Round 1 Review – League Two Men’s

League TWO Men's Round Review 1

The 2024 Football NSW League Two Men’s season started with a bang, with 33 goals scored across the opening seven fixtures.

The Match of the Round this week saw Mounties Wanderers FC signal their intent in their new league against Granville Rage.

Friday, 16th February 2024

Match of the Round: Mounties Wanderers FC 8-2 Granville Rage

Mounties Wanderers FC signaled their intent in their first match in the League Two Men’s competition after they ran out 8-2 winners at home to Granville Rage.

The match started with chances for both sides when the Rage’s Ante Tomic struck the left-hand post with an effort before Mounties’ Kuot Maliet missed with a shot following a quick breakaway.

Mounties took the lead, however, in the 7th minute when Maliet broke down the right flank and crossed the ball into the middle; following a low ball from Marko Filipovic, the Rage were unable to clear and Brima Kamara found the bottom-left corner to give Mounties the early lead.

Granville pressed well, while Mounties had pace on the break; the Rage almost found the equaliser from the restart when Abdullatif Ghazal hit the right-hand post.

Ante Tomic was denied by a strong save by Mounties, while the hosts had consecutive shots from there, including one from Dany Ghetti which was saved by the Rage’s Samuel Bortolazzo in the 25th minute.

Mounties withstood the Rage possession and struck again on the break; Filipovic found Maliet out wide, who evaded a few players and slid the ball across to Brima Kamara, who slotted the ball into the bottom-left corner for his double.

That lead soon became three when one-touch passing between Filipovic and Fletcher Williamson created space for Kamara, who received the ball and drove into the box; he got to the byline and cut the ball back for Maliet, who slotted the ball home from six yards to give the Mounties a 3-0 lead.

Mounties took a four-goal lead into the break when, in the second minute of stoppage-time, Maliet countered again and fired a powerful shot at Bortolazzo from the right flank; the shot was saved but the ball fell into the path of Filipovic, who fired the ball home for a 4-0 half-time lead.

Alistair McKie almost added a fifth when he shot near-post from ten yards out, but Bortolazzo pulled off a strong save to deny him.

Just after the hour mark, Ghetti forced a strong save from Bortolazzo following a strong left-footed shot towards the bottom-left corner.

The Rage had an avenue back into the match when a handball occurred in the Mounties box in the 63rd minute; Nikola Todoroski slotted the ball into the left-hand side of the goal, past the outstretched dive of the Mounties goalkeeper; the score was 4-1.

The Rage pulled another goal back in the 75th minute when substitute Nikita Andricopoulos found space in the box and unleashed a strong right-footed shot, which took a large deflection off a Mounties defender and landed in the bottom-left corner of the net.

Hope of a Rage comeback was short-lived, however, when four minutes later substitute Anthony Vastag crossed the ball into the Rage box for Alistair McKie to attack; he used his height to tower above the Rage defence and secured the victory for the hosts when the ball landed in the bottom-right corner.

Mounties had a sixth goal in the 89th minute when subsitute Yuki Kanai found the back of the net following a direct free-kick taken eighteen yards from goal, which went past the Rage wall into the bottom-right corner.

Six soon became seven in the second minute of stoppage-time when substitute Eijin Kishimoto got on the end of a free-kick at the back post and headed the ball home for Mounties.

Immediately from kick-off, the scoring was rounded out when Kanai took a shot on from thirty yards and found the back of the net; the junior players in attendance celebrated the goal with him.

Mounties made the most of their chances, hitting the Rage with pace in the first half and stopping any hopes of a late comeback with a strong finish to the match in an 8-2 win.

Speaking post-match, Mounties captain Andre Schroeder said he was proud of how his teammates have come together following a disrupted pre-season.

“Milan (Blagojevic) has brought a lot of belief to the squad (as the new Head Coach), and it is good that it is coming together… it was exciting to watch, [and] it was a good performance.”

