The Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend proved a memorable one in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition with plenty of goals and a sprinkle of everything you can think of on field.
NWS Spirit and Hakoah FC played out a thriller in our match of the round, while we also were on hand to cover the St George derby extensively. So, sit back, enjoy your Monday off and let’s look back on Round 15 of the competition.
Match of the Round: NWS Spirit FC 2 (Davidson 67’, Konestabo 73’) v Hakoah FC 2 (Arambasic 9’, Sapsford 46’)
NWS Spirit and Hakoah FC played out a pulsating NPL2 Men’s spectacle at Christie Park, Saturday night.
The visitors opened up a two-goal lead early into the second half courtesy of goals to Marco Arambasic and Zachary Sapsford.
But were pegged back by their hosts NWS Spirit FC later on. Their goals coming through Mitch Davidson and a memorable Michael Konestabo effort.
Following on from a stunning second half performance against Bonnyrigg last weekend. The visitors looked to set about continuing where they left off, opening the game in terms of chances when Sapsford whipped in a wicked ball across the face of goal which Marco Arambasic just couldn’t reach on five minutes.
But he wasn’t to miss a second time! Arambasic combining with Bruno Mendes inside the box to open the scoring after Sapsford burst down the right once again in the lead up. Arambasic with a powerful right foot finish into the top of the net.
Looking to respond, the hosts soon created a chance of their own. Some slick passing from side to side resulting in an eventual Luke Okuda shot which was saved comfortably by Nikolas Loe. Lino following up shortly after, with his effort from inside the box saved at the near post.
At this point, the game was being played at a frantic pace with both sides getting into dangerous areas at either end.
The next chance coming from a Hakoah corner where Musashi Kokubo showed a great piece of awareness to deny Sapsford with a goal line clearance.
Indeed, the visitors were looking most threatening from the set piece around the half hour mark as they looked to pile on some pressure. One occurrence saw Bruno Mendes nearly find the net directly. Only for it only to be denied by his own player in the goal mouth.
Next up, it was Kota Odakura who was to have a chance before half time. His effort from just outside the box going narrowly over the cross bar with three minutes of the half left. Which was soon followed by their best chance of the half. Andrew Roberston finding Geoffry Lino at the near post who couldn’t sneak it home, his effort saved by Loe. *Breath*
In a case of blink and you’ll miss it. Hakoah started the second half in the best way possible, doubling their advantage inside 30 seconds. Zachary Sapsford the scorer, the young attacker weaving his way through a couple of defenders before finishing with his right foot.
Two goals down and staring at their second successive home defeat, Spirit needed something to change. And a few tactical tweaks soon paid off.
Geoffry Lino firing over after a cross from the right wing dropped to him, with a bit of help from Anthony Vastag in the lead up.
Before they found the net goal shortly after. A ball in from the right controlled by Geoffry Lino who laid it off to Luke Okuda who was tackled inside the area. With the ball falling to Anthony Vastag who put it onto Mitch Davidson’s left foot. Davidson’s shot proving too hot for Loe to handle as it found the top left corner.
Once again, the intensity in the fixture went up a notch with no clues where the next goal was going to come from.
But it was the home side to complete the two-goal comeback bringing things level after the 70th minute. Michael Konestabo with a memorable solo effort dancing through the visiting defense with some lovely ball control before rolling it home past the keeper. 2-2!
A lot on the line, the game continued to flow. With the best chances for a winner falling the way of the hosts. Luke Okuda and Geoffry Lino having their best opportunities. While Bruno Mendes had a chance at the other end.
Ultimately though, both sides had to settle for a point. NWS Spirit sit in 5th and face Central Coast Mariners next weekend. While SD Raiders await 3rd placed Hakoah next Sunday.
NWS Spirit FC: 12. Luke Cotton, 3. Musashi Kokubo, 4. Kota Odakura, 5. Andrew Robertson (16. Aaron D’Mello), 6. Abuzar Awaz (14. Sean Eve), 7. Geoffry Lino (18. Jose Gregorio Teal Meson), 8. Grant Cornwell, 11. Mitchell Davidson, 17. Luke Okuda, 22. Ahmed Sweedan (9. Anthony Vastag), 23. Michael Konestabo (13. Pat Cappuccio).
Hakoah FC: 1. Nikolas Loe, 2. Jacob Esposito, 3. James Baldacchino, 4. Connor Shaddock, 5. Yianni Spyrakis, 8. Dominic Cox, 9. Bruno Mendes (43. Daniel Alessi), 11. Luiz Lobo (7. Jordan Koton), 18. Marco Arambasic (6. Harry Jones), 29. Zachary Sapsford, 31. Tristen Van Rhoon.
Feature Match: St George City 3 (Morfitis 29’ 36’, Romero 53’) v St George FC 0
St George City secured the first ever derby double with a clinical performance against their neighbors St George FC at Poulton Park, Saturday night.
