Round 3 Review – League Two Men’s

a person holding a sign

A split Football NSW League Two Men’s Round Three had no shortage of goals as sides tested their squad depth and fitness early in the season amid some big matches.

The Match of the Round this week saw Inner West Hawks FC pick up their first win of the season in a tough battle against Prospect United SC.


Tuesday, 27th February 2024

Match of the Round: Inner West Hawks FC 3-1 Prospect United SC

Inner West Hawks FC responded from their dramatic 2-2 draw with Sydney University SFC last week with their first win of the season, a 3-1 victory, over a valiant Prospect United SC.

The opening 10 minutes of the match was cagey, played in the middle third of the field with no notable chances for either side.

The Hawks had the first few chances; first, through Nathan Chakanetsa, who fired wide of the left post from inside the box in the 14th minute, before combination play from Takuma Hirano, Angelo Pezzano and Chakanetsa led to the latter heading the ball over the crossbar.

Both sides fired tame shots from range in the opening 30 minutes, which were easily dealt with by the respective goalkeepers, as neither side was able to break down the other in defence for a big chance.

Prospect had a good chance to take the lead in the 32nd minute when Anthony Idehen got the ball in the box following quick play down the left; he took a touch inside the box but fired his effort over the crossbar from 15 yards out; four minutes later, the Hawks took the lead.

Off a quick throw-in, Matthew Cuda crossed the ball into the box from the left with angle and dip; the ball evaded all the Prospect defenders and Chakanetsa rose above them and looped a header into the back of the net to put the Hawks 1-0 up.

After the first half was played in the middle third, with both sides creating more chances from long shots, the Hawks had found a way to get the ball into the box to take the lead.

A tense first half ended with the hosts 1-0 up after, in the 44th minute, a crucial tackle was made by the Hawks’ defence to stop Prospect’s Corey Smith from putting a dangerous low cross into the box from the right.

The Hawks had the first shot of the second half inside the first minute when Tomohiro Ishii strike his effort wide from outside the box.

Ten minutes later, at the other end, Prospect’s Reo Hirose won the ball 30 yards from goal and tried to catch Hawks’ goalkeeper Jai Ivelja off his line, but the long shot was straight at him.

From there, Prospect started to take the ascendancy in the match, with good runs in behind and strong runs with the ball, as well as sustained press.

In the 64th minute, Prospect’s Hristopher Neskovski got on the end of a long ball from Prospect’s goalkeeper, Brendan Allen, and fired a quick shot at goal, which was collected easily by Ivelja after a bobble.

Prospect’s Adam Filippone continued the pressure when he tried to cut a dangerous ball back into the box, while shortly after, Hirose fired a first-time effort over the goal.

A big chance arrived for Prospect in the 68th minute when Jacob Micallef found Jahnbek Bulut with a slide pass inside; Bulut had a one-on-one against Ivelja, who saved the shot from close range.

Both sides turned the ball over in the second half and the pressure was building on both for a change in the match.

The next goal came in the 71st minute when, following a foul given on the left, Hirano stepped up to take the free-kick, 25 yards from goal.

He continued his strong start to the season when he launched the ball over the wall at the near post, which the ball struck as it ricocheted into the bottom-right corner to double the Hawks’ lead, 2-0.

Chakanetsa forced Vlachos into a strong save with the next chance in the match as the Hawks hit a Prospect team pushing bodies forward late on the counter.

Filippone had another shot which was collected at the second attempt by Ivelja, while the Hawks got bodies back to defend their 2-0 lead late.

That approach worked for the Hawks when they scored a third in the 88th minute; a shot from the Hawks took a big deflection off Prospect’s Daniel Mihajlovic and wrong-footed Ivelja as the ball rolled into the back of the net.

The scoring was not over there when, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Prospect were awarded a penalty when Hirose was fouled by Anthony Windsor; Hirose stepped up and struck the penalty down the middle, sending Ivelja the wrong way, to grab a consolation for the visitors with the final kick of the match; 3-1 the final score.

Speaking post-match, Inner West Hawks’ Head Coach, Jim Patikas, said he was proud of his side for putting in the work, especially tactically.

“The tactics that we wanted to do today, it worked out perfectly – I am proud of the boys.”

Patikas praised his side’s performance to grab victory in Round Three after they had given up a two-goal lead to draw last week.

“Last week, we played great, as well… so, we learned a lesson from last week.”

Inner West Hawks will hope to back up that win when they travel to face Gladesville Ryde Magic in Round Four, while Prospect United will hope to put in a robust performance against a side they did the league double over last season, the Newcastle Jets.

Inner West Hawks FC 3 (Nathan Chakanetsa 36’; Takuma Hirano 71’; Daniel Mihajlovic 88’ own goal)

Prospect United SC 1 (Reo Hirose 90+4’)


Mounties Wanderers FC 4-0 Gladesville Ryde Magic

Mounties Wanderers FC continued their unbeaten start to the season with a strong 4-0 home win over Gladesville Ryde Magic.

A fast, up-tempo start to the match saw an even first 30 minutes between the two sides, where both teams had their chances on goal.

Both sides hit the post before Mounties found the breakthrough in the 26th minute through Marko Filipovic, who scored his second goal of the season.

Mounties took ascendancy for the rest of the first half from there and doubled their advantage through Yuki Kanai, who scored his fifth goal of the season in just the third round to give the hosts a 2-0 lead at half-time.

