The National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition always delivers!
Round Nine was no different. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Match of the Round: Blacktown Spartans FC 0 v Hills United FC 3 (Merrin 34’, Stewart 54’, Giovenali 90’)
Redemption! After going down to Blacktown Spartans in the cup not too long ago. Hills United secured revenge in the best possible fashion beating Blacktown Spartans by three goals, Saturday night.
Two set piece goals either side of half time were complimented late by a penalty in second half injury time. With Dane Merrin, Duncan Stewart and Gregory Giovenali finding the net.
For hosts Blacktown Spartans, it was a forgettable night as they struggled to take home advantage. Still without a head coach, perhaps this result will fast-track any future appointment.
Unlike a certain fixture elsewhere. The first five minutes saw both sides happy to spar with settled periods of possession.
For the hosts, Andre Carle made the first front third excursion of note just after five minutes but despite getting to the byline, a shot was not forthcoming. Their first shot coming five minutes later Nathan Separovic lining up a shot from the dead ball.
This was shortly followed by Hills United’s first opportunity. Top goal scorer Jordan Parfait seeing his snapshot effort saved at the near post from a right hand side position inside the box. Patient in possession, the visitors slowly dragged themselves into the contest although both sides were effective in getting players back in defense.
Perhaps then, it will come as no surprise, that the first goal was to come from a set piece. The visitors opening the scores after the half hour. A corner from the left side, played short to Glen Kelshaw who crossed it to the back post. From where Rainer Smahel headed back across the goal for Daine Merrin to blast the ball into the back of the net with a sweet right footed volley from around 10 yards.
While Spartans went closest through Mark Cindric who turned his defender nicely before shooting from long range, only for Hill’s keeper Joel Tinker to save comfortably.
The second half saw the game resume where the first left off, both sides taking a measured approach in possession. But as games do in this competition, it did open up which led to the second goal nine minutes into the second half.
Darcy Ellem producing a neat turn sucking his opponent into a clumsy challenge. And who else but Duncan Stewart to step up. The striker converting into the top corner securing his 50th NPL2 Men’s goal in the process.
Invigorated by going two goals down. Blacktown Spartans were to create a few chances of their own. Andre Carle making sure Hill’s United defense was alert. Hitting his shot over the bar after a one-two interchange, before forcing Eoin Montford into a block on his goal bound shot.
But their best opportunity was to come just before Hills scored their third. Dimi Petratos receiving a long ball beyond the defense. And shooting over with Tinker rushing off his line.
But it was Hills night, and they managed to score a third at the other end. Darcy Ellem winning a second penalty in the Spartans area. Of which Gregory Giovenali stepped up to convert in injury time.
Hills United host Northern Tigers next week. While Blacktown face a lengthy drive up the driveway to face Western Sydney Wanderers.
Blacktown Spartans FC: 23. Hugh Brown, 4. Alex Gollan, 5. Trent Sierra, 6. Nikola Krljar, 8. Nathan Separovic, 11. Mark Cindric, 12. Richard Blanco, 14. Andre Carle, 17. Perikles Fotakopoulos, 21. Emilio Manos, 22. Christian Nascimben.
Substitutes: 3. Nikola Pintur, 7. Mason Ireland, 15. Michael Jeffrey, 18. Emilio Martinez, 10. Dimi Petratos, 41. Bailey Miles.
Hills United FC: 21. Joel Tinker, 2. Rainer Smahel, 4. Jarrod Dodds, 8. Eoin Montford, 9. Alexander Vlismas, 10. Jordan Parfait, 11. Daine Merrin, 18. Nathan Niski, 19. Glen Kelshaw, 22. Joshua De Rossi, 23. Duncan Stewart, 77. Darcy Ellem.
Substitutes: 9. Alexander Vlismas, 14. Adolph Koudakpo, 16. Gregory Giovenali, 42. Sam Westcott, 52. Jacob Sebayang, 97. Jamal Belkani.
NWS Spirit FC 3 (Kokubo 23’, Lino 59’, Konestabo 67’) v St George City 2 (Morfitis 7’, Mitry 31’)
NWS Spirit FC cemented their place on top of the table with a thrilling come from behind win over St George City at Christie Park, Saturday evening.
The visitors simply had no answers in a second half which saw goals to Geoffry Lino and Michael Konestabo after Musashi Kokubo found the net earlier in the first half.
While St George City will rue some missed opportunities in the first half to go even further ahead. Jordan Morfitis opened their tally before Paolo Mitry once again gave them the lead later on in the half.
It was a match which had a lot of hype in the buildup, and it didn’t take long for the match to live up to it. The leagues fast starters St George City having two early chances. Firstly, through Jason Romero who skied his shot from inside the area.
Before Jordan “JJ” Morfitis struck with a clinical finish outside the area. Paolo Mitry playing a part in the buildup before Nathan Roberts saw his shot blocked. Morfitis right footed shot curling into the net.
