Round ten of the League One Men’s competition thrilled the masses with a Super Saturday of action on a frosty night in the Sydney Metropolitan.
In a night full of action, last years benchmark team came out on top of a top four battle. While another five teams claimed victory in another weekend without a draw.
So, join us as we review round ten action with a hot chocolate in hand.
NWS Spirit FC 4 (Darko 9’, Lino 15’ 22’, Berte 80’) v St George FC 1 (Wang 4’)
It took a while, but NWS Spirit have officially found their scoring boots in 2022 as they put four past St George FC in our fixture in the Arctic Circle, Saturday night.
David Perkovic’s side were in fine form early as Richard Darko and Geoffry Lino both scored in the opening twenty minutes after Jordan Wang opened the scores for the visitors. With Jack Berte capping things off for the hosts late.
The first goal came from the visitors who opened the scoring through Jordan Wang four minutes in. Wang finishing from inside the area after Jay Mcgowan did well to cut it back to him from the left side His right footed effort finding the bottom left corner.
However, there were warning signs at the other end as Spirit looked full of confidence going forward. And sure enough, they found their first through last weekends goal source Richie Darko who finished with a superb left footed finish cutting in from the right, Kota Odakura with the lay-off assist.
It was almost as if the teams were exchanging chances with Jayden Anevski was next to try his luck for St George. His effort not having enough power on it as he tried to curl it inside the right post, saved by Christopher Marques.
And as the Saints were looking likely to take the lead, a goal came at the other end in route one fashion. Grant Cornwell launching a ball forward which Geoffry Lino collected and took around the keeper who had committed to coming out. 2-1 Spirit.
Spirit were in no mood to let the visitors go for their mistakes as they grabbed a third twenty minutes in. Dominic Johns released on the left after a stray pass in midfield. Johns assessing his options before squaring it to Geoffry Lino in support, Lino with the easiest of finishers into the open net.
The onus was on the visitors to break down the equal best defense in the league with Spirit happy to let them have possession outside their attacking third. A fete they couldn’t quite achieve with Marques going untested until the 42nd minute when Cam Philpot almost made Spirit pay for a bit of sloppiness working it out from the back. Philpot’s low shot going wide left of the target.
If you needed further proof it wasn’t going to be the Saints night, we have to look no further than the 57th minute where Jayden Anevski was denied on the line by Jake Mamone after Anthony Morabito cut it back to him.
For Spirit, all the performance needed was icing on the cake of their performance which came through Jack Berte despite the valiant efforts of the visitors. Berte heading home from a Kota Odakura corner with ten minutes remaining.
NWS Spirit FC host Hills United next weekend, while St George travel to Wanderers Football Park.
Northern Tigers FC 1 (Adeli 47’) v Hakoah FC 2 (Tuson Firth 16’, Koton 71’)
Hakoah FC crashed the North Turramurra party in dramatic fashion to hand Northern TIgers their second straight loss in as many weeks.
I mentioned dramatic right? This one came down to virtually the last kick of the game where Nikolas Loe produced a penalty save to hand the depleted visitors their first victory in six weeks. With George Tuson-Firth and Jordan Koton scoring either side of the half time break.
While for the hosts Northern Tigers, they started the second half in great fashion with Shervin Adeli levelling the scores two minutes in but fell behind with 20 minutes remaining and weren’t able to recover.
It’s a pretty well known fact that Northern Tigers like to work their way into their fixtures, and they looked to be grabbing the initiative before their visitors sprung a surprise on the quarter hour. George Tuson-Firth heading the ball home from a Yianni Spyrakis cross. Tuson-Firth applying his finish into the bottom right corner.
Though conceding, Northern Tigers continued to grapple control of the game, with Oliver Scott having their first notable opportunity before the 20th minute forcing Loe into a save low down.
However, on the whole, the visitors were doing a professional job at denying their hosts the chances to bring things level despite the Tigers holding the majority of field position with the next chance falling to Hiyori Kawaguchi forty minutes in. The left wing back released in behind by Alexander Brown, Kawaguchi unable to steer it past an on rushing Nikolas Loe.
That resistance was ended shortly into the second half courtesy of a Shervin Adeli goal. Adeli on the spot for a finish inside the area into the far side netting after Alexander Brown cut it back to him around the penalty spot.
Hakoah were to take the lead once again though after either side had chances to break the deadlock after the equalizer. A long throw causing the Tigers defense problems before the ball fell to Jordan Koton who swung a right foot at it and found the back of the net.
