Congratulations to our U20’s who have made it through to the elimination semi final
The Semi final will be played on Saturday 29th 1:15pm at Valentine Sports Park No2
Spirit FC are ready to claim the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 2 title, after a 5-1 hammering of Bankstown Berries all but sent the trophy to Christie Park. The Premiership could arrive as early as Tuesday night with Hakoah Sydney City East needing a goal in the remaining twenty three minutes to be played in their match against Mount Druitt Town Rangers to prevent an official handover.
The final five is all but a formally with Bankstown City cementing their position with a narrow result over Central Coast. Northern Tigers moved into third with a 3-0 win over St George.
Hakoah Sydney City East and Central Coast make up the five, the Eastern Suburbs based club also claiming the Club Championship with a clean sweep of results at Mounties, coupled with Central Coast’s first grade loss.
Match of the Round
Bankstown Berries v Spirit FC
Spirit FC have two hands on the Premiership trophy, but they cannot yet hold it aloft, until Hakoah Sydney City East have completed at least one of their final two fixtures, following the big success by trailblazers Spirit in beating Bankstown Berries 5-1 at The Crest on Saturday night.
The lead Spirit has established in the competition, which it’s held for most of the season, is unassailable, other than mathematically, with the goal difference enjoyed by the boys from the Gladesville-Hornsby district realistically well beyond the reach of their only rivals, Hakoah.
Spirit coach, John McLafferty, was as pleased as punch at the way his players went about their business in dispensing with the strong challenge presented on Saturday evening by a Berries side determined to cling onto their place in the Top Five.
But the host’s fighting first-half showing against a fired-up Spirit fell away after the break, as the visitors moved into top gear.
Spirit were able to take a two-minute lead and while the Berries came back to draw level, just nine minutes later, they fell behind again another nine minutes later and the 2-1 lead that hot title-favourites, Spirit FC, enjoyed at the break, set them up nicely for the run home.
Spirit were without top striker, Abraham Majok, who has been trialling with Central Coast Mariners, and quickly lost key marksman, Kuag Reec, to injury, just eight minutes into this contest.
But coach McLafferty already had contingency plans in place and as soon as it became clear that the injury-plagued Reec could not continue, he summoned old-hand, Tim Simpson, to take over up front.
Simpson didn’t disappoint, rattling in Spirit’s second with a clever finish in the 20th minute, following a Ryan Johnstone free-kick that had the Berries’ defence at sixes and sevens.
The high cross proved beyond the capabilities of the Berries defenders in the goalmouth and when the ball was cleared as far as the edge of the area, Simpson struck it, delivering his finish with one or two bounces and beyond home-team keeper, Michael Frost.
The Spirit lead was therefore restored, after the Berries had come back strongly to draw level with a similarly opportunistic strike of their own, Nick Paras collecting a partially-cleared ball, following an eleventh minute corner, and sending a low shot through a sea of legs past a possibly unsighted Spirit keeper, David Lowery.
It was the first start for Paras, after some time off the scene and following a late, cameo substitute’s appearance the week before against Hakoah at Hensley Athletic Field.
Striking the top-two teams in the competition in successive weeks had done the Berries no favours, as they tried hard in both games, only to find a superior opponent each time.
Spirit began like a house on fire, highly effective wide player, Jacob Harris, returning to the starting eleven after a few weeks on the bench and making the most of his opportunity.
Harris, operating on the left, got on the end of a ball played through to him by Ryan Johnstone and Harris soon had the ball on its way to the handily-placed head of Gosue Sama, for the opening goal of the game, with little more than a minute played.
That early goal boded well, but the Berries are a good side these days and soon came back.
The first-half was full of near-misses and Spirit would have probably been delighted to emerge with a one-goal lead to take to the sheds, as there’d been little between the two sides in that frenzied first-half.
After the break, however, Spirit really turned on the taps and with wide men Henry Wells on the right and Harris on the left, they tore into the Berries, wreaking havoc down either flank.
Five minutes after the restart they had already beaten the Berries for pace down the right channel, any fears of an offside call soon dismissed, as Wells sped away and crossed smartly for Harris to notch his first goal for a while, with a first-time volley, as no defenders came into sight in the goalmouth to arrest his momentum.
Harris almost grabbed another in the 53rd after a further free-kick from Johnstone, his touch not as precise on that occasion.
The hugely influential Sama also went close a minute later, his shot deflected for a corner by an overworked Berries’ defence.
Nick Trimble then nodded wide after another corner from Johnstone, one minute later, with the flood gates beginning to open.
A ball turned over by the Berries right on half-way, led to Spirit establishing a 4-1 lead in the 61st minute.
Johnstone, again, was at the centre of the action in releasing Wells, this time through the middle, with the speedy Spirit man lobbing from distance over an optimistically advancing Berries’ keeper, Frost, with the ball bouncing into an empty net.
