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State Leagues  

NNSWPL Round 6 Wrap

While most of the Hunter is back to normal life, the NNSWPL fixtures have been massively disrupted by the storms and torrential rain.

Round six is now completed and with nearly all catch-up games being completed, it’s once again possible to get you all back up to speed. With that in mind this week’s wrap will include match reports from round six and results that have been missed due to the chaos.


Edgeworth FC 2 (Evans, Moore)
Lambton Jaffas 1 (Wheelhouse) Jack McLaughlan Oval

The home team headed into the match looking for consistency with a 2-0 defeat of Adamstown in round 5 preceded by a 4-1 loss to the Magic in the round 3. Their chances were damaged early on as Bren Hammell was shown a straight red in the 32nd minute with Jobe Wheelhouse taking the lead for Lambton just minutes later.

Lambton were looking to secure back-to-back wins with victory over the Eagles after defeating Charlestown 3-1 in their round 3 mid-week catch-up which came after a 2-2 draw with Broadmeadow in round 5. But Josh Evans’s goal off a Lachlan Pasquale free kick just two minutes after Jaffas took the lead ensured Edgeworth went into the break 1-1. Despite having a man advantage Jaffas couldn’t find the winning goal in the second half and were left to rue a missed opportunity when Keanu Moore netted to give the Eagles a 2-1 victory.

Both teams will be in action mid-week for their round 4 catch-ups with Edgeworth hosting Maitland and Jaffas heading to Darling Street Oval to face the Hamilton Olympic.


Adamstown Rosebud 3 (Bates, Bale, Kenneth)
Maitland FC
1 (Wood) Adamstown Oval

Adamstown got their much needed first win of the campaign cruising to a 3-1 victory against struggling Maitland. The home team was buoyed by both Roger Dowdell and Stu Musialik being fit enough to feature on the bench and Adamstown took a 2-0 lead into the break thanks to goals from Guy Bates and Nick Bale.

Maitland gave themselves a change late in the match when Joel Wood made it 2-1 but Garry Kenneth ensured the Buds would take a much need three point haul after a round five 2-0 defeat at home to the Jaffas, a 3-2 defeat to Broadmeadow in round 4 and a 2-2 draw against Olympic in their round 3 mid-week catch-up against Olympic.

Defeat adds to the woes of Maitland who are sitting bottom of the ladder and are still looking for their first victory of the campaign after dual defeats to Weston and the Jets Youth in rounds 5 and 3. However the Magpies have a chance to get out of the cellar with a mid-week game against Edgeworth in the round 4 catch-up.


Hamilton Olympic FC 2 (Goodchild, Swan)
Newcastle Jets Youth
1 (Kantarovski) Darling Street Oval

Hamilton came into the match on the back of a 5-2 drubbing of South Cardiff in round 5 and a 2-2 draw with Adamstown in the delayed round 3 and they opened the scoring early after Kane Goodchild headed home for a 1-0 lead after just four minute, with the advantage staying in place until the break.

The Jets drew level through Michael Kantarovski just five minutes into the second half and immediately started looking for a second to secure their fourth win on the trot after defeating Charlestown 3-1, Weston 1-0 and Maitland 4-2 in their three previous matches.

But it was not to be for the Jets and with little over five minutes remaining Andrew Swan took it upon himself to give Olympic all three points with a brilliant run into the box schooling two defenders before slotting the ball home for a 2-1 victory.

Olympic still have their round 4 catch-up to play during the week and with Broadmeadow not in action on Wednesday night victory over the visiting Jaffas would see them go equal on points with Magic.


Charlestown City Blues 1 (Ferguson)
Weston Workers 3 (McDermott, Morris, Milstead) Lisle Carr Oval

The home team was desperate for a victory after back-to-back 3-1 defeats, firstly at hands of the Jets Youth in round 5 and then again just three days later to Lambton. The Blues welcomed Joel Witherden back into the line-up and hoped his influence could help steer them out of their slump.

Weston on the other hand entered the match in high spirts after following up their 1-0 defeat to the Jets with back-to-back victories including a 2-1 defeat of the Gunners and 1-0 win over Maitland. That confidence showed on the pitch and the Bears went into the break with a 1-0 lead thanks to Garry McDermott

Weston continued to control the match in the second half and Nathan Morris added a second from the penalty spot after being fouled by Robbie Turnbull in the box and Jake Milstead sealed the victory for the away team with 15 minutes to go.

Rene Ferguson scored a consolation goal for the Blues in the closing stages but the home side was never really in the match and will looking to make amends in the mid-week catch-up match against South Cardiff.


Broadmeadow Magic FC 4 (Bradbury 4)
South Cardiff FC 1 (Sang-deok)

The final match of the round saw table topping Broadmeadow Magic taking on the South Cardiff Gunners who were still searching for the first win of the 2015 competition. Magic were looking to return to the winners circle after a 4-1 defeat of Edgeworth and 3-2 defeat of the Buds was followed up with a 2-2 draw to Jaffas in round 5.

The Gunners recent form on paper gave them little chance against the Magic after a 2-1 defeat against Weston and a 5-2 bashing by Olympic, but the visitors start the match the right way and Jung Sang-deok’s goal saw them take a 1-0 lead through to the break.

But a blistering second half performance from Kale Bradbury scoring four goals in 21 minutes showed why the Magic are serious contenders for the title this year. Goals in the 52nd, 61st, 62nd and 73rd minutes saw the Magic turn the tables on a stunned Gunners and stay top of the table on 14 points.

