Round 13 Review – League Two Men’s

MicrosoftTeams-image (12)

The top four teams all picked up big wins in Round 13 of the 2024 Football NSW League Two Men’s season as all sides geared up, ready for the fast-approaching half-way point of the season.

The original Match of the Round between 11th-placed Parramatta FC and 12th-placed Hawkesbury City FC was washed out, so instead the Match of the Round this week saw Prospect United SC come from behind late to win against Sydney University SFC.

Saturday, 4th May 2024

Match of the Round: Prospect United SC 3-1 Sydney University SFC

Prospect United SC came from a goal down to claim a big 3-1 victory at home late over Sydney University SFC.

A volley from outside the box in the first minute from University’s Jesse Hirschowitz went over the bar and was the only attempt from the opening 16 minutes of the match.

The next chance fell to Prospect’s Shaan Birring from an in-swinging corner in the 17th minute, which he headed just over the goal from 12 yards out.

Two minutes later, Prospect’s Ethan Kerek almost got on the end of a ball played in behind for him, but University goalkeeper Jasper Sarkies smothered the ball ahead of his feet.

Prospect had all the field position as they threatened to break down University multiple times and put dangerous crosses into the box, but the students held firm.

In the 32nd minute, Prospect’s Dante Soares got a volley off from the top of the box following a corner, but his effort, which went through bodies, was collected by Sarkies.

The last chance of the half came in the 40th minute when Prospect’s Blake Mottram put in a crucial last-ditch tackle inside his box to stop University’s Hirschowitz from getting into a one-on-one situation with Prospect goalkeeper, Connor Gilbert.

A cagey first half saw neither side create a big chance, where long balls were utilised, and the midfield nullified – the score was nil-all at half-time.

University came out strong in the second half and had a shot within the first four minutes through Jethro Thornton, whose powerful right-footed shot on target dipped and forced a strong touch over the crossbar by Gilbert.

Two minutes later, Gilbert handled the ball just outside the box as he was looking to drop-kick the ball up the field and gave away a free-kick just outside the box – Thornton stepped up for University and launched the ball over the ball, into the top-right corner of the goal in an unsavable effort to give the students a 1-0 lead.

Both sides became much more vocal after the opening goal and University used their goal advantage to slow the match down and frustrate Prospect – the hosts were limited to two shots for the next 22 minutes, but the two changes to bring on Tallon Zahra and Riki Sheather livened up their play.

In the 75th minute, however, the match turned when Prospect beat the University press at the back through a one-two pass between Soares and Dimos Vlachos – the latter had space in midfield and passed the ball up front to Anthony Idehen, who ran in behind with the ball at his feet into the University box.

He settled himself close to goal and fired a composed right-footed shot towards the bottom-right corner – the ball cannoned in off that far-right post and went into the back of the net to restore parity in the contest.

Five minutes later, Idehen had an almost-identical chance for the hosts to take the lead, but this time his effort was saved behind for a corner by Sarkies.

Prospect then had a golden chance to take the lead in the 82nd minute when they were awarded a penalty following a foul off the ball on Birring inside the box following a free kick, which was launched into the box and caught by Sarkies.

Idehen stepped up to take the penalty and calmly sent Sarkies the wrong way, scoring into the bottom-right corner, to give Prospect the lead for the first time in the match at 2-1.

Prospect had a shot in the 87th minute from Soares and made a few tactical adjustments late, with substitute right-fullback Riki Sheather moving up to play as a second striker.

That change paid dividends in the 90th minute when a ball played from the byline back across the box found Sheather in the middle, who slotted the ball into an empty net at the back post to seal the match for the hosts.

The changes Prospect made had helped unlock the University defence, with Idehen, Vlachos, Zahra and Sheather causing University problems following the change – the hosts showed character to come from behind for a 3-1 home victory.

Speaking post-match, Prospect Head Coach Darren Camilleri said he was proud of the way his players lifted their intensity after they had gone 1-0 down.

