As we approach the final month of the season, Round 26 of the FNSW League One Men’s competition delivered some important results on an action packed Saturday night.
Our match of the round saw Bonnyrigg White Eagles extend a gap to third, while elsewhere two of the bottom three sides emerged victorious as they look to avoid a promotion/relegation playoff.
Match of the Round: Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 1-0 St George FC
Bonnyrigg White Eagles secured a narrow 1-0 victory over St George FC in our R26 match of the round to edge them closer to at least a pro/rel playoff spot in the competition.
The hosts struck early in the second half through Zac Sfiligoi and held on to a crucial three points.
After a few shots of target came at the other end, Bonnyrigg White Eagles mounted their first response in the 12th minute of action, Mason Versi creating some space for himself on the edge of the area before his left footed strike took a deflection wide.
While St George FC at the other end, were creating more half chances if anything as the clock passed 20 minutes. The best of which saw Mohamed Ahmed fire a shot from outside the area into a teammate placed amongst the defensive line.
It was Bonnyrigg with the momentum though, as they searched for a way to breakdown the Saints defence. Mason Versi with another effort from the set piece in the 36th minute. His shot going over the bar.
The moment of the first half came at the other end though. Troy Danaskos unleashing a left footed strike from just outside the 18-yard box, his strike saved well by Luke Turnbull with a diving save.
Harry Jones concluding the half in terms of chances with a header on target for the Saints after a cross from the right.
If the half time break benefitted anyone, it was the hosts Bonnyrigg who created two quickfire chances in the opening stages. Emmanuel Gonzalez testing the Saints goalkeeper with a right footed strike to the near post.
Before he sent a cross into the box which resulted in another Mason Versi effort, Versi finding the side netting.
While a Troy Danaskos cross at the other end caused the hosts a heart in mouth moment, ricocheting off a defender into Turnbull’s arms.
The opening goal came for the hosts however, Mason Versi taking a corner from the right wing which found the head of Zac Sfiligoi who broke free of his man with a run from deep in the 56th minute.
With a loss extending the gap between the sides to seven points, the visitors became increasingly desperate, and they nearly had an equaliser with 15 minutes remaining. Conor Quilligan sending in a dangerous ball into the six-yard box which narrowly evaded to attackers.
A set piece in the final minutes of regulation for the Saints comfortably dealt with by a well marshalled defense.
For the most part however, the hosts were professional in seeing the game out to its conclusion, their defense holding firm for an important three points.
That win moving Bonnyrigg White Eagles seven points clear of St George in third position ahead of hosting Bankstown City next weekend. While St George enter mathematical territory in terms of catching the top two, next facing Hills United in our round 27 match of the round.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 1 (Zac Sfiligoi 56’)
St George FC 0
Hills United FC 4 (Jamal Belkadi 25’ 29’, Mitchell Smith 63’, Nathan Rayner 90’) v Blacktown Spartans FC 2 (Peter Pelekanos 45’, Angus Chance 69’)
Steady at the top, Hills United were made to work for their 4-2 victory over Blacktown Spartans as they cling on to first position.
An important win with a tough away trip to come next weekend, Hills United maintained their two-point gap over Bonnyrigg White Eagles. Jamal Belkadi scored a first half brace in this one before Mitchell Smith and Nathan Rayner joined in on the action in the second half.
They were certainly made to work for this one however with the Spartans running them rather close. A few near misses costing them dearly in the first half before conceding a further two goals as they chased the game. Peter Pelekanos and Angus Chance finding the back of the net for them.
This one was a case of Hills being clinical with their chances and the visitors not so much. The hosts seeing off a good start to either half by the visitors before prevailing in a close contest. Hills United next take on St George FC next weekend while Blacktown Spartans return home to host Inter Lions.
Bankstown City FC 0 v Mounties Wanderers FC 1 (Anthony Vastag 89’)
Mounties Wanderers secured a massive win in regards to their survival prospects with a late goal giving them victory over Bankstown City.
An important result with results elsewhere, a late Anthony Vastag goal could well prove clutch come the end of the season for Mounties Wanderers. Still four points from safety, they’ll be looking to carry that momentum forward into the final four games of the season.
This one will certainly hurt for Bankstown City who had a good run of form going at home in recent times. Sitting eight points clear of their opponents on the table with a few sides in between, they are relatively safe but will want at least one more win for insurance.
When it comes down to it, football indeed is a game of little moments, one of which fell to the visitors late in this one. Anthony Vastag finishing from inside the area in a case of being in the right place at the right time after a Shun Maeta ball into the area caused a bit of chaos.
Dunbar Rovers FC 3 (Aram Tayebi 22’, Olivier Beltran-Woodward 72’, Andrew Alvarenga 85’) v Canterbury Bankstown FC 1 (Gabriel Lopez 93’)
Their best win of the season? Dunbar Rovers were able to account for Canterbury Bankstown to keep their four-point gap over Mounties Wanderers below them.
