An upset in the derby, Mariners knocking off the league leaders and NWS Spirit overcoming St George City.
Round Nine was full of surprises in the Football NSW League One Men’s competition where the competition was flipped on its head.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 2 (Karantz 67‘, Peterson 90+3) v SD Raiders FC 3 (Bittar 4’ 7’, Alcorn 87’)
SD Raiders secured a first ever victory against Bonnyrigg White Eagles in a statement performance over their close neighbors, Saturday evening.
The Raiders scored twice in the opening ten minutes through Daniel Bittar before Joshua Alcorn rounded out the victory late.
For Bonnyrigg, they were nowhere near their standards in the opening half and despite goals to Joshua Karantz and Aaron Peterson, they couldn’t recover from their early deficit.
After a stinging defeat against St George City five days previous, the visitors came out firing opening the scores inside five minutes with a set piece goal, Franco Maya with the delivery, Daniel Bittar with finish via a header from around the penalty spot. A goal which was followed by a chance to Mark Cindric a couple minutes later.
But they didn’t have to wait much longer than that, a second coming from Bittar in the seventh minute. Bittar played through by Mark Cindric before taking it into the area, going round the keeper and finishing into an open net.
While at the other end, Asmir Kadric had a shot snuffed out by Mario Aleksik on ten minutes.
Approaching the half hour mark, the away side were seemingly in control with Bonnyrigg struggling to make a dent on their advantage. While Daniel Bittar nearly grabbed his third goal of the game with a left footed strike fizzing over the bar.
The pattern continued in the second half with Matthew Barkho having the first clear cut chance of the second period. Through one-on-one with James Chronopoulos who produced a sharp save to keep his side in it.
Bonnyrigg with a fresh set of substitutes on the field nearly took their first step back into the match on the hour mark. Aaron Peterson denied by a desperate Daniel Marjanovic challenge to deny him the shot.
And the door was beginning to be knocked down, with Peterson nearly reaching a cross from the right on sixty-five minutes. Followed shortly after with their first. Joshua Karantz with a right footed finish which slipped under Aleksik in the Raiders net, assist going to Radovan Pavicevic
As time ticked on, the hosts began to throw players forward with the risk/reward meter going out the window. Allowing chances at either end. Cindric first for the visitors who put a one-on-one shot wide of the right post. And Peterson at the other end receiving the ball twice in the six-yard box forcing Aleksik into a sharp save.
Which was followed soon after by an Asmir Kadric chance with ten to go, the attacker forcing Aleksik into another good save to his left.
Just as you felt the Raiders were holding on, they pounced on the counter sealing the result from a set piece. Joshua Alcorn rising high to beat James Chronopoulos to the ball heading into the onion bag to restore their two-goal lead.
A lead which was halved deep into injury time, Aaron Peterson grabbing a consolation.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles travel to Blacktown Spartans in a big round nine clash, while SD Raiders host Western Sydney Wanderers.
St George FC 2 (Morabito 24‘ 53‘) v Hills United FC 1 (Montford 85’)
An Anthony Morabito brace was enough for St George FC to record their second win of the season over Hills United FC.
It was a frantic start to the fixture with Hills United coming in with a lot of confidence after claiming their first win last weekend.
The first clear cut chance of the contest fell to the visitors in the tenth minute. A wonderfully weighted Jacob Lattuga through ball allowing Vincent D’Ermilio to run onto a one-on-one opportunity who was to be denied by St George keeper Ryan Norval.
A combination which was repeated a few minutes later with Norval making another save when D’Ermilio was through on goal.
The goal was to come at the other end though, after the hosts enjoyed more of the possession in the first quarter of the match. A press up field seeing Jayden Anevski pick up the ball before finding Anthony Morabito to his right. Morabito with a superb outside of the foot finish into the bottom left corner.
Whereas D’Ermilio continued to be the main threat for the visitors firing over a couple of times shortly after conceding the goals.
It was the tale of two attackers at this point, with Anthony Morabito having two chances around the thirty-fifth minute. One going across the face, while the other saw him combine with Jay Mcgowan and Cam Philpot before forcing Shaun Catlin into a save.
If there was one thing the first half lacked, it was shots on target. So, it will be a relief to hear that one of the first efforts of the second half resulted in a goal. Anthony Morabito doubling the advantage eight minutes in with another outside of the foot finish. The assist going to Jay Mcgowan who put a wonderful ball in from the right.
While at the other end, Hills weren’t having the same joy as the first half with the introduction of Jacob Bandur stabilizing things in the Saints defense.
Hills were to grab a goal late though to make things tense with five minutes left. A handball from a corner allowing Eoin Montford the opportunity from the spot. Montford tucking it into the bottom left facing corner for the consolation.
