Football NSW League One Men’s competition always delivers and that was no different in Round Three which saw everything from two five goal epics to some season starting victories, so join us as we recap the weekend that was on the field.
Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Steele 12’, Jok 55’) v Mounties Wanderers FC 1 (Spaseski 53’)
Central Coast Mariners notched up their first win of the 2022 season with a victory over Mounties Wanderers, Sunday afternoon.
The Mariners were a constant threat throughout finding the net through Harrison Steele and Dor Jok either side of the half time break. However, their opposition Mounties Wanderers weren’t going to go down without a fight, finding the net through Tony Spaseski in the second half.
Mounties who came into the contest confident after two impressive results in their opening two games nearly found an opener when Bartels was played through inside five minutes. The Central Coast keeper beating him to it. Followed in quick succession by an Anthony Windsor shot which forced a great save from Patrick Beach.
However, it was the Mariners opened the scored just after ten minutes. A Sasha Kuzevski short corner played to Harry Steele at the top corner of the box who inadvertently found the far side netting with his cross-cum-shot. Followed up shortly after when Jackson Khoury was found a cross field ball from Sasha Kuzevski. Khoury’s effort going across the face of goal.
Chances continued to flow for the Mariners with James Bayliss and Jordan Segreto next up, their efforts blocked inside the box just inside the half hour mark. Harry Steele also going close with a free-kick which went just wide a few minutes later.
Mounties on the other hand were reduced to counter attacks and they nearly scored one for themselves thirty-three minutes in. Pivato combining with Matthew Self, Pivato then shooting on target yet causing no problems for the Mariners keeper.
At the other end and not to be outdone, Ben Duncan was next to register a shot on target. Duncan isolating his marker on the right before a low driving effort forced Sebastion La Luz into a save.
The second half opened with another Mariners shot on target, Sasha Kuzevski trying his luck from distance and forcing La Luz into a save around the post.
In response, Mounties had a shot on target of their own. Bruno Pivato once again at the forefront forcing the Mariners keeper into a save at the near post after Tony Spaseski delivered the ball in.
And suddenly the visitors were level soon after, Spaseski intercepting a Mariners clearance before shooting from range, his shot taking a massive deflection on its way into the net.
That only seemed to make the Mariners a bit more determined, Matt Hatch combining with James Bayliss before shooting wide.
With the influence of A league fringe players sprinkled through the squad, you would be forgiven for not paying attention to the likes of Ben Duncan. But it was he who played a crucial part in the eventual winner, getting to the byline before squaring it to Dor Jok who finished from close range to restore the Mariners lead.
Mariners then had chances from substitute Garang Kuol, Sasha Kuzevski, Jackson Khoury and later Kuol from the penalty spot, Sebastian La Luz producing a good save to deny him down to his right.
While at the other end, Mounties continued to counter and nearly equalized through an Antonio Farkas header from a Sam Perre corner. Farkas hitting the cross bar after beating the Mariners keeper.
Central Coast Mariners travel down to Christie Park next week to face another round three winner in NWS Spirit. While Mounties Wanderers host the other A-league academy, Western Sydney Wanderers next Sunday.
St George FC 1 (OG 55’) v Blacktown Spartans FC 0
St George FC opened up their 2022 account with a close fought victory over Blacktown Spartans at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre.
A second half own goal separated the two sides in a game where either side could make a case for winning the match.
The first chance of note fell to the visitors. Mason Ireland nearly producing a remarkable individual effort after Joel Beattie nodded on a throw in. Ireland controlling the ball in behind the hosts defense before shooting with his left for Ryal Norval to tip over the bar on the stretch.
Ireland was proving a handful for the hosts up front nearly reaching a through ball soon after. Norval clearing on that occasion. Ireland wasn’t alone threatening the St George defense, with Emmanual Gonzalez wining a free kick soon after.
Under the pump early by the Spartans counterattack, the home side then produced their first shot on goal, Jordan Wong trying his luck from long range in the 19th minute, only for it to go wide right. That seemed to settle the Saints as they began to look more comfortable in possession. Cam Philpot with the next opportunity, heading an Isaac Danzo free-kick wide just before the half hour.
At the other end, Spartans had the next opportunity. Mason Ireland popping up once again with a volley from inside the box on the right side, his left footed strike rattling the crossbar, St George keeper Ryan Norval beaten.
