It was another dramatic weekend of Football NSW League Two Men’s action, with every game giving us plenty of action with 25 goals for the round.
Our match of the round saw Central Coast United get their fifth successive win as they took down Dunbar Rovers.
Elsewhere, Bankstown City returned to the winner’s circle against Inner West Hawks, Sydney University upset Rydalmere Lions, Macarthur Rams extended their good run against Dulwich Hill.
Inter Lions made another second half comeback against Bankstown United, as Gladesville Ryde Magic and Canterbury Bankstown shared the points in a thrilling draw to wrap up the weekend.
Match of the Round: Central Coast United FC 4-2 Dunbar Rovers FC
Central Coast have defended their fortress at Pluim Park, gaining a seventh straight win at home with a victory over Dunbar Rovers.
The hosts took down the in-form Dunbar side and handed them their first loss in six games.
In a frantic opening ten minutes, Central Coast took the lead through Cade Mapu shortly before conceding a brilliant strike from Jonny Ress.
In a matter of minutes the hosts were back ahead through Josh Swadling, but it was Dunbar who once again answered back through Calvin Lovric.
The hosts ran away with the game in the early stages of the second half, with Kyle Johnson slotting home a penalty moment before Swadling secured a brace.
The Pirates were off to a dream start as they got in the board in the blink of an eye. After winning possession back early Josh Swaddling played Cade Mapu through on goal where he neatly buried his chance.
Within 60 seconds the hosts were in the lead and broke down the strong defensive line of Dunbar.
After stunningly go behind so early, Dunbar began to setup their brand of football and looked dangerous in attack.
The visitors were stunningly denied of an equaliser when Tom Lyons cleared a shot on the goal line from Laureano Gomez Castro, which was certain to find the back of the net.
Dunbar couldn’t be denied much longer as from the following corner a deflected cross fell perfectly into the path of Jonny Ress as his low driven shot left the net bulging.
The dramatic opening period of the game wasn’t over as Daniel McFarlane lofted a ball through to Swadling who was left one-on-one and slotted his chance into the back of the net.
After originally being flagged for offside, the referee reversed his decision due to a touch from the Dunbar defence that sent him through and gave Central Coast their lead back.
The Pirates had a stunning chance go begging with a short corner tactic finding Kyle Johnson as his powerful effort hit the side netting.
The hosts began to find success on the counter-attack and came within inches of a third when McFarlane once again played a lofted ball to Swadling. With an outcoming Luke Del Vecchio out of his goals Swadling chipped the keeper but saw his shot go narrowly wide.
Jack O’Malley sensationally denied Dunbar once again as a piercing long-range effort from Ress forced the United shot stopper into a quick reaction save.
After finding themselves on the back foot, Dunbar found a second-wind in the final minutes of the half and were rightfully rewarded with an equaliser.
Fox Bengtsson made a darting run into the box and sent a ball into the path of Calvin Lovric as he stuck out a foot to level the scores.
After a back and forth first half, it was the hosts who got the upper hand when Mapu was taken down in the box and awarded a penalty.
Johnson stepped up for Central Coast and sent the keeper the wrong way, restoring their one goal advantage for the third time in the game.
In a matter of minutes the Pirates were ahead by two goals and it was once again the lethal combination of McFarlane and Swaddling. The skipper broke through the defence and gave Swadling a perfect pass with an open net where he smashed his chance home.
Just four minutes after the break United were comfortably ahead and had successfully caught the Dunbar defence off guard.
After conceding the two quick goals, Dunbar entered a period of dominance with several chances being desperately denied by the United defence.
The Rovers camped themselves in the Central Coast defensive line but were unable to crack through for a much needed answer.
Andy Alvarenga came closest in the final stages of the game with his shot being denied by O’Malley, as the United defence held out a rampage of Dunbar attacks in the final half hour.
Central Coast bagged another three points and put themselves back in a finals spot.
Dunbar coach, Christian Soares credited a tough opposition and noted his pride in his side for their resilience.
“It’s always tough come up to the coast, we knew that Central Coast was going to be much better side since we last played, it’s a well-coached team and they manage to take their chances,” he said.
“Two early goals in second half decided the game. I’m proud of my boys that kept the composure and fight back till the end, i’m sure it was a really entertaining match of two teams that play football.”
Rydalmere Lions FC 1-3 Sydney University SFC
Sydney University have stunned Rydalmere Lions with an unlikely 3-1 win.
Rydalmere were depleted throughout the match, as they suffered two red cards and were made to pay after losing a man at the halfway point.
Ahmad Taleb got the hosts off the board in the 30th minute for his 13th of the season to send Rydalmere into a deserved lead.
Uni equalised just seven minutes later as Peter Crevani stepped up for the visitors with a crucial goal just before the break.
Rydalmere were thrown a massive spanner in the works as Camil Abouchaaya was shown a straight red-card, leaving the Lions to play the rest of the game with ten men.
The numbers advantage played well into Uni’s hand as they began to control the game and deservingly found themselves in the lead.
It was Thomas Quilligan who put Uni ahead in the 53rd minute, as Uni looked likely to extend their lead.
James Reed’s strike in the 68th minute all but secured the much needed victory for Uni as they now held a two goal advantage.
Rydalmere were dealt one last blow in the 87th minute when Thomas Gittany became the second player to be shown a red.
Although the result may have already been lost for the hosts, with two red-cards they will have to utilise their squad depth when they play Bankstown United next week.
