A change at the top and derby delight. If that sounds good to you, Round 27 of the FNSW League One Men’s competition certainly delivered on Saturday night.
Yes a St George victory over Hills United means the door was ajar for Bonnyrigg to pounce and they did with victory over traditional rivals Bankstown City. While SD Raiders claimed victory in their own derby with Hakoah and Dunbar sharing the spoils elsewhere.
Match of the Round: St George FC 2-0 Hills United FC
St George FC threw a spanner in Hills United’s premiership hopes with a 2-0 victory at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre.
Well, if you were lucky enough to see the first meeting between these two, this one followed a similar pattern for a lot of the first half. Before the Saints struck a blow just before the half time whistle. Hills United unable to mount a response in an impressive showing from the hosts.
St George holding plenty of possession waiting for the visitor’s defence to open up while Hills were patient and played themselves into the contest.
The hosts having the first couple of opportunities, the first seeing a Harry Jones ball finding Troy Danaskos at the far post. Danaskos’ first-time effort going wide right of the target, 11 minutes in.
Before another Jones cutback found Conor Quilligan around the penalty spot, his shot dribbling wide of the target.
Hills United were starting to find their way into the final third at the other end around this time however and they had their first chance of note from the set piece in the 18th minute. Tristan Van Rhoon putting his free kick into the side netting left of the goal.
Their next chance coming ten minutes later, a Wade Giovenali ball playing through Nathan Rayner whose shot on goal rocketed off the crossbar after taking a deflection in the 29th minute.
Rayner going one better soon after but having his goal ruled out due to him straying just offside.
St George would finish the half the better of the two sides though. Jesse Spang with a couple of chances, while Conor Quilligan sent a threatening ball across the face soon after.
The goal coming their way in the final minute of regulation. Nicholas Kalogerou with a pass across the face, Danaskos with the next touch at the back post before Cameron Philp turned it into his own net at the back post to give St George the advantage.
As you would expect, both sides started the second half with positive intent although the hosts were doing well to keep their visitors at arm’s length.
Troy Danaskos continuing to cause them particular trouble with his set pieces. The Saints denied a second just after the hour mark by a miraculous Ryan Wood save. Wood denying Mohammed Adam whose header was goal bound.
Wood unable to deny the next Danaskos set piece as the attacking left back found Harry Jones to head home from an in-swinging corner in the 67th minute.
Hills needed a lift and the next fifteen minutes saw their best period of the game testing St George keeper Daniel Axford on three separate occasions.
Darcy Ellem sliding through Jamal Belkadi just seconds after conceding their second, Belkadi denied at the near post.
The resulting set piece drawing another save as it nearly snuck in directly. Before Mitchell Smith had a couple of chances of his own, first from distance. Before his second saw a header denied by Axford down to his left in the 72nd minute.
Withstanding that storm, the Saints gained confidence and saw out the game well to keep the top two race interesting.
St George FC 2 (Cameron Philp OG 45’, Harry Jones 67’)
Hills United 0
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 2 (Brad Bartels 5’, Zac Sfiligoi 10’) v Bankstown City FC 1 (Thomas Whiteside OG 25’)
Taking the competition lead at the right time? Bonnyrigg White Eagles triumphed despite being reduced to ten against Bankstown City at home.
Just finding a way to win, good teams have that trait and Bonnyrigg White Eagles are among them. They took a two-goal lead in the opening ten minutes and held on.
In contrast, it was a bit of a heartbreaker for Bankstown City. They played themselves back into the first half, however their opposition going down to ten had a negative effect on them.
This one had the perfect start from a Bonnyrigg White Eagles perspective with two early goals in the opening ten minutes. Brad Bartels popping up for the first at the back post from a cross. Before Zac Sfiligoi scored again from a corner.
However, to their credit, Bankstown City didn’t let them get away in the match, with a goal of their own coming on 25 minutes, Thomas Whiteside the unfortunate defender with the last touch.
Following a similar pattern to the first half, Bonnyrigg once again came out of the sheds firing but an Emmanuel Gonzalez red card saw the momentum change once again. The hosts holding their line to come away with an important three points.
Canterbury Bankstown FC 1 (Jairo Torne Fernandez 25’) v Central Coast United FC 0
Canterbury Bankstown put another nail in Central Coast United’s survival hopes with a narrow victory at Jensen Park.
The match saw both sides fight doggedly for the points cancelling each other out for a lot of it. However, the hosts came away with the points which sees Central Coast United pretty much guaranteed to finish bottom.
Joel Beattie had perhaps the best chance before the opener, his effort tipped over the bar by Central Coast United keeper Cobe Preston.
However, the Berries didn’t have to wait too long for the opener in the 25th minute. A Jairo Torne Fernandez shot taking a deflection on its way to goal.
From there, the visitors regrouped and made it a contest which could well have seen a different result. They face Central Coast United next weekend, while Canterbury Bankstown could have a say in the premiership race when they travel to take on Hills United.
Blacktown Spartans FC 1 (Sallu Kamara 80’) v Inter Lions FC 2 (Fikret Berisha 8’, Owen Duke 70’)
Inter Lions will head into their Australia Cup tie in form after a 2-1 victory away from home against Blacktown Spartans.