A crucial result given the Mounties Wanderers victory; Dunbar Rovers claimed a deserved victory on the night. They frustrated their visitors while making the most of their threat in transition for three goals which came through Aram Tayebi, Olivier Beltran-Woodward and Andrew Alvarenga.
It’s a bit of a shame that Canterbury Bankstown have been hit by injuries and absences at the wrong time. Second best on the night to a side with more to play for, Gabriel Lopez scored from the penalty spot to make the score more respectable late.
Opening the scoring in the 22nd minute, Olivier Beltran-Woodward turned provider for the first goal of the contest with his cross tapped home by Aram Tayebi.
As time ticked on, the opportunities were there for Dunbar to extend their lead as they did in the 72nd minute with a Beltran-Woodward finish from just inside the area. A third coming just over ten minutes later when Andrew Alvarenga slotted home a one-on-one opportunity.
Central Coast United FC 0 v SD Raiders FC 6 (Sebastian Malfara 5’, Charlie Ragg 25’, Mark Cindric 31’ 53’ 90’, Noah Chianese 67’)
SD Raiders showed no mercy to their hosts putting six past Central Coast United at Pluim Park, Saturday evening.
The visitors found the back of the net consistently throughout the match with three goals coming in either half. Mark Cindric led the line with a hat-trick, joined on the scoresheet by Sebastian Malfara who scored the first goal, Charlie Ragg and a returning Noah Chianese. Sitting in sixth position, they do have a chance to finish as high as third this season.
It potentially is the final blow for the pirates when it comes to their survival hopes. Thoroughly outclassed on the pitch in this one, it’s a game they’ll want to forget quickly moving forward. The highest possible position they can finish is 15th which would mean a playoff game, even that’s unlikely though.
SD Raiders moves on to face Mounties Wanderers next weekend, while Central Coast United travel to Jensen Park to face Canterbury Bankstown.
Hakoah FC 0 v Northern Tigers FC 1 (Kai Denton 89’)
Down to ten men? No worries! Northern Tigers took three points away from their clash with Hakoah FC courtesy of a Kai Denton goal.
Despite going down to ten men after Shervin Adeli was sent off for a last man challenge on 11 minutes. The visitors managed the game well looking solid in defence while still creating chances at the other end, that man Kai Denton grabbing the winner in the final stages.
Another disappointment in a season that has never really got going for Hakoah, they couldn’t take advantage of the extra man for 80 minutes of this one. Sitting on 29 points, they probably still need a result to secure their safety.
Apart from that red card early, the decisive moment fell in the 89th minute of this one. James Plumley setting in motion the attack, Jakub Prajza with the assist before “that man” Kai Denton finished from close range his 26th goal of the campaign.
Inter Lions FC 1 (Fikret Berisha 67’) v Macarthur Rams FC 1 (Leandro Guzman 86’)
Inter Lions and Macarthur Rams shared the points in a tight tussle at Majors Bay Reserve.
It probably ended up as a fair result between two closely matched sides. Inter Lions opening the scoring in the second half before being pegged back by the visitors with both sides having a chance or two to take three points late on in this one.
After a first half which saw the game become a midfield tussle, Inter started the second half perhaps the better of the two sides. Fikret Berisha threatening before opening the account in the 67th minute. Berisha driving home his strike from inside the box following a Thomas Quilligan flick on.
However, they would be pegged back with 4 minutes remaining. Michael Marin the provider, Leandro Guzman the scorer with his head.
Inter Lions have one more game before their Australia cup round of 32 tie against Blacktown Spartans, while Macarthur Rams face Dulwich Hill next.
Rydalmere Lions FC 1 (Aidan Taouil 38’) v Dulwich Hill FC 1 (Goncalo Paradanta 57’)
Dulwich Hill came back from a goal down to frustrate their hosts Rydalmere Lions at Rydalmere Park.
Very much a tale of two halves this one, Rydalmere Lions were on top during the first surprising their opponents with their set up and taking advantage with a goal to Aidan Taouil seven minutes before the break. However, they couldn’t hold on, conceding from a set piece in the second half.
Which brings us to Dulwich Hill who sit on 29 points after earning a result here. As mentioned, they were a bit all over the place in the first half however came out a much better side after the resumption. Goncalo Paradanta their goal scorer from a free kick.
The first goal of this one was lovely, Kyle Sande who was given the clubs internal man of the match linking with Thomas Gittany and young Adil Toska who provided the assist for Aiden Taouil to finish.
That lead holding until Paradanta placed a free kick perfectly ten minutes into the second half to draw his side level, both teams then having further opportunities but having to settle for a shar of the points.
By Justin Smith