South Cardiff will have another chance to bag their first three point haul of the campaign with a midweek trip to face fellow strugglers Charlestown City.


Round 4 Catch-up Fixtures (Wednesday May 20)
Charlestown City Blues vs South Cardiff Gunners
Hamilton Olympic vs Lambton Jaffas
Edgeworth vs Maitland


Round 7 Fixtures
Newcastle Jets Youth vs Broadmeadow Magic
Lambton Jaffas vs Adamstown Rosebud
Maitland vs Charlestown City Blues
South Cardiff Gunners vs Edgeworth
Weston Workers vs Hamilton Olympic
Read more..

WA NPL Week 7 Wrap

Seven games gone and still Bayswater City and Floreat Athena remain undefeated. Stirling Lions and Perth SC both enjoyed wins to keep up the pressure on the chasing pack, whilst simultaneously moving away from the rest of the pack.

Meanwhile, new Armadale coach Paul Price enjoyed an unbeaten start and both Subiaco and Perth Glory again endured tough weekends.


ECU Joondalup 2 (Amphlett 22’, B. Montgomery 72’)
Armadale 2 (Hodgson 31’, Dixon 73’)
ECU Joondalup Football Stadium

Last-placed Armadale gave new head coach Paul Price something to smile about with a 2-2 draw away to ECU Joondalup. Tommy Amphlett took the lead for the home side midway through the first half, before Danny Hodgson was felled in the box by Ryan Lowry. Although Jamie Serra saved the penalty, Hodgson put away the rebound. Substitute Bayley Montgomery, one half of ECU’s father-son duo (his dad being fellow sub Ryan) combined with Lowry in the second half to retake the lead. But a minute later, Caleb Dixon smashed the ball into the top corner from outside the box to rescue a valuable point for Armadale.


Floreat Athena 3 (Boi 32’, 79’, Arnez 61’)
Inglewood United 1 (Keogh 39’)
E&D Litis Stadium

Ludovic Boi continued his good run of form with a brace to help high-flying Floreat to a 3-1 win over Inglewood United. The striker scored his first of the game when he finished off a great team move by the hosts, only for Kenny Keogh to equalize before half time. Clayton Arnez took back the lead for Athena with a composed finish on the hour mark, before Boi took advantage of an error by the otherwise-excellent goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski to complete the victory.


Bayswater City 5 (Farrell 16’, Dixon 45’, 57’, Heagney 51’, 82’ PEN)
Sorrento 0
Frank Drago Reserve

Bayswater preserved their unbeaten start to the season with a five-goal thumping of Sorrento. Brian Farrell opened the scoring to round out a lovely team goal and Danny Dixon converted Borbor Sam’s cutback to give the home team a two-goal lead at the break.  David Heagney reacted quickest to a rebound to make it three, before Dixon scored his second with a delightful shot with the outside of his foot. Heagney completed the rout from the penalty spot after being fouled late in the game.


Subiaco 2 (Oliver 42’, Milne 86’)
Stirling Lions 3 (Micevski 25’, Shuruma 50’, Triglaucania 90+2’ OG)
Rosalie Park
A young Subiaco team twice came back from a goal down to Stirling, only to concede a last-minute goal in heartbreaking fashion. Robert Petkov missed an early penalty for the visitors, but he made up for it by turning provider for David Micevski soon after. A James Oliver free-kick levelled the score just prior to half-time, but Lawrence Shuruma retook the lead for the Lions after the break. The youthful Subiaco outfit, fielding seven players under 20, pressed for an equalizer and thought they’d secured a point when Daniel Milne scored late. But a mix-up between goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery and Alex Triglaucania in the second minute of injury time resulted in an own-goal from the latter, shattering Subiaco’s hearts.


Cockburn City 3 (Patterson 26’, Zico 73’, O’Brien 90+2’)
Balcatta 1 (Tong 37’)
Dalmatinac Park

After a run of poor results, Cockburn City returned to the winner’s circle with an important victory over a strong Balcatta side. Rory Patterson returned from suspension and gave the hosts the lead, before Balcatta’s skipper Adam Tong equalized. Cockburn ‘keeper Curtis Aspden stood strong against a flurry of Balcatta shots, before substitute Friday Zico gave City the lead. Balcatta searched for a second to grab a point, but Cockburn hit them on the break, with Patterson squaring for Harry O’Brien to seal the points.


Perth SC 2 (Ambrogio 32’, Coelho 51’)
Perth Glory 1 (Gholami 90+2')
Dorrien Gardens

Perth SC emerged victorious over their namesakes with a 2-1 win in torrid conditions to keep up the pressure on Floreat and Bayswater. Nick Ambrogio’s perfectly timed run at the back post allowed him to head home the opener, before Carlo Coelho reacted quickest to a loose ball in the box to make it two. The Glory’s Ali Gholami scored in a goalmouth scramble in injury time to give the Azzuri a scare, but they left their comeback too late.


Round 8 Fixtures
Armadale vs Inglewood United
Perth Glory vs Bayswater City
Stirling Lions vs ECU Joondalup
Subiaco vs Cockburn City
Sorrento vs Balcatta
Floreat Athena vs Perth SC
Read more..

My football violence confession

There is nothing in this world which can match the weight of guilt upon your conscience, and it is with this at the forefront of my mind that I write this confession.

