With the weather cooling down, Football NSW League Two Men’s turned up the heat with 30 goals in Round nine.
Our match of the round saw a clinical Macarthur Rams side take down the Inner West Hawks by four goals.
Elsewhere, Rydalmere Lions held off Canterbury Bankstown, Central Coast regathered form against Bankstown United, as Dulwich Hill got past Dunbar Rovers.
Bankstown City took down Sydney University, with Inter Lions rounding out the weekend with a goal-frenzy at Christie Park against Gladesville Ryde Magic.
Match of the Round: Macarthur Rams FC 4-0 Inner West Hawks FC
Macarthur Rams have emphatically returned to the winners circle, after four first-half goals saw them get past the Inner West Hawks.
After two-consecutive losses, the Rams returned to Lynwood Park eager to find their early season form.
An early strike from John Fahmi saw the Rams get off to a dream start, shortly before Anthony Vastag doubled the advantage ten minutes later.
Michael Martin had the hosts ahead by three at the half hour mark, as Vastag secured a first-half brace moments before the break.
The first real chance of the game was converted by the Rams on the 5th minute mark, when captain John Fahmi sensationally picked out the top of the net, with a curling effort from the edge of the box.
The Hawks were motivated after conceding early and found themselves with some golden chances in front of goal, however a couple of heavy touches on the path to goal cost them a chance at an equaliser.
The hosts wasted little time finding themselves back in control, putting the Hawks on the backfoot and forcing their defence onto the backfoot.
Anthony Vastag doubled the advantage in the 19th minute, after a deflected cross from Fahmi sat up perfectly for the imposing striker to bury his chance from close range.
Macarthur’s control on the game began to show, as Michael Martin gave the host their third in the 30th minute.
A dangerous corner from Fahmi went into the path of Mitchell Brooker who laid it off for Martin, who made no mistakes in front of the keeper.
The Hawks were desperately trying to find a way back into the game and came agonisingly close when Peter Yannopoulos picked out Luke Galatidis from a cross, with his header forcing a great save from Stevan Savicic.
With the referee looking to his watch for halftime, the Rams struck with a fourth when Brooker played a perfect ball to Vastag who chipped an oncoming Mitchell Evans.
The Rams went into the halftime break up 4-0 on the heels of stellar showing from Fahmi, having a hand in all four goals.
The visitors began to show signs of life after the restart, lifting their intensity and pressure to match the output from the Rams.
However, it was the hosts that quickly regained the control, with Brooker narrowly missing two chances from close range.
David Adjassou showcased his danger from set-pieces, with his goal-bound shot from a free-kick desperately headed away by the Rams wall.
Cory Constance had a chance to collect a goal for the Hawks in the final minutes, but fumbled his lines in a one-on-one situation.
The Rams held on for a comfortable 4-0 win, as the Hawks were unable to comeback from a disappointing opening 45 minutes.
Macarthur Rams coach, Brett Hewit, was pleased with his side’s output in the first, but noted his side still has some learning to do.
“First-half was very good, I think the game was over at halftime, we just got to learn to take our chances and put our foot on the throat,” he said.
“For us as a young team, to go a long way in this competition we need to be more ruthless and we’re not ruthless at the moment,”
“We’re too nice, we get a lot of red cards which is not good, so you think we’re not nice, but we just haven’t got that cut throat mentality yet, but it will come.”
Central Coast United FC 3-1 Bankstown United FC
Central Coast have bounced back from a tough loss last week against Canterbury Bankstown, putting three past Bankstown United in the first-half.
Bankstown United coach, Scott Belgre noted pre-game that this was not going to be an easy trip for his side, considering the long travel and chilly conditions.
However, United got off to a great start with Oscar Nieto Rava netting the opener in the 12th minute.
This goal only seemed to ignite the Central Coast attack, as they pushed forward in hot-pursuit of an equaliser.
Their pressure paid off just moments later when Kyle Johnson levelled the score, shortly before Daniel McFarlane had the hosts ahead two minutes later.
After leading in the 12th minute, Bankstown United were left wondering what went wrong, as they found themselves behind in the 17th minute.
Jack Ragen emphatically put the hosts up by two on the brink of halftime, as Central Coast took control of the game.
The hosts held on for a much needed victory, with their attack clicking on all cylinders on the night.
Central Coast now move onto a Friday night clash with Sydney Uni, as United prepare for a blockbuster Bankstown derby on Saturday night.
Rydalmere Lions FC 3-2 Canterbury Bankstown FC
Rydalmere Lions have pulled off an impressive late comeback, snatching all three points from Canterbury Bankstown at Rydalmere Park.
