Some mammoth matches took place in Round 12 of the Football NSW League Three Men’s competition, which ended in some monumental results for both ends of the table.
UNSW FC defeated league leaders Hawkesbury City 2-0 to begin the weekend before Hurstville couldn’t move to the summit of the table, as they draw 1-1 against Camden Tigers the next night.
Nepean FC beat Fraser Park 3-1 on Saturday, while Western Rage picked up their first victory of the season, prevailing by the same scoreline at home against South Coast Flame.
Parramatta FC’s game against Newcastle Jets was called off due to heavy rain.
Hawkesbury City 0 – 2 UNSW FC
UNSW FC has defeated Hawkesbury City 2-0 to continue their charge for the top four.
Hawkesbury controlled the first half but couldn’t find the back of the net, despite having multiple chances to open the scoring.
Marco Turpeinen hit the bar and post from close range, while Daniel Morsillo couldn’t finish with the goal gaping after rounding the goalkeeper.
Hawkesbury was left to rue their missed chances with both stoppers being substitutes due to injury at halftime, and UNSW began to take control in the second stanza.
Hawkesbury’s inexperienced backline was caught out, and Nepean was reduced to ten men in the second half with one picking up two yellow cards.
Keeghan Burke opened the scoring for UNSW will a well taken left-footed shot from outside the area, which crossed the goalkeeper on its way to the far corner.
UNSW doubled their advantage through Kevin Lopes, who played a pass and received the ball back before finishing with a left-footed effort.
The away side was reduced to ten men after their goalkeeper came off with a nasty head injury, which forced Mike Kenny to take the gloves with UNSW having made all of their subs.
In a crazy passage of play, Kenny made two good saves, before UNSW went up the other end and hit the bar.
Hawkesbury coach Dean Bertenshaw stated that it wasn’t his sides night, with UNSW more clinical on Friday, while opposition coach Gabe Knowles stated it as “good character from us to get a win with seven out with the flu and two out with COVID.”
Hawkesbury will next host Western Rage on Saturday night, while UNSW will play Hurstville FC on Friday.
Fraser Park 1 – 3 Nepean FC
Nepean FC has defeated Fraser Park 3-1 in a clinical showing, to retain fourth place on the League Three Men’s ladder.
Nepean FC began the game strongly with a good phase of possession, as they recycled the ball through both flanks via their two central defenders
They twice early on looked to get in behind through a weighted through ball from advancing right back Zeke Prisuda and controlled the opening five minutes of the match.
Fraser Park began to get their foot on the ball and moved it through defence and deeper midfield positions quickly, with quick movement ahead of them.
Nepean promptly looked threatening off corners, overloading the six-yard books and whipping in menacing, quick, inswinging crosses towards goal from the left side.
They looked to draw in the press and find their fullbacks who would remain in relatively high positions in space for long passes from goalkeeper Harrick Sinpraseuth, and would often look to play directly in behind after receiving the ball, with Fraser’s defensive line advancing to close down the space.
With fifteen minutes pleased, Fraser were the only side to have found the target off a shot, with a long-range effort being saved comfortably by Sinpraseuth.
Nepean looked to pin back Fraser’s defensive line with their three up front remaining high, while the home side looked to push up play to press their opponents.
Neither side was yet to have a clear chance on goal, with Fraser beginning to ascend dominance on the game match in a positive spell from the 15th to 25th minute.
As Fraser continued to control the match, Nepean sat in a middle block, not fully pressing their opponents but looking to capitalise on misplaced passes or heavy touches.
Fraser struggled to break Nepean down and penetrate between the lines, while their opponents began to resort to more direct long passes to create chances.
Miki Bisceglia impressed for Fraser in a central role, as he looked to come off the defensive line and receive the ball with space to turn.
A good, fluid interchange through midfield between Shu Torihara and Sebastian Cal opened up Bisceglia in a pocket of space, and the move ended with the latter not connecting cleanly with a shot from just outside the box.
Andre Cavallaro acted as an outlet on the right flank for Nepean and showed good industry when driving inside, however not supported by an overlapping run.
As the first half entered into its last ten minutes, neither side was yet to have a big opportunity to strike ahead, with Fraser controlling possession, albeit mainly in the two deeper thirds, and Nepean continuing to sit and wait to capitalise on mistakes.
In the 37th minute, a great one-two saw Cavallaro in behind for Nepean, but he struck an outside the boot shot wide of the left post in the best chance of the match so far.