Chances were starting to flow, with Philpot opening the hosts shots on target account shortly, his left footed effort from a cutback on the left wing saved by the Spartans keeper.
Star of the first half, Mason Ireland was to have one more effort before the break. This time with his right foot, his effort outside the area going just wide of the goal, Lord Darkoh with a tidy bit of work in the buildup.
Opposed to their first half efforts, St George FC started the second period better and they were rewarded ten minutes into the second half. Jordan Wong getting to the byline and whipping in a low cross into the six yard box which was turned in by a Spartans defender or Anthony Morabito depending on who you ask.
However, any celebrations of that goal were soon brought to a halt with Richard Blanco seeing red three minutes later.
Spartans looked to take advantage and went oh so close in the 63rd minute. St George unable to clear a corner before Billy Patramanis hit the crossbar with a right footed effort.
Things weren’t going the Spartans way and they were understandably getting frustrated. Still, that doesn’t excuse a crude challenge from Patramanis on Harry Jones just after the 70th minute, Patramanis given his marching orders as a result of the challenge.
The Spartans continued to pressure their hosts, but any efforts were dealt with. While another red heading their way, Keith Buckley seeing red this time for a challenge on Yu Hasegawa.
St George FC will look to make it two from two when they face Northern Tigers next weekend. While Blacktown Spartans host SD Raiders.
St George City 3 (Mitry 27‘ 40‘, Prajza 56‘) v Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (Swibel 10‘ 38‘)
What a way to open your new home! St George City proved a little too good for Western Sydney Wanderers in another classic between the two sides.
After Jordan Swibel and Paolo Mitry traded goals in the opening half, it was a Jakub Prajza second half finish that guaranteed the three points for the home side who continued their hot start to the season with seven points from a possible nine.
It was a case of one chance, one goal for the Wanderers who scored from the penalty spot on ten minutes. Jordan Swibel powering it low into the net low to the keepers right after a Matthew Keremelevski hand ball.
The Wanderers were the better starters in this one with Badolato next to challenge in terms of chances, but City keeper and ex wanderer Mackenzie Syron was on hand to save.
At the other end, it was Reuben Awaritefe who had the hosts first chance thirteen minutes in which forced a good save from Wanderer’s keeper Jack Gibson.
Their equalizing goal would come fifteen minutes later though. Paolo Mitry opening his season tally with a late run into the box, completing a move which involved Nicholas Kalergou and Mark Moric in the build-up. Mitry slotting it between the visiting keepers’ legs.
With that goal, the game shot into life, City almost making it two when Damian Germain hit a spectacular effort off target, Moric once again involved.
But it was at the other end where the next breakthrough was made, Jordi Swibel making it two on the night and seven for the season on thirty-seven minutes. Swibel getting on the end of a Nectarios Triantis through ball which was misread by the City defense, the striker making no mistake rolling it into the bottom left corner.
That lead didn’t last long though, with perhaps the pick of the goals coming from Paolo Mitry’s sweet right foot. Which saw a Stephen Athanaseris cross cleared by Wanderer’s defender Mark Natta unconvincingly, Mitry making him pay with a snapshot from outside the eighteen-yard box into the bottom right corner.
In contrast to the first half, it was the hosts who came out the stronger after the break and they were rewarded ten minutes in with a Jakub Prajza goal. Prajza following up on a sweet Reuben Awaritefe strike from outside the area to score his first of the season.
At this point, you would expect the Wanderers to be the side putting City under pressure. But it must be said that the next couple of clear-cut chances fell once again to City, both falling to Damian Germain who tested forced Wanderer’s keeper Jack Gibson into some good saves.
The Wanderers had one last chance in injury time, but Swibel’s free kick went straight into the wall. However, St George City showed great game management in the second fourty-five to see out the contest.
St George City host Hakoah FC next weekend. While Western Sydney Wanderers face another away game against Mounties Wanderers.
SD Raiders FC 0 v NWS Spirit FC 1 (Darko 29‘)
Well, that’s one way to kickstart a season! NWS Spirit picked up their first win of 2022 overcoming SD Raiders at their fortress Ernie Smith Reserve.
Fresh off two defeats in their opening two games, Spirit wasted no time in creating their first opportunity. Michael Konestabo cutting inside his man on the left wing before hitting his right footed shot into the near side netting.