On the 17th of May 2015, I, Thomas Bell, willingly and knowingly crossed Swan Street in Richmond some distance from the nearest set of traffic lights on my way to the A-League Grand Final.

This sokkah hooligan is regretful of his antisocial behaviour.
I address this confession particularly to those in the Melbourne media who risk their livelihoods to protect our way of life from people like me, and for that we are truly grateful.

I have spent the last 24 hours searching deep inside my very being in search of the answers as to why, on such a bright, joyous day, I would attack the very essence of our society in such a brash and hateful manner.

My conclusion, is that through over-exposure to the A-League and sokkah in general, I have been swayed like Judas towards betraying my country and our national way of life. For this, I extend my deepest apologies. 

However, now that I have seen the true cost of my actions, I am determined to initiate change. It is to this end that I have voluntarily placed myself in 'The Ron Barassi Education Center for Recovering Soccer Thugs and Lost New South Welshmen'.

I am confident that the center's tried and tested program of shouting “BALL!” at various intervals will undo seven years of A-League support and the brain deterioration that accompanies it.

I end this confession by reminding you that if you ever feel enjoyment from a round ball-based sport then there is help available. You are not alone in your fight and I will offer my support to anyone in need.

Remember, you can put your days of standing on the right-hand side of elevators, jaywalking and forgetting to tip bartenders behind you. I hope you are able to for the sake of this great Australian society.

Thank you.
Read more..

A trio of B's makes it three for Victory

Melbourne Victory has returned to the top echelon of of Australian football, becoming A-League champions for the third time as they defeated Sydney FC 3-0 in the 2015 Grand Final on Sunday.

Six years of disappointment, false dawns and let downs were alleviated in 90 classy minutes as Kevin Muscat's men brushed a flat Sydney aside.


Victory prevailed in a gritty encounter in front of their adorning home fans with goals to Besart Berisha, Kosta Barbarouses and Leigh Broxham ensuring the silver toilet seat returns to Melbourne for the first time since 2009.

No even a late red card to midfielder Carl Valeri could temper the mood of the Victory faithful who basked in the glory.

It was an at times spiteful affair that more than fitted the bill of a grand final feast.

With two of the biggest clubs in the league facing off in the biggest game of the season, things were always set to be fierce.

Off the back of a stellar season in which they collected the Premiers Plate, the Victory were hot favourites for the title heading into the game.

After the regular season, these two sides finished first and second by a small points margin but it was clear to see which team deserved to be crowned champions at the end of the evening.

The opening stage of the match were heated as the nervous energy generated by the players spilled into rash tackles and words spoken.

As they game cooled, down it was the Victory who settled into the game the best.

As is the norm in games of high importance, quality shots on goal can be rare commodities and that proved to be the case this time as both keepers enjoyed quiet first halves.

The game took an expected turn for Sydney, who were forced into a defensive shift after Jaques Faty was taken off the field with a hamstring issue.

The unforced sub caused Sydney to severely change its defensive set which they clearly didn’t adapt to.

Amongst a sea of defensive pressure it, was the man for the big stage Berisha who broke through for the opener.

It was a miscued clearance by Nikola Petkovic that fell invitingly to Barbarouses who set it up for Gui Finkler and Berisha to work together, resulting in the ex-Brisbane man finishing expertly.

The second half took the same route as the first only for the Victory to amp up its defensive pressure. Sydney just couldn’t find a way through the resolute hold the Victory had on the game.

The Sky Blues' best and only chance fell to sharpshooter Marc Janko, who found space for the only time in the game in the 75th minute but couldn’t get his header past Lawrence Thomas

The one time Victory failed to deal with a cross was close to being fatal as the Golden Boot winner uncharacteristically got his aerial work all wrong.

The match was sealed when Barbarouses and Broxham goaled in the dying stages of the game to put an emphatic exclamation mark on a stunning and drought-breaking season.

The day was a fitting finale to the 2014/15 season for the Victory who proved to be the premier side all season.

Whilst it was their attack that took the pundits throughout the season, it was a dogged defensive structure that ultimately secured the club its long-awaited return to the top.

It was almost as if faith intervened and ensured in the 10th year of the competition that it was the first two winners who would contest for the milestone title.

The A-League's leading teams in its infancy may have fallen off the wagon in recent years but both are back where they not only want to be but expect to be.

A big 2015/16 season awaits for the Victory as they look to continue their recent trophy rush with the burden and expectation of being defending champions, plus the one mountain the club has yet to scale, the Asian Champions League.

But for now, it's time to enjoy the moment and excel the frustrations of six trophy-less years and celebrate the spoils of a very successful season.


Melbourne Victory: Thomas, Broxham, Ansell (Geria 90+2’), Delpierre, Georgievski, Valeri, Milligan, Barbarouses, Finkler (Mahazi 87’), Ben Khalfallah, Berisha (Thompson 90+1’)

Sydney FC: Janjetovic, Ryall, Faty (Grant 19’), Jurman, Petkovic, Tavares (Antonis 75’), Dimitrijevic, Ibini, Brosque, Naumoff (Smeltz 53’), Janko
Read more..

The truth behind Kate Gill's omission

The Women’s World Cup always seems to bring out the best in the Australian football public. While great to see women’s football talked about so passionately, it is hard to swallow when the loudest opinions are often by those who have watched less than 180 minutes of W-League football since the previous World Cup.

The latest of these opinions is the common outrage of the omission of Kate Gill from Alen Stajcic’s Matildas squad announced yesterday.