After having a near-certain victory taken from them in the last moments against Gladesville Ryde last week, the Lions reversed the roles in round nine.
Thomas Gittany got the hosts off the board in the 22nd minute, shortly before Andre Guzman’s volley levelled the scores.
Heading into the break, the Berries were left frustrated at the score line, surrendering a few golden chances in the opening 45 minutes.
The Lions took advantage moments after the restart, when Ahmad Taleb recaptured his lethal form and got himself back on the scoresheet.
Gabi Lopez levelled the game for the second in the 72nd minute, with the game becoming anyone’s for the taking.
The hosts found themselves on the front-foot and looked destined to bag a winner.
Their persistence paid off with just minutes remaining, as Dillian Khale secured the third and final goal of the night.
Rydalmere flexed their attacking muscles in this match-up and will go into next week’s game with Dulwich Hill full of confidence.
The Berries will be eager to avenge the defeat when they take on Gladesville Ryde mid-week, before facing off with the Inner West Hawks on Saturday night.
Dulwich Hill FC 4-1 Dunbar Rovers FC
A Daniel Fornito hat-trick ignited a spirited Dulwich Hill victory over Dunbar Rovers at Arlington Oval on Saturday night.
Both sides were eager to return to the winner’s circle after difficult matches in round eight.
It was the hosts that got off to a flying start, with Fornito capitalising on a defence error in the opening five minutes for the first goal.
Dunbar fought back hard in the middle stanza of the first-half, levelling the score through Connor Slater at the half hour mark.
However, it was one-way traffic from here with Dulwich Hill asserting their dominance and taking over for the remainder of the game.
Fornito re-instated the hosts lead shortly before the break, after converting from a wild exchange in the Rovers six-yard box.
Nathan Samson doubled Dulwich Hill’s lead just 90 seconds after the restart with a perfectly placed header.
With game winding down, Fornito completed his hat-trick, converting from the penalty spot in the 85th minute.
It was a great showing from Fornito and Samson, who were both massive contributors in their first starts since round three.
Dulwich Hill now prepare for a tough fixture against Rydalmere, as Dunbar return to Fraser Park to host Gladesville Ryde.
Bankstown City FC 3-1 Sydney University SFC
Bankstown City has continued to put pressure on the top-two, with a convincing 3-1 victory over Sydney University.
City skipper, Nikola Todoroski put on an inspirational display, fighting through a sickness to lead his side to victory.
Todorski opened the scoring 90 seconds in, after a perfect ball from Tai Smith gave him a golden chance to secure his fifth goal of the season.
The hosts dominated the opening half hour of play, putting Uni on the backfoot and compromising their play from out the back.
Robert Deasy doubled City’s lead in the 26th minute, shortly before Todoroski sensationally bagged a brace moments later.
With a tough opening half behind them, Uni looked rejuvenated in the second-half, matching the fast-paced City attack in the process.
After a few chances went begging, Thomas Quilligan opened the scoring for Uni, in what would only be a consolation.
City hit their strides at the right time, as they look to continue their good form when they host local rivals Bankstown United at Jensen Park.
Uni will now regroup as they look to tame Central Coast on Friday Night at Sydney University Football Ground.
Gladesville Ryde Magic 3-5 Inter Lions FC
Inter Lions and Gladesville Ryde Magic put on an eight-goal thriller in the last game of the round at the Arctic Circle – also known as Christie Park in the cold.
The Lions put the pressure on the Magic defence early, with Kiriakos Tohourlgou called into the action numerous times in the opening stanza.
The valiant Magic defence was finally broken down by the visitors, with Owen Duke and Ollie Green scoring in quick succession, giving the Lions a two-goal buffer.
The hosts couldn’t be denied of an opener before the end of the half, with Daniel Rigby scoring in the 35th minute, celebrating his full-time return to first-grade after an eight month injury layoff.
Green ensured the visitors went into the break with a two-goal lead, getting a first-half brace and moving to double figures in the golden boot race.
The Magic regained momentum early in the second-half, with Michael Gaitatzis stepping up from a free-kick.
The Lions were quickly back on the front-foot and re-instated their two-goal cushion, when Duke got his second of the night.
Patrick Schibilio’s goal deep into the second-half put the result beyond doubt for Inter, securing his side’s fifth.
Aaron Khan secured a late consolation for the Magic, after heading in a Michael Gaitatzis free-kick.
Inter Lions will now look to take their momentum into next week’s matchup against Macarthur Rams, as the Magic quickly turnaround for a make-up fixture with the Berries midweek, before facing Dunbar in a week’s time.
By Football NSW Men’s League Two Writer, Dominic Criniti @DominicCriniti