At the other end, NWS Spirit were proving to be a threat from the dead ball scenarios. And Abuzar Awaz went close just after the tenth minute. His header cleared off the line. But to reduce them down to a set piece team would be doing them a disservice (more on that later).
Football is full of “what if” moments and one of them came soon after. The Spirit defense, struggling to contain pace on the counter brought down Christopher Arditti. Romero’s follow up free kick, saved comfortably.
And just seconds later, Spirit capitalized on their bit of fortune. Kota Odakura finding Musashi Kokubo with a trademark corner delivery. Kokubo heading into the net to level the scores. Time for another “what if”, this time at the other end. Ahmed Sweedan and Michael Konestabo combining with some fast ball movement to put the ball in the net. Only for it to be called back for offside.
And would you believe it, St George City were next to find the net in response through Paolo Mitry. Mitry producing a wonderful outside of the foot finish from the edge of the area to cap off a counterattack. Morfitis playing a key role in the build up to this one.
St George City then had two further guilt edged opportunities to extend their advantage before the break. Firstly, through Jason Romero who uncharacteristically missed an opportunity when he only had the keeper to beat. Before Christopher Arditti played a give and go with Romero, only to see his shot smothered.
Coming out for the second half, you wouldn’t know that NWS Spirit were behind as they took firm control of the fixture, only to meet firm resistance in the opening ten minutes.
But if they got one, you sensed they would get another. And their first came through Geoffry Lino after some inspired Brian Jamba work in the buildup. Jamba bursting down the right before squaring it to Lino whose right footed effort found the net.
On top, the hosts smelt blood and they nearly had their third soon after. Michael Konestabo missing a tough chance from inside the area after Luke Okuda made it to the byline.
Konestabo wasn’t going to miss again though and so it proved. Spirit making it three, Konestabo finding the net via a slight deflection after Ahmed Sweedan collected the ball outside his marker on the left.
Now sitting on a lead, the hosts were then happy to sit on their lead. Showing their ability at the other end reducing the visitors to only a few chances. Most noticeable of which saw Jason Romero head wide from a far post header.
In summary. A top quality fixture, one that really should have been match of the round (yeah, I know, I’ll make it up to you later in the season).
Better late than never, NWS Spirit FC will face SD Raiders in next week’s match of the round. While St George City will look to recapture winning form against Central Coast Mariners.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Lopane 27’, Auglah 32’, Awaritefe 89) v Hakoah FC 2 (Lobo 5’, Arambasic 67’)
Western Sydney Wanderers consolidated their position in the top four with a victory over Hakoah FC at Wanderers Football Park.
The hosts came from behind to claim an important victory with Alessandro Lopane, Ali Auglah and Reuben Awaritefe finding the net.
Hakoah FC in contrast will be ruing a missed opportunity, as they could well have taken something from the contest. Lobo and Arambasic the scorers for them.
Confidence flowing through their veins after a round eight victory over Central Coast Mariners. The visitors started the quicker, opening the scores inside five minutes through Luiz Lobo. Lobo finishing after the ball was cut back to him from the left byline.
In the early stages, the visitors were controlling the midfield region and it was Lobo again to have the next chance of note who was to have a shot saved. A bit of side to side play inside the penalty area resulting in Lobo forcing a great save from Wanderers keeper Jack Warchawsky who tipped it wide of his post.
However, they were struggling to turn their control into chances, and they would be made to pay soon enough as the hosts played their way into the fixture.
And sure enough, Allesandro Lopane found the net soon after with a lunging effort under pressure after he was played in through a couple of defenders.
The game had changed and the Wanderers were ready to pounce. Ali Auglah next to get in on the action. Scoring in his six consecutive fixture with a lovely right footed finish into the top corner after Lopane cut it back to him from a left wing position. Advantage Wanderers.
At this point, Wanderers were in firm control of the game and took the lead into the break and beyond. Ali Auglah going close to doubling the lead on a couple of occasions early in the second, hitting the bar with one effort after cutting in from the right.
But it was Hakoah who were to equalize out of nowhere. A free-kick from the right finding Marco Arambasic who finished from close range.
And it was the visitors turn to have the ascendency, controlling things but once again struggling to create a chance.
In saying that though, Luiz Lobo went close with five minutes of regular time remaining. Creating some space before rattling the bar with his effort.
However, the hosts were to have the final say, Reuben Awaritefe netting his second in as many weeks. Assist going to Reece Youlley on debut.
That was to remain the score as the referee blew time. Western Sydney Wanderers welcome Blacktown Spartans next weekend. While Hakoah FC face Mounties Wanderers.
Northern Tigers FC 3 (Scott 18’, Adamson 45’, Hodgson 86’) v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 1 (Pavicevic 79’)
Weren’t we spoilt for fixtures this weekend! Northern Tigers claimed an important three points with a victory over Bonnyrigg White Eagles at North Turramurra, Saturday night.
