As the NPL NSW rebooted 2020 season comes to a close, let’s recap how our local NPL teams did across the weekend!
Northern Tigers 5-1 Macarthur Rams
Northern Tigers had to win and win big, along with hoping results went their way. Everything went their way and they secured their second consecutive finals appearance. Gema Simon had the Tigers in front in the eighth minute before a minute later Daisy Arrowsmith made it 2-0. Laura Murtagh then halved the deficit and put the Rams back into the game. Arrowsmith restored the two-goal buffer with a special finish, toe-pocking the ball beyond Sham Khamis. Ellie Brush then rose highest at a corner to head the ball into the back of the net. Arrowsmith secured her hat-trick from the spot and rounded off the 5-1 victory.
North West Sydney Koalas 4-0 Bankstown City
It was one-way traffic at Christie Park as the North West Sydney Koalas finished their campaign off with a sound victory over Bankstown City. Sophie Harding had the first goal of the game, bundling the ball home after a fine initial save by Annalee Grove. Harding had her second with a looping header from a corner with 30 minutes remaining in the game. It was three soon after as Alisha Bass scored from distance in style, the ball coming off the upright before hitting the back of the net. The rout was complete when Harding rounded off her hat trick with a calm finish beyond Grove.
NPL WOMENS 2
Marconi Stallions 4 defeated Gladesville Ravens 0
In a warm-up for the upcoming Championship Series, Marconi Stallions triumphed 4-nil against a gallant Gladesville Ravens side on a crisp afternoon at Marconi Stadium. Marconi Stallions went through the season undefeated and looked comfortable throughout the whole 90 minutes against last year’s champions. Ceyda Cambaz fired home a hat-trick to make it 14 for the season while Danielle Bishop thumped home the fourth. For Gladesville, this brings the curtain down on their title defense. The Ravens were competitive in the first half but fell away against the galloping Stallions. Ravens under their new coach Claude De Francesco look forward to a better campaign in 2021. Coming off their mid-week success against St George FC which secured finals football, Marconi looked to prime themselves for the finals against last year’s champions. An early ball from Joanna Martino played in Tania Baban but the striker flayed wide. Danielle Bishop was her usual energetic self down the flank and kickstarted the next Stallions attack. She linked up with Baban on the right before Bishop received the ball again but couldn’t fashion a shot on the Ravens keeper. The Stallions looked in a prime mood to attack. Next, Hannah Voloder did all the hard work, broke into the box, beat the keeper but struck the base of the post. Ravens were left on shaky ground as the game remained deadlocked. Chances were rarer than cheap fuel prices in Sydney for Gladesville. Their best two chances came firstly through Kasia Wojtowicz who thrashed wide then both Annalise Schiraldi and youngster Lara Brewis tested Stallions custodian Renee Krstanovska as the half-time whistle sounded. The Stallions looked intent to put together a much more fluid second half. Hannah Voloder and Bishop combined with the latter’s shot scrambled clear in an early warning shot to the Ravens defense. The clock struck twelve for the Ravens defense minutes later. Cambaz broke in the box again, shot low and with the aid of a deflection made it 1-nil to Marconi. Cambaz kept up her hunger for goals when she rolled home a second in the 57th minute. She broke free and her stung the hands of the Ravens keeper which saw the ball cross the line, 2-nil. From there, coach Andy Severin made some changes to keep his stars fresh for next weekend’s second against third clash. That didn’t break the rhythm that the Stallions built. Bishop headed home to make it 3-nil and lock up third spot. Just for the icing on the cake of their result. Cambaz completed her hat-trick in the 71st minute. When Cambaz strode into space, everyone around Marconi Stadium was ready for the net to bulge. Cambaz obliged with a well taken finish to make it 4-nil. Both sides kept pushing forward to find further goals but the Stallions saw out the rest of the contest to join North Shore Mariners as the only undefeated sides for the 2020 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens competition.
Nepean FC 0 defeated by SD Raiders 1
The SD Raiders FC ended their 2020 season on a high with a tense 1-nil result against Nepean FC at Cook Park on Sunday afternoon. Both sides looked to blast their team song once more and the only goal came through SD Raiders FC striker Sarah Mandile. Mandile struck on the break with a well-timed lob to make that four goals for the season in an up and down campaign. Nepean FC again cursed their wasteful nature in front of goal. SD Raiders FC keeper Natasha Pentecost make a string of terrific saves, aided by the Nepean FC side hitting the woodwork several times. It leaves them with plenty to work on for next season with a full squad. Victory this afternoon made it back-to-back to finish the season for SD Raiders FC. The south-west club seemed to have found some rhythm just in time for the off-season. Coach Terry Gray will be delighted to improve on their position next year.
