Round 18 Review – League Two Men’s

a man holding a football ball

The 2024 Football NSW League Two Men’s season continued to deliver mid-week with some frantic battles with big implications across the league ladder.

The Match of the Round this week saw Bankstown United FC extend their winning run over an in-form Fraser Park FC.


Tuesday, 4th June 2024

Match of the Round: Fraser Park FC 1-3 Bankstown United FC

Bankstown United FC won a third-straight match and kept up the pressure in the title race with a big 3-1 away win over Fraser Park FC, which was the same scoreline they won by in the two teams’ other head-to-head match this season.

Both Bankstown and Fraser Park had opportunities in the opening eight minutes from inside and outside the box, respectively, but it was the away side who opened the scoring in the 13th minute.

A back-heeled pass from the right inside the box found Corey Freeman in the middle, who took a first-time shot on his right foot – that sent the ball into the back of the net off the left post as the hosts ensured they scored the opening goal to make the score 1-0.

Bankstown had the early possession and chances in the first 15 minutes, but Fraser Park worked their way into the match for the next 15.

Fraser Park had a good low cross cut out by the Bankstown defence, a shot from distance, and a dangerous ball in from the right which evaded the Fraser Park attackers in the box.

The hosts’ biggest chance in the opening half-hour came on the 30-minute mark when Alexander Nicolosi fired a thunderous first-time shot from the edge of the box, but his effort cannoned off the right post and away from danger.

Bankstown survived that period and doubled their lead in the 36th minute when Marie Gauthier held off his defender down the left and fired a shot from an acute angle inside the box.

The shot was saved by Fraser Park goalkeeper, Amaro Ferreira, but only as far as Bankstown’s Corey Freeman, who made a late run into the box and got to the ball first before he ricocheted his effort home for a 2-0 Bankstown lead.

Fraser Park had three shots in the space of ten seconds saved five minutes out from half-time – the first shot was saved by Bankstown goalkeeper, Matthew Massarotto, before the follow-up attempt was blocked and the final attempt went over the goal.

Freeman had a chance to score a hat-trick just before half-time, but his shot was saved, before Gauthier’s attempt on the follow-up went out for a corner – Bankstown led 2-0 at the break.

Fraser Park responded quickly after half-time in the 49th minute when David Ustimenko took a shot on from range – the ball his the left post and rebounded to Francis Mcalpine, who struck the ball into the centre of the empty net to halve Fraser Park’s deficit at 2-1.

Bankstown responded less than five minutes later, however, when a ball played through the lines found Mitchell Cross – the league’s equal-top-scorer got in behind into the Fraser Park box and struck a left-footed shot into the back of the net off the lower-right post to restore Bankstown’s two-goal lead with his 20th goal of the season.

Bankstown had the next few shots through Jovan Blagojevic, before Cross had a first-time shot saved through some quick reactions by Ferreira in the 67th minute.

Bankstown had a big chance to add a fourth goal in the 73rd minute when Freeman squared the ball to Cross in the middle, but his initial attempt and follow-up were saved and cleared, respectively.

The match petered out from there, with three final shots from Bankstown unable to add to their tally – the away side picked up a big 3-1 away win in the Match of the Round.

The loss for Fraser Park saw their three-match unbeaten run end as they remained in 13th, while the win for Bankstown was their third in a row and saw them rise up to 2nd on the ladder ahead of Mounties Wanderers FC, who have a match in hand.

Fraser Park will hope to respond to their first defeat in four matches when they travel to face 10th-placed Granville Rage in a quick turnaround, while Bankstown will hope to keep up their title challenge when they travel to face 8th-placed Hurstville FC.

Fraser Park FC 1 (Francis Mcalpine 51’)

Bankstown United FC 3 (Corey Freeman 13’, 36’; Mitchell Cross 53’)


Camden Tigers FC 2-3 Hawkesbury City FC

Hawkesbury City FC held off a resilient Camden Tigers FC twice and claimed a big 3-2 win away from home.

The away side had an early chance in the match when Duncan Stewart had a one-on-one chance saved by Camden goalkeeper, Joshua Glasson

The Tigers responded with a shot from range through Bailey Simpson, who forced Hawkesbury goalkeeper Daniel Schwarzer to tip the ball over the crossbar, before Camden struck the post seconds later.

Hawkesbury opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Stuart Gosling crossed the ball into the middle from the left, where Duncan Stewart finished the chance low to give Hawkesbury a 1-0 lead at half-time.

Camden got back into the match less than five minutes after the break, however, when Hawkesbury’s Zac Miletic slipped during a back-pass – Andrew Head capitalised for Camden and scored to level the match at 1-1.

Miletic made up for his error in the 56th minute when he scored a volley from outside the box off a corner to give Hawkesbury a 2-1 lead.

Camden once again struck back less than eight minutes later through Bailey Simpson, who put a low cross to the back post where Aiden Quigley was on hand to level the match at 2-2.

Harry Drew had a few chances late for the Hawks, but their winning goal came in the first minute of stoppage-time when Drew crossed a ball to midfielder Jai Payne, who took a shot on from 25 yards and found the back of the net to give Hawkesbury a 3-2 away win.

