The Football NSW League Three Men’s competition has continued with a bang, with some quality matches played over the course of the weekend.
Nepean opened their league campaign with a narrow defeat against rivals Hawkesbury City, before Camden Tigers beat Fraser Park 3-1 the next day.
Prospect United won against Western Rage 4-2, while in the meantime, UNSW played out a thriller against South Coast Flame, scoring a trio of stunning goals to secure the three points.
Newcastle Jets rounded off the weekend with a 2-0 win against Hurstville, with the heavy goalscoring resuming in an average of four goals per match across the round.
Nepean FC 1 – 2 Hawkesbury City
Hawkesbury City has edged out local rivals Nepean FC to win their third straight match to begin their season in stunning style.
After an even opening on the wet surface of Cook Park, Nepean opened the scoring in the 13th minute courtesy of Zeke Prisuda after a fantastic counter-attacking goal.
Nepean looked to settle with some good chances going beginning, but Hawkesbury City levelled the scores just on the cusp of halftime when a shot from Gregory Kondek was steered in by Marco Turpeinen.
Turpeinen made it a brace for himself in the 64th minute, with Hawkesbury City capitalising on the momentum from their late first-half goal.
After Nepean’s goalkeeper couldn’t hold a powerful shot, the number nine made no mistake in finishing calmly on the rebound.
Nepean coach Joe D’Ermilio congratulated Hawkesbury City on their victory, saying his side were shown that application over 90 minutes is required for success.
Camden Tigers 3 – 1 Fraser Park
Camden Tigers have gained their first victory of the season, defeating Fraser Park by two goals to leap to fifth in the table.
The home side began the game brightly, opening the scoring just two minutes in after being awarded a penalty, which was converted by Tyler Bromham-Fuller.
Despite the good football that continued to follow from Camden Tigers, their execution let them down, and Fraser Park equalised in the 18th minute.
A through ball caused a scramble in Camden Tigers’ defence, and in an effort to clear, conceded a penalty, from which Miki Bisceglia converted.
The set-piece goals continued to feature during the match, with Camden Tigers once again taking the lead from a freekick 40 metres out with a shot from Blake Brooker, which like Nepean vs Hawkesbury City, was on the stroke of halftime.
After discussing the importance of the final pass at halftime, Camden Tigers hit the post three times during the second 45 minute period, with Amaro Ferreira producing some fantastic saves.
Camden Tigers did add a third to their tally, with Jarred Morley heading the ball into the back of the net after some nice play down the left flank.
Fraser Park has a quick turnaround, facing Nepean FC on Tuesday night in a game that was postponed from the rain in round one.
Prospect United 4 – 2 Western Rage
Prospect United has beaten Western Rage at home to earn their second win in two games this campaign at Wanderers Football Park.
Prospect United opened the scoring early in the 2nd minute after a brilliant run down the left flank, a cross rebounded to find Alec Purves, who made no mistake in steering his volley home.
Purves went close again just two minutes later after a mazy run from Luka Zepina saw him round his marker and find the feet of the midfielder, who struck wide of the far post.
Western Rage began to work themselves back into the match with a good passage of play leading to a corner, although the resulting set-piece didn’t manufacture a chance.
Play evened out for the next ten-minute spell, with neither side managing to create any clear-cut opportunities on goal.
Prospect remained dangerous with their clever wide play, with forwards getting in behind early and the wingbacks supporting attacks with overlapping runs higher up the field.
However, it was Western Rage who began to dominate, having numerous corners and deep freekicks which they drove into the box; none of which, however, resulted in shots on goal.
Antonio Perri, the right wingback in Prospect United’s system, was a shining light for his side – threatening in his ventures, consistently getting the better of his man with his pace and direct dribbling.
Prospect United should have doubled their lead towards the end of the first half with Zepina, the other member of the deadly duo down the right-hand side, latching onto a ball in behind.
The winger showed good hold up play to wait for an option before he played a reversed ball back to Perri.
The wingback’s low cross found Praneet Singh, who was given a golden opportunity to make it two for his side in a close-range one verses one inside the box, but his shot was too close to Sa Huk Yang.
For the away side, Adrian Razov showed good movement and vision to drop off into pockets of space and play first time passes forwards to teammates to help progress play.
However, despite Western Rage’s possession and positive passages of play with the ball, they struggled to create many chances to trouble Prospect United goalkeeper Adriano Cerasoli, and they went into the sheds with a one-goal deficit.
