It just keeps getting better! The first set of reverse fixtures in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition threw up everything we have come to expect and more.
Western Sydney Wanderers claimed a statement victory in our match of the round. While Hakoah FC ensured there isn’t much breathing room at the top.
So, strap in, it’s going to be an enthralling run home.
Match of the Round: Western Sydney Wanderers FC 4 (Auglah 16’, Awaritefe 72’ 88’, Grozos 90’) v Central Coast Mariners 0
Western Sydney Wanderers bounced back to winning ways in the best fashion possible overcoming Central Coast Mariners, Saturday afternoon.
Substitute Reuban Awaritefe came off the bench to score a brace after Ali Auglah continued his scoring streak earlier and Kosta Grozos found the net late in stoppage time. The Wanderers face St George FC next weekend.
Don’t be fooled by the score line, Central Coast Mariners were unlucky to walk away without a goal in this one. Wanderers keeper Jack Warshawsky putting in a strong performance to deny them. Central Coast Mariners return home to play Mounties Wanderers next weekend.
And it was them who started the match positively making the first few meaningful incursions into the opposition area. Matthew Hatch, Jing Reec and Louis Khoury all having chances of their own, yet Warshawsky remained untroubled.
But the Wanderers soon settled and created chances for themselves in and around the tenth minute. Badolato going closest almost capitalizing on a defensive error. His effort forcing Zenden Hart into a sharp save.
Soon followed by another few opportunities which threatened the Mariners goal, Cancar and Mostofi threatening from close range.
Yet they were vulnerable on the counter and they were nearly made to pay. Jing Reec hitting the crossbar/woodwork with his shot from long range. Which couldn’t be finished by Hatch off balance.
And it was the visitors who would be made to pay shortly after through who else but Ali Auglah. The wide attacker empathetically heading home from a corner into the right side of the net.
A goal up, the hosts then began to play with confidence. Auglah nearly making it two shortly after from a free kick which hit the bar.
However, the Mariners did respond and were perhaps unlucky to not find an equalizer when Gideon Arok used his body cleverly before forcing a save.
That response continued after the break, as they pinned their hosts in the defensive third early. Matthew Hatch forcing Warshawsky into an early save with his shot from an angle. While Harry McCarthy saw his poking effort denied after playing a one-two into the box.
But the home side stood firm and were rewarded twenty-five minutes into the second half. Substitute Reuban Awaritefe dribbling down the right wing before slipping his effort home from an angle.
With the Mariners trying to create at the other end. Suddenly the Wanderers had space to play with on the counter. Ali Auglah next to get in behind before crossing to Awaritefe who scored his second with a few minutes remaining.
Three then became four in injury time. Kosta Grozos finding the net with a low free kick after Cameron Windust saw red in the lead up for a last man foul.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC: 20. Jack Warshawsky, 3. Phillip Cancar, 4. Mohamed Al Taay, 7. Jarrod Carluccio, 8. Alexander Badolato, 9. Ali Auglah, 12. Nectarios Triantis (19. Bilal Chicane), 13. Aiden Mostofi (10. Reuban Awaritefe), 14. Allesandro Lopane (22. Dean Pelekanos), 23. Kosta Grozos, 29. Daniel Wilmering (21. Issac Hovar).
Central Coast Mariners FC: 1. Zenden Hart, 5. Matthew Hatch, 6. James Bayliss (7. Michael Katsoulis), 8. Bradley Tapp (35. Joshua Hong), 9. Matthew Cahill (12. Louis Khoury), 11. Harry McCarthy, 15. Cameron Windust, 16. Maximilien Balard (33. Garang Kuol), 17. Gideon Arok (26. Maksim Kasalovic), 21. Jing Reec, 22. Jacob Farrell.
Match Report: Hakoah FC 2 (Arambasic 22’, Lobo 68’) v Northern Tigers FC 1 (Lloyd 59’)
Hakoah FC scored a vital victory over Northern Tigers in a physical encounter, Sunday afternoon.
Happy to concede possession, the hosts were happy to sit back and counter when the opportunity arose. And they were rewarded with a goal either side of half time through Marco Arambasic and Luiz Lobo.
Whilst for Northern Tigers, they will look back on some really good chances throughout the match and wonder what could have been. Lachlan Lloyd scoring a second half goal for them.