St George FC take to the road for next weekend’s clash with NWS Spirit FC, while Hills United return home to face Central Coast Mariners.
St George City 1 (Morfitis 52‘) v NWS Spirit FC 3 (Kokubo 24’, Darko 30’35’)
Two Richie Darko penalties was the difference as NWS Spirit FC saw off another promotion contender in St George City at Penshurst Park.
The visitors proved efficient from the set piece with Musashi Kokubo opening their account before Darko stepped up twice from the spot.
And although the hosts scored early in the second half through Jordan Morfitis, they never looked like pulling the deficit back against one of the leagues better defenses.
The first chance of the game fell to the hosts after the quarter hour when Jay Jay Morfitis put an effort over the bar from close range after Tarik Ercan found him to his right.
Whereas Spirit didn’t need a second chance at the other end, opening the scores with their first shot. Former St George City man Musashi Kokubo beating the keeper to the ball after Grant Cornwell headed it across the face of goal. Kokubo heading into an essentially empty net to give the visitors the lead.
Things went from bad to worse for the hosts who conceded a penalty five minutes later. Matthew Keremelevski being a bit too eager to make up for a loose pass out of defense, bringing down Richie Darko in the area. Darko finishing off the penalty he won down into the bottom right corner.
And the young centre backs night got even worse five minutes after that, bringing down Jack Burte after he was released by Corey Kavanagh from central midfield. Richie Darko once again stepping up for his second from the spot, thirty-five minutes in.
Looking for an immediate response, St George City had a chance to bounce back. Damian German heading marginally over the bar from a Nathan Roberts free kick.
With the resumption of play, the emphasis was on the hosts to bring themselves back into the game and they were given hope seven minutes in. Jordan Morfitis grabbing his second in as many weeks despite the best efforts of Corey Kavanagh on the line after Troy Danaskos cut it back across the box.
Damian German following that up ten minutes later with a chance of his own, firing over the bar from an angle on the left.
From there on in till the final whistles. The contest tightened up with any shots on target being blocked by respective defenses.
St George City complete their four-game home stand next week against Mounties Wanderers. While NWS Spirit face the other St George side back home at Christie Park.
Mounties Wanderers FC 2 (Bartels 50‘ 61‘) v Blacktown Spartans FC 0
Catch them if you can! Mounties Wanderers made it five straight victories overcoming Blacktown Spartans in a tense affair at Cook Park.
So, let’s be honest here… Who had Brad Bartels as the top goal-scorer in League One after eight rounds? Yeah, I thought so. Bartels scored twice in the second half to give the hosts the three points.
In contrast to some other fixtures on Saturday night, it was pretty apparent that this was going to be a battle early on. With both sides struggling to create an early chance.
In fact, we only really have one chance to talk about in the opening half, that falling the way of Suley Bangura who forced a good reflex save from Mounties goalkeeper Daniel Sadaka after a Mason Ireland shot was deflected into Bangura’s path.
The game needed a goal, and it came five minutes into the second half, Brad Bartels picking up his eighth goal of the season. Sam Perre finding him with a cross from the right before Bartels took his time inside the box to find some space and finish past the keeper. 1-0 Mounties.
One then became two shortly after through the same source. Carlo Imola playing Bartels in with an exquisite ball in the centre of the park which found Bartels who made an equally impressive run through the Spartans defense. Bartels finishing with “an air of certainty” to quote Eric Subijano on commentary.
Looking for a response, Spartans thought they had a goal to bring them back into the game with just over twenty minutes left. Suley Bangura heading in from a corner, but he was to be adjudged to have fouled his marker in the process.
And they continued pushing late, they created their best two chances in the final ten minutes of the match. The first coming from a goal mouth scramble which saw a scrap before Jack Hutchings lined up a right-footed shot which was blocked by Peter Pelekanos on the line.
Before Billy Patramanis was next to have a go, hitting the post in the final minute of regulation. But it wasn’t to be the visitor’s night with the Mounties defense holding firm for the clean sheet.
Mounties Wanderers make the trip to take on St George City next weekend, while Blacktown Spartans host Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
Hakoah FC 1 (Sohn 5’) v Western Sydney Wanderers FC 5 (Rose 18’, Wilmering 27’, Malbasa 49’, Badolato 55’, Denmead 84’)
Western Sydney Wanderers secured a comfortable win over a sorry Hakoah FC at Hensley Athletic Field.
Missing several of their stars, the hosts took the lead through Steven Sohn before things took a turn for the worse. For Western Sydney Wanderers on the other hand, they took the ascendency and never looked back scoring goals through Connor Rose, Daniel Wilmering, Jakov Malbasa, Alex Badolato and Alex Denmead.
