Sixty five games down, we have reached the halfway point of thecLeague One Men’s Competition. And what a weekend it was with the top four changing complexion and some crucial results in round eleven action.
Headlining our weekend, NWS Spirit gained a crucial three points despite being down a man. Central Coast Mariners overcame a stubborn St George FC setting up a top of the table clash next weekend and Bonnyrigg White Eagles upset the competition leaders.
Our Pick: Mounties Wanderers FC 1 (Pivato 83’) v NWS Spirit FC 2 (Odakura 24’, Konestabo 88’)
How important will that late goal be? A ten man NWS Spirit came out on top of an arm wrestle at Cook Park claiming victory over Mounties Wanderers.
The Spirit took the lead through Kota Odakura in the first half before being reduced to ten soon after. With a late Michael Konestabo goal proving the difference between the two sides later on. While Bruno Pivato got an equalizer for the hosts.
The first chance of the game came just before ten minutes in favour of the visitors who were only denied by a diving goal line stop from Peter Pelekanos. With Louis Bozanic the shot taker after Richie Darko saw his effort smothered into his path. Bozanic opting for the low route on his shot which Pelekanos cleared away.
Darko was looking a threat alongside Geoffry Lino in the visitors attack, while Mounties had a few half chances at the other end through Anthony Windsor and Bruno Pivato though both were called offside.
The goal which was deserved came a quarter of a way into the contest through Kota Odakura who found the net straight from a corner, Odakura finding the net through an Olimpico as commentator Steven Poletti put it (what a first goal to call!).
Spirit were firmly on top at this point only being denied a second on the line from a similar set piece to the one before. Anthony Windsor this time to clear it off the line.
Followed seconds later by a red card for the visitors as Mounties struck on the counter. Grant Cornwell seeing red with an hour of the contest remaining. Sam Perre testing the keeper from the resulting set piece.
Like at the other end, set pieces were the order of the game for Mounties with Asel Dehsabzi next to have an effort on goal a few minutes later. His effort on the lunge going wide of the goal post. Though Pivato went close with his open play effort in the 37th minute.
After the break, the game continued on it’s established pattern with the hosts looking to make use of the extra man. Although the pitch did play its part in evening things at ce0rtain stages.
And they were rewarded for it with an equalizer with eight minutes left. Bruno Pivato taking the bull by the horns playing a couple of one-twos before his effort on the end of the interchanges took a deflection past Christopher Marques in goals.
However, If you thought that would demoralize the Spirit, you would be wrong. Perkovic’s side somehow pulling out a winner with a couple of minutes remaining through Michael Konestabo who drilled a ball low through a sea of legs to give the visitors an all important victory.
Mounties Wanderers will be looking to rebound when they travel to Bonnyrigg next time out. While NWS Spirit host Western Sydney Wanderers in the arctic circle.
Hills United FC 2 (Giovenali 55’, Lattuga 58’) v St George City 6 (Awaritefe 9’ 27’ 48’, Arditti 18’ 90’, Saracino 46’)
St George City picked up their seventh win of the season in style defeating an injury depleted Hills United side at Blacktown City Sports Centre.
And the star of the show was the recently returned from injury Rueben Awaritefe who picked up the fourth hat trick of this League One Men’s Season. While Christopher Arditti motored his way to a brace and Antonio Saracino also picked up a goal.
For Hills United, it was another tough outing for a side decimated by injury, they brought the score back to 5-2 in the second half courtesy of goals to Wade Giovenali and Jacob Lattuga but couldn’t find another.
In a match plagued with streaming issues (at least for the opening half hour), Awaritefe opened the score nine minutes in lobbing the keeper after running on to a ball in behind by Jordan Morfitis.
Indeed, City were picking up where they left off in their cup game against Dulwich Hill midweek as they scored three before the half hour. The second coming through Arditti who tapped home after a Jordan Morfitis cross couldn’t be dealt with.
Two then became three twenty seven minutes in. Troy Danaskos playing a key role charging down the left side before delivering a cross for Awaritefe to grab his second from close range.
After the break, City stepped on the accelerator once again grabbing two in the opening five minutes of the second half. The first coming from Antonio Saracino who finished in composed fashion after Christopher Arditti slipped him through beyond the host’s defense.