“It is easy to just give up, but when [University] scored, our players’ intensity lifted by itself, I did not even have to drive it – it just turned up.”

Camilleri said his squad is continuously learning and is in a much better position than when they lost to Parramatta in Round 11.

“Last week’s performance against Fraser Park made our players realise that we are a good team when we are all switched on together.”

University Head Coach Robert Flemming, meanwhile, said the output of his side has not reflected in the results they have gotten.

“It is a game where we have probably been the better team – same as against Hurstville, Parramatta, Bankstown and obviously today – we have walked away with zero points when somebody else might have seven or eight points out of that.”

Flemming spoke on how the application of his players has not been rewarded with results.

“Especially defensively, that is solid, we are able to nullify teams and how they want to play… a lot of it comes down to confidence, I cannot ask more of the boys in terms of the work rate they put in.”

The win for Prospect was their second in a row and moved them up from 11th place into 7th on the ladder, while the loss for University was their eighth in a row and kept them in 14th place, while they moved 10 points behind Prospect on the ladder.

Prospect will hope to potentially move up another spot on the ladder when they host last-placed Gladesville Ryde Magic next week, while University will hope to end their losing streak when they travel to face 3rd-placed Mounties Wanderers FC.

Prospect United SC 3 (Anthony Idehen 75’, 83’ pen’; Riki Sheather 90’)

Sydney University SFC 1 (Jethro Thornton 51’)

Friday, 3rd May 2024

Hurstville FC 1-3 Mounties Wanderers FC

Mounties Wanderers FC ended a run of three matches without a win after they came from behind to claim a 3-1 away win over Hurstville FC.

The away side started the match fast with aggressive play and high intensity, but the first big chance fell to Hurstville’s Paul Gagro, who got in behind but had the ball taken off his feet in the box by Mounties goalkeeper, Roberto D’Angelo.

Mounties created a few half-chances, which were saved by Hurstville goalkeeper Michael Rutherford, while the away side continued to win second balls and attacked from set pieces.

The match settled and in the 26th minute, Andre Guzman dribbled past a few players down the left flank and slipped the ball to Paul Gagro, who finished first-time to give Hurstville a 1-0 lead.

Shortly after, in the 29th minute, Mounties had a corner which was whipped low into the box – it went under a Hurstville player and found its way to Mounties’ Benjamin Ansah at the back post, who tapped the ball home to restore parity at half-time in a half where there were few chances.

In the second half, Hurstville picked up their intensity and looked dangerous with crosses into the box, in a match where the midfield of both sides could not control the ball in the wet conditions.

Mounties were reduced to ten men when Poda Da put in a slide tackle with studs showing on Daniel Maras – he was shown a straight-red card for the challenge.

Hurstville had possession for the next ten minutes but could not grab the game, before Mounties had a free-kick on the edge of the box, which was taken by substitute Anthony Vastag – the ball deflected off the wall and found the back of the net to give the away side a 2-1 lead.

Hurstville threw bodies forward late to find the equalising goal but were caught out in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Yuki Kanai scored from inside the box for his 12th goal of the season to ensure Mounties left Penshurst Park with a 3-1 win.

The loss for Hurstville ended their four-match winning streak and dropped them from 9th-place to 10th on the ladder, while the win for Mounties kept them in 3rd-place, still six points behind league leaders, the Newcastle Jets.

Hurstville will hope to immediately get back to winning ways when they host 8th-placed Central Coast United FC next week, while Mounties will hope to continue to put pressure on the top two when they host 14th-placed Sydney University SFC.

Hurstville FC 1 (Paul Gagro 26’)

Mounties Wanderers FC 3 (Benjamin Ansah 29’; Anthony Vastag 74’; Yuki Kanai 90+4’; Poda Da 53’ red card)

Saturday, 4th May 2024

Gladesville Ryde Magic 0-4 Newcastle Jets

The league-leading Newcastle Jets continued their unbeaten season after they dispatched bottom-placed Gladesville Ryde Magic 4-0 away from home.