Image credit: Football Federation Australia
Comparisons such as “You wouldn't drop Tim Cahill from the Socceroos”, outcries of “we need a proven goal scorer at the World Cup” and comments claiming “Alen Stajcic is an absolute joke and destroying football” have become commonplace over the past 24 hours.

What these simple opinions often lack is a base of solid facts. Good, hard evidence to back up such emotional outbursts.

To add context and facts to the claims that Gill is an incredible goal scorer and will provide the difference against our group opponents USA, Sweden and Nigeria, it is interesting to note that 45% of all Gill’s goals have come in seven matches against the hapless pair of Taiwan and Hong Kong.

In fact, Gill has only ever played one game in her entire career where she scored against European opposition when Australia defeated lowly Russia 5-0 in 2005.

Against super powers Germany, USA, France, Japan, Sweden, England, Brazil and Canada – the top eight nations in the world – she has only scored a total of three goals.

With our potential opposition at the World Cup coming almost exclusively from the aforementioned top eight nations, these are the teams we will have to beat to progress in the World Cup and it is these teams that Gill is not suited to play against.

Versatile and mobile goal scorers such as Kyah Simon, Leena Khamis, Lisa De Vanna, Michelle Heyman, Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord are all in the squad and offer more of a goal threat against all standards of opposition than Gill.

Even the veteran forward’s main asset, her heading ability, is offset by the selection of Khamis who provides the greatest aerial threat in Australian women’s football.

The World Cup is neither the time nor place for niceties when it comes to selection and even if all the above facts and figures did not reflect so poorly on Gill, the simple truth is that she wasn't selected because of the calibre of competition ahead of her.

THINK GILL'S OMISSION IS UNFAIR? READ THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY HERE.
Read more..

Gill's World Cup omission beggars belief

Kate Gill would have had an inkling her spot in Australia’s World Cup squad was in jeopardy when she was overlooked for a fantasy team compiled by Matildas coach Alen Stajcic seven months ago.

In an interview with a women’s football website in early October following his appointment to the top job, Stajcic did not list Gill in either of his two most influential Westfield W-League sides.

It was a surprising and precarious omission given only Canberra’s Michelle Heyman has scored more W-League goals than the Perth Glory striker, who is also regarded in some circles as one of the game’s most professional players.

Gill answered any doubt about her standing in the women’s game later that week with a record five goals in Glory’s 10-1 rout of Western Sydney before going on to claim her second Golden Boot award in three seasons.

A panel of ten W-League writers from The Football Sack voted her Player of the Season from the most recent campaign and there was certainly no debate at this website as to who was the leading striker in the country.

However, it appears we were well off the mark – or at least as far as Stajcic is concerned.

Gill was a stunning omission from the squad of 23 for next month’s World Cup, along with young goalkeeper Brianna Davey.

Most football pundits were accepting of the fact Gill may see little game time in Canada as she has rarely featured in Stajcic’s starting sides at recent tournaments, including last year’s Asian Cup.

But to not be named at all is a huge shock and the 30-year-old is understood to be devastated as she comes to terms with the likelihood her international career may have come to an abrupt end.

Auckland-born, Newcastle-raised Gill has found the back of the net 40 times in her 83 international appearances to sit two goals clear of Cheryl Salisbury as the all-time leading scorer for the Matildas.

No player in Stajcic’s squad has a greater conversion rate per match than Gill and of the six forwards only Lisa De Vanna (33) has an individual goals tally in the same ballpark.

It has been suggested that Gill was overlooked because she is simply an out-and-out striker and lacks the defensive skills and nous required to play a key role in Stajcic’s game plan.

In all sports, what a class player lacks in one area is more than made up for in others and there are aspects of Gill’s game which are hard to replace, including her height and incredible aerial skills, not to mention her “telepathic” relationship with Perth teammates and fellow attackers Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord.

At 30, Gill is no spring chicken but is the same age as De Vanna and brings a wealth of experience to a squad containing only two players with more than 50 international caps.

Strong leadership has also been a quality that has defined Gill’s decade-long career in the green and gold.

Perth Glory coach Jamie Harnwell is on record as declaring the 2010 AFC Asian Women’s Player of the Year and the most professional player he has encountered in both his playing and managerial careers.

Gill is one of the most popular and revered individuals at Perth as well as rival W-League clubs, with players and coaches unreserved in their praise of the modest and typically unflappable striker.

It beggars belief that a player with her record and current form can be left out entirely and her omission has certainly sent shockwaves through the whole Australian football community.

If there is a rift between Stajcic and Gill, it is poor form on the coach’s part to overlook a player with a list of career highlights which reads longer than War and Peace.

Unfortunately for Gill, who will be 34 by the time the next World Cup rolls around, it appears she won’t get another chance to strut her stuff on the game’s biggest stage, having missed the 2011 edition due to a serious knee injury.

Hopefully this mind-boggling decision does not trap Gill into a premature retirement from domestic football and she once again proves her doubters wrong, even when she shouldn’t have to.

READ "THE TRUTH BEHIND GILL'S OMISSION" HERE.
Read more..

WA NPL Week 6 Wrap

After six weeks, the WA National Premier League is starting to look like a two-horse race. Bayswater City and Floreat Athena remain the only two unbeaten teams, having already opened up a four-point lead at the top of the table.

Meanwhile at the other end, Inglewood scored their first win of the season and Armadale claimed their first point of the season.