Uni keep their slim promotion hopes alive and will be looking for another win in round 16 when they face Canterbury Bankstown.
Bankstown City FC 3-0 Inner West Hawks FC
Bankstown City have snapped a four game losing streak after defeating Inner West 3-0 at Jensen Park and it signaled a first victory for new coach and former Socceroo Ante Moric.
It was a tough defensive night for the Hawks, with a couple errors that led to goals throughout the game.
Ante Tomic netted the opener in the 22nd minute after converting on a penalty, a goal that rewarded City’s strong start to the game.
The hosts quickly doubled their lead through Jonathan Grozdanovski 11 minutes later with a brilliant header to slot it past the oncoming keeper.
The first-half was one where City may of felt like they left a couple goals on the field, as they were met by an improved Hawks side in the second half.
Inner West showed an attacking threat in the second half but were unable to convert on their lion’s share of possession.
Grozdanovski capitalised once again late in the game to secure his brace and ultimately the three points for City.
It was a much needed bounce back win and clean sheet for the Lions who now find themselves firmly back in the hunt for finals after a couple weeks of negative results.
Inner West coach, Gus Cerro noted his pride in Peter Yannopoulos’ performances in recent weeks, with the star attacker recently notching up his 100th appearance for the club.
City travel to face Macarthur in round 16, as the Hawks host Dulwich Hill in an interesting clash.
Dulwich Hill FC 1-4 Macarthur Rams FC
Macarthur Rams have made it three wins in a row as they overcame a difficult start to comfortably get past Dulwich Hill.
Dulwich Hill went into this game with just one point from their last two games and started off very positively.
The visitors dominated for the opening 20 minutes but were unable to crack the Rams, as they showcased why they hold the league’s best defensive record.
Macarthur turned the game around from this point, with Christian Torelli opening the scoring shortly after.
The Rams turned up the heat in the final stages of the first half with two goals to send them into the break up by three goals.
Mark Symington’s first goal of the season, along with Michael Martin’s strike gave the hosts a comfortable lead and allowed them to go into the second half of play with plenty of confidence.
Dulwich Hill looked rejuvenated in the second half and forced the Rams to sit back as they were rewarded in the 58th minute with Emmanuel Zervas getting his side back in the game.
However, the strong defensive work of the Rams was able to handle the attacking pressure of their opponents.
The fourth goal came in the very late stages of the game, as Anthony Vastag restored the hosts three goal buffer.
It was another important victory for the Rams as they search for more breathing room and a potential finals berth in the coming weeks.
Dulwich Hill will look to bounce back next week as they face Inner West, as Macarthur host a revitalised Bankstown City side.
Inter Lions FC 2-1 Bankstown United FC
Would it really be a complete round of League Two fixtures if we didn’t have another second half comeback from Inter?
They’ve done it again after falling behind early in the game, with a few key tactical changes getting them over the line in the final half of play.
United got off to a dream start when Alex Salgueira sensationally found the top corner with a powerful volley.
The visitors had an outstanding first half defensive display, with Steve Wright and Daniel Slane imposing their footprint on the Inter attack.
Heading into the break down by a goal, John Theodoropoulos looked to his bench and brought on the joint top scorer in the league Ollie Green.
Green made his impact felt on the game throughout the game and gave Inter a much needed spark in attack.
United left a massive chance begging on he hour mark and were left to pay as Daniel Georgievski equalised minutes later.
On the heels of great team work in the lead up play, Inter found themselves back in the game and quickly went ahead.
Nicholas Paras picked out Green from a set-piece which sent the Lions into the lead and spurred on a few more attacking chances as the game progressed.
It was another frustrating game for United as it has been a tough season for them thus far.
United host Rydalmere next week, as Inter travel to Fraser Park to face Dunbar Rovers
Gladesville Ryde Magic 3-3 Canterbury Bankstown FC
It was a six-goal thriller that went down to the wire at the Arctic Circle, with Canterbury Bankstown converting a late penalty to hold Gladesville Ryde to a draw.
The hosts were eager to avenge their loss to the Berries a couple weeks ago and put themselves within four points of a promotion spot with the draw.
The Berries jumped out to a lead when Bonmyeong Koo slotted his chance home after a save from Kiriakos Tohouroglou fell perfectly into the path of the in-form striker.
A back and forth battle ensued from the opening goal as the Berries enjoyed a more successful opening to the game.
The Magic got back on level terms through their captain Michael Gaitazis as he converted from the penalty spot.
After a couple of good saves from the keepers, the scores were level at the break but it was the Magic who took the advantage shortly after the restart.
Gaitazis popped up again in the 56th minute after a brilliant cross from Nicholas Drummond picked him out.
With the game coming down to the wire, Gabi Lopez answered back for the Berries with a first penalty in the 67th minute.
Gladesville Ryde were back ahead for the third time in the match, as Nathan Mellino scored his first and one of the most important goals for the Magic this season.
The game had more twist to it, as the Berries levelled the scores one more time in similar fashion as Lopez once again converted from the spot in the final seconds of the game.
Although they probably played the better of the two sides, Canterbury Bankstown had to fight until the final moments to salvage a draw.
The Magic will look to go one better as they travel to the Central Coast to face the Pirates, as Canterbury Bankstown face Sydney Uni is five days’ time.
By Football NSW Men’s League Two Writer, Dominic Criniti @DominicCriniti