Round 1 Review – League One Men’s

League ONE Men's Round Review 1

There was plenty of action around the grounds in the round one of the FNSW League One Men’s competition.

Delivering on the promise of a new season, we saw upsets and plenty of drama across the weekend. Our match of the round saw two competition heavyweights meet, while Inter Lions opened their season on a high with a victory over Bankstown City. That and more in this week’s review!

Match of the Round: Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1-0 Bonnyrigg White Eagles

Mt Druitt Town Rangers scored their first victory on their return to the division prevailing over Bonnyrigg White Eagles in a feisty contest in Sydney’s west.

Despite playing with ten men for much of the second half, the hosts found a goal through Charles Mendy just after the hour before holding on for the three points.

The first half of this one was largely contested in the midfield with few efforts causing stress to either keeper in the opening period.

John Roberts having the first chance of note for the host breaking through on goal before Jordan Gomez tried his luck at a free kick on 35 minutes. His effort dribbling wide left of the target.

Bonnyrigg’s best chance of note coming soon after. A defensive miscommunication leading to the ball finding Daniel Bittar. His quickfire shot searching for a relatively open net missing the target.

The visitors finishing the half strong with Radovan Pavicevic closing out the half with a shot from the edge of the area deflected wide.

And they were able to continue that momentum going into the second period with Bittar and Christian Torrelli combining early on. Bittar with the ball across from the right which Torrelli put just over the bar.

While Charles Mendy continued to threaten for the hosts combining with John Roberts at the other end before his shot took a deflection.

The chances of the visitors boosted by an Ivan Sunjic shown a red card with just under 40 minutes remaining.  Bonnyrigg putting the ball into the back of the net from the following free kick but it was ruled out promptly.

Perhaps surprisingly, the opening goal came at the other end with the Town Rangers rallying from the red card, Charles Mendy slipping a finish past the keeper despite some desperate efforts on the line from Bonnyrigg defenders.

Needing a response, Bonnyrigg were to go close again in the 72nd minute. Stefan Nikolic this time shooting wide of the target from range on the left. While Emmanuel Gonzalez was also introduced.

The visitors holding plenty of possession at this point with Nikolic hitting the crossbar with ten minutes left.

However, it was beginning to get frustrating for Bonnyrigg White Eagles and their frustration boiled over with Stafan Nikolic seeing red for a studs up challenge.

Substitute Cooper Coskerie having a couple of late chances to double the hosts lead in injury time.

Mt Druitt Town Rangers will turn their attention to SD Raiders next weekend while Bonnyrigg host Rydalmere Lions

Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1 (Mendy 61’)

Bonnyrigg White Eagles 0


Bankstown City Lions 1-3 Inter Lions

Our season opener didn’t disappoint with Inter Lions well and truly planting their flag against Bankstown City at Jensen Park.

With a good crowd gathered at Jensen Park, this game had a frantic opening with action at either end before the first goal. That goal falling for the visitors through JJ Morfitis who was in the right place at the right time to finish high into the net. Fikret Berisha and Ollie Green playing a role in the lead up.

A lead which was doubled halfway through the half, Sam Armson shooting from distance deflected home by Patrick Scibilio.

Despite this, the hosts were never out of the contest, and they finished the first half well to no avail. Eventually breaking through after the hour. Mabior Garang finding the back of the net in his first game for the club.

However, it was Inter’s day, and they put the game beyond doubt with just over 10 minutes remaining. Nicholas Paras hitting a gem of a free kick from the top right corner of the box.

Inter holding on for the round one victory, one they can take plenty of confidence from going into the season. While Bankstown City will be looking to bounce back quickly in their match of the round fixture with Northern Tigers next weekend.

Bankstown City Lions 1 (Garang 73’)

Inter Lions 3 (Morfitis 10’, Scibilio 22’, Paras 79’)

Northern Tigers 2-2 Rydalmere Lions

Rydalmere Lions earned a valuable round one point despite playing over a half with ten men against Northern Tigers.

The visitors came out of the gates fast opening their account in the first three minutes through Malek Saad who was on the end of some brilliant build up play.

That drew a response from the hosts who scored twice in three minutes around the 20th minute mark. Both goals coming from Hiyori Kawaguchi on his return to the club. The first via a deflection before he combined with Oliver Scott for the second.

And it looked like things had gone out of control for the visitors when Saad was shown a second yellow in the 35th minute.

But the Tigers couldn’t find a goal to put the game beyond doubt and the visitors were still causing a few issues on the break. Their efforts rewarded with just over ten minutes left. Marcus Lal coming off the bench to score the equaliser, Samuel Harb with the assist earning them a well-earned point.

