The first round of the National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition was able to provide us with all the entertainment and thrills that we could have hoped for and has undoubtedly left us on the edge of our seats wanting more.
The derby between Bankstown City and Bankstown United was the match that clearly stood out on the fixture list.
The highly anticipated clash between the two Bankstown giants ended all square at Jensen Park, the newly rebranded Inner West Hawks were outdone at home to Magic, Dunbar and Macarthur could not be split at Heffron Park, the 10 men of Rydalmere escaped with a point at Inter Lions, Dulwich Hill overcame Berries at the Crest meanwhile Central Coast did enough to seal top spot after the opening weekend thanks to their 4-1 victory against Sydney Uni.
Inner West Hawks FC – Gladesville Ryde Magic 1-2
Two goals on either side of the interval were enough for Gladesville Ryde Magic to see off the Inner West Hawks in their round 1 encounter at Arlington Oval.
The experienced Sergio Tarazona came up with the goods when he broke the deadlock for Magic on 20 minutes, but the advantage did not last for long with Hawks’ captain Peter Yannopoulos equalising just before half time.
A quite even second 45 minutes was separated by a moment of brilliance with Michael Gaitatzis opening his account for the season after he headed home Daniel Rigby’s ball into the box.
Gaitatzis’ header proved to be the match winner as Magic closed out the game.
They now turn their attention to a home tie against the ‘students’ while the Hawks hit the road for their meeting with the Rams.
Dunbar Rovers FC – Macarthur Rams FC 1-1
It ended all square at Heffron Park on Saturday night as Dunbar Rovers rescued a point against Macarthur Rams.
An end to end first half saw both sides produce chances of their own with a top shelf save from Rams shot stopper, Stevan Savicic, ensuring that his side went into the break with the score still locked at 0-0.
It was the visitors who struck first in this contest via a sweetly taken Anthony Haddad goal on the hour mark.
However, their advantage lasted just 15 minutes with Dunbar restoring parity via two of their substitutes as Reece Berelowitz connected well with Keanu Harris’ pinpoint cross.
Dunbar will be on the road next week to take on Central Coast while Macarthur gear up for their first home match against the Hawks.
Bankstown City FC – Bankstown United FC 2-2
Yet again the Bankstown derby came up with the goods with plenty of action across the pitch to keep crowd entertained for the entirety of the encounter.
If you blinked, you might have missed the first goal with Sean Robertson giving United the lead with his strike after just four minutes.
The left winger eased his way past two defenders before slotting his effort past an outstretched Jair Fernandez.
United’s lead remained intact for just under 15 minutes before the Lions struck back thanks to Ante Tomic whose shot nestled in the top corner of the goal.
The 2020 Grand Finalists took the remainder of the first half by the scruff of the neck however they were unable not to take the lead before they headed into the sheds.
In fact, they could have counted themselves lucky they did not fall behind again with Fernandez pulling off some spectacular saves to deny Mitch Cross and Eros Bergamin.
The match turned on its head 10 minutes into the second half when Bergamin was dismissed for a reckless challenge.
An uphill battle for Scott Belgre’s side was made worse when Nikola Todoroski put the Lions ahead when he slipped his strike into the bottom corner with 10 minutes left on the clock.
However, a resilient United refused to accept defeat and restored parity five minutes later through Lachie Willmore who headed in Dalibor Malesevic’s cross at the back post.
An off the ball incident in the closing stages also saw the Lions end the game with 10 men with Theo Kofinas the culprit.
United will be playing out of Jensen Park for the second week running when they entertain the Berries on Saturday while there will be a replay of the 2020 Grand Final taking place as City head to Rydalmere.
Inter Lions FC – Rydalmere Lions FC 0-0
A strong crowd of over 1,000 spectators were treated to a high intensity match at Majors Bay Reserve as a 10-man Rydalmere Lions outfit shared the points with a dominant Inter Lions side.
The decisive turning point in the match arrived in the 23rd minute when Rydalmere’s Luca Frasca was given his marching orders after he received his second yellow card within the space of five minutes.
The hour that followed saw the hosts dictate proceedings against the reigning champions with great chances falling to Owen Duke and Nathan Rayner.
John Theo’s side thought they may have done enough to snatch all three points in the dying moments with Nico Paras’ chipped effort, however it was not to be as it sailed inches over the crossbar.
A point with 10 men away from home would have left Rydalmere the happier of the two sides are they now turn their focus to another blockbuster fixture against Bankstown City.
Next up for Inter will be a short trip to Arlington Oval to face off against Dully.
Canterbury Bankstown FC – Dulwich Hill FC 0-2
A dogged performance saw Dulwich Hill get off to the perfect start as they recorded a 2-0 win against Canterbury Bankstown at the Crest Athletic Centre on Saturday night.
The victors by no means dominated the entire clash with the Berries putting Dully’s defence on notice from the outset with Michael Trajkovski having his strike rattle against the crossbar before missing another two guilt edge chances in the opening 20 minutes.
Dully’s first goal of the evening arrived midway through the first half via Alex Nicolosi who made no mistake with his close range strike after being picked out by a cut back from the bi-line.
Paris Svilicich’s side soaked up a barrage of Berries’ attacks after the interval before landing a sucker punch on the hour mark through a perfectly taken Braden Cheng free kick.
Dully will be hoping to make it two from two when they host Inter next weekend while Berries will be looking to get their first points of the season when they travel to nearby Bankstown United.
Sydney University SFC – Central Coast United FC 1-4
A match in which all five goals were scored in the second half belonged to Central Coast as they ran out 4-1 winners against Sydney Uni at Strathfield Park on Sunday night.
The first 45 minutes saw the Pirates lose key men to injury with striker Adam Woodbine and centre half Graham Toope forced to make way.
The ‘students’ finished the first half a man down when Harry Quirk was dismissed for his second bookable offence on 42 minutes.
The Pirates made the one man advantage count after the break with Josh Swadling helping himself to a brace before Scott McGinley got in on the act to make it three without reply.
Peter Crevani managed to reduce the deficit in the 88th minute however Corey Atkinson added a fourth to his side’s cause as they sealed a comfortable victory.
Dunbar Rovers await Central Coast at Pluim Park in round 2 while Uni head to Christie Park to take on Magic.
-By NPL 3 NSW Men’s Chief Writer Samuel Greco Schwartz (Twitter handle: @SamuelGS97)