Purves almost had a brace with a fantastic effort from outside the box itching towards the top corner, but Western Rage’s goalkeeper held strong in the long-range one verses one.
However, Prospect did then double their lead off the resulting corner, after Muller rose highest to head the ball home from a fantastic delivery.
The chances continued to come for Prospect as Zepina had an enormous opportunity to make it three for his side, but the goalkeeper again held strong to make a stunning save.
Play after Prospect United’s chance remained relatively subdued in terms of troubling goalkeepers, although a hint of fire entered the game with some duels seeing sparks fly at Western Sydney Wanderers’ training ground.
The home side twice shot from range, but neither hit managed to hurt Western Rage, with both searing over the target.
However, excitement rejoiced for Prospect United when Muller made it a brace for himself on set-pieces after a bullet header into the top corner, following an inch-perfect cross from Purves, who was showing immense quality in dead-ball situations.
Western Rage went close off a clever freekick from Jacob Carluccio, with the Cerasoli forced to parry the stinging shot away.
The away side began to prioritise more direct football in search of a goal, but Prospect United’s back three held strong in their line and aerial duels.
Again, Western Rage threatened off a set-piece, but Carluccio’s lofted pass to the back post wasn’t attacked to any effect.
What followed was another more subdued spell, with Prospect United content with the three-goal margin.
However, they almost added a fourth – again off Purves’ crossing, with a header striking the post.
They did then move their margin to a four-goal lead just a minute later after a long ball found the feet of Abbas Reda, who finished calmly against the stranded Western rage goalkeeper.
Western Rage clawed a goal back through a penalty from Daniel Bortolazzo, but it remained a consolation, having no impact on the end result.
They then reduced the deficit to just two, with Giuseppe Camera guiding a header into the top corner.
Prospect United’s 4-2 win earns them their second victory of the season in two matches, and they’ll be looking to back up their form next weekend against Hawkesbury City, who are also unbeaten.
Meanwhile, Western Rage looking to their game against Hurstville FC to find their first win of the season.
South Coast Flame 2 – 3 UNSW
UNSW has beaten South Coast Flame away to gain their first victory of the season, with three stunning strikes seeing them leave Wollongong with three points.
UNSW opened the scoring early in the fifth minute, with Gabriele Trinco looping a volley from thirty yards over the goalkeeper, finding the top corner in spectacular style.
However, the home side equalised in the 25th minute, with UNSW failing to clear a scramble in the box, and Louis Miller-Tamsitt capitalising from close range, blasting the ball into the back of the net.
UNSW looked to come back into the game after losing their lead, with Luke Burke forcing a fantastic save out of South Coast Flame’s Luke Morgan.
But the away side did restore their lead in the 31st minute, with Matias Da Silva Santos whipping in another super strike, bouncing off the crossbar and back into the roof of the net.
South Coast Flame once again drew the scoreline level after halftime, with Jack Balmforth striking home another close-range effort.
And in a similar pattern, UNSW produced another beautiful goal, with Callum Fitzpatrick chipping the goalkeeper from close to the sideline.
The home side had chances in the last fifteen minutes, with Balmforth inches away from earning himself a brace after his shot bounced off the crossbar, but UNSW held firm to take home the win.
Newcastle Jets 2 – 0 Hurstville FC
Newcastle has made it three wins from three games with a 2-0 victory over Hurstville FC at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.
The home side opened the scoring early in the 2nd minute, with Blake Archbold converting a penalty for the Jets.
The half that followed was a scrappy affair, with neither side managing to create many chances in more of a midfield battle.
In the second half, a counter-attack off a Hurstville freekick from Newcastle saw Archbold grab his second of the evening.
Hurstville came at Newcastle in the last fifteen minutes, with Luis Ferreira providing a spark for the away team, but they couldn’t find a way back into the game.
Preview – Nepean FC vs Fraser Park – Tuesday 29th March, 8:05pm, Cook Park
Nepean FC and Fraser Park will be facing off in a postponed match from Round 1 on Tuesday at Cook Park.
Both sides are looking for their first victory of the season but have only played three games between them, with Fraser Park having lost twice and Nepean being defeated by Hawkesbury City in their only match so far.
By Football NSW League 3 Men’s Reporter, Jack George (@JackGeorge0004)