Before Awaritefe grabbed his sides fourth on the night with the pick of his side’s goals. A spectacular scissor kick on the end of a Jay Jay Morfitis corner into the box which left the keeper no chance as it rocketed into the net taking the lead out to five.
But credit to Hills, they were able to respond grabbing a couple of quick goals for themselves five minutes later. Wade Giovenali scoring a lovely goal from outside the area after receiving a Glenn Kelshaw ball before taking a touch with his right and finishing with his left.
And the spectacular goals kept coming as Jacob Lattuga produced another goal of the week contender. Lattuga cutting in from the left finding the back of net from a long way out to bring the deficit down to three.
However with a few substitutions, City were able to steady things before adding a sixth late. Christopher Arditti grabbing a deserved goal after activating DRS on the back straight and finishing things off.
St George City host a top of the table clash next weekend against Central Coast Mariners. While Hills United face Matias Toro Suazo’s former team in SD Raiders.
Northern Tigers FC 0 v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 2 (Gauthier 41‘, Peterson 78’)
Don’t count them out just yet! Bonnyrigg White Eagles put in a season best performance to upset Northern Tigers on their turf.
A goal either side of half time from Marie Gauthier and Aaron Peterson secured the visitors a confidence boosting victory over the then competition leaders. Whereas Northern Tigers had another night to forget at home losing their second straight fixture at North Turramurra.
Northern Tigers were first to trouble the opposing keeper in the 4th minute. With Lachlan Lloyd having a shot saved by Eagles keeper Michael Figuera. Before both Jamie Lobb and Alexander Brown had efforts from the resulting corner denied by a desperate Bonnyrigg defense.
While Bonnyrigg had their first big chance on ten minutes. Tigers goalkeeper Elliot Wheeler caught in no mans land after a poor clearance, the ball falling to Marie Gauthier who perhaps had too much time to sum up his chance before applying a long range finish, his effort going wide right.
Gauthier was looking in a mood for goals in the opening quarter. Combining with Asmir Kadric and Jack Kuipers on separate occasions to go close. The latter of which saw a header forcing a good save from Wheeler.
While at the other end, Bailey Rule went oh so close, hitting the post after escaping his man on the right after Joseph Fox picked him out in the 24th minute.
With both sides happy to let each other have possession in non-threatening areas, the game began to settle down. That was until the hosts blinked and Bonnyrigg good enough to capitalize with a goal with five minutes of the half remaining. Marie Gauthier finishing off with a low drive into the bottom left corner, a goal very much deserved on the first half performance. Mun-soo Gil with the assist.
Coming out from the break, Tigers looked to respond with both Shervin Adeli and Alexander Brown having half chances early in the second half, neither able to challenge Figuera seriously though.
But after weathering the early storm, the visitors set about resuming where they left off frustrating the hosts in the process.
In saying that, Lachlan Mcgrath went close from a set piece just after the hour mark with a free header from a Hiyori Kawaguchi corner, going wide of the right post. While Asmir Kadric had Wheeler worried at the other end.
The job at hand for the hosts was made harder after with just over ten minutes remaining with another goal of the week contender. Aaron Peterson using his body to shield off a defender before hitting the ball sweetly on the half volley finding the top left corner of the net.
A hurdle the hosts couldn’t climb over, they travel to face Blacktown Spartans next weekend while Bonnyrigg host a local derby against Mounties Wanderers.
St George FC 1 (Hasegawa 81‘) v Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Kuzevski 4‘, Windust 66‘)
Central Coast Mariners were made to work hard for a victory over St George FC at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre.
Sasha Kuzevski opened the scoring four minutes into the fixture before Cameron Windust found the net during the second half. While Yu Hasegawa halved the deficit after coming off the bench to inspire Mark Milligan’s side.
In a case of one chance, one goal. Sasha Kuzevski opened the scoring after combining with Lachlan Bayliss on the right. Kuzevski winning the ball towards halfway and giving the keeper no chance as he drilled it into the top corner of the net.
This is a good time for a memory exercise though (bear with me it will make sense in a second). Think of your traditional A-league academy victory, now throw it out the window. Cause this win was a show of character for the young Mariners who grafted out a victory despite being under constant pressure at the other end.
