There was that little bit of special something in the air over the weekend as we witnessed some quality goals in quality games in round thirteen of the League One Men’s competition.
In our pick of the fixtures (prior to the weekend), Central Coast Mariners triumphed over Bonnyrigg White Eagles. While you won’t see many better games than the one played at Penshurst Park as St George City prevailed over Northern Tigers.
Our Pick: Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Jok 61’66’) v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 0
A quickfire Dor Jok double restored Central Coast Mariners position on the table as they overcame a Bonnyrigg White Eagles side at Pluim Park, Sunday afternoon
Confident after a few good wins recently, Bonnyrigg White Eagles were eager to take it to the league leaders early, with a half chance falling to Marie Gauthier.
Indeed, you would suggest that much of the first half was played on the terms of the visitors, with the hosts struggling to create the same number of chances which they usually do at Pluim.
In fact, we had to wait till the 25th minute before seeing the young Mariners create what you would call a good chance. Dor Jok combining with Jackson Khoury, Jok sending the ball across the face with his effort.
Bonnyrigg had one more chance before the break when a free kick was whipped in from the left, Peterson missing a chance at a header with handball shouts following.
Coming out from the break, Dor Jok continued to be the Mariners main outlet going forward. Playing a lovely through ball to himself, before his effort inside the area was saved by Michael Figueira.
While Sasha Kuzevski denied Asmir Kadric the chance of a shot with a lovely sliding challenge. Followed by a Sean Eve opportunity, in what was becoming a more traditional Pluim affair.
So, If I was to list every good chance in the second half, this report could be too lengthy so let’s just say the chances continued to flow at both ends with it seemingly being only a matter of time before the scores were opened.
And so it was with half an hour left, Dor Jok opening the account with a shot from close range after he played a part in the lead up playing through Lachlan Bayliss. Bayliss centering it for Jok to finish with his right.
One became two just five minutes later in a double blow which made the task all the harder for their visitors. Dor Jok on hand to tap home after Harry McCarthy headed across the face from a Sasha Kuzevski cross.
But that didn’t mean the visitors stopped trying, putting pressure on their hosts throughout the remainder with Bradie Smith, Radovan Pavicevic and Peterson all going close. Pavicevic with the pick off them, denied by a Cameron Windust goal saving header.
Central Coast Mariners travel to face Mounties Wanderers next weekend, while Bonnyrigg White Eagles have Hakoah FC awaiting them in both league and cup.
St George City 3 (Mitry 40’, Awaritefe 74’, Keremelevski 90+3’) v Northern Tigers FC 2 (Fulton 21, Brown 50’)
I’m happy to report that a game which promised so much, delivered as St George City and Northern Tigers played out a classic at Penshurst Park, Saturday evening.
In a game of the season contender, the hosts came from behind twice before a Matthew Keremelevski stunner won the game deep into extra time, with Paolo Mitry and Reuben Awaritefe scoring the other goals.
For the Northern Tigers, it’s the latest in a frustrating series of results with their last victory coming in round ten against Mounties Wanderers. They were in the lead twice either side of half time with goals to Jack Fulton and Ally Brown.
After a cagey opening with both sides exchanging half chances, the action exploded to life after the quarter hour. At one end, Paolo Mitry made himself some space before cutting it across the face of goal dangerously. With Scott Browning just about doing enough to deny the hosts.
While at the other, the first clear cut chance fell to Northern Tigers from the penalty spot. Joseph Fox winning the spot kick, Jack Fulton converting it, sending City keeper Mackenzie Syron the wrong way in the process.
In a familiar pattern across the night, the big chances seemed to fall back to back as Tigers went close ten minutes later. Ally Brown missing from close range just before the half hour after Kawaguchi found him centrally.
While at the other end, City were creating their fair share of chances, though not exactly clear cut ones at that.
That all changed in the last ten minutes though with City ramping up the pressure. Jordan Morfitis central to both a chance of his own as well as one to Reuben Awaritefe in consecutive minutes.
But it was Paolo Mitry to take the reward of a goal, with a fantastic individual effort before the break. Mitry receiving a pass from Morfitis, showing off with a bit of skill before his low left footed drive found the bottom right corner off the post.
Coming out of the resumption, it was the visitors who started the better of the two sides, Bailey Rule sending a warning shot across the face of goal within two minutes, only for it to be cleared in similar circumstances to one of their opponents’ chances earlier.
In no mood to let their opponents off a second time, the Tigers retook the lead again five minutes into the half. Ally Brown scoring another brilliant goal in a game full of them, receiving the ball in an advanced position before turning his marker (coincidently a former Tiger) inside and out and applying the right footed finish into the far side netting. Tigers 2-1.