The first half was a tight affair where both sides created chances, but Newcastle dominated possession in the first 45 minutes.

The Jets capitalised on an error from the Magic in the 16th minute, where Xavier Bertoncello pounced to give the Jets a 1-0 lead, which was the score at half-time.

Three minutes into the second half, the Jets doubled their advantage when Will Dobson finished following good team build-up to give the away side a 2-0 lead.

Jets’ substitute Murray Peart came on in the 62nd minute and made an immediate impact two minutes later when he converted a shot at the near post to give the Jets a 3-0 advantage.

The Jets held most of the ball in the second half, but Gladesville still threatened on the counterattack without the goals to show for their effort, with a strong Jets defence in their way.

The Jets wrapped up the 4-0 victory in the 83rd minute through Jake Goodwin, who scored with a strong effort from inside the box to bolster the Jets’ goal difference to 31 at the top of the league, where they sat two points clear of Bankstown United FC.

The loss for Gladesville was their eighth in a row and kept them rooted to the bottom of the ladder in 15th-place with six points, while the win for the Jets continued their unbeaten season.

The Magic will hope to end their losing streak when they travel to face 7th-placed Prospect United SC next week, while the Jets will hope to continue their unbeaten season when they host 13th-placed Fraser Park FC.

Gladesville Ryde Magic 0

Newcastle Jets 4 (Xavier Bertoncello 16’; Will Dobson 48’; Murray Peart 64’; Jake Goodwin 83’)

South Coast Flame FC 2-0 Camden Tigers FC

South Coast Flame FC ended a run of a few rough weeks with a hard-fought 2-0 home win with ten men over Camden Tigers FC.

Both teams had their chances in the first half, including one to the Flame’s Mitchell Turner, which went wide of the goal in the 20th minute.

One minute later, Camden’s Bailey Simpson sliced through the Flame defence and forced a smart save from Flame goalkeeper Jordan Bruce.

Dean Mugridge and Mitchell Turner also had chances to score for the Flame, as did Camden’s Joshua Mazurkiewicz and Aidan Limbrey, the latter forcing a strong save from Bruce, but the match remained scoreless at the break.

Camden started the second half brightly and forced Bruce into a few good saves, including from a curling effort from Bailey Simpson.

On the hour mark, Mazurkiewicz and Simpson both had shots on target as the Tigers peppered the Flame goal.

Against the run of play in the 62nd minute, the Flame’s leading goal scorer for the season, Michael Trajkovski, got through on goal and squared the ball to Turner, who curled an effort from the edge of the box into the back of the net to give the Flame a 1-0 lead.

One goal soon became two less than two minutes later when Alexander Alston burst down the right win and squared the ball to Trajkovski, who scored his 14th goal of the season to give the Flame a 2-0 lead.

Brendan Lane came close to equalising the match for Camden late, but his shot was saved well down low by Bruce.

In the 75th minute, the Flame’s Matthew Mazevski almost scored the third goal for the hosts when he headed a Genki Iwata corner towards goal, but the ball went just over the bar.

Two minutes later, Mazurkiewicz toe poked an effort past Camden goalkeeper Joshua Glasson, but his effort was cleared off the line by Yianni Fragogiannis.

The Flame were reduced to ten men in the 82nd minute when Mazevski received a second yellow card and was shown his marching orders – from the resulting free-kick, Camden’s Shaun Irwin hit the post.

The Flame saw out the match and recorded a much-welcomed 2-0 home win over the Tigers.

The win for the Flame was their first in three matches and saw them sit in 4th-place, equal on points with 3rd-placed Mounties Wanderers FC and four points behind 2nd-placed Bankstown United FC, while the loss for the Tigers was their first in four matches as they stayed in 6th-place.

The Flame will hope to close the gap to the top two when they travel to face 12th-placed Hawkesbury City FC next week, while the Tigers will hope to rebound from their loss when they host 5th-placed Inner West Hawks FC in a crucial battle in the top half of the ladder.