The Spirit continued to create chances going close again inside five minutes, Richie Darko next to have a good chance. Darko seeing his effort cleared off the line after it beat the keeper at the near post, this coming after a flowing passing move.
While at the other end, Jordan Figon and Charles Abou Serhal were looking like the main threats to the visitors early.
After creating the few clear cut chances of the match, the Spirit found their goal just before the half hour mark. And it came through Richie Darko who picked up his first of the season, Darko poking home from close range after a ball across the face from Kota Odakura.
The situation then went from bad to worse for the hosts, who lost Figon to an injury on thirty five minutes. But there was a twist to come just before the half time break.
A through ball from the hosts catching the visitors unaware with Noah Chianese breaking through the line and towards the Spirit’s goal. But before he could get a shot off, he was taken out by Spirit goalkeeper Christopher Marques who saw red.
Suddenly the games pattern had changed, with SD Raiders almost giving their visitors a taste of their own medicine when it comes to time in possession. Spirit playing a lot tighter and looking to get the ball quickly up field.
Mounting the pressure, SD Raiders created their first opportunity of note ten minutes into the second half. Daniel Bittar, Mark Cindric, and Abou Serhal combining before Abou Serhal forced Spirit custodian Luke Cotten to tip it over the bar.
Next up Mark Cindric was to have a chance on the hour mark, Milan Parenta crossing into the area, but Cindric couldn’t find the target under pressure.
It almost felt like a precession at this point with the Spirit defense under constant pressure. Cindric and Abou Serhal combining once again five minutes later. Abou Serhal denied after a darting run into the box by a quality save from Cotten in goal.
As teams do when they hold a team down a man, Spirit began to build confidence and look more assured in defense as the clock ticked on. While SD Raiders began to get a little frustrated at the same time.
And so, it proved a bridge too far for the hosts, despite forcing Cotten into a double save deep into added time. Chianese played through by Cindric, only for his effort to be closed down by an approaching keeper before denying a follow up with his foot.
NWS Spirit host Central Coast Mariners in a much anticipated round four match up, while SD Raiders travel to play Blacktown Spartans.
Hills United FC 2 (Parfait 28‘ 74‘) v Northern Tigers 3 (Fulton 3‘, Scott 67‘, Lloyd 85‘)
If Football NSW League One was to be summed up by a score line, it would be 3-2. And that proved to be the case in another fixture this weekend as Northern Tigers walked away with a narrow victory over Hills United.
In a high scoring contest, Jack Fulton, Oliver Scott, and Lachlan Lloyd scored for a Northern Tigers outfit who weren’t at their best. While Jordan Parfait equalized twice for the hosts who put in a respectable effort against a competition favourite.
It was a case of Déjà vu for Hills United early on, conceding once again in the opening minutes. And Jack Fulton is into good form to let the chance go, applying a right footed first time finish inside five minutes after Bailey Rule found him in a central position.
It’s a league where you have to fight for every point you win, and Hills certainly took it to their hosts rewarded just inside the half hour mark with an equalizer. Jordan Parfait equaling the scores after a lovely team build up which took the ball from right to left, Montford with the final pass to Parfait who scored from a narrow angle.
The first half was then overshadowed by an injury just before the half time whistle, Jack Fulton picking up a match ending injury, all the best with your recovery Jack.
Where the first half was a tactical battle between two seemingly well matched sides, the second started to excite with plenty of chances after the hour mark. The visitors once again, the first to take advantage with a goal reminiscent of their hosts first. This time with substitute Ollie Wiggin finding Oliver Scott who finished with a right footed tap in.
Once again though, the hosts responded and guess who? Jordan Parfait who took down a ball into the box with one foot and finished with the other beating Tigers keeper Elliot Carwardine in the process.
But it was to be the Tigers who were to walk away with the three points. Lachlan Lloyd the second player to bring up a brace, this time after Joe Fox played in the corner. The ball teed up for Lloyd who finished with his right through a sea of legs.
And this time they weren’t to be denied, holding onto their lead to the final whistle. Tigers will return home to face St George FC next weekend, while Brian Brown’s Hills United will travel to Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Hakoah FC was postponed to a later date.
-By FNSW League One Men’s Reporter Justin Smith