Speaking on the club’s ambitions, Schroeder said his side has belief to go straight back up to League One Men’s.

“We know what our goal is… Every game, it does not matter who we play, it is going to be a tough game.”

Rage Head Coach, Carlo Ianni, said his side left their worst performance for round one.

“It is a good wake-up call for us.”

However, Ianni is hopeful the Rage can bounce back next week.

“We cannot get any worse than that, honestly… we just need to hit reset and start again – if we focus too much on the negatives, it is going to be a downward slope.”

Mounties travel to face Prospect United SC in Round Two, while the Rage will hope to respond when they face Gladesville Ryde Magic away.

Mounties Wanderers FC 8 (Brima Kamara 7’, 33’; Kuot Maliet 41’; Marko Filipovic 47’; Anthony Vastag 79’; Yuki Kanai 89’, 90+3’; Eijin Kishimoto 90+2’)

Granville Rage 2 (Nikola Todoroski 64’ pen, 75’)


Thursday, 15th February 2024

Prospect United SC 1-1 Bankstown United FC

Prospect United SC and Bankstown United FC played out a late 1-1 draw in the opening match of the 2024 FNSW League Two Men’s season.

After an even start to the contest, Bankstown were reduced to ten men in the 22nd minute when Harry Stavris was sent off for denying a goalscoring opportunity with a mis-timed challenge outside the box.

Both teams had half-chances in the first half but were unable to create; Prospect had more possession but were unable to make the most of it early.

Bankstown captain Steven Wright came off injured at half-time, while Josh Gersbach also came off injured for Bankstown in the match.

In the second half, Prospect had the first big chance with a shot which flashed past the far right-hand post.

Late in the match, in the 83rd minute, Prospect hit the lead through Dimos Vlachos, who drove into the Bankstown defence and hit a low drive into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the 18-yard-box.

However, less than five minutes later, Bankstown replied when substitute Jamie Dib took a short corner to Nicolas Karperos, who squared it to Alejandro Salgueira following a scuffed clearance at the edge of the box; using his weaker right foot, he curled the ball into the top-left corner to equalise for Bankstown.

The match petered out from there and both sides settled for a point in the 1-1 draw, which will leave both sides wanting to impress as they search for a win in Round Two.

Prospect will prepare for a tough task when they host Mounties Wanderers FC in Round Two, while Bankstown will travel north to face Central Coast United FC.

Prospect United SC 1 (Dimos Vlachos 83’)

Bankstown United FC 1 (Alejandro Salgueira 87’; Harry Stavris 22’ red card)


Saturday, 17th February 2024

Parramatta FC 3-3 Fraser Park FC

Parramatta FC staged a big comeback at home to Fraser Park FC in a 3-3 draw to kick off their 2024 campaign, despite a big hat-trick from Fraser Park’s Alexander Nicolosi.

In a game of two halves, Nicolosi gave Fraser Park the lead in the 6th minute when he intercepted a ball, fired a shot at goal which was saved, before he slotted home the rebound.

The second goal for Fraser Park came in the 35th minute following good combination play down the left; a ball played by Matthew Lecce found David Ustimenko, who played the ball off to Nicolosi for his second goal of the match.

Nicolosi had a hat-trick before half-time when he intercepted the ball and found the back of the net with a far-post finish; Fraser Park led 3-0 at the break.

Following a slight tactical adjustment at half-time, Parramatta threw all they had at Fraser Park to get back into the contest.

The first of Parramatta’s goals came from Nathan Rayner in the 51st minute; following a cross, Reynar hustled for the second ball and had a shot blocked before he slotted home the rebound to make the score 3-1.

Three minutes later, a ball over the top from out of the Parramatta defence found Marco Sama through on goal; he dribbled past Fraser Park goalkeeper Patrick Ferrara in a one-on-one and slotted the ball home to reduce the deficit to one.

William Salinas hit the post, while Ferrara denied Bo Hyun Chun and Sama with good saves to stop an equaliser.

