Round Eleven of Football NSW League Two Men’s produced some tantalising results, with four of the top five sides suffering defeats.
Our Match of the Round saw Dunbar Rovers get back into winning ways with an impressive victory over Canterbury Bankstown.
Elsewhere, It was the upset of the season at Pluim Park with Central Coast United dominating Inter Lions, as Dulwich Hill grinded out a tough win against Bankstown City, Bankstown United also getting a much needed win over Inner West Hawks.
Macarthur Rams left it late for a stunning victory over Rydalmere Lions, with Gladesville Ryde Magic and Sydney University sharing the points in the final game of the round.
Match of the Round: Dunbar Rovers FC 3-0 Canterbury Bankstown FC
Dunbar Rovers have run away with an impressive 3-0 win over Canterbury Bankstown on a rainy Saturday night at Fraser Park.
With an early opener ruled out for offside from the Berries, Dunbar made them pay scoring three unanswered goals to secure all the points.
Reece Berelowitz got the hosts on the board in the 10th minute, countering from the disallowed Berries goal to give his side the lead.
Laureano Gomez Castro doubled the lead shortly after the restart, with captain Aram Tayebi sealing all three points in the final minute of play.
The visitors thought they had found the opener after Cian McNamara picked out Shaqil Ali from a set-piece, but the linesman was quick to wave his flag and cancel out the goal.
Dunbar caught their opponents off-guard, getting the ball forward rapidly off the restart and capitalising through Berelowitz to open the scoring, capping off a brilliant counter attack.
After conceding in a quick fashion, the Berries turned their focus to levelling the scores and came close with Leandro Guzman’s half-volley just going past the face of goal.
The treacherous conditions made it incredibly difficult for either side to get a flow of possession, with the Fraser Park pitch quickly dampening.
With the rain continuing to bucket down, the sides went back and forth in an even end to the first half, leaving Dunbar 1-0 up heading into the break.
The Berries would of considered themselves unlucky to have not found an equaliser, with the visitors struggling to stay onside throughout the first half.
Rodrigo Cataldi came within inches of doubling the Rovers lead, with his piercing effort just going over the crossbar.
The hosts found a second quickly after, with Gomez Castro neatly placing his effort home in the 50th minute.
It was an active night for the referee’s, with numerous fouls and offside calls plaguing both teams throughout the entirety of the game.
With the game heading into the dying minutes, the Berries desperately searched for an avenue back into the game.
Luca Trinco came agonisingly close with his heard from a corner just going past the frame of the goal.
The Dunbar defence was resilient and determined to maintain a clean sheet, whilst turning defence into attack.
The Rovers put the final nail in the coffin in the 90th minute, with Gianni Constantino’s cross perfectly picking out Tayebi for a near open header.
The captains sixth goal of the season secured the crucial win for Dunbar, giving them much needed breathing room from the scrap for eighth place.
Dunbar found the right temperature for their win and celebrated whole heartedly in the sheds.
Dunbar Rovers coach, Christian Soares was impressed with his team’s performance and happy that the results have turned his side’s way.
“The boys deserved a result, we’ve been playing some good football in the last couple of weeks, we’ve just been unlucky with the results not going our way,” he said.
“I said to the boys this was well deserved, we put on a good performance and we connected a good defensive performance with the goals we scored last week.”
Canterbury Bankstown coach, Wally Savor credited his opposition for showing more determination for the victory.
“From the start I thought it was close… from then on I thought they probably deserved it, they wanted it more than us and they worked harder,” he said.
“I don’t think they’re better than us, they just wanted it more and that was crucial, when we started going forward we opened up at the back a bit, all in all I’ve got no complaints, Dunbar deserved the win.”
Central Coast United FC 5-1 Inter Lions
Yes you read that correctly, Central Coast United have sent shockwaves throughout the competition, handing Inter Lions their first loss of the season in an emphatic fashion.
United were eager to get some points to secure their spot in eighth place for another week and did so with arguably the upset of the season.
Daniel McFarlane opened the scoring in the 5th minute, after coming out on top of a wild goal line scramble.
The hosts doubled their advantage in the 20th minute, when Zac Pezzutto marked his first- grade starting debut with a neat finish from a counter attack.
By the half hour mark United found themselves three goals ahead, this time it was McFarlane setting up Cade Mapu with a wide-open shot from close range to send Pluim Park wild.
The visitors were out of answers as the punishment continued ten minutes later, with Pezzutto finishing off a brilliant pass Kyle Johnson.
In unprecedented circumstances, United went into the break up by four goals on the previously undefeated league leaders.
McFarlane sensationally put the hosts ahead by five, with a remarkable finish picking out the top corner at the front post, getting his 50th goal for the club in the process.