The hosts were superb from back to front from minute one and as such were rewarded with a first half brace to Jordan Morfitis and the customary Jason Romero goal.
From a St George FC perspective, they will want to forget this one quickly. Brad Bartels saw red early in the second half but even then, they would have struggled to come back against a red-hot City side.
Like we anticipated, it felt like a derby from the opening whistle with both sides struggling to get their foot on the ball, so to speak.
But it was City who just seemed to have that extra bit of time in possession and that proved to be a decisive difference come half time.
In terms of chances, it was actually the visitors who had the first. Tony Spaseski getting his head onto a free kick from deep which went wide of the target.
However, it was the hosts who were in control of the fixture, and they soon started to create some of their own. Stephen Athanaseris and Jason Romero both going close from the set piece. With their efforts cleared off the line and hitting the cross bar, respectively.
With those two sighters out of the way, they continued to stamp their authority. Romero a constant threat throughout, linking up play with his midfield whilst also threatening the opposition goal. Going close on 25 minutes, after combining with Jordan Morfitis.
That combination would then pay dividends just minutes later. Romero slipping through a picture perfect through ball which Morfitis finished off with a show of pace. St George FC keeper Anthony Costa perhaps unsighted in his effort to save it although he did get a touch to it on its way in.
And it didn’t take long for that lead to be doubled. Nathan Roberts mazing his way between two defenders on the left wing, before sending a low ball across the six-yard box for Morfitis to finish after making a late run.
Two goals down, the visitors needed a response before the break, and they came close on a couple of occasions through Emmanuel Gonzalez. Gonzalez firstly going close from a free kick just outside the area. Before firing a shot from the resulting corner into a sea of bodies between him and the net after he found some space at the back post.
In contrast to the opening of the first half. The two sides didn’t take long to trade chances at either end after the resumption. Nathan Roberts making sure Anthony Costa was aware with an early shot saved at the near post at one end.
While Jake Trajkovski had an effort from range for the visitors after one of their better pieces of play on the night.
But once again it was the hosts who soon gained control of proceedings showing lethal touch in the front third. Roberts having another chance soon after before Jason Romero pounced.
Romero capitalizing on a lapse of concentration from the visitor’s defensive line. Taking the ball into the box before coolly finishing into the far bottom corner for his eighteenth of the season.
It was a frustrating way to concede for the visitors who soon after went down to ten men. Brad Bartels picking up a second yellow deep in his own half.
From there on in, the visitors set about doing some damage limitation and for the most part, they did a good job. Even creating a few half-chances of their own.
But it was St George City’s night, and they were to go close on a number of occasions from that point despite ringing the changes. Paolo Mitry and Christopher Arditti to name a couple.
Undefeated in six, St George City maintained their five-point lead at the top of the standings with a fixture against Mounties Wanderers on the horizon.
St George FC in contrast now face a big fixture at North Turramurra next weekend if they are to hold any hopes of sneaking into the top five.
St George City: 1. Mackenzie Syron, 2. Dominic Brischetto, 3. Troy Danaskos, 6. Tarik Ercan, 7. Nathan Roberts (14. Christopher Arditti), 9. Juan Carlos Heras Romero (20. Steve Kuzmanovski), 10. Jason Romero (16. Ethan Dosanjh), 11. Jordan Morfitis (8. Paolo Mitry), 12. Stephen Athanaseris, 19. Jordan Gomez (17. Joshua Keremelevski), 24. Alexander Kyriacou.
St George FC: 21. Anthony Costa, 3. Tony Spaseski, 4. Bradley Bartels, 5. Jacob Bandur, 6. Bradley Walker (20. Brandon Stojcevski), 7. Gabriel Lopez, 8. Bruno Pivato, 9. Emmanuel Gonzalez (2. Timothy Wohlfiel), 11. Anthony Morabito (38. Jay Mcgowan), 17. Angus Chance, 19. Jake Trajkovski.
Blacktown Spartans FC 0 v Northern Tigers FC 2 (Adamson 72’, Adeli 78’)
One step closer. Northern Tigers scored a crucial away victory over Blacktown Spartans, Saturday evening.
It’s a victory which sees Adam Hett’s men return to a top four position having spent a month outside the coveted spots. Kealey Adamson opened their account midway through the second half before Shervin Adeli made it two shortly after.
It was another frustrating night for Andy Montgomery and his Blacktown Spartans team. They could well have taken the lead earlier in the contest but came away with nothing at the final whistle.
The first half saw both teams match each other with the hosts possibly edging it in terms of chances. However, the Spartans couldn’t find a way past Norther Tigers keeper Elliot Carwardine who produced some good saves to keep things level.