However, the equaliser for Parramatta came in the first minute of stoppage-time through Sama; Gabriel Contigiani contested a ball launched into the box, which led to Ferrara dropping the ball under pressure for Sama to slot home and rescue a point for the Eagles; 3-3 the final score.

Parramatta FC will hope to take their belief and positive play into Round Two when they travel down the coast to take on South Coast Flame FC, while Fraser Park FC will hope to fire up when they travel to face a tough challenge in Hurstville FC.

Parramatta FC 3 (Nathan Rayner 51’; Marco Sama 54’, 90+1’)

Fraser Park FC 3 (Alexander Nicolosi 6’, 35’, 44’)


Sydney University SFC 2-1 Hawkesbury City FC

Sydney University started their season with a strong 2-1 home victory over a valiant Hawkesbury City.

The Hawks were the stronger team for the first thirty minutes, but a strong Uni defence worked hard to limit their chances in a match where it looked to be tight throughout.

University found the opening goal in the 38th minute when sustained possession led to a chance down the left flank; the ball was squared inside for Isaac Folkes, who continued his good form from pre-season and found the back of the net to give the students a 1-0 lead.

Their lead lasted only seven minutes, however, when Hawkesbury defended a good Uni chance and cleared the ball; Vincent D’Ermilio found himself in a one-on-one situation against Uni goalkeeper Jasper Sarkies and slotted the ball home to level the match at the break.

University defended well and held their shape in the second half; with both second-half substitutes Stephen Marinos and Lacklan Whitehead in the six-yard-box, Uni captain Daniel Barrett drove down the left flank and played the ball into the box, where Marinos finished to restore Uni’s lead.

Hawkesbury pushed for the equaliser with Sarkies making a few good saves to deny the visitors a second goal; the Uni defence, led by Daniel Lister, snuffed out the three chances Hawkesbury had in the final ten minutes, including a chance scrambled off the line late to keep the points for Uni.

Sydney University will hope to win back-to-back matches when they host Inner West Hawks FC next week, while Hawkesbury City FC will look to rest up in their bye week in Round Two.

Sydney University SFC 2 (Isaac Folkes 38’; Stephen Marinos 68’)

Hawkesbury City FC 1 (Vincent D’Ermilio 45’)


Inner West Hawks FC 2-3 Central Coast United FC

Central Coast United FC opened their account in their new league for 2024 with a strong 3-2 away win over a resilient Inner West Hawks outfit.

The Pirates took the lead in the 8th minute through Ben Flakus, who slotted the ball home to give Central Coast United the strong start to the season they would have wanted.

That lead was doubled in the 21st minute when Zac Pezzutto capitalised on his chance to score and found the back of the net to double the visitors’ advantage.

Following the break, it only took five minutes for Cade Mapu to give the Pirates all the ascendancy in the contest when he scored past Jai Ivelja to give Central Coast United a 3-0 lead.

Defensive errors from the Hawks had cost them goals, but they did not give up in the contest as they pushed to make a comeback at home.

Peter Yannopoulos gave the Hawks a way back into the match when he scored a goal from just outside the box in the 63rd minute.

In the 76th minute, the Hawks pulled another goal back from a corner when Tomohiro Ishii hit the post with a header, with Takuma Hirano there on the rebound the reduce the deficit to one goal.

Following that, the Hawks had the ball and created a few more chances, including when Hirano hit the crossbar with a header in the final minute of the match.

However, the Hawks were unable to find the equaliser and the Pirates held on for the 3-2 away win.

Inner West Hawks FC will hope to respond when they travel to face Sydney University SFC in Round Two, while Central Coast United FC will hope to win back-to-back matches as they play their first home match of the season, against Bankstown United FC.