Going into the game after conceding nine in their past two fixtures. The hosts put in a disciplined performance against a tough opposition and made the most of their chances with Oliver Scott, Kealey Adamson and Will Hodgson all finding the back of the net.
For Bonnyrigg White Eagles, it was always going to be a tough ask having played Apia Leichhardt Tigers midweek. They controlled most of the possession but were punished for missing chances of their own at the other end. Substitute Radovan Pavicevic with the goal for the visitors.
After two defeats which saw them concede nine goals, the Tigers finally broke their goal drought eighteen minutes into the match. The hosts launching a counter from deep within their own half, which saw Oliver Scott finish in style after cutting in off the left.
One became two just before the break in similar fashion. Kealey Adamson doubling the advantage with a really good volley.
At the other end, the visitors had chances of their own, Northern Tigers keeper Elliot Carwardine making several top drawer saves to deny David Vrankovic and Aaron Peterson in the first period. But he couldn’t prevent Radovan Pavicevic though, Pavicevic scoring with ten minutes to go, Asmir Kadric with the assist.
As the visitors threw numbers forward, they would then be caught on the counter in stoppage time. Will Hodgson trying his luck from an angle which was unfortunately spilt by the Bonnyrigg keeper into his own net.
Northern Tigers visit Hills United next weekend. While Bonnyrigg host a resurgent St George FC.
Mounties Wanderers FC 1 (Moric 40’) v SD Raiders FC 2 (Toro Suazo 15’, 30’)
SD Raiders have broken their winless streak and in turn disposed of a new look Mounties Wanderers outfit at Cook Park.
Coming into the game, the Raiders hadn’t prevailed since round one. Yet they managed to take a two goal lead in the first half courtesy of two goals to Matias Toro Suazo.
While from a Mounties Wanderers perspective, they put together another improved performance, Mark Moric finding the net just before the break from the spot.
The contest started out in cagey fashion both teams showing their nerves in the opening fifteen minutes. But that soon changed, as either team had chances on goal.
And it was SD Raiders who were to take the lead. And what a way to do it. A passing move from deep within their own half ending with Matias Toro Suazo chipping the keeper at the other end. Want to see it? Sure, you can check his Instagram.
With that goal came a bit of confidence and they made it a two goals fifteen minutes later. Toro Suazo getting on the end of an Anthony Proia flick on from an Alex Malfara freekick.
In response, Mounties looked to bounce back and got a goal of their own before the break. Mark Moric converting a penalty.
A scoreless second half is a rare sight in this competition. But that’s what happened in this one, and not for the want of trying. Raiders keeper Mario Aleksik denying the Mounties of a point late in the fixture. Denying Nathan Manno from point blank range.
SD Raiders feature in our match of the round next weekend, while Mounties travel to Hakoah.
Central Coast Mariners FC 3 (Reec 52’, Kasalovic 83’, Windust 90’) v St George FC 4 (Pivato 25’, Younes 34’, Gonzalez 38’ 90’)
Why do some of the best games happen on a Sunday afternoon? Many a league reporter has asked that question. Nevertheless I’ll do my best do describe one of the upsets of the season so far!
In which St George FC travelled to Pluim and took away three points off the Central Coast Mariners.
The visitors raced out to a three goal lead in the opening period courtesy of goals to Bruno Pivato, Mark Younes and Emmanuel Gonzalez before Gonzalez popped up again in stoppage time to score an injury time winner.
While Jing Reec, Maksim Kasalovic and Cam Windust scored for the home side in a second half comeback.
In recent times, St George FC have perhaps been guilty of not taking their chances. But coming in as firm underdogs with nothing to lose, they were clinical in taking their chances.
Their first goal coming through Bruno Pivato who blasted home from an indirect free-kick twenty five minutes in.
That was followed by two goals in quick succession in and around the 35th minute. Mark Younes scoring their second with a first time shot from 25 yards after the keeper committed, Brad Bartels with the through ball.
Before Emmanuel “Manny” Gonzalez converted from the penalty spot to give them a three goal advantage come half time.
Coming out of the sheds. The hosts came out with a vengeance, scoring six minutes into the half through a Jing Reec header.
That’s not to say St George were chanceless in the second period, Pivato missing an opportunity soon after.
That missed opportunity only spurred the home side on and two late goals saw them draw level. Maksim Kasalovic placing a shot from just inside the box into the bottom corner with seven minutes remaining before Cameron Windust brought things level in the 90th minute.
But there was a twist in the tale and if came in the form of a St George FC winner. Angus Chance delivering a deep corner which was headed back into the mixer where Gonzalez was on hand to score an injury time winner!
Wouldn’t be an NPL2 weekend without drama such as that! St George FC will travel to Bonnyrigg White Eagles next weekend. While Central Coast Mariners face St George City at Peakhurst Park.
By NPL2 Men’s reporter Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)