Blacktown City 5 (Jennings 13′, 21′, 61′, Collins 47′, Desilva 50′) – Sydney United 58 1 (Antelmi 25′) at Lily Homes Stadium
Sydney United 58’s Premiership hopes have suffered a significant blow after a Leroy Jennings hat trick lifted struggling Blacktown City to a shock 5-1 demolition of the ladder leaders at Lily Homes Stadium on Friday. It was an incredible return to form for City with on-fire winger Jennings leading the way against an out of sorts United 58 side who slumped to their worst and most humiliating defeat of the season. It was one-way traffic from early on in the contest with Jennings striking twice inside the first 20 minutes as United 58 struggled to contain City’s skilful winger. Patrick Antelmi claimed his seventh goal of the season in the 25th minute to get the visitors back into the contest. United 58 showed signs of life late in the first half as they pushed for an equaliser, but would go into the interval trailing a fired up Blacktown side 2-1 at the break. The home side took their game up a level after the restart and punished some sloppy United defending when Daniel Collins headed home Blacktown’s third goal in the 47th minute. Blacktown delivered a moment of brilliance in the 50th minute courtesy of Rhett Desilva. The tricky midfielder unleashed an absolute thunderbolt into the top corner of the net from 35 yards out to give City their fourth goal of the match. Jennings wrapped up the result on the hour mark in style with a header at the far post to claim his hat trick and give Blacktown one of the most spectacular wins of the season.
Marconi Stallions 1 (Jesic 55′) – Manly United 1 (Cholakian 66′) at Marconi Stadium
Marconi Stallions hopes of playing finals football have taken a significant hit after they were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against Manly United on Saturday. A second half volley from Manly’s inspirational captain Brendan Cholakian helped the visitors fight back and snatch a point a gusty Marconi Stadium. The result means the Stallions remain in sixth place, two points outside the top five with only two matches to play in the regular season. It was a slow start to the match with neither side creating any clear cut opportunities to score. Manly spurned a gilt-edged chance in the 25th minute when an unmarked Dejan Pandurevic fired over the crossbar with only the keeper to beat from only 9 yards out. It proved to be the best chance of the opening stanza with the windy conditions hampering the play of both teams as they went into the break locked at 0-0. Marconi didn’t take long to find the back of the net after the restart with club captain Marko Jesic heading home from close range to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Manly was not to be denied and hit back shortly after with Cholakian volleying home with his left foot after a sloppy defensive clearance from the Stallions to level the score at 1-1. Cholakian had a chance to steal victory for his side in the dying stages, but Marconi shot-stopper Nenad Vekic expertly saved his stinging effort as both sides were forced to settle for a point.
NPL 2 MENS
Central Coast Mariners 4 (Harry McCarthy 40’, Michael Katsoulis 71’, Jordan Smylie 83’, Louis Khoury 90+2’) Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Aaron Peterson 62’)
Three goals after the 70th minute ensured victory and the Premiership for Central Coast Mariners. This contest provided a classic storyline: the irrresistable force (a Mariners side who had scored 34 times in nine games) against the immovable object (a Bonnyrigg outfit that had conceded eight goals all season and only once in their last three outings). As is often the case in this type of clash, the two teams cancelled each other out for most of the opening period, although there were opportunities for both sides to break the deadlock. Spectators had to wait until just before halftime to see a goal, and it was the Mariners who got on the scoreboard first. Harry McCarthy showed a great sense of timing, sneaking past the defence and chipping the goalkeeper to break a four game scoring drought. Central Coast were now in Premiership-winning position, however there was a twist in the tale with a little under half an hour remaining. Bonnyrigg have plenty of height to trouble opponents at set pieces, and the dead ball proved to be profitable for the visitors as burly striker Aaron Peterson turned the ball home at a corner kick to make it 1-1. The equaliser momentarily took Spirit FC to the top of the league, but there was more drama soon afterwards as White Eagles defender Bradie Smith received his marching orders. Central Coast didn’t take long to make the most of the opportunity – Michael Katsoulis followed in McCarthy’s footsteps (Katsoulis hadn’t scored since Round 4) to break his own goal drought by dribbling around the goalkeeper and finding the empty net. From there, the Mariners didn’t look back, as a couple of substitutes made their mark in the closing stages. It was 3-1 when Jordan Smylie hit the net after pouncing on a loose ball, and Louis Khoury put the cherry on the sundae in stoppage time with his first NPL 2 Men’s goal for Central Coast (that’s if you don’t count his two goals from the nullified March fixtures). This result is Central Coast’s seventh win in their last seven NPL 2 Men’s games at Pluim Park, and it also ensures these two sides will meet again next week in the semi finals.