Inner West Hawks FC 2 (Peter Yannopoulos 63’; Takuma Hirano 76’)

Central Coast United FC 3 (Ben Flakus 8’; Zac Pezzutto 21’; Cade Mapu 50’)


South Coast Flame FC 3-0 Gladesville Ryde Magic

South Coast Flame FC picked up a big round 1 victory after a 3-0 success over Gladesville Ryde Magic at Sir Ian McLennan Oval.

The Flame started strong with possession and a chance to James Baldacchino, whose header was tipped over the bar by Magic goalkeeper, Gabriel Koliomihos.

Samuel Alston had a long-rage effort, Kenki Kohyama forced a strong save from Koliomihos, while Lucas Fontes scuffed an effort wide.

Aaron Khan blocked more Flame shots, but the Flame took the lead in the 25th minute when Mitchell Turner played a ball to Michael Trajkovski; he flicked the ball to Genki Iwata in behind, who finished under Koliomihos to give the Flame a 1-0 lead.

Six minutes later, Iwata turned provider when he cut the ball back to Turner, who slotted the ball home to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

Trajkovski had another effort saved by Koliomihos, while Samuel Alston showed some skills for the Flame before he fired a shot wide before half-time.

After the break, in the 62nd minute, Matthew Mazevski won the ball in the midfield and slid the ball to Trajkovski, who turned his defender and slid the ball home to secure all three points for the Flame.

Stefan Baker had a chance for the Flame, while for the Magic Chris Gaitatzis forced a strong save from Flame goalkeeper, Jordan Bruce.

Two minutes later, Fontes missed a big chance to give the visitors some hope in the contest; the Flame ran out 3-0 winners in the opening round of 2024.

South Coast Flame FC will hope to continue to be the only side to keep a clean sheet from the opening round to start the season when they host Parramatta FC in Round Two, while Gladesville Ryde Magic will hope to respond when they host Granville Rage.

South Coast Flame FC 3 (Genki Iwata 24’; Mitchell Turner 30’; Michael Trajkovski 62’)

Gladesville Ryde Magic 0


Sunday, 18th February 2024

Newcastle Jets 3-1 Hurstville FC

The Newcastle Jets came from behind to claim a 3-1 victory against a strong Hurstville FC side to round out the opening batch of fixtures for the 2024 season.

The Jets had possession in the first half, while Hurstville defended resolutely; that payed off for the visitors when a free kick from Conor Earley found George Salachoris in the box, who earned a penalty after his shot hit a Newcastle hand.

Earley converted the spot-kick to give Hurstville a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.

In the 39th minute, the Jets broke down the field and played a ball out wide, then cut the ball into the box; the ball was blocked by Hurstville before it deflected into the path of Alex Nunes, who scored to level the contest for the Jets.

1-1 at half-time, the Jets came out with intent in the second half, with crosses into the box, runs in behind and a higher tempo.

Hurstville made a few changes to swing the match in their favour with crosses into the middle and a few half-chances but were unable to find the goal to take the lead.

The Jets made the most of their energy in the 71st minute when a ball over the top from Xavier Bertoncello for Janni Rafty saw him one-on-one with Hurstville goalkeeper, Michael Rutherford; he slotted the ball home to give the Jets the lead, 2-1.

Hurstville tried to create from different situations, but the Jets found a third goal when Will Dobson found Bertoncello in the 88th minute; the latter used a side-footed finish to give Newcastle a 3-1 lead late in the contest.

A proud Hurstville side succumbed 3-1 in the end to the Jets; however, Kyle Mcseveney was shown a second yellow card for Newcastle after the final whistle for showing dissent.

The Newcastle Jets will look to defend their home ground again in Round Two when they host a fresh Camden Tigers FC, while Hurstville FC will hope to respond when they host Fraser Park FC next week.

Newcastle Jets 3 (Alex Nunes 39’; Janni Rafty 71’; Xavier Bertoncello 88’)

Hurstville FC 1 (Conor Earley 24’)

By Football New South Wales League Two Men’s Reporter, Dylan Costa @_dylancosta