The game also seeing Jake Da Silva and Christian Tierney make their first-grade debut for the hosts.

Northern Tigers 2 (Kawaguchi 18’ 20’)

Rydalmere Lions 2 (Saad 3’, Lal 79’)

Blacktown Spartans 2-3 Dulwich Hill

A new season brought a new Dulwich Hill who opened their season with a 3-2 victory over Blacktown Spartans in perhaps the pick of the Saturday night action.

Don’t say it… Don’t say it…. It’s our first game of two halves for the season! Blacktown Spartans proving the better side in the first half before Dulwich Hill bounced back in the second.

The hosts missing chance after chance in the opening half hour before the opening goal came at the other end. Daniel Fornito pouncing when a defender lost his footing in the 38th minute.

However, that drew a response from the Spartans who scored two goals in the five minutes after conceding. Aedon Kyra scoring both, the first from a close-range tap in before the second came from his head at a set-piece.

Dulwich Hill using the halftime break well, regrouping before coming out with more energy after the break. Goncalo Paradanta and Liam Spiropoulos both making a difference after coming on at half time.

Daniel Fornito equalising on the hour from a free kick which was misjudged in goal before the winner came 15 minutes later.

Mark Younes scoring said winner after entering the fray, Goncalo Paradanta starting the move with sure Jake Bradshaw picking up the assist with his cross.

Dulwich Hill holding on to secure an important round one victory, while Spartans will see this as missed opportunity having started the better of the two sides.

Blacktown Spartans 2 (Kyra 36’ 38’)

Dulwich Hill 3 (Fornito 33’ 60’, Younes 73’)

Bulls FC Academy 1-0 Macarthur Rams

Bulls FC Academy edged a hard-fought encounter prevailing over Macarthur Rams 1-0 at Sydney United Sports Centre.

The Bulls started things the better of the two sides causing the Rams issues down the right wing. The first chance of the game came at the other end though, Anthony Proia perhaps unlucky to not open the scoring hitting the post after a Jayden Dunn ball to him.

However the game settled down from there with proceedings turning into a real arm wrestle, the pivotal moment coming when Bulls were awarded a penalty just before the break. Ariath Piol making no mistake from the spot.

Needing a response, the Rams did come out well from the break, but they just couldn’t get that final ball right. Both sides creating opportunities before the final whistle with Rams coach Darren Jones noting he was proud of his side’s efforts.

Bulls FC Academy 1 (Piol 44’)

Macarthur Rams 0

Dunbar Rovers 1-1 Hakoah Sydney City East

Dunbar Rovers and Hakoah couldn’t be separated in their round one local derby at Fraser Park.

A game unfortunately marred by a first minute injury to Hakoah’s Japanese import Ginjiro Chiba. Both sides traded goals in the first half.

The hosts scoring first after starting the better of the two sides, Hesan Soufi with the screamer from 30 yards out into the top corner on 10 minutes. While Hakoah took their time to play their way in with a welcome boost coming from the last kick before the half time whistle.

Samuel Young once again the scorer after a good 2023 season last time out pouncing on an error in defense.

With tired legs prevalent across the park in the second half, both sides had their chances. Dunbar a threat in transition while Hakoah hit the post and a couple of goal mouth scrambles inside the Dunbar area.

Both sides settling for a point, Dunbar hosting Blacktown Spartans next weekend, while Hakoah return home to face Canterbury Bankstown.

Dunbar Rovers 1 (Soufi 10’)

Hakoah FC 1 (Young 45’)

SD Raiders 2-0 Canterbury Bankstown

Lastly in our review, SD Raiders scored a 2-0 victory despite being reduced to 10 players against Canterbury Bankstown at Ernie Smith Reserve.

Things started well for the hosts with a goal in the first five minutes. Some nice combination play seeing Noah Chianese thread a ball in for Yonatan Sebhatu who finished from inside the box. The Raiders maintaining control till a read card before the quarter hour.

Mario Aleksik arriving late to a challenge and taking out an attacker. With the Berries controlling proceedings until the break. Their best chances coming from Bonmyeong Koo and Marco Turpeinin in the contest.

The hosts then defended well looking to strike on the break in the second half. Wrapping things up late through Riley Cox-Barlow who drilled an effort into the bottom left corner.

SD Raiders next face Mt Druitt Town Rangers while Canterbury Bankstown take on Hakoah FC away from home next Sunday.

Nepean FC v UNSW to be rescheduled for a later date.

By Justin Smith