The second half started with both sides competitive in the contest, but Mounties grabbed their third goal through Poda Da on the hour mark, Da scoring his first goal of the season to give Mounties a 3-0 lead.

Both sides had a few chances each in the remaining half-hour, but Mounties’ Anthony Vastag scored his third goal of the season in the 90th minute off a corner to seal a strong 4-0 home win for the Wanderers.

The win for Mounties kept them undefeated to start the season, while the Magic could not back up their victory in Round Two with another success.

Mounties will hope to continue their strong start to the season when they travel to face Hawkesbury City FC in Round Four, while the Magic will hope to respond at home to Inner West Hawks FC.

Mounties Wanderers FC 4 (Marko Filipovic 26’; Yuki Kanai 46’; Poda Da 60’; Anthony Vastag 90’)

Gladesville Ryde Magic 0


Central Coast United FC 0-4 Newcastle Jets

The Newcastle Jets picked up a big 4-0 victory away over the previously undefeated Central Coast United to keep their own unbeaten record intact.

The first half was a tight battle between the two sides; both teams had their spells of possession, while the Jets stayed compact and organised defensively.

With the ball, the Jets were fast, clinical, and found their first goal in the contest in the 8th minute when a defensive lapse from Central Coast United from a set piece allowed Justin Vidic to score to put the Jets 1-0 up.

Vidic had a double before half-time when the Jets broke quickly in behind the Pirates; a pinpoint ball found the Jets in behind, where they were able to cut the ball back to Vidic for his second and a 2-0 lead for the Jets at the break.

In the second half, the Pirates opened up as they brought on fresh legs and looked to find a way back into the match.

Janni Rafty capitalised on this with his pace as he scored to put the Jets 3-0 up in the 47th minute.

The pace of Newcastle’s forward hurt the Pirates and in the 88th minute, the scoring was wrapped up when Rafty grabbed his double to seal a 4-0 win for the Jets.

Central Coast United will hope to rest up and come back firing as they have the bye in Round Four, while the Newcastle Jets will hope to continue their unbeaten start to the season when they travel to face Prospect United SC.

Central Coast United FC 0

Newcastle Jets 4 (Justin Vidic 8’, 45’; Janni Rafty 47’, 88’)


Hurstville FC 1-2 South Coast Flame FC

South Coast Flame FC moved to a perfect three wins from three matches after they grinded out a gritty 2-1 win away over Hurstville FC.

Hurstville started well with high tempo and good possession, as well as with good press when they forced the Flame into some turnovers early.

The Flame were astute defensively and dealt with the balls launched into the box by Hurstville in the first half.

Against the run of play, the Flame hit the front in the 20th minute when Alexander Alston switched the play to Michael Trajkovski; a mix-up between a Hurstville defender and the goalkeeper saw Alston tap the ball into the empty net past Michael Rutherford.

Hurstville’s Pedro Aleida forced a strong save from Flame goalkeeper, Rocco Zinnato, while at the other end Alexander Alston had an effort which went over the bar.

The Flame won a penalty before half-time when Jacob Gjorsevski was fouled in the box; he stepped up and slotted the ball home to give the Flame a 2-0 lead at the interval.

Hurstville struck back right after the break in the 48th minute when Conor Earley launched a corner into the box, which Declan Sheldon flicked on into the far corner for his second goal in as many weeks to reduce the deficit for the hosts to one goal.

Hurstville had more shots at the Flame goal in the second half but were unable to break them down, including some which needed saving by Zinnato.

Hurstville’s Andre Guzman and Jacob Botic had chances in front of goal but were unable to score as Hurstville were unable to make their pressure count, while the Flame had a headed chance through Alexander Alston which he could not convert.

Trajkovski had a third goal ruled out late for offside, but he and his Flame teammates had held on for a big 2-1 win away from home.

The loss for Hurstville meant their hunt for their first win in 2024 continued, while for the Flame, they moved to three wins from three matches.

Hurstville will hope their fortunes turn in Round Four when they travel to face Bankstown United FC, while the Flame have a quick turnaround with a Friday night match at home to Sydney University SFC.

Hurstville FC 1 (Declan Sheldon 48’)

South Coast Flame FC 2 (Michael Trajkovski 20’, 41’ pen)


Wednesday, 28th February 2024

Hawkesbury City FC 0-4 Camden Tigers FC

Camden Tigers FC picked up a strong 4-0 away win over Hawkesbury City FC in a match where their strong scoring start to the season continued.

A tense first half saw the Tigers turn over possession many times, where Hawkesbury could not capitalise despite six good chances which were either saved by the Tigers or missed just wide, as the sides entered the sheds level at 0-0.

The Tigers made a few attacking chances shortly after half-time and that paid dividends just after the hour mark when Dean Mugridge scored off the bench to put the visitors ahead.

Mugridge doubled his personal tally and the team’s tally just three minutes later as the attacking changes for the Tigers paid off even more.

Jack Harris added a third for Camden in the 73rd minute, before he completed his double in the 87th minute with another finish to give Camden a 4-0 lead.

The win for the Tigers meant they were unbeaten after their first two matches, while for Hawkesbury it was their second defeat in two matches played this season.

Hawkesbury City FC will hope to fire up when they host the red-hot Mounties Wanderers FC in Round Four, while Camden Tigers FC will look to continue their goal scoring form at a makeshift home ground at Nott Oval as they host a winless Parramatta FC.

Hawkesbury City FC 0

Camden Tigers FC 4 (Dean Mugridge 61’, 64’; Jack Harris 73’, 87’)

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