Showing no signs of tiredness after a midweek cup fixture. The Tigers clicked into their pattern of play early, going close inside five minutes. Joseph Fox with the near post run putting his first time shot wide under pressure after a cross came in from the left.
Coming up against the leagues best defense at one of the tougher venues to travel too, chances would be few and far between for the visitors in the first period. While at the other end, the hosts were starting to mount some attacks of their own.
Rewarded just after the twentieth minute from a set piece. Mitchell Knight launching a long throw into the box which was finished off at the near post by Marco Arambasic. Advantage Hakoah.
In response, Northern Tigers created their best chance soon after. Bailey Rule playing a one-two to get himself to the byline before squaring it to Lachlan Lloyd whose goal bound effort cannoned into the back of a teammate.
While Luiz Lobo did his best to make it two at the other end, forcing Tiger’s keeper Elliot Carwardine into a top drawer save four minutes before the half.
After the break, the game continued in the established pattern. This time however, Hakoah kicked off the half in terms of chances, Sapsford going close with his header over the bar from a James Demetriou corner.
Lachlan Hughes was next in line with the Tigers response following that, a quick counter down the right resulting in a square ball to Hughes on the edge of the box who fired it over.
That was to be the first of a few counter attacks which resulted in good chances for the visitors the next resulting in a Lachlan Lloyd goal. Lloyd finishing from a right side position inside the box.
But their parity would be short lived. The hosts restoring their lead nine minutes later through Luiz Lobo. Lobo finishing from the edge of the area after a late run saw him in space. Zachary Sapsford with the assist from wide left.
As the away side threw caution to the wind, chances started coming at an accelerated rate, Luiz Lobo and Dominic Cox nearly making it three following.
While the Tigers best chance came through Oliver Scott who missed a back post header from a free kick in a dangerous position. His header going over the bar.
But it was to finish 2-1 and in turn, Hakoah jumped over their opponents into the coveted fourth spot after twelve rounds. There’s a long way to go though, so buckle in, its going to be a wild ride!
St George City 5 (Romero 4‘ 53‘ 83‘, Roberts 59‘, JC Romero 62’) v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 2 (Peterson 28‘, Miller 64‘)
St George City reclaimed their spot at the top of the NPL2 men’s table with a three goal victory over Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
After a couple of close calls in consecutive weekends, the three goal margin was certainly welcome for St George City who found the net through usual subjects of Jason Romero, Juan Carlos Romero and Nathan Roberts.
For Bonnyrigg White Eagles, its another defeat in a season which has quickly slipped away from them. Aaron Peterson converted from the penalty spot before Ray Miller scored a wonderful free-kick for their second.
You could be forgiven for fearing the worst for the visitors when Jason Romero opened the scores four minutes in, after Jordan Morfitis won the ball in an advanced position in the lead up.
But credit to them, they hung in tough. Rewarded via a goal from Aaron Peterson who slotted home a penalty before the half hour mark. After which the hosts saw a penalty of their own saved.
They weren’t to be denied a second time though, Romero stepping up to the spot again after the break to put the home side in the lead.
That goal opened the floodgates with three more goals coming in quick succession. Nathan Roberts with the first after a Romero shot was parried into his path.
Juan Carlos Romero next up with his sides fourth after Morfitis found him with a cross.
Before Bonnyrigg struck back in style. Ray Miller hitting a peach of a free kick into the top corner of the net.
A comeback wasn’t to be however, Jason Romero on the end of a wonderful team move to complete his hat trick late on.
St George City face Blacktown Spartans at home next weekend. While Bonnyrigg welcome SD Raiders for a local derby.
SD Raiders FC 3 (Toro Suazo 13’27’, Ahmed-Shaibu 89’) v Hills United FC 3 (Parfait 58’, Koudakpo 65’, Stewart 80’)
SD Raiders and Hills United had to share the points after a see-sawing affair at Ernie Smith Reserve, Saturday night.
It will be viewed as a missed opportunity to take the points for both sides after both teams led at some point. SD Raiders found the net through Lukman Ahmed-Shaibu late and a Matias Toro Suazo brace.
While Hills United took a different route with three different goal scorers. Jordan Parfait, Adolph Koudakpo and Duncan Stewart finding the net in a second half comeback which nearly secured them three points.
