The 2020 National Premier Leagues 4 NSW Men’s Grand Final is set in stone.
This weekend saw to familiar foe’s book their place in the last dance next Saturday at Valentine Sports Park.
No point in stalling: let’s recap the two Semi-Finals
UNSW FC v Nepean FC
Not a happy homecoming. Nepean FC overcame a fast-starting UNSW FC side to book the first grand final place on Saturday afternoon.
In the end though, it is the goals which ultimately win you games. And they found them through Mitchell King and Edward Stewart either side of half time.
As mentioned above, the result could have been reversed had the hosts taken advantage of a couple of early chances. The first of which fell to Josh Chalal who got on the end of a free kick flighted to the back post, his header forcing Thomas Hamilton into a tidy stop to his right.
But their golden chance was from the spot, won by tenacious forward Des Ford who was brought down cutting in from the right. Marcus Naoum stepped up to be denied by Thomas Hamilton who once again made a save to his right, this time low down.
Slowly after surviving the early onslaught, Nepean FC grew into their groove. Creating the next few chances. Firstly, Shane Prasad challenged Conor Winn with his shot after finding plenty of space down the right.
Before Mitchell King picked up his second goal of the season, finishing with his left foot after Jayden Young flicked on a corner at the near post.
The hosts were rattled, struggling to trouble Hamilton further. Whilst Mitch Mclintock tried his luck a few times before the half time whistle.
Things were going to plan for the visitors, who denied the hosts any real space throughout the second half. Which made balls flashing across the area and chance just before the hour mark more frustrating. Des Ford unable to get any power on his header after Josh Chalal found him with a cross from the left.
Whilst at the other end, Mclintock was doing his best to keep the students defense honest, forcing a good stop down low from Winn after a Matthew Crossley through ball.
However, it was from a set piece that they were able to double their lead and secure victory. Nepean catching the UNSW defense napping from a corner, Crossley controlling the ball with his back to goal before teeing up Edward Stewart to finish powerfully into the net.
Heads down, there was no bridging the gap for the hosts and Nepean FC advance to the grand final next weekend at Valentine Sports Park. Whilst UNSW exit the finals pondering “What if?”
UNSW FC: 0
Nepean FC: 2 (King, Stewart)
Fraser Park FC v Hawkesbury City FC
It was not their best performance, but Fraser Park overcame Hawkesbury City at home to set up a grand final appearance against Nepean next week.
In truth, it took both sides a while to find their feet, neither side challenging the opposition keeper in the first twenty minutes.
But when a shot did come, Fraser Park made sure it was worth it. A cross field ball flighted perfectly to find Matteo Pandalfo on the left wing. Who duly controlled the ball, advanced towards the byline before his cross found the head of Cam Philpot, Philpot on hand to head past the keeper.
With their tails up, Pandalfo soon had a chance himself, but his shot slid across the face of goal, going right of far post.
Hawkesbury City needed a response, and they did manage one, creating multiple chances before the half time break.
The first of which saw Kwadwo Boamah-Addai in a good position down the right closed down at just the right time before he got his shot off. Emmanuel Ponce with the lead up work.
Ponce, was central throughout to the visitors attack and he had a shot of his own shortly after. But he could not keep it down as it curled over the top right-hand facing corner. They would try again from range, but they just could not find the precision to equalize.
The half time break brought out a reinvigorated Fraser Park side. And both sides were going toe to toe early.
Fraser through, Shu Torihara after a cheeky set piece move involving Nico Muscio caught the visitors napping, Torihara’s shot hitting the side netting.
And Hawkesbury through Gregory Kondek who hit a free kick marginally over the cross bar from a similar distance to the one mentioned above.
The visitors continued to threaten. And their best chance of the match came shortly after. Ponce breaking the defensive line before placing his shot in a goalward direction. Only to be denied by Patrick Ferrera’s fingertips, saving onto the post.
However, as the game ticked by, the hosts seemed to settle with their best period of the game coming late on.
Cam Philpot hitting the side netting with his shot, Torihara shooting over the bar from just outside the box and Philpot skying his effort from inside the area in quick succession.
But it was a defender who was to score the sealer. A goal-scoring defender in Rodrigo Cataldi who finished with conviction from point blank range with just minutes remaining.
The result sees Fraser Park progress to next weeks grand final whilst Hawkesbury City bow out honorably.
Fraser Park FC: 2 (Philpot, Cataldi)
Hawkesbury City FC: 0
By Justin Smith
PHOTO CREDIT JM Sports Photography