With another fascinating weekend of National Premier Leagues 4 NSW Men’s competition in the books it’s time to recap how the competition is looking after twelve rounds
Prospect United and Fraser Park shared the points in a wildly entertaining clash in the Match of the Round.
Elsewhere, Western Rage walked away from Bathurst with their second win of the season, Camden made it three wins in a week, Nepean and Hawkesbury shared the spoils, UNSW and Newcastle rounded out the weekend with their victories.
Match of the Round
Prospect United SC 2-2 Fraser Park FC
A wild first half has seen Fraser Park and Prospect United share the points as both sides looked to get ahead in their respective battles for finals and first place. Prospect were a much improved outfit, however gave up two leads early in the first half.
Both sides were gutted with the draw, Prospect now sit at six draws for the season, whereas Fraser Park seized a crucial opportunity to sit three points clear of Newcastle at the top of NPL 4
All four goals came in the opening thirty minutes of the game, before the sides began to settle into the rhythm of the game.
Prospect came out of the gates rapidly, gaining the opening goal after Jayden Nakhoul converted from the penalty spot to see his side into an early lead in the 6th minute
The lead was very short lived as Fraser Park returned the favour after league leading scoring Cam Philpot added his 11th for the season to level the scores in the 10th minute.
The twists continued as Prospect regained their lead in the 19th minute after a neat finish from David Moreira Muller restored the hosts one goal cushion.
Fraser Park were kept quiet for ten minutes before they again levelled the score. Cam Philpot picked out an oncoming Julio Mushaba at the back post who ascended above the Prospect defence to header his effort home in the 29th minute
The visitors kept the pressure on Prospect after this and came close to taking the lead moments later. A perfect cross from set-piece specialist David Adjassou found Rordrigo Cataldi, he attempted an impressive overhead kick which unfortunately didn’t trouble Adriano Cerasoli.
Prospect ended the half with a chance of their own to regain their lead for a third time, this time it was Daniel Mihajlovic’s dangerous cross which picked out an open Ben Lam at the back post, his header hit the side netting. This wrapped up the first half which saw the sides locked at two goals apiece.
The hosts started the second half where they left off, A brilliant strike at the edge of the box from Nakhoul forced an even better save out Patrick Ferrera who tipped the ball over the bar to preserve the scores in the opening stages of the second half.
Fraser Park looked dangerous on the counter attack in the later stages of the second half and came close through Shu Torihaya on two occasions. Torihaya was sent through on the break and found himself one-on-one with Cerasoli, after skilfully rolling the ball to side he couldn’t regather himself in time and lost possession in the box.
Moments later he again found himself in the centre of the action, after a phenomenal solo run from Dominic Siu, Torihaya had a near open net to aim at but his shot was stopped by the wall of Prospect defenders.
Prospect were denied a sure winner in the final stages of the game after a brilliant save and follow up from Ferrera which saw out the game leaving the sides tied at a deadlock.
Propsect Head Coach Darren Camilleri was impressed with his sides performance but was gutted to miss out on the win.
“We wanted to win today, unfortunately we picked up another draw, but it’s a draw I think we deserved, credit to Fraser park, I think Fraser are a really good team and have good individuals that gave us problems all day going forward”. He said
“Is it two points lost or one point gained, I don’t know, I am happy to take the point, not many people have [Taken points from Fraser Park], but I’m disappointed we didn’t take that winner at the end”.
Camilleri praised the work of U/18’s star Adam Fiippone who impressed playing the full ninety minutes.
Fraser Park Head Coach Alex Araujo was disappointed with his side’s opening performance but credited the impressive Prospect outfit
“We struggled to play a little bit in the first half and I think that’s what’s hurt us and then defensively there’s a few things we didn’t do right”
“They got in behind us quite well, so that’s something we need to work on before next week”. He said
Prospect United SC 2 (Nakhoul 6’, Moreira Muller 19’)
Fraser Park FC 2 (Philpot 10’, Mushaba 29’)
Round 4 Catchup
Camden Tigers FC 3-0 Hawkesbury City FC
Camden started off their week in the best possible fashion, defeating Hawkesbury City with ten-men. Matthew Johnston was shown a red in the 20th minute, giving the Tigers an uphill battle for the remainder of the game. Camden didn’t back down and showed great comradery to go into the break up a goal courtesy of Jordan Cracknell.