In the 64th it was 5-1.
Wells was released again on the right and from his now inevitable cross, Harris was able to volley home from close-range, to ensure a comfortable cushion for his team for the remainder of the game.
The Berries continued to fight hard until the end, however, never throwing in the towel, despite the four-goal deficit and made sure Spirit kept working to the last.
There was much rejoicing in the Spirit camp at the game’s conclusion, even though the trophy will have to remain under wraps a little longer, before the formalities can be completed.
“We were beaten by the best side in the competition and they are worthy Premiers,” Berries’ coach, Wally Savor, acknowledged at the end of the match.
“Our Top-Five hopes are now out of our hands and we have to wait to see what happens on Sunday.
“Yes it was difficult having to play Hakoah and Spirit in these last two games, but if we want to qualify we know we have to beat these teams and we just couldn’t manage it this time.
John McLafferty naturally had no complaints at the outcome of the match.
“To their credit the Berries never stopped trying and they are a good team so we needed to be at our best tonight.
“We gave Jacob Harris a chance and he seized his opportunity with both hands. When Kuag Reec was injured I knew we could rely on Tim Simpson to take over.
“As for the title, we can’t celebrate immediately, though it looks like we’ve definitely won it now,” he said.
Bankstown Berries 1 (Nicholas Paras 11’) v Spirit FC 5 (Gosue Sama 2’, Tim Simpson 20’, Jacob Harris 50’, 64’, Henry Wells 61’)
Saturday 15 August 2015
at The Crest, Bass Hill
Referee: James Lewis
Assts: Raymond Osborne and David Haslett
Bankstown Berries: 1. Michael Frost 2. Andrew Vitucci 3. Liam McKenna 7. Kyle Ewart 10. Jun Kato (22. Jake Bradshaw 66’) 11. Joel Anscomb (4. Omar Saadi 85’) 12. Mitchell Davidson 14. Nicholas Paras 16. Milan Zoric 18. Matthew Trotter (19. Dimitri Zakilas 55’) 21. Peter Dimitropoulos
Subs not used: 42. Jake Senior 13. Andrew Nkpolukwu.
Yellow Cards: Mitchell Davidson 42’, Milan Zoric 45’
Coach: Wally Savor
Spirit FC: 41. David Lowery 2. Daniel Cunningham 3. Henry Wells 4. Nicholas Trimble 7. Jacob Harris (5. Andrew Robertson 76’) 8. Grant Cornwell 13. Lord Darkoh 14. Ryan Johnstone 19. Tom Lovell 21. Kuag Reec (9. Tim Simpson 8’, rep by 6.Ross Kethel 85’) 22. Gosue Sama.
Subs not used: 1. Murray Nelson
Yellow cards: Jacob Harris 42’
Coach: John McLafferty
Feature Report by Paul Green
Bankstown Berries 2 v St George 1
Two very late goals for Bankstown Berries saw them snatch victory from the jaws of defeat after the nominal home side, in a match switched to Valentine Park, overcame St George 2-1.
Despite the lateness of the goals though, it was a result deserved as the Berries did dominate for the most part, putting strong pressure on St George, but failing for the majority of the game to make their possession count.
The Saints, seeking to recover from the heavy loss last week at Central Coast, were forced into changes with Michael Yarnold and Tarek Ercan both suspended, while Lenox Tweneboa and Wassim Hijazi started on the bench. The Berries meanwhile, were unchanged from the side that defeated Macarthur Rams last week, with even the bench featuring the same five.
The early exchanges were relatively even, and for the first twenty minutes, neither keeper were unduly concerned. Perhaps David Hamilton was the busier, predominantly from the Berries’ regular corners, but was invariably untroubled.
As the half wore on, the Berries began to dominate and it was down the left where the Berries were creating the most danger with Ilkay Gurbuz and Nicholas Paras combining well, with Mitchell Davidson joining in on occasions. But while a cross would arrive, the Saints defence, more on their game this week, snuffed out any opportunities. The closest they came to conceding came via Davidson, who turned well before just shooting inches wide.
St George’s chances were limited, a snapshot from Matt Sadler one of the few in the first half, but when Stevan Ilic broke clear five minutes before the break, a goal seemed imminent. That was before Milan Zoric was to concede a foul, bringing down the Saints striker on his way to goal. Zoric earned a yellow, but it could have been worse.
The resultant free kick was well over, but Ilic got his revenge in first half stoppage time. The Saints’ leading scorer showed great control before shooting into the top corner, a slight deflection seeing the ball spin just under the bar.
It was somewhat of a sucker punch for the Berries, who barely had time to restart. A goal down after dominating the half would have hurt deeply, but they set about their task with even more intent in the second period. It was through Paras that most chances arrived, last week’s double scorer not having luck on his side this week. He struck the bar from distance with a free kick and three further chances in the next ten minutes were also to prove fruitless.