In search of an equalizer, City coach Mirko Jurilj turned to his reinforcements introducing both Damian German and Christopher Arditti to proceedings. A change which paid off soon after with the equalizer. Reuben Awaritefe scoring with a poachers finish after both German, Arditti and Mitry all played a role in the buildup.
From there it was anyone’s guess where the points were going to go. With Jack Fulton going oh so close with ten minutes remaining at one end, heading just wide after a Bailey Rule cross from the right.
Before the game was won for the hosts courtesy of Matthew Keremelevski, the young full-back hitting an absolute bullet into the roof of the net deep into stoppage time giving Elliot Wheeler or the visiting defense no chance at stopping it. Mark Moric with the assist. Seriously though, you’re better off watching it than reading about it.
A worthy showcase of this wonderful league! St George City travel to take on Western Sydney Wanderers next weekend. While Northern Tigers will look to bounce back when they host Hills United.
Blacktown Spartans FC 0 v NWS Spirit FC 0
Blacktown Spartans and NWS Spirit FC played out a tight contest at Blacktown Football Park in round thirteen action.
Kota Odakura opened the game in terms of chances before the 7th minute with a free kick which went over the bar. Which was followed up three minutes later again from a set piece with Musashi Kokubo heading over the bar after he escaped his defender as the visitors started well.
The Spartans on the whole though were doing a good job defensively at frustrating their visitors, with chances coming few and far between in the opening half. Their first opportunity of note coming with five minutes left in the half, Emmanuel Gonzalez’s shot from thirty yards forcing Christopher Marques into a good low save.
But the chance of the first half went the way of the visitors. A corner from the left once again finding Kokubo free in the middle who went closer this time hitting the underside of the crossbar before the ball was cleared away.
Like they did last week, the Spartans looked to strike early in the second half. Hamish Lamberton the beneficiary of a short corner routine which saw him sky his effort over the bar.
With an added intensity, both sides had their moments in the third quarter of the match before things really began to open up during the last quarter.
The first chance coming for the visitors from substitute Geoffry Lino with under twenty minutes left. Lino played through beyond the hosts defense before forcing a good save from Hugh Brown who stood his ground.
This was the visitors best period of the match as Louis Bozanic was next to go close, hitting the crossbar from a freekick with under fifteen minutes to go. Followed again by another chance where Michael Konestabo had his effort denied by another Brown save.
Needing a response, Spartans then had the next couple of chances, Mason Ireland finding himself on the end of a counter led by Suley Bangura, Ireland unable to slip it past Marques.
Before Bradley Whitworth and Joel Beattie followed up in the 88th minutes.
It was to finish a scoreless draw though in a match both sides would think they could’ve won. Blacktown Spartans host St George FC next weekend, while NWS Spirit host SD Raiders.
St George FC 2 (Morabito 70’, Philpot 75’) v SD Raiders FC 0
St George FC continued their winning ways with two second half goals taking them past SD Raiders at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre.
After a heavy victory last week, the Saints looked set to be frustrated for much of the opening hour before two second half goals to Anthony Morabito and Cam Philpot gave them a second successive victory.
There was no time to settle early in this one with both sides coming fast out of the gate. St George going closest when a ball across the face just went beyond the reach of the players central.
The Saints continued to pressure their visitors with a Jay Mcgowan shot and another ball across the face following before the 10th minute. While Daniel Bittar had the visitors first shot cutting in from the left on ten minutes.
Followed by another chance in the 12th minute, this time Jordan Figon testing the keeper with a shot on the angle. Andrew Di Blasio tipping it around the post.
After which, the game settled into a holding pattern, not that it was any less entertaining on the eye. The Saints thinking they opened the scoring next on the half hour mark, Cam Philpot drilling home a finish but the offside flag was raised.
Finishing the first half the stronger of the sides, St George picked up where they left off at resumption with Mario Aleksik denying both Jay Mcgowan and Cam Philpot with a double save ten minutes into the second. Aleksik denying Mcgowan again two minutes later.
While Raiders substitutes Milan Parenta and Noah Chianese nearly combined to open the visitors account on the hour mark.
The game had well and truly opened up at this point, it was just a matter of who was going to score first. And it came from the hosts, Anthony Morabito heading home from close range after a mix up in the Raiders defense.
A lead which was doubled five minutes later, Cam Philpot scoring another goal after beating the offside trap and taking it around the keeper. Harry Jones with the assist.