Balcatta 1 (Catarcione 5’)
Bayswater City 2 (Howarth 33’, Kay 45+2’)
Grindleford Reserve

League-leaders Bayswater continued their unbeaten start to the season with a deserved win over Balcatta. The hosts hit the lead early through Gustavo Catarcione, but it only spurred City into action. Todd Howarth leveled when he was found space in the box, and just before halftime, their captain Trent Kay netted what would turn out to be the winner. Balcatta pressed in the second half, but were unable to find the goal they needed, and Bayswater ran out victors.


Floreat Athena 5 (Boi 5’, 20’, 88’, Arnez 17’, Wilson 25’)
ECU Joondalup 1 (Amphlett 9’)
E & D Litis Stadium

Ludovic Boi grabbed a hattrick as high-flying Floreat ran riot with an easy victory over ECU Joondalup. The Athena hitman opened the scoring early with an exquisite lob from just inside ECU’s half, before Tommy Amphlett equalized to restore parity. However, Clayton Arnez quickly restored the host’s lead and further goals from Boi and Bobby Wilson made it 4-1 after just 25 minutes. ECU regrouped, but there was no way back and their pride was further dented when Boi completed his treble with a spectacular scissor kick late in the game.


Perth Glory 1 (Valentini PEN 82’)
Inglewood United 2 (Witsche 63’, Clarke 68’)
Inglewood Stadium

Inglewood came out on top in a close encounter with their stadium-sharing rivals Perth Glory. Neither team were able to grab the ascendancy in the first half, the only highlight being United goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski and Glory youngster Stefan Valentini having to be separated by the referee. After the break, the hosts took the lead through Josh Witsche. Ryan Clarke quickly made it two after when he embarked on a superb, slaloming run from hown half before dispatching the ball beyond Jordan Franken. Valentini pulled one back from the spot as the Glory looked for a way back into the game, but Inglewood held on.


Stirling Lions 4 (Kamara 9’, Micevski 38’, 41’, Vujacic 58’)
Cockburn City 0
Macedonia Park

A David Micevski brace steered Stirling Lions to a comprehensive four-goal victory over Cockburn.  Teeboy Kamara struck early for the home side with a composed finish, before Micevski snuffed out any hopes of a City comeback with two goals in quick succession just before the break. A second-half strike from skipper Milorad Vujacic sealed all three points for the Lions.


Sorrento 2 (Harnwell 14’, Salter 43’)
Perth SC 2 (Rosindale 23’, Theodosiades 90’)
Percy Doyle Reserve

Andreas Theodosiades scored an injury-time equalizer as Perth twice came back from a goal down to draw with Sorrento. Todd Harnwell scored a tap in inside the first quarter of an hour, only for Ashley Rosindale to respond for Perth. Sorrento retook the lead through Jack Salter on the stroke of half time, forcing Perth to chase the game after the break. Despite a lack of chances for both teams, Perth grabbed a share of the points with the final whistle looming, when substitute Theodosiades capitalized on a careless pass and calmly slotted home


Subiaco 0
Armadale 0
Rosalie Park

Two of the league’s lower-placed teams played out a goalless draw at Rosalie Park. Armadale, desperate for their first points of the season, had the better of the early play. However, they found themselves denied by a combination of the woodwork and the host’s goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery. Subiaco struggled to contain Armadale, and their task was made even harder when their captain Nathan Diaz was given his marching orders. Despite the extra man, the visitors were unable to make it count on the scoreboard, and left still searching for their first win of the season.


Week 7 Fixtures
Cockburn City vs Balcatta
Perth SC vs Perth Glory
ECU Joondalup vs Armadale
Bayswater City vs Sorrento
Subiaco vs Stirling Lions
Inglewood United vs Floreat Athena
Read more..

NPL Capital Football Round 5 Wrap

NPL Capital Football Wrap sourced from Capital Football by Russ Gibbs

Canberra FC maintained their position at the top of the ladder with an easy 3-0 win over Tuggeranong United, while Canberra Olympic continued their surge up the ladder, accounting for Woden-Weston 3-1.

Their cause was helped by Belconnen United and FFA COE taking points off of each other in an exciting 3-3 draw. In the final match of the round, Gungahlin United made it two wins on the trot, putting them on the verge of the top four.


Woden-Weston FC 1 (Nikolas Popovich 82’)
Canberra Olympic 3 (Philippe Bernabo-Madrid 7’ (pen), 24’, Tim Bobolas 30’)