Bye: SD Raiders
NPL MENS 3
Sydney University SFC – Macarthur Rams FC 5-0
Sydney Uni posted their second victory of the season in emphatic fashion after they put five unanswered goals past Macarthur at the Sydney University Football Ground on Saturday night. A screamer from Uni’s Caelan Hinckson separated the two sides after 45 minutes in what was quite an even first half. Dale Howarth doubled the home’s side lead in the second half and soon turned provider for Nathan Sharpley, who made it three to the good for the ‘students’. Howarth was on the scoresheet again to make it 4-0 before Hinckson capped off the scoring with his strike late on. The three points was enough to lift Sydney Uni from the foot of the table as they finish the season in 11th place while the Rams end the campaign in 10th position.
Canterbury Bankstown FC – Central Coast United FC 1-1
Berries locked up their spot in the finals thanks to a 1-1 draw against Central Coast at the Crest Athletic Centre on Saturday night. The home side threatened from the offset and came close to opening the scoring via Kris Nicolau, only to be denied by a smart save from the Central Coast goalkeeper. Leandro Guzman was next to test the Pirates’ resolve after his volley hit the under side of the post and stayed out after he beat the offside trap. After soaking up all the pressure it was the visitors who struck first in this contest through Tommy Lyons on the stroke of half time after some slick link up play between Cade Mapu, Alex Arbelo and Corey Atkinson. An even second half saw the score remain at 1-0 until Nicolau popped up with the all-important equaliser with ten minutes remaining when he volleyed home from around 10 metres out. The point was enough for Berries to secure a finals berth as they finish in 4th position and prepare to face off against Rydalmere next Sunday. The Pirates first season in the competition came to an end as they tied down 9th position. They showed plenty of promise and positive signs as they look to come back stronger next season.
Bankstown City FC – Bankstown United FC 4-1
Bankstown City claimed the bragging rights as they secured a 4-1 victory against Bankstown United on Sunday afternoon. Four of the match’s five goals arrived in the first half with the Lions taking a 3-1 lead into the break. Antonio Farkas scored the Lions’ first goal after he slotted the ball past the United shot stopper after a scramble in the penalty area. Next up, it was Ante Tomic whose left footed drive flew into the bottom corner before Jonathan Grozdanovski scored his side’s third after Nikola Todoroski’s cut back found the attacker in space. A Tomic penalty in the second half ensured that all three points went the way of the Lions as they nailed down 2nd spot on the table. United’s defeat coupled with Uni’s win against the Rams mean that they unfortunately finish the season in 12th place. United bow out of this year’s competition however the Lions still have it all to play for as they prepare for a home semi-final battle against 3rd placed Magic.
NPL 4 MENS
Camden Tigers FC 2-1 UNSW FC
Finish as you mean to start, I know that is not how the saying goes. But it could well apply for Camden Tigers as they finished season 2020 with a victory over a finals bound UNSW FC. In a first half which saw both sides have their fair share of chances, the home side took the lead on 35 minutes through an Anthony Haddad goal. And they did not have to wait long for their lead to be doubled, a slick counterattack resulting in a Nathan Bertolissio goal early in the second half. In response, the visitors put the home side under significant pressure for the remainder of the fixture. However, they were only able to pick up a consolation goal with five minutes left. Des Ford finding the net assisted by Abdul Kamara. Following the clash, Tigers coach Rod Henderson described it as a “great result”, noting that “to beat an undefeated side in our last game shows everybody where we have come as a group”. Whilst also giving a special mention to Jack Haines who made his first-grade debut. UNSW FC will face Nepean FC next weekend with the chance to qualify for the grand final the week after.