The loss for Camden saw them stay in 7th, two points behind 6th-placed Central Coast United FC with a match in hand, while the win for Hawkesbury saw them rise to 11th, level on points with 10th-placed Granville Rage.

Camden will hope to find a response when they travel to face 12th-placed Parramatta FC in the next round, while Hawkesbury will hope to win a third-straight match for the first time this season when they look to upset 3rd-placed Mounties Wanderers FC away from home.

Camden Tigers FC 2 (Andrew Head 50’; Aiden Quigley 64’)

Hawkesbury City FC 3 (Duncan Stewart 21’; Zac Miletic 56’; Jai Payne 90+1’)


Sydney University SFC 1-2 Granville Rage

Sydney University SFC’s rough season continued despite a positive performance after they fell 2-1 at home to a resurgent Granville Rage mid-week, who ended their own losing streak.

University had two good chances from crosses in the first half and also had a penalty attempt after Jesse Hirschowitz was fouled in the box, but the students were unable to convert from the spot.

University also hit the post in the first half, while at the other end the best chance of the half for the Rage fell to Nikola Todoroski, who could not beat University goalkeeper Jasper Sarkies with his header, as the teams remained scoreless at half-time.

The Rage earned a corner just after the hour mark when a one-on-one situation was cleared off the line by University’s Daniel Barrett with a sliding clearance.

From that corner, the Rage played the ball down their left and Todoroski got across his defender and scored into the roof of the net from six yards out to give the Rage a 1-0 lead.

The Rage doubled their lead in the 76th minute when a free-kick played into the box was not dealt with by the University defence and Ante Tomic scored from 14 yards out to give the Rage a 2-0 lead.

Down 2-0, University pushed hard late and grabbed a goal back in the 83rd minute when Jethro Thornton got on the end of a free-kick and scrambled home the goal to make the score 2-1 late – that was how the match finished with the Rage victorious.

The loss for University saw them go a 13th-match-straight without a win and saw them remain rooted to the bottom of the ladder by one point, while the win for the Rage saw them end their four-match losing streak and also saw them rise to 10th place.

University will hope to win for the first time in the second half of the season when they host 5th-placed South Coast Flame FC, while the Rage will hope to build on their wInnerin when they host 13th-placed Fraser Park FC in a quick turnaround.

Sydney University SFC 1 (Jethro Thornton 83’)

Granville Rage 2 (Nikola Todoroski 64’; Ante Tomic 76’)



Wednesday, 5th June 2024

Prospect United SC 0-2 Inner West Hawks FC

Inner West Hawks FC continued their flying form with a big 2-0 away win over Prospect United SC in a competitive match.

The Hawks opened the scoring in the match in the 33rd minute following a scrap for possession in the Prospect penalty area – he tackled a Prospect player who had the ball and that tackle deflected the ball into the back of the net to give the visitors a 1-0 lead just after the half-hour mark.

Three minutes later, the Hawks doubled their lead from a counterattack – possession was won in midfield by the Hawks, before Peter Yannopoulos played Marcus Apostolakis in, who in turn played a through ball to Takuma Hirano; he was fouled when through on goal but the ball fell to Jacob Palamidas, who slotted the ball home to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead.

Prospect, meanwhile, in the first half, had a header from Shaan Birring saved by the Hawks’ goalkeeper, Gene Marantos, down to the bottom-right corner following a corner, while other chances saw Hristopher Neskovski have a shot saved and Anthony Idehen just miss a shot off target.

With Prospect down 2-0 at half-time, they looked to be proactive and take the match to the Hawks in the second half – they utilised Tallon Zahra in attacking moments, but the final pass or final touch eluded them in the match.

Hirano had a chance to add a third goal for the Hawks from the penalty spot in the match but his penalty attempt was saved by Prospect goalkeeper, Connor Gilbert.

In the end, the Hawks extended their winning streak to four-straight matches with a big 2-0 away win.

The loss for Prospect was their fourth-straight and saw them drop from 8th place to 9th on the ladder, while the win for the Hawks was their fourth-straight and saw them rise one spot, up into 4th place on the ladder, three points behind 3rd-placed Mounties Wanderers FC and five points behind 2nd-placed Bankstown United FC.

Prospect will hope to cause a big upset when they host the league-leading, unbeaten Newcastle Jets in Round 19, while the Hawks will hope to continue their charge near the top of the ladder when they host 14th-placed Gladesville Ryde Magic.

Prospect United SC 0

Inner West Hawks FC 2 (Lawrence Claxton 33’; Jacob Palamidas 35’)


South Coast Flame FC 1-3 Hurstville FC

Hurstville FC responded to their heartbreak against the Newcastle Jets last week with a strong 3-0 win away from home over South Coast Flame FC, who had their run of four unbeaten matches end and saw their unbeaten home run this season end.