Inter found a consolation through an unlikely source of Daniel Georgievski, reducing the deficit to four goals to finish the game.
Inter Lions coach, John Theodoropoulos credited his opposition saying Central Coast were “far too good” for them and “they were hungrier and wanted the game more”.
Central Coast will look to retain their fortress when they host Macarthur Rams next week, as Inter Lions travel to face Canterbury Bankstown.
Bankstown City FC 1-2 Dulwich Hill FC
Dulwich Hill have denied Bankstown City of a chance to go into first place, walking away with a 2-1 win.
Ben Hayes starred for Dulwich Hill in just his 3rd game of first-grade, scoring both goals.
The 18-year-old opened the scoring in the 17th minute, capping off a notable solo run into the area.
With the referee looking to his watch for halftime, Nikola Todoroski levelled proceedings for the hosts, finishing off a chaotic goal line scramble for his ninth goal of the season.
Hayes stepped up again minutes after the restart, with another run into the area giving the youngster a well-earned brace.
The second half was an open affair after this, with both teams coming close on several occasions only being denied by some stellar shot-stopping by both keepers.
Tai Smith came within inches of levelling the score, with his free-kick bouncing back off the bar.
With fulltime looming the game had more twist with the referee awarding Dulwich Hill a penalty, Harry Browell stepped up but was denied by Jair Fernandez.
It was a wild ending to an eventful affair, keeping Dulwich Hill in the tight race for not only a top-four spot but for first-place.
City now move on to a tough battle with Rydalmere next round, as Dulwich Hill head to Sydney Uni
Inner West Hawks FC 1-2 Bankstown United FC
A classy first-half display from Bankstown United has seen them take three crucial points from Inner West Hawks.
United got on the board early through Corey Freeman, after getting sent through the defensive line and finding himself one-on-one and placing his chance away.
It took the visitors just three minutes to double their lead, as Daniel Slane’s powerful header left the net bulging.
The visitors continued their high press and found continued success in attack, getting two more goals before the break only to be ruled out by the linesman.
The Hawks came out of the break determined to level proceedings and get some critical competitions points in the process.
Luke Galatidis got the Hawks on the board minutes after the restart, finding the back of the net after cutting in and piercing his effort through to goal.
The sides battled heavily for control of the game, with United coming closest after seeing a couple of efforts bounce back off the woodwork.
United held on for the win and firmly asserted themselves back in the hunt for a promotion spot.
The Hawks remain at Arlington Oval in Round 12 as they face Dunbar Rovers, with United returning to Jensen Park to host Gladesville Ryde.
Macarthur Rams FC 2-1 Rydalmere Lions FC
Macarthur Rams have capitulated themselves into genuine finals contention, with a statement victory over Rydalmere Lions.
The visitors enjoyed the majority of the chances in the first half, with Matthew West and Garang Awac coming agonisingly close to opening the scoring.
The second half saw the sides go back and forth in search of an opener, leading to some entertaining football.
Macarthur got on the board at the hour mark, with Mark Symington setting up Christian Torelli for a sensational lofted finish.
The visitors answered back shortly after, with Tim Wohfiel seizing the momentum off a solo run for the equaliser.
The Rams were persistent in their efforts for a winner and after being sensationally denied late last week, they reversed the roles with a last-minute goal swinging the result in their favour.
Captain John Fahmi stepped up with a mountain of pressure on his shoulders, but he calmly slotted it away from the spot, giving the Rams all three points.
It’s the second time this season Fahmi has come up clutch and converted an injury-time penalty to give the Rams a win.
The Rams will look to take plenty of confidence into their daunting trip up the coast, as Rydalmere prepare for a tough trip to Jensen Park to face Bankstown City.
Gladesville Ryde Magic 1-1 Sydney University SFC
The honours were even at Christie Park, with Gladesville Ryde Magic and Sydney University playing out a tense draw.
The Magic came out looking to continue their good attacking form and were nearly rewarded with an early chance hitting the bar.
The first half was defined by the goalkeepers, with Kiriakos Tohouroglou and Anthony Costa having games to remember in the opening 45 minutes.
It was an uneventful start end to the half, with both side’s playing very calm, leaving the game goalless at the break.
Uni got themselves ahead moments after the restart, with Thomas Qulligian burying his chance.
This goal seemed to ignite a spark in the Magic attack, giving them a second wind as they forcefully pushed for a second.
With chances going by the wayside, the Magic were level after Adrien Jolly headed in a corner with just minutes remaining.
It was a frustrating game for both sides, with a massive chance for three points missed.
Gladesville Ryde will head to Jensen Park in a crucial ‘six-pointer’ in Round 12, as Uni host an in-form Dulwich Hill.
By Football NSW Men’s League Two Writer, Dominic Criniti @DominicCriniti