But that lead looked tenuous with ten minutes left after Luiz Lobo saw red allowing the hosts to pile on the pressure.
And Northern Tigers would have a golden opportunity to claim a point into injury time from the penalty spot. Loe again involved in conceding the penalty after saving a shot from Ollie Wiggin before redeeming himself with a save from Joseph Fox’s spot kick. A tremendous save as it headed towards the bottom right corner.
Northern Tigers will look to turn around back to back defeats when they travel to Sydney’s Southwest to face Mounties Wanderers. While Hakoah look forward to hosting Blacktown Spartans.
St George City 2 (Morfitis 49‘ 60‘) v Mounties Wanderers FC 0
A Jordan Morfitis brace was enough for St George City to cap off their month long home stand with a victory over Mounties Wanderers at Penshurst Park.
Morfitis struck twice in the second half to solidify their spot in the top four after nine rounds while knocking their visitors outside the four in the process.
St George City looked in no mood to let their visitors settle into this one putting the Mounties under significant pressure early on with Nicholas Kalergou having a couple of early chances from the set piece.
Whereas a mix up at the back for city nearly saw Brad Bartels have an opportunity in the twelfth minute, his shot blocked by a defender on its way towards goal. In fact, that chance seemed to allow them to have their own good period of play with Pelekanos having a good chance as well.
And the best chance of the opening twenty-five minutes fell to Jerry Bilokapic’s side through Matthew Khalil. Khalil finding himself on the end of a cross from the right, his header saved tidily by Evan Davis in the City goal.
But Davis was outdone in the saves department after the half hour. A wonderful double save from Daniel Sadaka denying both Troy Danaskos from long range before responding to a Tarik Ercan effort from the rebound in sharp fashion as the hosts continued to mount the pressure.
After the half time break allowed the fans and commentators to exhale. The deadlock was broken just four minutes into the second half with a bang. Jay Jay Morfitis with a powerful effort from the top corner of the box which skimmed the turf into the net, a goal befitting of the spectacle after a corner was cleared into his path.
Whereas Morfitis went the spectacular for the first, the second seemed simple in comparison. Morfitis tidy in his finish from close range after Daniel Sadaka saved an initial Christopher Arditti effort into his path on the hour. Indeed, Arditti was a constant nuisance for the hosts throughout the duration.
There was a ruthlessness from the hosts who nearly got a third through substitute Josh Keremelevski who couldn’t reach a ball across the face.
As time ticked away, St George City were in complete control, they travel to Sydney’s South-West to take on Bonnyrigg in round ten. While Mounties Wanderers return home for a much anticipated clash with Northern Tigers.
Hills United FC 0 v Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Bayliss 11’ 80’)
Away day, Happy Day for Central Coast Mariners who overcame Hills United at Blacktown City Sports Centre, Saturday evening.
Back to back wins in this competition has proven to be a tough ask for teams in the League One Men’s, so a brace to Lachlan Bayliss would have been music to the ears of Central Coast Mariners fans on a all-round good night for the club.
It was a case of one chance, one goal for the visitors who opened the scoring just after the tenth minute. Lachlan Bayliss finding himself in a good position to tap the ball home after a well worked passing move undid their hosts. Assist going to Jordan Segreto with his low cross from the right.
Not to be out done at the other end, Darcy Ellem nearly produced something special before the 20th minute. The young attacker showing tenacity before taking a shot on the half volley which produced a good save from Patrick Beach.
Beach had to be alert again a short time later to deny Andre Takimi as his effort was headed for the top corner a few minutes later.
While Jordan Segreto showed his dynamism for the Mariners with a gallop forward from midfield into the box before sending a ball across the face to be cleared. As the visitors threatened on the counter, Harry McCarthy was next to have a chance just before the break, his left footed effort going just wide of the goal.
The first chance of the second half fell to the hosts. Jacob Basden releasing Thomas Makko with a well weighted through ball. Makko’s outside of the boot shot saved by the outstretched leg of Patrick Beach in net.
Another Kuol you say? With the introduction of Teng Kuol to proceedings the momentum of the game shifted. Teng nearly assisting and scoring alike after the hour mark.
Suddenly the chances were mostly coming in the Mariners attacking half and they were rewarded eighty minutes in. Teng Kuol turning a defender before feeding Lachlan Bayliss. Bayliss finishing with another quality effort from the edge of the area, the ball flying into the top left facing corner.