Described as a great game for the neutral. SD Raiders took a two goal lead in the first half. And of course, it was through instagram star Matias Toro Suazo who grabbed both goals.
The first after an end to end passing move that started in their own box before finishing at the other end. Toro Suazo on the end of an Adrian Valenti cross from the left.
Of which was followed up with another impressive effort, this time a free-kick which soared into the net from 20-25 metres.
Needing things to improve, Hills United coach John Gibson rung the changes at half time. And it oh so nearly paid off. Jordan Parfait with the first finishing powerfully after a goal mouth scramble.
Adolph Koudakpo with the second, a header from a Glen Kelshaw cross. Before Duncan Stewart put them into the lead, beating the offside trap before slotting it home underneath the goalkeeper.
Up a man and a goal, at this point you would expect them to come away with the win, no?
About that… The most dramatic league in NSW had one final twist in this one. And it came through Lukman Ahmed-Shaibu who rescued a point for the host with a one touch finish from the edge of the area on the half volley.
SD Raiders face Bonnyrigg White Eagles next weekend while Hills host Hakoah FC.
St George FC 0 v NWS Spirit FC 2 (Konestabo 32’, Lino 71’)
Back to winning ways. After a tough week which saw them lose two on the bounce. NWS Spirit put in a professional performance to overcome St George FC. Their goals coming from Michael Konestabo and Geoffry Lino.
Whilst for St George FC, a full week on the training ground awaits them after a disrupted couple of weeks involving cup duties.
Backing up from a cup game midweek, the home side were just a bit sluggish in the opening period. Spirit controlling proceedings throughout. And they were rewarded by a Michael Konestabo goal just after the half hour mark. Konestabo finishing with a low volley after the hosts failed to clear their lines from a corner.
After the break, the contest evened up and St George started to create chances of their own. But lacking a traditional number nine, they struggled to capitalize despite going close on a few occasions. And they were punished as Spirit doubled their lead twenty-five minutes into the second half. Geoffry Lino capitalizing on a defensive mistake, applying a finish between the keepers’ legs.
NWS Spirit FC host our match of the round next weekend in the local derby against Northern Tigers. While St George FC will look to bounce back when they travel to Rooty Hill to face Western Sydney Wanderers.
Mounties Wanderers FC 2 (Pelekanos 21’, Taouil 42’) v Blacktown Spartans FC 2 (Carle 47’, Pintur 73’)
Mounties Wanderers and Blacktown Spartans shared the points on a chilly evening in Sydney’s west.
It’s the first point for Mounties since the reverse fixture. And a deserved one having showed an improved performance. Peter Pelekanos and Andre Taouil found the net for them.
In a game where they could have used their own changeroom down the driveway (hey it would be no different to playing at Hensley right?), the Spartans started slowly before rescuing a point after the break, through goals to Andre Carle and Nikola Pintur.
The first half of the contest saw the hosts put in a good shift all over the park. Their first chance coming through Mark Moric who was played in behind from a left wing position, his shot missing at the near post.
At the other end, Andre Carle then went close for the visitors, but his shot missed to the right of the goal.
As so happens in football though, they were made to pay by the home side. Peter Pelekanos picking up the scraps after a flick on from a corner was parried into his path.
In response, Blacktown Spartans were having their best period of the half, their best chance of the opening period seeing Perikles Fotakopoulos force Mounties keeper Robert Fanella to tip the ball over the bar from a header.
The set piece was proving to be the home sides best outlet and they doubled their lead before the break. Andre Taouil producing a magnificent header from outside the area into an open net after the keeper cleared beforehand.
Following the half time interval, the away side responded in quick fashion, opening their tally within the first few minutes. A deep cross finding Andre Carle in the area who headed home from around the penalty spot.
And all of a sudden, the Spartans were having the lion share of goal chances, Nathan Separovic and Mason Ireland both going close from a free-kick and close range header, respectively.
Eventually though, the pressure told with a little less than twenty minutes remaining, an emphatic Nikola Pintur header from a set piece ensuring the equalizer.
With their lead no longer intact, the Mounties responded positively creating a couple of second half chances of their own. Pelekanos and Josh Bartolotto having separate chances to win it late on.
Mounties Wanderers make the trip up to Pluim Park next weekend. While Blacktown Spartans face a tough test of their own, travelling to face St George City.
By NPL2 Men’s Reporter Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)