creator once again, getting the better of a defender and squaring for Mathew Barkho to fire home via the inside of the post.
The chances kept coming, with both goalkeepers needing to be on high alert. Newcastle nearly scored a contender for goal of the season after brilliant interplay from Lucas Mauragis, Blake Archbold and Simmons, but Archbold’s shot was deflected to safety. The visitors kept pressing, and made it 3-3 with a little over ten minutes left in normal time. There was an element of fortune about the goal – Joseph Langlois might have been intending to pick out a teammate, however his first time cross from the right floated over Raiders goalkeeper Joshua Glasson and into the top corner.
As we entered stoppage time, Anthony Proia could have put the Raiders ahead, however Noah James saved his effort and Brohym Abdul Massih couldn’t hit the target from the rebound. Newcastle then went 4-3 up when Archbold set up Mauragis, who squeezed a 20 yard shot under Glasson. However, that wasn’t the end of the drama: from the kickoff, Chianese flicked a high pass into the danger zone, and Proia bundled the ball home at the second attempt to ensure the Raiders ended 2020 with a draw.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 4 (Aidan Taouil 15’, Asmir Kadric 42’, Bradie Smith 73’, Radovan Pavicevic 83’) St George FC 1 (Mani Gonzalez 38’)
The White Eagles have soared into second place after defeating the Saints on home turf.
Aidan Taouil opened the scoring on the quarter hour, receiving a pass from Aaron Peterson and sliding a left footed shot into the bottom corner. Bonnyrigg were looking good, and Bradie Smith sent a free kick over the crossbar as they sought to take control.
However, the Saints equalised after Stefan Giglio slipped while rushing out of his area – Mani Gonzalez was never going to miss the opportunity to score into an open goal. The home side weren’t deterred though, and put themselves in front at halftime after Jack Armson’s sensational through pass was finished with a neat dink from Asmir Kadric.
St George FC started the second half brightly: Bruno Pivato played the ball tantalisingly across the face of goal, and a few minutes later set up Anthony Mann for a header which was saved. Hussein Akil also came close to a second equaliser, shooting over from the rebound after a Gonzalez shot was parried.
At the other end, Bonnyrigg were threatening, with Judah Cleur’s 30 yard strike deflected wide of the goal, and Jacob Bandur almost heading a Kadric cross into his own net – the post saved the Saints defender.
The White Eagles found another gear in the final 20 minutes. Smith gave St George FC a mountain to climb when he made it 3-1 by flicking a Sam Gallaway corner into the net. The points were then secured following a mazy run from Cleur. He beat three opponents and forced a save from Blake Tuxford, with substitute Radovan Pavicevic tucking the rebound away.
Spirit FC 1 (Duncan Stewart 45’) Northern Tigers 1 (Shervin Adeli 5’)
Both sides were committed to a full throttle approach in a thrilling encounter at Christie Park, but they couldn’t be separated after 90 minutes.
The Tigers struck inside five minutes. After Sam Wilson dissected the Spirit defence with a brilliant pass, Shervin Adeli rolled the ball past Jack Greenwood to make it 1-0. Adam Hett’s side had further chances to double their advantage in the first half, but Ollie Wiggin failed to make contact with a Jordan Ferrier cross, and Oliver Scott shot straight at Greenwood after being played in by Ally Brown.
To this point, Spirit’s best chance was a Kota Odakura long range effort that flew over the crossbar. However, the hosts were given a golden chance to equalise at the end of the opening period when Abuzar Awaz won a penalty – Duncan Stewart confidently despatching the spot kick for his seventh of the season. Stewart then nearly set up a goal in first half stoppage time, but Louis Bozanic fired wide from Stewart’s cutback.
The high speed game of chess continued after the interval. There was some excellent defending as both teams looked to break the deadlock, best illustrated by Odakura throwing himself in front of Brown’s shot, and Lucas Dawson doing likewise when Bozanic looked set to pull the trigger. Tigers goalkeeper Elliot Carwardine also made two excellent saves, getting his angles right when Michael Konestabo broke through, and making a huge one on one save six minutes from time when Stewart raced onto Konestabo’s through ball.