Canberra Olympic kept up their good start to the season with another convincing victory as they swept aside Woden-Weston FC 3-1 at Woden Park under the floodlights on Friday evening. Knowing that a victory would put them top of the league for at least 24-hours, Olympic started brightly and their endeavour was rewarded after only seven minutes. Callum Smith embarked on a slalom run into the Woden-Weston FC penalty area only to have his progress illegally impeded. Philippe Bernabo-Madrid made no mistake from the penalty spot to send the visitors ahead. Woden-Weston FC should have drawn level in the 19th minute when they were awarded a spot-kick of their own for handball against an Olympic defender. Pepe Varga took the penalty but Olympic goalkeeper Angelo Konstantinou guessed correctly to make a diving save and preserve his team’s advantage. And the hosts were made to pay for their profligate nature in front of goal just four minutes later. Bernabo-Madrid must have been taking notes from the UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals in midweek as he channelled his inner Lionel Messi to set off on a solo run that saw him drift past a couple of Woden-Weston challenges and finish with the confidence of a player at the top of his game. The strike was his seventh league goal of the season and had Olympic in the box set at 2-0 ahead. That soon became three with another goal of supreme quality. Woden-Weston was struggling with the width that Olympic were imparting on their game and from a cross into the danger zone the title chasers went further ahead. Tim Bobolas showed immeasurable braving throwing himself to meet the ball in amongst the bootlaces to send a diving, acrobatic header past Rory Larkin and virtually secure the three points before the half-time whistle. With the game all but decided the second half became something of a non-event with Olympic content to keep possession and stroke the ball around without threatening to add to their comfortable lead. Woden-Weston FC did up the ante in an effort to get back into the game but the effect of three matches in six days was taking its toll on the team. They did pull one back inside the final ten minutes when substitute Nikolas Popovich grabbed a consolation goal but it did little to dent Olympic’s enthusiasm as they recorded another victory to consolidate their solid start to the season.


FFA COE 3 (Cameron Joice 15’, Benjamin Van Meurs 63’ (og), Nicholas Panetta 68’)
Belconnen United 3 (Jason Ugrinic 55’ (pen), 82’, David Kemp 75’)

Belconnen United fought back from 3-1 down to earn a share of the spoils in an entertaining draw with the FFA COE at the Australian Institute of Sport on Saturday afternoon. Late goals from David Kemp and Jason Ugrinic ensured the Blue Devils came away from the match with a 3-3 draw to keep them in touch with the early pace-setters at the top of the table. The first half was a more prosaic affair than the drama that unfolded after the break with little in the way of action at either end. In fact it was a midfield battle with little to choose between the teams apart from the only goal of the half, scored by the FFA COE, in the fifteenth minute. Cameron Joice was the scorer, taking advantage of some space to net for the first time this season. The real action was saved for after the half-time interval. Belconnen forced the issue and got back on terms in the 55th minute when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Aisosa Ihegie. Jason Ugrinic was given the responsibility from the spot and he made no mistake hammering a fierce shot past Duro Dragicevic and into the roof of the net. The Blue Devils were level for only eight minutes as the FFA COE upped the tempo and regained the initiative by scoring a second. Jackson Bandiera, summoned from the substitutes’ bench, made the difference, bursting down the wing and sending in a wicked cut-back that the Blue Devils own replacement, Benjamin Van Meurs, could only divert past Adam Perakovic and into his own net. It appeared to be game, set and match, when the Centre of Excellence top scorer Nicholas Panetta claimed his fourth of the season moments later to extend the lead to 3-1 but Belconnen had other ideas. Kemp is one of the most under-rated players in the local PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues competition but his ability to play, and play well, in multiple positions, makes him the perfect squad player. His return from his honeymoon has been a huge boost to the Blue Devils and Kemp gave them hope of a comeback by making it 3-2 with fifteen minutes left. The home side was on the back foot now and inevitably Belconnen equalised inside the last ten minutes when Ugrinic grabbed his second, and fourth of the season. The late dismissal of FFA COE substitute Danny Kim for a second yellow card completed an amazing afternoon in a sensational match.


Canberra FC 3 (Robbie Deeley 9’, Daniel Bennett 35’, Thomas James 75’)
Tuggeranong United 0

Canberra FC shook off the disappointment of Westfield FFA Cup defeat in midweek to claim a straight forward 3-0 success over Tuggeranong United at Deakin Stadium and increase their lead at the top of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues to two points with a game in hand. Both sides made numerous changes from the teams that took part in the cup competition with Tuggeranong missing both Munster brothers, Zac and Ethan, who were prominent in their 5-2 success over Woden-Weston FC at Woden Park on Tuesday evening. It was Canberra FC who settled the quicker and they took the lead in the ninth minute when midfielder Robbie Deeley broke the deadlock with his second goal of the season ghosting in to finish well. Tuggeranong defended solidly and denied Canberra FC many clear chances at goal but the home team was able to go further ahead ten minutes before the interval. Winger Daniel Bennett has had a truncated start to the season with injury but he had scored in the cup defeat to Tigers and he made it 2-0 here with a well-taken goal. With a comfortable cushion at the break FC looked for further goals but Tuggeranong was steely in their resolve and threatened to force their way back into their match with their youngsters performing admirably, particularly Sebastian Summersby-Mitchell on his full debut. However, Canberra FC still looked the more likely to add to their score-line as they began to dominate possession and territory, and they increased the leaf to 3-0 with fifteen minutes remaining. Thomas James netted twice off the bench on his NPL debut at Nijong Oval and claimed a first goal at Deakin Stadium to seal the deal for the hosts. Later James almost added another but was denied by a breathtaking save from United ‘keeper Rowan Forbes-Shepherd who saved a James free-kick.