It all started rather well for the hosts who opened the scoring on six minutes. A ball from the back finding Steven Sohn in space in attacking midfield. Sohn firing off a shot which took a wicked deflection on its way into the net.
Sohn then nearly doubled the lead just before the quarter hour. Finding space outside his marker before his low effort dribbled wide.
While at the other end, the Wanderers were beginning to find their attacking thrust opening their account in the eighteenth minute. A ball from Dean Pelekanos releasing Connor Rose between the hosts central and left back. Rose with plenty of time finishing into the bottom left corner of the net.
And there was no turning back for the away side taking the lead nine minutes later. Daniel Wilmering doubling their tally with an exquisite finish which looped over both Nikolas Loe and a defender on the line.
Firmly in control, the Wanderers then had further chances through Jakov Malbasa, Alex Badolato and George Antonis before the break.
Continuing where they left off before the break, the Wanderers then made sure of the result with two goals in the opening ten minutes of the second half with two similar goals.
The first scored by Jakub Malbasa who was on hand to finish from inside the area after a break down the right-hand side. Wilmering with the cross in from the right.
Before a fourth was added by Alex Badolato. George Antonis finding him with a ball across the box. Badolato’s shot slipping through a valiant effort by Nikolas Loe in goal who got a palm to his shot on the way in.
With the game as good as settled by that point, the Wanderers added a fifth with ten minutes left. Alex Denmead on hand with the cheeky finish to close things out after an Alex Badolato ball found him at the back post.
Though Hakoah did have two late chances through a Joseph Roddy cross with forced Jack Warshawsky into a save and a late long-range effort which rattled the crossbar.
It doesn’t get any easier for Hakoah FC who have a date with league leaders Northern Tigers next Saturday. While Western Sydney Wanderers travel to take on fellow round eight victors SD Raiders at Ernie Smith Reserve.
Central Coast Mariners FC 4 (Bayliss 19’, Jok 26’ 58’, McCarthy 54’) v Northern Tigers FC 1 (Adeli 28’)
Central Coast Mariners shocked league leaders Northern Tigers in the sole Sunday afternoon game at Pluim Park.
The game started off with a good tempo and saw both sides create a chance of note in the opening ten minutes.
Firstly, for the Mariners and the returning Harry McCarthy who found himself with a bit of room outside the opposition area. McCarthy opting for the finesse finish which went wide right of the goal.
And secondly for the visitors who probably edged the early stages. Joe Fox finding Rhys Williams from a short corner routine. William’s effort across the face drawing a save from Patrick Beach.
While the pressure was coming at the other end, it was the Mariners to open the scoring. Lachlan Bayliss finding the net once again with a tremendous finish from outside the area on the end of a swift move forward. Dor Jok with the assist after Harry McCarthy found him.
Opposed to last weekend, the Mariners were having no issues in front of goal this time out. Dor Jok first to react after a Jackson Khoury shot produced a save from Elliot Carwardine. Sasha Kuzevski with a key role in the build up to that goal.
Talk about an emphatic response! The Tigers weren’t down by two for long, Shervin Adeli opening their goalscoring account with a sweeping left footed finish into the far side netting a minute later. Hiyori Kawaguchi notching up another goal contribution with the assist.
As the time trickled down in the first half, Mariners were having to withstand a lot of pressure from their visitors who were almost exclusively camped in their territory.
The opening stages of the second half continued in similar fashion with Tigers going close inside two minutes. An Oliver Scott ball across the face cleared by Lachlan Bayliss just before Kawaguchi got to it at the back post.
While the Mariners created a rare chance at the other end when Jackson Khoury found Dor Jok with his elevated cross.
Even at this early stage in the second half, the Tigers were looking to get forward with more intensity which cost them at the other end eight minutes into the half. Lachlan Bayliss with the assist slipping in Harry McCarthy to restore the two-goal lead. McCarthy side footing it home from inside the area.
And three became four just before the hour mark. Dor Jok grabbing his second of the match. Substitute Jakob Cresnar with the low ball across the face which found Sasha Kuzevski at the back post whose shot was smothered before Jok cleaned up the scraps.
It was at Pluim Park after all so you couldn’t rule out late drama, but the Mariners then focused on securing their lead and they were largely successful despite Lachlan Lloyd and Ally Brown having efforts from outside the box.
All in all, it was an impressive outing for Central Coast Mariners who face Hills United away from home next weekend. While Northern Tigers host Hakoah back at their fortress of North Turramurra Recreation Area.
By Football NSW League One Men’s reporter Justin Smith