The Saints, in a rare foray upfield, might have grabbed a second, but David Wilson just failed to connect properly to an Ilic cross.
But it seemed again that despite their possession, the Berries would remain scoreless, as the Saints, with the introduction of Lenox Tweneboa, switched to five across the back, keen to protect their one goal advantage. It looked like they would last too, as the clock ticked down and time dwindled.
Then with just three minutes of normal time remaining, the pressure told. Yet another corner, and up rose Dimitri Zakilas, to powerfully head home the equaliser. A saving grace perhaps and you could be forgiven for thinking that both sides might be content with that, a share of the points. But the Berries clearly weren’t, and they pushed on for a winner. Cruelly for the Saints, it came two minutes into time added on, a low Joel Anscomb strike sneaking through a packed penalty area.
Bankstown Berries 2 (Dimitri Zakilas 87’, Joel Anscomb 90+2’) v St George 1 (Stevan Ilic 45+1’)
Saturday June 20 2015
at Valentine Park, Parklea
Referee: Jerry Bitas
Assts: Brandon Lovric and John Lalic
Bankstown Berries: 1. Michael Frost 3. Liam McKenna 7. Kyle Ewart 11. Joel Anscomb 12. Mitchell Davidson 14. Nicholas Paras 16. Milan Zoric 17. Ilkay Gurbuz (19. Dimitri Zakilas) 18. Matthew Trotter 21. Peter Dimitropoulos (8. Thomas Taylor 82’) 22. Jake Bradshaw (10. Jun Kato).
Subs not used: 13. Andrew Nkpolukwu 42. Jake Senior
Yellow Cards: Joel Anscomb 25’, Kyle Ewart 35’, Milan Zoric 39’, Nicholas Paras 90+4’
Coach: Wally Savor
Macarthur Rams v Bankstown Berries
There was plenty of late drama at Lynwood Park with the game delayed by forty five minutes after Rams keeper Chad Taylor clattered into the goal post in a vain attempt to stop a Nicholas Paras freekick, with near ten minutes of the match remaining.
Paras’ goal put the visiting Bankstown Berries into the driving seat with a 3-1 lead but with an ambulance called, the game couldn’t restart until Taylor was safely away. It was another forty five minutes before referee Khodr Yaghi could get the game back underway, for the remaining ten minutes.
And with Macarthur having already used their three subs, defender Daniel Carrozza took over the keeper’s jersey, as the Rams faced down the Berries with just ten players.
They held their ground but by then the damage had been done. Ilkay Gurbuz had given the Berries the lead after sixteen minutes, before Gavin Forbes equalised for Macarthur.
But two second half goals to Paras gave the Berries their first win since round seven.
A dramatic night at Lynwood, and a late one.
Macarthur Rams 1 (Gavin Forbes 25’) v Bankstown Berries 3 (Ilkay Gurbuz 16’, Nicholas Paras 58’, 85’)
Macarthur Rams: 1. Chad Taylor 2. Craig Cooley 4. Ben Cornish 6. Blake Brooker (9. Shannon Hankin) 11. Aaron Farringdon 12. David McMurray 13. Daniel Carrozza 14. Mark Symington (10. Eros Bergamin) 15. Joel Craig (17. Asmir Kadric) 18. Gavin Forbes 21. Michajlo Jonjic.
Subs not used: 8. Ryan Marchant 19. Daniel Willoughby
Bankstown Berries: 1. Michael Frost 3. Liam McKenna 7. Kyle Ewart 11. Joel Anscomb 12. Mitchell Davidson 14. Nicholas Paras (10. Jun Kato) 16. Milan Zoric 17. Ilkay Gurbuz 18. Matthew Trotter 21. Peter Dimitropoulos 22. Jake Bradshaw.
Subs: 8. Thomas Taylor 13. Andrew Nkpolukwu 19. Dimitri Zakilas 42. Jake Senior
U20’s Goal Keeper required
The U20’s require the services of a competent Goal keeper that can also play 1st grade.
Please call Wally 0419 997 909 to discuss further.
Which junior club did you start playing soccer at? White City S.C (Cabramata west) from 4 till u/12
Which was your first soccer position? Started of as a stricker till the age of 13, u/14s moved to the back line
Are you superstitious before a game? Have you got a ritual before a game? Just before kickoff I kiss the names tattooed on my arm of my late grandfather and uncle.. 2 people that had big influence on my life thus far, and it gives me strength knowing their spirit is backing me all the way
How do you relax after a game? . I like to have my herbalife recovery shake after every hard match I play, hang out with friends and watch some live english premier league. Next morning look to go for a swim, sauna, spa session.
What is your goal for the season? This season’s goals are set high.. the league title is definitely on my a gender, but football is an unpredictable game, sometimes you play better but loose the match. so we must stay focused for every single game individually, accumulate the points, and we should be there at the end