The Mariners continued to mount pressure on their visitors with Dean Larson nearly adding a third at the back post from a freekick. Shaun Catlin denying him with a sharp save.
Central Coast Mariners return to Pluim Park next weekend welcoming SD Raiders. While Hills United visit Christie Park to take on the NWS Spirit.
SD Raiders FC 0 v Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Malbasa 7‘, Rose 31‘ 68‘)
Indeed, it was a good night for A-league academies as Western Sydney Wanderers claimed back to back victories at the expense of SD Raiders at Ernie Smith Reserve.
After a thumping victory last weekend, the Wanderers came into the clash with plenty of confidence. Whereas SD Raiders had a busy schedule after a midweek cup game against Northern Tigers after last weekend’s victory.
And as such, the Wanderers were quick out of the blocks while SD Raiders were perhaps sluggish. The visitors opening their account seven minutes in through Jakov Malbasa. A long ball from the back over the top of the Raiders defense allowing Connor Rose to run onto it who cut it back to Jakov Malbasa to score his fourth of the season.
The game was being played at a good intensity with SD Raiders also having multiple box entries in the opening quarter hour but unlike their visitors, they had trouble testing Jack Warshawsky in goal. Although Daniel Bittar did go close in the eighteenth minute his strike going just over the bar.
The Wanderers advantage would be doubled just after the half hour through Connor Rose. Rose winning a penalty after taking it upon himself dribbling into the area before being brought down by a lazy challenge. Rose sending the keeper the wrong way from the spot.
And the deficit could have been worse for the hosts going into the break with a deflection off a cut back forcing Mario Aleksik into a save at his near post.
As you would expect, the Raiders came out looking to bring themselves back into the contest with the Wanderers struggling to control the possession as they did before the break in the early stages of the second half.
Like the first half though, the Wanderers grew into the half and were rewarded twenty-five minutes into the second period, after a warning shot a few minutes before. Conor Rose with a lovely strike into the far bottom corner from inside the box on the right.
Three nil up, the uphill climb seemed near impossible for the Raiders. Although the likes of Mark Cindric and Franco Maya did have efforts on goal.
SD Raiders will make the long trip up to Pluim Park next weekend to face Central Coast Mariners. While Western Sydney Wanderers return home to take on St George FC.
Blacktown Spartans FC 2 (Ireland, Gonzalez) v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 0
Blacktown Spartans secured their second win at home with a victory over Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Blacktown Football Park.
Goals either side of the half time break from Mason Ireland and Emmanuel Gonzalez were just reward for a dominant performance from the hosts. Whereas Bonnyrigg White Eagles will return to the drawing board after a five game winless run.
It was quickly apparent early on how this first half was going to go with the hosts creating chance after chance while the visitors couldn’t manage the same at the other end.
The first of which fell to Hamish Lamberton at the back post after Sulley Bangura put in a delivery worthy of a goal on six minutes. Lamberton denied by Bonnyrigg shot stopper Michael Figueira at his near post.
Spartans were looking likely and sure enough they opened the scoring just after the quarter hour through Mason Ireland who received the ball inside the area and finished from a tight angle across goal into the far side netting. Assist going to Keith Buckley.
As the first half progressed, they continued to create chances but were unable to double their lead. Which gives us a chance to mention Keith Buckley who was a contender for man of the match honours in midfield.
Spurred on after the break, the visitors started the more positive of the two sides creating a few chances in the third quarter of the match with the usual suspects of Aaron Peterson, Marie Gauthier and Asmir Kadric looking menacing.
Gauthier and Asmir Kadric combining for their best chance of the match nine minutes into the second period. Gauthier forcing a save out of Spartans keeper Hugh Brown with a set piece header before Asmir Kadric followed up.
Whereas Peterson went close firstly by missing a ball across the face by a matter of inches just before the hour mark. Before following up with an excellent bit of attacking play on sixty-five minutes, making space with his back to goal before his shot on the swivel went wide.
Though any momentum the Eagles had was brought to a screeching halt just after the seventieth minute. Blacktown Spartans striking on the counter to double their advantage courtesy of Gonzalez. Though if we could give a goal to Hamish Lamberton, we would for a wonderful pass which found his fellow attacker to his right.
With time ticking away, Bonnyrigg were then unable to take flight again as their hosts prevailed at a crisp Blacktown Football Park.
Next weekend, Blacktown Spartans make a cross-city trip to Hensley Athletic Field to face Hakoah FC, while Bonnyrigg White Eagles will host St George City at home.
By FNSW League One Men’s Reporter Justin Smith