After the break, it was a different story as the visitors perhaps buoyed by results elsewhere managed to grab two goals in quick succession after the hour mark.
The first coming through youngster Kealey Adamson who scored his second of the season with a header inside the six-yard box. The second from Shervin Adeli who drove the ball home from the edge of the box after Sam Wilson won possession in an advanced area.
Northern Tigers return to NTRA next weekend to host St George FC. While Blacktown Spartans hit the road to face fellow strugglers in the Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
Hills United FC 1 (Parfait 37’) v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 0
Home woes conquered? Hills United broke their winless run at home with a narrow victory over a sorry Bonnyrigg White Eagles side at Lily Homes Stadium.
Heading into the contest having not won in their past five. Jordan Parfait scored in the first half for the hosts which proved pivotal come the full-time whistle.
For Bonnyrigg, they pushed hard for an equalizer late on without reward. They have just the one win in their past seven outings.
After conceding five in an eight-goal thriller last weekend, this certainly came as a welcome change for the hosts who kept their visitors quiet for large portions of the fixture. And they were rewarded for doing as such before the break through Jordan Parfait who scored a typical Jordan Parfait goal, cutting in from the right before finding the net with a powerful low strike from outside the area.
They then had the chance to double their advantage following the resumption. Duncan Stewart missing a free header from close range while also hitting the post and crossbar.
Needing a response, Bonnyrigg then brought on Asmir Kadric who came closest for the visitors missing a one-on-one chance, Joel Tinker producing a good save. Before he had another chance as he hit the ball across the goal when he could have cut it back to Anthony Costa.
Hills United now stand equal with Bonnyrigg on fifteen points and face Western Sydney Wanderers next weekend. With Bonnyrigg returning home to host the Spartans next Saturday.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Lopane 4’, Triantis 6’, Cancar 76’) v Mounties Wanderers FC 2 (O.G 17’, Mutton 70’)
Western Sydney Wanderers survived a major scare to overcome Mounties Wanderers, Saturday night.
Coming into the game having not won in their last couple of fixtures, the hosts got off to the best possible start. Allesandro Lopane and Nectarios Triantis finding the net early before Phillip Cancar scored the eventual winner in the second half.
Yet, it’s another encouraging result for the visitors. They responded well after going down early bringing the scores level through Cole Mutton and an earlier own goal. As the weeks progress, they’re becoming more and more of a headache for their opposition to deal with.
As mentioned before, the Wanderers got off to a fast start. Scoring in the opening five minutes through Alessandro Lopane who capitalized on some defensive hesitancy from the Mounties defenders.
One soon became two from the set piece, an outlet which would prove fruitful for the home side on the night (much to the bafflement of my predecessor). Nectarios Triantis with the goal after the ball fell to him in the six-yard box.
But that’s when things began to unravel for the hosts as Mounties Wanderers matched it with them for the remainder of the fixture. Rewarded with a goal of their own ten minutes later, a cross from the left turned in by Triantis for the own goal.
And the visitors kept pushing, going on to score the equalizer on 70 minutes. Cole Mutton with the one touch finish from the top of the box following a set piece via a deflection. They then had a couple of chances to take the lead but were cruelly punished at the other end…
Western Sydney Wanderers finding the net from a set piece through the unlikely avenue of Phillip Cancar who headed home with fifteen minutes remaining.
Western Sydney Wanderers sit in second place after fifteen games. While Mounties Wanderers continue to show improvement despite their position on the standings.
Central Coast Mariners FC 4 (Reec 27’ 45’ 60’, Smylie 53’) v SD Raiders FC 1 (Chianese 7’)
Only thing missing from this weekend? a come from behind victory! And that’s exactly what Central Coast Mariners managed to do overcoming SD Raiders at Pluim Park, Sunday afternoon.
And the victory came on the back of Jing Reec who fresh off his A league debut scored a hat-trick with Jordan Smylie finding the other goal.
For SD Raiders, they took the lead early in the first half through a Noah Chianese goal but we’re unable to withstand the home sides pressure.
Following that Chianese goal, you could forgive those associated with the Mariners for fearing the worst considering what happened the night before. But Nick Montgomery’s side proved their character by clawing the game back by the half hour.
Their first coming through Jing Reec who found himself on the end of a cut back from the byline. Reec tapping it home from close range.
Before he once again found himself in a good position to double his tally before halftime, finishing once again from inside the box after the visitors failed to clear their lines.
Confidence found; the Mariners then made it three unanswered goals through Jordan Smylie whose effort from range took a deflection leaving the visiting keeper helpless in his effort to save.
And make it four! Jing Reec then completed his hat trick with a really good headed finish after a ball into the box from Louis Khoury.
Central Coast Mariners host NWS Spirit at Pluim Park next Sunday. While SD Raiders face another tricky task lining up against Hakoah FC.
By NPL2 Men’s Reporter Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)