Right before halftime, Fraser found themselves in behind on the right off a defensive mistake, and a square ball to Bisceglia forced a save from Nepean’s goalkeeper.
As the second half began, Fraser continued to maintain possession of the ball.
Once again, Nepean remained in their midblock but struggled to find any fluidity and progression to their attack like what was evident in the first ten minutes of the first stanza.
However, it was the away side who took the lead in the 54th minute, in precarious circumstances, with Majid Eslami tapping home the ball into an open net after a mix-up between Fraser’s defence and goalkeeper.
Following the opener, Nepean began to look more energised and willing to press and attack the match.
Cavallaro made a good darting run inside for Nepean and feinted well to create room for a shot but couldn’t place a left-footed effort around Fraser park goalkeeper Patrick Ferrara.
Fraser’s energy, meanwhile, had been dashed following Nepean’s opener, with the home side until that point maintaining control of the ball and creating the better chances.
Nepean found their second goal of the match through Jack Hoban, with the forward steering home a close-range effort after a low cross from the left flank.
The away side continued to push on from their two-goal advantage, with Hoban taking the ball well around his marker and striking a strong shot towards the near post, which forced a good save from Ferrara.
Off the resulting corner, Nepean made it three through Edward Stewart, with the central defender making a move towards the near post and guiding a towering header towards the far side of the goal.
Nepean perused their momentum from their scoring spree, with Fraser looking to slow the match down with the ball to halt their opponents’ ascendancy.
Fraser did well to do so in the few minutes following the third goal and began to come back into the match, having a good period with the ball in the attacking half.
However, as the match entered its last fifteen minutes, Nepean began to control the ball and the tempo of the game, keeping it moving through their defensive line before attacking with intent and purpose.
In the 86th minute, Samuel Paslis cleverly found a consolation goal for his side.
Standing over a deep freekick, he shaped to cross the ball, but instead saw the goalkeeper off his line and shaped a cheeky freekick towards the near side of the goal, catching the goalkeeper off guard from range
A minute later, Amaro Ferreria struck a good chance from close range over the bar, and Fraser looked motivated to make a dramatic comeback late on.
In added time, Mathew Crossley went close from outside the box for Nepean, but couldn’t find the target from a low driven shot.
Aaron Avery then almost found the target in a one on one but dragged a shot wide as the final whistle sounded.
Fraser will next take on Newcastle Jets on Sunday night away from home, while Nepean will be given a weekend off with a bye.
Camden Tigers 1 – 1 Hurstville FC
To continue the weekend of action, Camden Tigers drew 1-1 with Hurstville FC, with the away side unable to capitalise on Hawkesbury’s loss to take the top spot on the ladder.
Both sides had their chances to score in the first half, but the opener went the way of Hurstville, with Michael Kotzambasis converting on the back of a throw-in mistake.
Two minutes into the second half, a Hurstville mistake saw Camden presented with an opportunity from outside the box.
The first shot was struck into the wall, but off the follow-up, Jarrod Morley drilled a volley into the top corner.
The game turned into a scrappy affair following Camden’s equaliser, and neither side could pinch a winner.
Camden will next face Prospect United on Sunday, while Hurstville will play UNSW FC on Friday night.
Western Rage 3 – 1 South Coast Flame
Western Rage has recorded their first victory of the season in a 3-1 win over South Coast Flame at Blacktown City Sports Centre.
The away side opened the scoring through Fabian Iacovelli in the 11th minute, but Western Rage soon equaliser, with Ogun Dullak charging down the goalkeeper and tapping the ball home.
They went ahead in the 26th minute in a good team goal, after 15 or so passes led to a cutback and smart finish at the near post from Daniel Cooper.
In the 41st minute, Western Rage extended the margin to two goals, with Jacob Carluccio curling a 30-meter freekick over the wall and inside the near post.
The second half was intense as the home side defended South Coast’s bombarding attacks, but Western Rage held on to gain their first win of the campaign.
Coach Greg Carluccio was extremely pleased with the performance: “The boys were outstanding tonight.
“Everything we were trying to do as a footballing team came together in this match.”
Western Rage will look to continue their momentum when facing league leaders Hawkesbury City on Saturday night, while South Coast will be aiming to keep up their good home form when hosting Parramatta FC on that afternoon.
Postponed: Parramatta FC vs Newcastle Jets
Bye: Prospect United
By Football NSW League 3 Men’s Reporter, Jack George (@JackGeorge0004)