Hurstville opened the scoring for a 1-o lead very early in the match, in the 2nd minute, when they won the ball in midfield and played it forward to Juan Da Silva – he whipped a dangerous cross into the Flame box, where the unfortunate Flame player, Samuel Alston, scored an own goal while trying to deal with the danger.

The Flame had a good spell of possession from there and drove Hurstville back – they hit the post through an Alexander Alston header in the 12th minute, before Michael Trajkovski had a goal ruled out for offside.

Jacob Ritchie broke into the Flame box in the first half but was unable to finish, while at the other end the Flame had a few chances will balls played in behind, but the final shots ended up off target for the hosts.

They did have a big chance in the 33rd minute, however, when Trajkovski forced a big legs-save from Hurstville goalkeeper, Luke Babic, before Jyden Harb produced a volley on the rebound which was saved well by Babic.

The Flame had a few corners and crosses which Hurstville defended well, as well as shots from Trajkovski and Harb which went over, while just before half-time, Andre Guzman had a header from close range for Hurstville saved by Flame goalkeeper, Rocco Zinnato, in a big stop as the visitors took a 1-0 lead into half-time.

In the second half, Hurstville started to win the ball higher up the field with Jesse Gagro and Andre Guzman strong through the middle, while Juan Da Silva and Jacob Ritchie had success out wide.

Hurstville hit the crossbar following a Declan Sheldon cross early in the second half, before the Flame had a header from Trajkovski saved by Babic, before the Hurstville goalkeeper also denied Alexander Alston in a big one-on-one chance.

Hurstville doubled their lead shortly after in the 59th minute through Sheldon, who scored at the near post off a corner.

Hurstville forced turnovers and were dangerous in transition, where Guzman and Da Silva hit the frame of the goal as Hurstville looked to wrap up the match.

The Flame threw numbers forward late and had a few good chances, but Babic was on hand and denied them from scoring.

In the 80th minute, Hurstville won the ball deep and countered before Jesse Gagro crossed a ball to George Salachoris, who finished from close range to give Hurstville a 3-0 lead.

The Flame scored a consolation goal in the second minute of stoppage time when Genki Iwata bundled the ball over the line following a goal-mouth scramble, but Hurstville came away as strong 3-1 winners.

The loss for the Flame saw their four-match unbeaten run end as they fell from 4th place to 5th, two points behind 4th-placed Inner West Hawks FC, while the win for Hurstville saw them rise from 9th into 8th, level on points with 7th-placed Camden Tigers FC and just two points behind 6th-placed Central Coast United FC.

The Flame will hope to respond to defeat and keep up with the top four sides when they travel to face last-placed Sydney University SFC in Round 19, while Hurstville will look to build off their strong win when they host 2nd-placed Bankstown United FC.

South Coast Flame FC 0

Hurstville FC 3 (Samuel Alston 2’ own goal; Declan Sheldon 59’; George Salachoris 80’)


Newcastle Jets 3-2 Central Coast United FC

The Newcastle Jets continued their unbeaten season into a 17th match after they came from two goals down to defeat Central Coast United FC at home.

The first half saw both sides play with intensity and good entertaining play, where the Jets had a good opportunity to open the scoring early but missed the target.

Cayleb Murray almost scored a rocket from distance for the Pirates but Jets goalkeeper, Jordan Baylis, pulled off a big save to deny the away side the opening goal.

Cade Mapu did open the scoring for Central Coast, however, in the 43rd minute after a swift move down the field from goalkeeper to forward in four passes – he smashed the ball home from 15 yards out inside the Jets box as the Pirates took a 1-0 lead into half-time.

90 seconds into the second half, the Pirates doubled their lead through Daniel Mcfarlane after he won a header from a corner, which was saved, before he slammed home the rebound for a 2-0 Central Coast lead.

The Newcastle Jets were on the verge of losing their first match of the season, but their comeback started in the 62nd minute when Ben Van Dorssen halved their deficit in the 62nd minute.

He had a double just eight minutes later as he levelled the match for the Jets in the 70th minute, which gave them hope of a big comeback win late.

That win was realised in the 81st minute when substitute Lucas Johnson scored in the 81st minute to complete the Jets comeback for their 12th win of the season as they came away with a big comeback 3-2 victory as they also completed the league double over the Pirates.

The win for the Jets saw them remain three points clear at the top of the league and go 17 matches unbeaten as their unblemished record continued this season, while the loss for the Pirates was their third in a row and saw them drop to be eight points behind South Coast Flame FC as they stayed in 6th place, two points ahead of 7th-placed Camden Tigers FC.

The Jets will look to keep their unbeaten season going when they host 9th-placed Prospect United SC in Round 19, while Central Coast United FC have a bye.

Newcastle Jets 3 (Ben Van Dorssen 62’, 70’; Lucas Johnson 81’)

Central Coast United FC 2 (Cade Mapu 43’; Daniel Mcfarlane 47’)

14th-placed Gladesville Ryde Magic and 3rd-placed Mounties Wanderers FC play their Round 18 match on Tuesday, 11th June 2024.

Parramatta FC had a bye in Round 18 and dropped from 10th place to 12th on the ladder.

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