Round 19 Review – League Two Men’s


Round 19 of League Two Men’s lived up to expectations with a weekend full of thrilling fixtures resulting in plenty of change on the table.

Bankstown City put themselves back in the hunt for finals in the match of the round with a 3-0 defeat of Dunbar Rovers.

Canterbury Bankstown became just the second side to deny Central Coast United of a win at home, Inter Lions put themselves in the driver’s seat for first place with a win over Dulwich Hill, as Bankstown United and Macarthur Rams were forced to share the points.

Rydalmere Lions put on an attacking clinic against Gladesville Ryde Magic, as Inner West Hawks deflated the promotion hopes of Sydney Uni.


Match of the Round: Bankstown City FC 3-0 Dunbar Rovers FC

Bankstown City put a depleted Dunbar Rovers side to the sword with an impressive 3-0 win at Jensen Park.

Dunbar struggled to field a complete squad, with their u/20’s side playing the prior game with no substitutes.

It was clear to see the advantage City held with a full squad as they began to control the contest in the latter stages of the game.

Antonio Chiavaroli made a mark on his first start for the side with the opening goal, before Ante Tomic and Dimi Petratos sealed the result in the second half with goals of their own.

It was a back and forth start to the game with both sides looking to go forward in numbers on the counter attack.

City’s advantage in attack was their pace in capitalising on long balls, as Dunbar’s shot-stopper Luke Del Vecchio was called into action early.

Dunbar’s injury woes worsened in the 14th minute as Reece Berelowitz succumbed to an injury that made Christian Soares look to his bench earlier than expected.

City’s persistence in attack paid off in the 24th minute as Chiavaroli found himself through on goal and neatly chipped his effort over the keeper for the opener.

Chiavaroli was embraced by his teammates and the City faithful, as the 19-year-old was seemingly in disbelief at his dream start to his first-grade debut.

The Rovers went straight back to work and looked to level the score, as Olivier Beltran-Woodward’s powerful attempt fizzled over the bar.

Del Vecchio was called into the action once again and made an impressive double-save after denying close range efforts from Tomic and Huseyin Jasli.

City came within inches of a second as Nikola Todoroski slammed his effort towards goal but narrowly missed the top corner.

Dunbar continued to go back and forth with their opponents and were nearly rewarded when Calvin Zoric found himself with an open header from a set-piece, with his chance curling away from the back-post.

The Rovers were denied of a sensational equaliser as Peter Crevani’s low-driven free-kick smashed back against the post and was quickly disposed of by Ngor Deng.

As the referee blew his whistle for halftime, both sides would of considered themselves unlucky to not have more goals to show from it.

The chilly conditions worsened upon the restart, as both teams took their time to get back into the fast-paced nature of the game seen in the first half.

Dunbar showed some positive signs in the early stages of the half, but were dealt another injury blow as Welkson Bispo was forced off.

City found their footing and the upper-hand in the game  as the depleted Dunbar squad began to show signs of fatigue.

It wasn’t until the 67th minute when City cracked the Rovers’ defence for the second time, as Todoroski perfectly setup Tomic from close range.

After a fairly flawless game in between the sticks, Jair Fernandez was deemed to have handled the ball outside the box, leaving Dunbar with an in-direct free-kick from inside the box.

Crevani stood up for the visitors but his powerful effort went over the bar, much to the relief of the Lions’ defence.

City went the other way and found their third goal through Petratos, as his piercing effort was fumbled by Del Vecchio and went over the line.

Dunbar had a penalty appeal waived away in the final minutes as they squandered a few more chances late in the game to get on the scoreboard.

It was a classy showing from City who put their opponents back in the dog fight for the final promotion spot.

Dunbar Rovers coach, Christian Soares credited the quality opposition and admitted his side is in must-win mode for the rest of the season.

“It’s a tough one to swallow, we had good moments in the game where we looked superior, but we didn’t take our chances and in football if you don’t take your chances you get punished,” he said.

“Good for Bankstown, they took their chances and they’re a good team, they’ve got strikers that will punish you… we’ve got three more grand finals and we’re gonna do everything we can to play next year in League One”.

Bankstown City captain, Nikola Todoroski was pleased with the result and the manner in which his side achieved the win.

“I think we clearly dominated in the first half, myself and Ante [Tomic] had around three or four clear chances on top of our goal, we deserved the win,” he said.

“In the second half we continued our way but they came out a bit stronger, until the game settled down and that’s where we took control again”.


Central Coast United FC 1-1 Canterbury Bankstown FC

The winning streak has come to an end at Pluim Park, as Central Coast United were denied of a win at their home ground for just the second time this season at the hands of Canterbury Bankstown.

The hosts needed just a point to secure promotion and will have to consider this game as a missed chance to all but seal their spot in the finals series.

It was a disappointing first half for both sides, as Ahmad Ismail put on a world-class display to keep his side level heading into the break.

Daniel McFarlane proved to be the difference maker once again for the Pirates, as he was brought down in the box and awarded a penalty in the 60th minute.

Ismail was very nearly the hero for the Berries as he got a hand to a powerful strike from Kyle Johnson, but it wasn’t enough as the net was left bulging.

United continued to put the pressure on and were looking likely for a second as the game progressed into the final stages.

It was the Berries who shifted the momentum into their favour in the latter minutes of the game as United looked determined to hold on for the win.

The visitors were rewarded in the 87th minute as Bonmyeong Koo picked out Shaqil Ali at the front-post, with his powerful header giving the Berries a late equaliser.