Marching in towards another victory, the Saints then saw the game out. They travel to face Blacktown Spartans next week. While SD Raiders have a busy week with fixtures against Hakoah and NWS Spirit awaiting them.
Hills United FC 1 (Gibson OG 62’) v Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Kovarik OG 52’, Badolato 76’, Swibel 80’)
Western Sydney Wanderers overcame an improved Hills United at Blacktown City Sports Centre, Saturday night.
As you would expect with the respective position on the table, it was Western Sydney Wanderers to create the first chance, a long Dean Pelekanos ball picking out Jarrod Carluccio who skied his effort from inside the box four minutes in.
The hosts were however having some joy in the early stages on the counter, led by the creativity of Wade Giovenali and Matias Toro Suazo.
It was a tight contest with the young Wanderers struggling to unlock the Hills defense. The next chance of note for them coming just before the half hour with Alexander Badolato forcing Ricardo Rizzo into a good save low down to his right.
Where the first half was tight, the second opened up with both sides showing attacking intent from the resumption.
And as such, the first goal seven minutes into the second half from a set piece for the Wanderers. Alexander Badolato whipping in a ball into the area which was turned in by a retreating Hills defender for the first own goal of the fixture.
I say first, because there was another one soon after and it had to be seen to be believed. Wanderers’ keeper Jack Gibson unfortunately mis-hitting a clearance which bounced wickedly into his own net to level things once again.
Needing to step up a gear against a Hills side who were threatening going forward, the Wanderers eventually did find what they needed too late on scoring twice in four minutes to claim victory in a good contest.
Alexander Badolato with the first after Dean Pelekanos, Aiden Mostofi, Jesper Webber and Jordi Swibel played a role in the buildup. Badolato finding the top right corner with a powerful finish into the top right corner.
Before Swibel found a goal of his own to double their advantage. Swibel finishing from close range after Jesper Webber found him with a ball across the face of goal to give them a 3-1 lead.
Responding well, Hills United nearly brought themselves back into it shortly after. Daniel Padoani nearly capitalizing on some defensive uncertainty, with his effort hitting the base of the left hand post.
It was to be the Wanderers night though and they move on to a big clash with St George City next weekend. While Hills United can take positives moving on to a clash with Northern Tigers next weekend.
Hakoah FC 2 (Lobo 42‘ 59‘) v Mounties Wanderers FC 1 (Farkas 3‘)
After eight long weeks, Hakoah FC secured a drought breaking victory over Mounties Wanderers at Hensley Athletic.
Conceding early, the hosts showed some character to score twice with Luiz Lobo grabbing a goal either side of the half time break.
For Mounties Wanderers, there unfortunate series of results continues another week. They took the lead through Antonio Farkas early but were left frustrated being reduced to ten in the second half.
In a case of one shot, one goal. Mounties Wanderers wasted no time in taking the lead with a goal from a set piece inside five minutes. Sam Perre with the delivery from the left which wasn’t cleared by the defense before eventually falling to Antonio Farkas to finish from close range.
While the first chance of note for the hosts came from range, Daniel Sadaka clearing it from outside the area into the path of Dominic Cox who tried his luck from a long range out, the ball missing the target just left to the goal.
The hosts with a couple of returning faces to the starting lineup, looked much more like the side we saw early in the season. Yianni Spyrakis adding composure and stability in midfield while Luiz Lobo added attacking threat.
However, it was Mounties next to go close, Sam Perre finding Carlo Imola at the back post who could only find the side netting with his effort. Followed by a Matthew Self chance.
The equalizer would come with five minutes left in the half though through Luiz Lobo. Lobo scoring a goal only he can after Ben Fuchs won the ball in an advanced area. Lobo taking it into the box before applying a left footed finish.
After the resumption, the game became quite scrappy with both sides happy to concede early fouls. With Yianni Spyrakis going closest in the early stages heading the ball into the back of the net. Only being denied by the offside flag.
But they weren’t to be denied a minute later and you guessed it, it was Lobo with the finish. Araullo feeding him in a central position, before the attacker took two touches and finished in style, his left footed strike hitting the underside of the crossbar before bouncing in.
Having been on the back foot in the third quarter of the match, the visitors frustrations only grew soon after when Carlo Imola saw red not long after the goal.
From there, only one result looked likely despite the visitors best efforts, Hakoah FC have two league one games to look forward to in the next week, firstly taking on SD Raiders Tuesday night before playing Bonnyrigg next weekend. While Mounties Wanderers return to Cook Park to face Central Coast Mariners.
By FNSW League One Men’s Reporter Justin Smith