South Coast Flame FC 2 (Mitchell Turner 62’; Michael Trajkovski 64’; Matthew Mazevski 82’ red card)

Camden Tigers FC 0

Fraser Park FC 4-0 Central Coast United FC

Fraser Park FC ended a run of three-straight losses in emphatic fashion after a 4-0 home win over Central Coast United FC.

The first goal in the match came in the 23rd minute from a free kick taken by Fraser Park from halfway, which led to a header in the box being saved by Pirates’ goalkeeper Zayd Husain straight into the path of Francis Mcalpine, who scored to give the hosts the lead in the match.

Fraser Park doubled their lead two minutes later when a cross into the box from the left found Mcalpine in the middle once again, who finished on the volley to give Fraser Park a 2-0 lead.

The hosts scored a third goal on the stroke of half-time – a corner into the Pirates’ box fell to Fraser Park’s David Ustimenko, who shot through bodies towards the far corner and found the back of the net to give the hosts a 3-0 half-time lead.

Fraser Park saw out the match and scored a fourth goal in the 77th minute when Alexander Nicolosi capitalised on a failed clearance by Husain, who had rushed out to clear a through ball – the bounce took it away from the goalkeeper, where Nicolosi then passed the ball into an empty net to wrap up a strong 4-0 home victory for Fraser Park.

The win for Fraser Park saw them remain in 13th-place but ended their three-match losing streak, while the loss for the Pirates saw them drop one spot to 8th-place.

Fraser Park will hope to build on this win when they travel to try and take down the league-leading Newcastle Jets next weekend, while Central Coast United will hope to take down one of the form sides in the league when they travel to face 10th-placed Hurstville FC.

Fraser Park FC 4 (Francis Mcalpine 23’, 25’; David Ustimenko 45’; Alexander Nicolosi 77’)

Central Coast United FC 0

Bankstown United FC 4-1 Granville Rage

Bankstown United FC won a fifth-straight match after they powered to a 4-1 victory at home over Granville Rage.

Bankstown scored two goals within the space of a minute in the 5th and 6th minute, respectively – the first came from a ball from midfield in behind to Corey Freeman, who beat the offside trap and beat Rage goalkeeper Samuel Bortolazzo one-on-one to give the hosts an early 1-0 lead.

The second goal came in almost identical fashion where Freeman scored once more to grab a double within one minute of his first goal to double Bankstown’s lead.

Bankstown continued to attack and were rewarded in the 26th minute when a shot from outside the box was blocked by a Rage defender, but the ball fall straight to Mitchell Cross, who slotted the ball home from around the penalty spot for his 14th goal of the season to give Bankstown a 3-0 lead.

Marie Gauthier rounded out the scoring for the half and for Bankstown in the match in the 39th minute when he converted with a side-footed finish from inside the box to give Bankstown a 4-0 lead at half-time.

The Rage grabbed a goal back early in the second half, in the 52nd minute, when Ante Tomic scored his seventh goal of the season, this one from a penalty, but the Rage were unable to find any more goals back from there.

Bankstown saw out the match and picked up a big 4-1 win at home.

The win for Bankstown saw them remain in 2nd-place on the ladder, just two points behind the league-leading Newcastle Jets and four points ahead of 3rd-placed Mounties Wanderers FC, while the loss for the Rage dropped them to 9th on the ladder, one point behind 8th, 7th and 6th, respectively, with all the three teams above them on 17 points.

Bankstown will hope to potentially go top of the league next week when they travel to face 11th-placed Parramatta FC, while the Rage have their bye in Round 14.

Bankstown United FC 4 (Corey Freeman 5’, 6’; Mitchell Cross 26’; Marie Gauthier 39’)

Granville Rage 1 (Ante Tomic 52’)

5th-placed Inner West Hawks FC had a bye this round and remained on 21 points.

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