Although it was a deserved point for the Berries, United’s missed chances in the earlier stages of the game came back to haunt them.

With promotion officially secured for 2022, United move onto a trip to face Bankstown United next week, with the Berries hosting Rydalmere in a potential finals match-up.


Rydalmere Lions FC 4-1 Gladesville Ryde Magic

Rydalmere Lions have put a dent in Gladesville Ryde Magic’s promotion chances, as they came back from behind to seal a convincing win.

After an outstanding win last week, the confidence was high in the Magic camp and after going ahead early, there was plenty of reason to be optimistic for a result.

The Magic went ahead early as Chris Gaitatzis played Nicholas Drummond through on goal, where he neatly slotted his chance from close range.

Rydalmere looked determined to find their way on the scoreboard and didn’t have to wait long as Ahmad Taleb converted from the penalty spot, after Dilan Kahale was brought down in the box.

Taleb secured a two-minute brace as his long-range strike sensationally found the back of the net to put Rydalmere in the lead.

Minutes after the restart, it was Taleb who found the back of the net once again with an outstanding free-kick to give himself a hat-trick.

With a two-goal buffer and the result seemingly in the bag, Rydalmere controlled the flow of the game and put the Magic defence under an immense amount of pressure.

Andre Taouil made his presence felt off the bench with a goal in the final moments of the game to extend the lead to three.

It was an exceptional performance from Rydalmere as they asserted themselves in second and look eager to continue to push Inter for first place.

Gladesville Ryde missed a golden chance to get themselves into a promotion spot as both of their closest rivals lost their games.

The Magic will have to rejuvenate themselves as they prepare for a massive game against Inter next week, as Rydalmere move onto an away trip to face Canterbury Bankstown.


Macarthur Rams FC 0-0 Bankstown United FC

Macarthur have been held goalless by Bankstown United for the second time this season, as the sides were forced to share the points at Lynwood Park.

The Rams bounced back from a disappointing first half and looked the better side in the second half, but it was a frustrating night in front of goals for the hosts.

With seemingly nothing to play for this season, United came out of the gates looking stronger and showed promise in attack.

It was a well rounded performance for United in defence and attack, as Mitch Edmunds and Corey Freeman both came agonisingly close with their chances for the visitors.

Macarthur flipped the script on United in the second half, however much like their opponents they struggled to convert on their chances.

With one effort bouncing off the woodwork and some stellar saves from Jordan Bruce, the game looked destined to finish in a draw.

United had a chance in the final moments of the game, but it wasn’t meant to be as the sides were held at a deadlock.

With the point, Macarthur have secured promotion for 2022 and now look to continue their bid for finals when they face Inner West next week.

Bankstown United now move onto a tricky fixture as they face Central Coast United in Round 20 at Jensen Park.


Dulwich Hill FC 0-3 Inter Lions FC

Inter have put themselves one step closer to locking down first place as they took down Dulwich Hill in a comfortable fashion.

It’s been a disappointing run for Dulwich Hill of late, as they find themselves right back in the fight for the final promotion spot and like their rivals are in must-win territory for the rest of the season.

Dulwich Hill showed flashes of brilliance throughout the first half, but it was Inter who took control for majority of the period.

After missing a few chances to give themselves some much deserved breathing room, Inter were rewarded on the stroke of halftime.

It was Daniel Georgievski who cracked the Dulwich Hill defence in the 45th minute, as the visitors went into the break with a one-goal buffer.

Inter looked threatening in the second half and continued to pounce on their chances in attack as they sealed the result with two more goals.

Owen Duke doubled the lead for the Lions with a screamer in the 51st minute, cleaning out the cobwebs in the top corner.

Patrick Scbilio followed suit in the 82nd minute with another world-class strike from long range that secured the win for Inter.

Inter now find themselves five points clear of Rydalmere in second and will need a few big losses to fall out of second spot.

Dulwich Hill enter a crucial last three games as they prepare for a promotion six-pointer when they play Dunbar next week, as Inter face the Magic in Round 20.


Sydney University SFC 2-3 Inner West Hawks FC

Inner West have made it two in a row at Arlington Oval as they ended the promotion hopes of Sydney Uni with a comeback win.

Sydney Uni needed to remain perfect throughout the final four games of the season in order to stay in the race for promotion, but with the result on Sunday they are resigned to staying in League Two for another season.

Inner West struck first in the 5th minute as veteran defender Sam Awad powerfully headed his chance home from a corner.

Uni began to seize the momentum of the game as the first half progressed, as it seemed the problems that have haunted the Hawks all year had crept up on them in this clash.

The hosts answered back in the 17th minute through Isaac Folkes, before taking the lead minutes before the break as Edward Jabbari found the back of the net.

After an affirming halftime talk, the Hawks bounced back in the second half and pulled off a memorable comeback.

Peter Yannopoulos levelled proceedings in the 48th minute as Inner West capitalised on some early momentum.

With the game going down to the wire and both sides missing some golden chances, the Hawks found themselves back in the lead as Lawrence Claxton scored his first goal of the year.

Diego Barcena made a few crucial saves in the final stages of the game to keep the Hawks in the lead and helping them secure their third win of the year.

Inner West look to go back to back for the first time this season as they face Macarthur, with Uni looking to start their run home on a high when they face Bankstown City on Friday night.

By Football NSW Men’s League Two Writer, Dominic Criniti @DominicCriniti