Speaking of such pressure, the hosts had a few opportunities in the remaining thirty-five minutes of the first half to draw themselves level with Cam Philpot going close first on nine minutes
His second being on the half hour after Jay Mcgowan drove into the box before cutting the ball across the face for Philpot to finish, the attacker missing a chance he probably couldn’t do again.
The Saints were mounting wave after wave with Jay Mcgowan next to go close his right footed effort catching the near side netting from inside the box.
While Bayliss hit a shot over the bar at the other end after combining with Kuzevski once again.
With the Saints behind at the break, they continued to push into the second half with last week’s goal scorer Anthony Morabito kicking off their second half in terms of chances testing Patrick Beach at his near post after winning the ball on the press.
While Harry McCarthy responded a minute later with his shot fizzing wide right of the target after Lachlan Bayliss found him to his left.
St George though were still the one having two out of three chances with Harry Jones nearly capping off a clever bit of skill from Philpot with a long range effort having forcing a save from Beach.
But perhaps cruelly, the next goal came at the other end from a set piece after a stoppage in play perhaps caught the Saints out. The Mariners working a short corner before whipping in a ball which was finished in the middle by Cameron Windust whose initial header was saved by Andrew Di Biasio before finishing on his second attempt.
Still the Saints kept pushing and they were brought back into it with ten minutes remaining through a Yu Hasegawa goal. Hasegawa heading home after an Angus Chance cross form the left.
Ultimately though, they couldn’t find an equalizer against a dogged Central Coast Mariners team. St George FC travel to Hensley athletic to face Hakoah in round 12 action. While Central Coast Mariners once again face a road trip to Sydney’s South, this time against 2nd placed St George City.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 7 (Triantis 5‘ 66‘, Rose 13‘, Carluccio 28‘ 38‘, Antonis 32‘, Webber 85‘) v Blacktown Spartans FC 1 (Gonzalez 41’)
Fourty-one goals in eleven games, let that sink in for a second… Western Sydney Wanderers put seven goals past Blacktown Spartans in a one sided affair at Wanderers HQ.
The hosts started off positively and never took their foot off the throttle from there. Opening the scoring five minutes in courtesy of Nectarios Triantis goal five minutes in.
Although they survived a scare early in the fixture. Blacktown Spartans going close three minutes in. Lamberton on the end of a Bangura ball across the face, his effort hitting the left facing post.
However, that miss proved costly as the Wanderers punished them at the other end, Triantis heading home from a corner.
That lead was doubled soon after with a Connor Rose goal seven minutes later. Rose capitalizing on a set piece which wasn’t cleared, the striker’s effort nearly denied on the post by Lord Darkoh before finding the net.
Two became three before the half hour through the returning Jarrod Carluccio (at least to the academy side). Carluccio with a wonderful run from his own half, combining with Badolato and another before rounding the keeper and finishing into an open goal.
The Wanderers were in no mood for mercy and they added a fourth minutes later, George Antonis getting in on the action with a superb strike just after the half hour. Antonis receiving the ball in the box, switching to his right before netting the ball just inside the post.
Carluccio was enjoying himself in the hosts attack as he grabbed himself a brace seven minutes before the break. Giving an Alex Badolato cross field ball into the box what it deserved by finishing on the volley from an angle for their fifth.
Six goals in one half. Don’t mind if we do as Blacktown Spartans found a goal of their own on fourty minutes. Manni Gonzalez with a quality strike of his own for their first after combining with the unlikely source of Billy Patramanis who grabbed the assist.
However, the game seemed settled by this point with the second half a mere formality. Western Sydney Wanderers adding a further two in the second half.
Nectarios Triantis with the first on sixty five minutes. Adding his second after controlling a Daniel Wilmering cross from the right before finishing with his right foot.
And Jesper Webber with the second, the young attacker putting himself on the scoresheet with five minutes remaining. Chipping the ball over the keeper after a handy George Antonis ball from midfield to set him up.
Western Sydney Wanderers travel to the Arctic Circle to face NWS Spirit next weekend. While Blacktown Spartans return to their home down the driveway as they welcome Northern Tigers.
SD Raiders FC v Hakoah FC washed out
By FNSW League One Men’s writer Justin Smith