Not to be outdone by his opposite number, Greenwood displayed the extent of his shotstopping ability in the dying minutes. The Spirit goalkeeper got fingertips to a Wiggin free kick, and backed that up with crucial saves from Nick Drummond and Scott.
The draw means Northern Tigers can no longer win the Premiership, however they can finish as high as second if they win next week and other results go their way. Spirit FC still have a shot at the Premiership, however they will be without experienced defenders Jacob Harris and Andy Robertson after the pair were injured in the second half.
Hills United 1 (Daniel Fogarty 92’) St George City FA 3 (Jason Romero 23’ 40’ 90’)
A stunning Jason Romero hat trick at Lily Homes Stadium took St George City FA to their fourth victory in five rounds.
Hills had early chances to get on the scoreboard. Dominic Brischetto made a crucial block to stop Wade Giovenali, and the United playmaker then set up his brother Greg for a shot which went wide. Steve Kuzmanovski had City’s first opportunities, shooting over after linking with Romero and heading wide from a Hiten Satoh corner.
City made it 1-0 midway through the first half with a move that started just outside their own area. Tarik Ercan and Kuzmanovski combined to release Romero, who made space in the area and curled a left footed strike past Harrick Sinpraseuth.
The home side weren’t put off by going behind and kept creating chances. Adolph Koudakpo forced Tomi Romic to make a one on one save straight from the restart, then Koudakpo and Daniel Fogarty shot wide as Hills looked for an equaliser. However, City were the team to grab the next goal when Romero weaved more than a bit of magic, dancing past three defenders and scoring with a low shot.
Hills defender Eoin Montford nearly pulled a goal back in the opening stages of the second half, only to be denied by a George Salachoris goal line block. Stephan De Robillard and Fogarty also had opportunities but were unable to hit the target. City were under pressure at this stage, and Romic needed to make saves from Harry Drew and Jordan Parfait to keep Hills out.
In the final ten minutes, Satoh nearly pulled off the spectacular when he went for goal from near the halfway line – Sinpraseuth producing acrobatics to prevent the Japanese midfield maestro from scoring. Hills then won a penalty when De Robillard was fouled, and Romic displayed his own goalkeeping heroics to save Daine Merrin’s spot kick.
In the dying minutes, Satoh intercepted the ball and played it to Romero, who spun past a defender and scored to complete his hat trick. Romero could even have netted a fourth in stoppage time but was denied by Sinpraseuth’s fingertips. Instead, it was Fogarty who grabbed a late consolation goal for Hills with a close range strike off Adolph Koudakpo’s cross.
Hakoah Sydney City East 0 Blacktown Spartans 3 (Mason Ireland 14’, Andre Carle 28’, Dau Akol 32’)
The Spartans ended their three game losing streak with a solid performance at Hensley Athletic Field.
Brett Hewit’s side opened the scoring with just under a quarter of an hour played. Lachlan Rose picked up the scraps after Connor Eldridge’s shot ricocheted off the crossbar and set up Mason Ireland for a close range finish. Eldridge was also involved in his team’s second goal, crossing from the left for Andre Carle to blast the ball into the top corner. Rose nearly made it three when his 25 yard effort rebounded off the woodwork, but the visitors didn’t have to wait long for that third goal, as Dau Akol headed in off a Nathan Separovic corner. It could even have been four before the break, but Eldridge had a shot blocked by a defender and Rose was denied by Hakoah goalkeeper Niki Loe.
To their credit, Hakoah took the initiative in the second half. Mitchell Evans was forced to scramble across his line to keep Jordan Koton out, Jack Green sent a free kick over the bar, and Sunny Chang had a couple of opportunities in what was a lively outing off the bench. However, the Spartans would earn a second clean sheet of the season, led superbly at the back by Akol and Alex Gollan. Their best chance of the second period came when Ireland tried his luck from outside the area, Loe equal to the task on that occasion.
Bye: Central Coast Mariners
By Eric Subijano (@eric_subijano)