Monaro Panthers 2 (Anthony Giorgi 30’, Michael Mensah 55’ (pen))
Gungahlin United 3 (Jack Green 22’, Stephen Domenici 26’, Josh Gaspari 75’)

A stunning goal from substitute Josh Gaspari settled a cracking match in favour of Gungahlin United as the visitors held off the stubborn challenge of Monaro Panthers to win at the Riverside Stadium. Gaspari blasted in from the edge of the box with fifteen minutes remaining, running onto a ball that was punched clear by goalkeeper Jack Pettit after a fizzing cross from full-back Nathan Tidmarsh. It was rough justice on the Panthers who had fought back from being 0-2 down after 26 minutes to claw themselves level and were worthy of a point from an entertaining match. It appeared to be a routine afternoon for Gungahlin United in the driving rain as they stormed into a two-goal lead via a brace of set-pieces. Shane Murray, once again outstanding in the playmaker role, was the architect, delivering the first from a free-kick, which Jack Green met, criminally unmarked, on the back post to plant a free header past Pettit in the 22nd minute. Murray repeated the trick four minutes later from a corner, his vicious inswinger helped on by Michael John for Stephen Domenici to poach a cute flicked finish from inside the six yard box. That prompted a superb response from the home team and they reduced the arrears before the break. Gungahlin only half-cleared a corner and Anthony Giorgi pounced to send a volley back over the melee and into the net for a quite sensational strike. Back in the game at the break Monaro started the second half much the brighter with Samale Mohamed in imperious form in midfield and they deservedly drew level in the 55th minute. Martin Deng tricked his way into the area and was dumped by a Gungahlin defender leaving the officials no choice but to award a penalty. Michael Mensah showed his calmness under pressure to send Jason Denham the wrong way from the spot. That looked good enough to earn Monaro a point before Gaspari stole the game with his wonder-strike. It was rough justice on the Panthers who tried their upmost to equalise for a third time but Gungahlin saw off their concerted late effort in relative comfort to claim a second win of the season and fifth place on the ladder.
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Sydney's 4-1 win grants ticket to Grand Final

For the first time since being crowned champions in 2010, Sydney will play Melbourne Victory in the Grand Final of the 2014-15 A-League season after defeating Adelaide United 4-1 in front of 26,783 at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.

With a 2-0 lead at half-time, Alex Brosque extended his side's advantage early in the second half before Adelaide rallied for a goal of their own, but the gulf in class was ultimately as clear as the high-definition, 277 square metre Daktronics superscreens towering over the pulsating Cove at one end, and the forty or fifty strangers in red shirts gathered at the other, as Christopher Naumoff scored in injury time to end hopes of a late comeback.


Given Sydney's complete lack of form against Adelaide at Allianz in all competitions this season – two losses in the league, one in the FFA Cup – it might have seemed somewhat incongruous to recent tradition that the home side so quickly established themselves as the team in unquestionable control of this semi final.

Adelaide, for their part, were content to sit back and attempt to hit their opponents on the counter as they have done all year, but did so at the expense of all attacking momentum as Sydney won early corners, and had the first few shots.

The visitors' best chances came from Sydney giving up possession in midfield, and a string of painfully soft free kicks along the sidelines.

Having set the precedent of blowing his whistle whenever he felt like it early on in the match, it was harder to find fault with Ben Williams' refereeing as the game progressed, as he became, increasingly, not so much a good referee making a series of poor decisions as poor referee making a series of decisions that were consistent with his standard of officiating.

After 15 minutes, Sydney had the ball in the back of the net when Janko prodded the ball past Eugene Galekovic in the Adelaide goal, but Williams again called play back for a foul – correctly, this time, for the offside Janko, but it didn't stop the growing dissent in the crowd.


Sydney weathered what amounted to little more a sun shower, and deservedly went ahead in the 18th minute when Bernie Ibini slammed a shot into the roof of the net from the edge of the penalty area; the on-loan Shanghai Dongya striker scoring his seventh goal of the season.

Vedran Janjetovic stood up well to a one-on-one with Sergio Cirio shortly afterwards to keep Sydney ahead, the Spaniard unable to capitalise on Adelaide's best chance of the half.


Adelaide were dealt a sucker punch with halftime approaching as Ibini found himself in space on the right, whipping a low cross towards the near post for Alex Brosque, who flicked the ball behind his standing foot and under a sprawling Galekovic.

It was a goal that stunned the ground into silence, if only for a fraction of a second, before the crowd gathered up the pieces of their freshly-blown minds and exploded into noise.


The second half began as the first had ended, with Eugene Galekovic picking the ball out of the back of his net as Graham Arnold grimaced his way through a celebration on the sideline.

Marc Janko, offside by a hair and a bomb threat when he received a pass inside the Adelaide penalty area, lost possession after running into Nigel Boogaard, but the ball spun fortuitously out of the tackle for Alex Brosque, who swiped his volley home for his second of the night, and his side's third.

As his players rushed past him to celebrate the goal that effectively sealed the win, Arnold’s face seemed to drop to another level of sunken weariness with the world; aggrieved, perhaps, that Adelaide hadn't conceded a penalty and been awarded a red card. He could hardly complain with the resulting goal, but seemed to find reason to do so regardless.

From there, the match began to grind towards its inevitable conclusion: Sydney were happy enough to let Adelaide enjoy a wholly pointless period of possession after the goal, safe in the knowledge that while a two-goal lead is famously the most dangerous score in football, a three-goal lead held by a semi-competent team in the 50th minute of a match is pretty much impossible to overcome.

With the ball, the visitors proved as toothless in attack as they had been in defence, and continued to resort to the long ball as they looked to move play past the Sydney midfield.

Sydney nearly scored the goal of the season in the 70th minute but didn't, and Adelaide broke quickly up the other end to found themselves three-on-three with the Sydney defence.

Craig Goodwin ran the ball towards Matthew Jurman, cutting inside the defender and putting Adelaide on the scoreboard with a shot that deflected off Janjetovic's hand and dribbled at an agonising pace into the goal.

