NPL1 Round 2 Wrap
Belconnen United 4 (Adrian Macor 27’, Daniel Sparrow 31’, Michael Taurasi 58’, Dustin Wells 84’)
By Tim Warren
Belconnen United have recorded their first win of the 2019 NPL1 Capital Football season, defeating the Riverina Rhinos 4-0 on Saturday afternoon at McKellar Park.
The Blue Devils looked a classy team unit in their round two clash claiming the full three points, following on from their disappointing 2-0 opening round loss to Woden-Weston last weekend.
Unlike in week one the home side looked confident in front of goals, netting four through Adrian Macor, Daniel Sparrow, Michael Taurasi and Dustin Wells.
United carved up the Rhinos’ defence throughout the game, constantly breaking through the opposition’s back four with relative ease.
Macor opened the scoring for the hosts in the 27th minute, when a beautiful piece of link up play found Macor’s run at the back post for the easiest of tap-ins.
Belconnen doubled their advantage soon after in the 31st minute, as Bailey Toscan dashed down the left wing and squared the ball to Sparrow in the centre of the box to hammer it home.
The start of the second half played much like the first with Belconnen maintaining possession of the ball and the controlling the ascendency.
Taurasi’s classy finish in between three defenders at the edge of the box in the 58th minute put the game to bed, with Riverina showing no real signs of a comeback.
With time winding down, Belconnen won a penalty through a clumsy challenge on the byline from Rhinos defender Jack Moon on Jacob Scott.
Wells stepped up to take the spot kick and tucked it away in the top corner past Mitchell Woods in the 84th minute.
The 4-0 win bolsters the Blue Devils goal-difference as they turn into the break with a record of one win and one loss.
Both sides have a break now until after Easter, with Belconnen United taking on second placed Tigers FC away, while the Riverina Rhinos will play Woden-Weston in Griffith.
Tuggeranong United 3 (Regan Walsh 9’, 41’, Jono Turek 76’) v Canberra FC 0
Canberra FC remain without a win through two weeks of the season after they were pushed aside by Tuggeranong United at Greenway, the hosts finishing 3-0 winners in a complete performance.
The action began just nine minutes in as a long ball was hoisted by Tuggeranong into Canberra FC’s 18-yard box and Jordan Thurtell clattered an attacker as he jumped at the ball and the referee duly pointed to the spot.
Regan Walsh made no mistake to dispatch the spot kick and as the hosts controlled the first half it was a stunner from Walsh that put them up by two ahead of the half-time break.
Standing over a free-kick just outside the area, Goran Mukevski nudged the ball a step right to Walsh, who curled a brilliant effort around the Canberra FC wall and past the outstretched fingertips of Thurtell.
Luka Ujdur’s side struggled to work their way into the game with Tuggeranong enjoying the luxury of a two-goal advantage, and inside the final 15 minutes of the game Jono Turek put the contest to bed.
Walsh was involved once more for the third, this time curling a low effort across in front of Thurtell that Jono Turek connected with at the back post to fire home and push the lead to three goals.
The result leaves Canberra FC sitting inside the bottom three and yet to score a goal heading into the Easter break, with a matchup against the Monaro Panthers on the other side.
Tuggeranong meanwhile take on Gungahlin United in their next outing, which will be followed by their FFA Cup clash against Woden-Weston.
Canberra Olympic 2 (Stephen Domenici 12’, Nik Popovich 33’) def. Gungahlin United 0
Canberra Olympic continued their strong start to the season and piled the misery on Gungahlin with a 2-0 win at O’Connor Enclosed thanks to two goals in the first half.
Olympic started strongly and took the lead 12 minutes in through prolific forward Stephen Domenici.
He received the ball with his back to goal and touched it off to Nik Popovich before turning and racing past his defender and received a lovely pass back from Popovich before sliding it past Josh Lagudah under pressure from the defender.
Just minutes later United had a goal ruled out for offside when Jeremy Habtemarian headed in the follow-up cross from a corner, and that would come back to hurt them as the game clock ticked over the half hour mark.
Nathen Megic intercepted a United pass in midfield and immediately set Popovich off clear behind the defence, and he calmly dinked the pall past Lagudah to double the advantage.
That was all for the first half and allowed Olympic to be in control when the second half started but Gungahlin were handed a lifeline with 10 minutes to play as Rory Larkin cleaned up Michael John outside the box as he looked to chase a through ball.
But Olympic held on with Tim Bobolas in goal and nearly added a third as Domenici struck the post in the 90th to record a strong victory and remain level with Tigers FC on top of the table ahead of an extended break across Easter and a bye week.
Gungahlin meanwhile will look to get back on track when they take on Tuggeranong United at the AIS.
Tigers FC 2 (Jared Tonini 11’, Nic Abot 37’) def. Monaro Panthers 0
Tigers FC made it two wins from two ahead of the Easter break with a 2-0 victory over Monaro at Nijong on Sunday afternoon.
It continued a strong start to the year for the Cooma-based side and it took them only 11 minutes to go ahead thanks to Jared Tonini.
A slick midfield move released Tonini and he took the ball in his stride before calmly rolling the ball into the bottom corner to put the home side on top early.
Monaro looked to hit back immediately but a promising attack was flagged for offside, and Tigers took their chance just over five minutes before the break to double the lead.
Roko Strika took possession in midfield from a Panthers turnover and he threaded a bouncing ball through to Nico Abot, who smacked a first-time volley into the top corner to spark celebrations at Nijong.
They held that advantage through until the end of the match despite a determined Monaro effort, and Gaby Wilk’s side remain equal top with Canberra Olympic heading into Easter.
Monaro meanwhile are in fifth spot, and will meet Canberra FC next round at Riverside Stadium.