Jayden Russell made a magnificent turnaround from his scary injury last Saturday night to a phenomenal second half brace rounding out the impressive 3-0 win for Camden. Johnston would miss the proceeding game against Parramatta as a result of his card. The Tigers put themselves in pole position to jump Nepean and knocked a rival down in the process in the race for finals.
Western Rage 2-0 Western NSW FC
Western Rage have returned to the winners circle for the first time since the reverse fixture in Round 1. With both sides light on troops there was a lot of new faces adapting to their respective teams. The game was relatively even in the first half with both teams missing their chance to head into the break into the lead.
It was the Rage that struck first through Nicolas Benjamin, right before Western NSW had an equaliser ruled out by the linesman for offside. The Granville-based side finished off the game with a goal from Daniel Bortolazzo to secure the 2-0 win. Western NSW have been depleted in recent weeks and will hope they can return to full strength before their season gets away from them. The Rage now turn their focus on league-leaders Fraser Park and will hope for another positive result, similar to Round 2 where they shared the points
Camden Tigers FC 2-1 Parramatta FC
Camden have asserted themselves in the top five with an impressive home win over Parramatta, again with ten men. The Tigers have added to the Eagles poor run of form, putting them in danger of losing their finals spot if they don’t get a result from their next game. Camden opened the scoring through Matthew Lane to send them into the break up a goal.
Parramatta looked determine to gain a good result and looked likely for one after Charlie Abou Serhal set up Santiago Rodriquez for his first goal of the season. The lead was short lived as minutes later Camden answered back through Cormack Stevens, which would see them out until the end of the game. Lane was later sent off and will miss next week’s crucial matchup with Prospect. With a win in the catchup game, Camden can see themselves sit third with a two point clearance on Hurstville.
Nepean FC 1-1 Hawkesbury City FC
Both sides will have to see this as a huge missed opportunity as they had to settle for the draw, critically pushing Nepean out of the finals place for the time being. Hawkesbury opened the scoring in the first half through Alexander Murrell, shortly before Nepean answered back in the second half through Anthony Trimboli.
Both teams were denied on several occasion by the frame of the goal and a tough opposing defence. It was an attacking display with the sides registering over thirty shots throughout the game. Hawkesbury had a chance to seal the win in the last minute of injury time but were denied from an outstanding display of resilience from the Nepean defence. Critically for Hawkesbury they now sit five points outside of a finals spot as they no longer have makeup any previous fixtures.
UNSW FC 2-1 Hurstville FC
UNSW have made it four on the trot as they march closer towards a finals spot. It was a tough and physical game for both sides and resulted in no goals being scored in the opening 45 minutes. UNSW opened up the scoring with a spectacular free-kick from Mark Murphy which will be in contention for goal of the season. Hurstville applied the pressure after this goal and were rewarded with a penalty that was converted by Jesse Gagro.
UNSW fought back and earned a penalty of their own which was scored by Kevin Lopes, which sealed the result for Uni. Hurstville missed a huge opportunity to open up breathing room on the packed race for fourth and fifth and now will have fight against the like of UNSW and Camden for the remaining spots in the top five throughout the coming weeks. UNSW will hope to keep their red-hot form going as they prepare to face Nepean next time out
Newcastle Jets FC 3-0 South Coast Flame FC
The weekend was rounded out by a sentence all too familiar in NPL 4, Newcastle dominating and winning at home. Newcastle opened up with the bulk of possession, however were met by a resilient Flame defence which kept them scoreless in the opening half. The Flame came close to opening the scoring and were left heartbroken as the Jets went the other way and opened the scoring through Bailey Wells.
Fresh off his A-League debut midweek, Blake Archbold netted his sides second. Joseph Langlois capped off the scoring for the Jets as they walked away with another comfortable win at their fortress. Newcastle now sit one point behind Fraser Park with a game in hand in the race for first.
By NPL 4 NSW Men’s Writer, Dominic Criniti