On the sideline, Graham Arnold breathed the sigh of a man who knew how capable his side were of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

With nearly 20 minutes remaining, and Adelaide suddenly awake, Sydney's certain victory looked decidedly less certain.

Adelaide began to do that thing that doomed teams usually do when faced with defeat, and decided to try to make the game interesting when it was clear a comeback was beyond them.

They pushed forward in search of another goal,  hitting long passes deep into Sydney territory, but the home side's backline held its shape and dealt with every aerial assault from the wings.

A late chance for Cirio went begging; the striker smacking a header over the crossbar from a few metres out in front of goal.

Arnold wheeled away holding his head, and Josep Gombau's jaw clamped down on his fist; both managers largely disappointed with their team's second half performances.


Throughout the second half Sydney had threatened the goal that would kill off the Adelaide resistance, and it came in the 90th minute when Naumoff stroked a shot past Galekovic on the right side of a Sydney break, before turning to dive into the Cove behind the advertising hoardings.

A fifth, as much as the crowd might have wanted it, was a stretch too far, and perhaps would have been an unfair reflection of a match that Sydney deserved to win, despite being on the back foot for much of the second half.

Adelaide's season ends here, while Sydney goes on to Melbourne next week to face the Victory in the final after Kevin Muscat bullied his team into a 3-0 win over local rivals Melbourne City on Friday night.



Sydney FC starting XI: Janjetovic (GK), Petkovic, Faty, Jurman, Ryall, Naumoff, Dimitrijevic, Taveres, Ibini, Brosque (C), Janko

Sydney FC substitutes: Necevski, Grant, Smeltz, Stambolziev, Antonis


Adelaide United starting XI: Galekovic (GK), McGowan, Boogaard, Elrich, Carrussca, Isaias, Malik, Jeggo, Cirio, Sanchez, Goodwin

Adelaide United substitutes: Izzo, Palanca, Mabil, Watson, Marrone

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Victory books Grand Final berth

Melbourne Victory have book their place in the 2015 A-League Grand Final with a clinical 3-0 win over cross-town rivals Melbourne City at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

First half goals to Besart Berisha and Kosta Barbarouses before Archie Thompson sealed the deal four minutes from time ensured the Victory would host this year’s decider.


The hype leading up to this game was at a level unseen for a game in Melbourne previously with an expectation of a classic encounter between two fierce foes.

Sadly that wasn’t the reality in a largely lacklustre match that Victory got the better of.

City weren’t without their chances throughout the match but their stars failed to shine when it mattered most.

On the other hand, the Victory were their ruthless selves as they took all three chances afforded to them.

In the end that was the difference.

The endeavour was there for City throughout the contest but it appeared as though their Grand Final came and went last weekend. This was just a bridge too far.

A heavy travel load that has seen them face Wellington, Adelaide and Perth all in a row didn’t help their cause either.

Victory showed their freshness from the start as they jumped out of the blocks the better unit.

They converted that to scoreboard action in just the 19th minute when Berisha opened the scoring.

The man for a big occasion, Berisha scored his fifth goal in three derby games at this venue courtesy of a Leigh Broxham ball and some very questionable defending by City.

Berisha was given a criminally-large amount of space right in front of goal to head Victory to the lead.

The advantage doubled just minutes shy of the half-hour mark when again questionable City defending was the culprit.

Victory did do well to cut open City with smooth passing but their marking made the goal possible.

Gui Finkler sent the ball to Fahid Ben Kallfallah who picked out an unmarked Barbarouses to finish with a tidy volley to make it 2-0.

To City’s credit, they did attempt to take the game to Victory but their endeavour was much better than their conviction.

To make their cause even harder, City were forced to use all three subs against their will as Aaron Mooy, Harry Novillo and David Williams succumb to injuries.

All this transpired against City much to the delight of Victory and their faithful.

Victory finally finished off a gallant City in the 87th minute when Thompson rubber stamped his side's progression.


Despite City’s best efforts, class prevailed; Victory finished 18 points ahead on their rivals on the table and every one of those points were on show tonight.

In the clutch moments of the game when the match was on the line, Victory made it count, the sign of a true champion team.

Victory now play the waiting game for the next 24 hours as they eagerly await the winner of the other semi-final between Sydney FC and Adelaide United next Sunday at AAMI Park.

Regardless of the result in Sydney, Victory will take on another arch-nemesis in their campaign to return to the summit of Australian football. Another mouth-watering prospect for all football fans to savour.



Melbourne Victory starting XI: 20. Lawrence THOMAS(GK), 4. Nick ANSELL, 5. Mark MILLIGAN(C), 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Gui FINKLER, 8. Besart BERISHA, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 14, Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15. Daniel GEORIGEVSKI, 17. Mathieu DELPIERRE, 21. Carl VALERI

Melbourne Victory substitutes: 40. Michael TURNBALL, 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11. Connor PAIN, 16. Rashid MAHAZI, 2. Jason GERIA


Melbourne City starting XI: 20. Tando VELAPHI(GK), 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 5. Erik PAARTALU, 6. Aaron MOOY, 9. Harry NOVILLO, 10. Robi KOREN, 13. Jonatan GERMANO, 15. David WILLIAMS, 16. Josh KENNEDY, 24. Patrick KISNORBO, 27. Kew JAILENS

Melbourne City substitutes: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE(GK), 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 18. Paulo RETRE, 21. Stefan MAUK, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC
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