Welcoming back their coach John Theo to the dugout, they took a two goal first half lead which couldn’t be reeled in. The result seeing the visitors jump out to a four-point gap over the Spartans.
Speaking of, it was an off night from the Spartans who will want to move on to the next game quickly.
After a positive start, Fikret Berisha was the man to give his side the lead eight minutes in. Stephen Athanaseris picking him out with a cross, Berisha obliging smashing it home.
Spartans having their keeper to thank for not falling behind by more goals as the half continued. While Peter Pelekanos saw red for a last man challenge.
Inter continued to push and eventually found their second goal with twenty minutes remaining. Alex Becerra picking up the assist with a header to the back post for Owen Duke to finish.
Spartans getting a late consolation through Sallu Kamara with five minutes remaining. They face Rydalmere Lions next weekend, while Inter turn their attention to Thursday night’s cup game in the Northern Territory.
Dunbar Rovers FC 2 (Olivier Beltran-Woodward 55’ Ronan Connolly 85’) v Hakoah FC 2 (Jamie Masson 25’, Cam Philpot 90’)
Hakoah FC snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat with a late goal levelling things with Dunbar Rovers.
A competitive derby outing, the result wasn’t decided late in the fixture courtesy of a Cam Philpot goal. The point bringing Hakoah to 30 points while Dunbar Rovers follow closely behind them on 28 points.
Although walking away with the point, it almost felt like a loss for Dunbar with the lead late in the second half which would’ve secured their spot in the division. They found the back of the net twice in the second half through Olivier Beltran Woodward and Ronan Connolly.
Grabbing a late equaliser in a derby is always a good feeling. For Hakoah FC that came courtesy of Cam Philpot from close range. This after Jamie Masson opened his account for the club earlier with a 20th minute goal.
Dunbar next face Bankstown City while Hakoah travel to Mounties Wanderers for a crucial game for them.
Mounties Wanderers FC 2 (Andrew Holder 55’, Anthony Vastag 92’) v SD Raiders FC 3 (Mark Cindric 18’, Charlie Ragg 39’, Noah Chianese 76’)
It was a night for high scores, SD Raiders triumphing 3-2 over Mounties Wanderers in a local derby in Sydney’s South-West.
Laying a claim to being the league’s entertainers in recent weeks, the Raiders secured a more comfortable win than the scoreline would suggest with a late Mounties Wanderers penalty halving their lead.
Sitting in the promotion/relegation playoff spot, Mounties are running out of opportunities to claw themselves to safety.
The visitors got off to the better start in this one with two goals before the break. The first coming from a cross into the feet of Mark Cindric, Cindric then applying the finish inside 20 minutes. Before their second saw Charlie Ragg claim another goal after Sebastian Malfara floated a ball into his path.
Needing a response, the Mounties brought themselves back into things ten minutes into the second half. Andrew Holder the scorer of that one before SD Raiders found a third with the use of substitutes changing the momentum. Noah Chianese with that goal.
Mounties then once again pushed to bring themselves back into it and an Anthony Vastag goal made things a bit nervy for the visitors as they saw out the game.
Northern Tigers FC 3 (Luca Kmet 61’, Charles Abou Serhal 73’, Cole Mutton 81’) v Rydalmere Lions FC 2 (Mitchell Gibbs 56’, Ahmad Taleb 85’)
Northern Tigers continued their positive end of season run with a 3-2 victory over Rydalmere Lions.
Three goals and Kai Denton didn’t score? Perhaps they made it a little harder than it needed to be with a man advantage with Rydalmere, but the result moves the Tigers to 47 points.
It was a result which displayed plenty of character for the home side after a couple of injury blows in the first half with Travis Oughtred and Kai Denton taken off the field. Luca Kmet, Charles Abou Serhal and Cole Mutton all finding the back of the net in the second half.
For Rydalmere, they controlled a lot of possession in the opening half and took the lead through Mitchell Gibbs early in the second half. Reduced to ten with Timothy Wohlfiel carded for a second time, they too could take some positives from their response with an Ahmad Taleb goal making things nervy for the hosts.
Northern Tigers face Macarthur Rams next weekend while Rydalmere Lions play host to Blacktown Spartans.
Dulwich Hill FC 2 (Daniel Fornito 6’, Liam Spiropoulos 90’) v Macarthur Rams FC 1 (Leandro Guzman 53’)
Dulwich Hill secured their ninth victory of the season to jump up into tenth position on the table getting the better of Macarthur Rams.
A result that shoots them higher in a congested lower mid table and all but secures their league status. Dulwich Hill found a late goal to give them the three points. While Macarthur Rams will turn to their fixture next week as a chance at redemption.
Dulwich Hill struck first in this one capitalising on an early winner to take the ascendency, Daniel Fornito putting the ball just beyond the reach of the opposition keeper after a turnover.
The goalpost denying Christian Torrelli and the Rams an equalizer before the half time break. While a one-on-one chance soon after the break nearly saw a second Dulwich Hill goal.
However, a Leandro Guzman equaliser ten minutes into the second half was a deserved one for the visitors, Michael Martin with the assist.
From there, both sides had chances to score but it was young Liam Spiropoulos who took his moment with the late goal. Spiropoulos backing up from scoring five in the 20’s game beforehand for the late winner.
By Justin Smith.