There was plenty of action and goals to whet the appetite as we put the latest round of the 2021 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition under the microscope.
A breakthrough could not be found in the ‘match of the round’ as Dulwich Hill and Bankstown City shared the points; Bankstown United are making a strong case for finals football after they recorded their third win on the trot; Sydney University extended their unbeaten run to five matches; Berries returned to the winners circle while Rydalmere came out on top in the derby against Gladesville.
Central Coast United FC – Inner West Hawks FC 2-1
Central Coast’s latest triumph over the Hawks was enough to see them wrestle their way back into the top six at the expense of Macarthur.
Josh Swadling provided the usual spark for the Pirates in the attacking third and it was him who came closest to breaking the deadlock 15 minutes in only to be foiled by a fine save from the Hawks goalkeeper.
Nevertheless, Swadling was at the centre of the action for his side’s opener after he warded off a challenge before laying it off for Scott Mcginley around the half hour mark.
The second half saw the Hawks scrutinise the opposition’s defence and they were eventually rewarded with an equaliser thanks to a delightful finish from distance.
However, they were not able to hold on for a point with Tommy Lyons condemning them to yet another defeat when he popped up with the hosts’ winner in the final 10 minutes.
Central Coast are now back in sixth ahead of their meeting with Berries next weekend while Hawks stay bottom ahead of their clash with the in-form Bankstown United.
Dulwich Hill FC – Bankstown City FC 0-0
A lively affair at Arlington Oval ended all square between two of the competition heavyweights.
Dully dominated possession in the first half and counted themselves unlucky not to break ahead with Harry Browell looking the most lethal for the hosts.
Meanwhile, Bankstown eventually worked their way into Dully’s half and caused an almighty scare close to half time.
The home side came out firing after the break with Jamie Dib proving to be their dangerman this time around but he and his teammates were constantly thwarted by Jair Fernandez whose goal was quickly becoming a fortress.
Right at the death it looked as though Bankstown may have conjured up the perfect away performance with Harry Lekopoulos coming within inches of grabbing the winner after his side soaked up plenty of pressure.
However, it ended scoreless which does not affect either side’s place on the table. Dully remain in second while Bankstown are third with only goal difference separating the sides.
Another stern test awaits Dully next round as they travel to league leaders Rydalmere Lions while Bankstown host a resurgent Sydney Uni.
Dunbar Rovers FC – Bankstown United FC 1-5
Bankstown United cannot seem to put a foot wrong at the moment as they recorded their third win on the bounce in emphatic fashion at Dunbar Rovers.
The fixture will live long in the memory bank of Dalibor Malesevic who notched his first senior hat-trick to condemn Dunbar to their eighth defeat of the campaign.
The first goal of the evening arrived through the hat-trick hero who tapped the ball into the open goal after Mitch Cross squared the ball to him just after the 10 minute mark.
Their advantage did not last long with a lethal Rovers’ counter attack culminating in a slick Aram Tayebi finish.
However, the hosts gifted United the lead yet again when they gave away a penalty which was duly dispatched by Cross on the half hour mark.
The United striker was causing all sorts of problems as the match progressed and it was a case of déjà vu as he teed up Malesevic for his second just after the interval.
Malesevic then proceeded to complete his hat trick after he weaved through Dunbar’s defence before slotting his strike into the bottom corner.
The eastern suburbs side did have an opportunity to reduce the deficit via the penalty spot but it was Blake Tuxford who came out trumps as he denied Tod Bamber with a save low down to his right.
The visitors then inflicted further pain on their opponents with an Isaac Schipp pile driver wrapping up what was an extremely solid display from one of the competition’s form sides.
The three points sees Scott Belgre’s side retain fourth on the ladder as they travel to Arlington Oval to play the Hawks while 10th placed Dunbar are back at Heffron to entertain Magic.
Macarthur Rams FC – Sydney University SFC 0-1
An early goal was enough for Sydney Uni as they left Lynwood Park with a well-earnt three points and a clean sheet to show for what has been a highly profitable period for the club.
A Scott Tonkin header was the deciding factor in this match after he was picked out by Grant Burbage’s inch-perfect cross on 10 minutes.
That was not to say that the visitors could not have had more to their name with their leading goal scorer, Peter Crevani forcing a top shelf save from Stefan Savicic towards the back end of the first half.
The second half saw the ‘students’ have to soak up plenty of pressure but to their credit they did not crumble as they held on until the whistle finally arrived for full-time.
Uni are now unbeaten in their last five matches and building up some significant momentum as the season progresses. Next up for them is a visit to Jensen Park to face off against Bankstown City while the Rams have a date with Inter Lions.
Canterbury Bankstown FC – Inter Lions FC 2-1
There was a massive sigh of relief for Canterbury Bankstown when the full-time whistle blew as they claimed their first win in over a month after they saw off Inter Lions.
It was Berries who struck first on this occasion through Brent Flavin who placed his effort past the outstretched Inter shot stopper.
Going a goal ahead seemed to spur on the visitors who quickly began to take a foot hold in the game before they restored parity via a superb first time volley from Owen Duke.
Berries counted themselves lucky to enter the sheds at 1-1 with John Theo’s men closing out the half in style.
The break seemed to do wonders for the home side who remained on top for most of the second half before Inter went down to 10 men after Alex Becerra was dismissed for a last man challenge.
It was then Berries’ time to pounce as they scored the highly-craved decider thanks to Andre Guzman who slotted home his brother, Leo’s rebounded effort with 10 minutes left to play.
The long-awaited victory sees Berries extend the gap between themselves and last-placed Hawks to seven points as they gear up for a home clash against Central Coast.
Meanwhile, Inter will be back at Concord to welcome Macarthur.
Gladesville Ryde Magic – Rydalmere Lions FC 1-2
Rydalmere edged out Gladesville 2-1 in the derby at Christie Park on Sunday afternoon.
The visitors took the lead via a pinpoint finish from Matthew West who got on the scoresheet for the 15th time this season.
However, it did not take long for Magic to restore parity with Michael Gaitatzis coming up with the goods for his side.
A draw at the break paved the way for an intriguing second half which turned out in favour of the reigning champions.
A goal was enough to see them claim the all-important three points as they remain top for the fifth week running.
Their credentials will once again be under the spotlight when they return to Rydalmere Park to take on second placed Dulwich Hill while Magic will be gunning for three points as they travel to Dunbar.
-By NPL 3 NSW Men’s Chief Writer Samuel Greco Schwartz (Twitter handle: @SamuelGS97)