PS4 NPL: Status Quo Preserved at Top
PLAYSTATION 4 NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES: CANBERRA
Saturday 4th June
Woden-Weston FC 2 (Matthew Waters 32’, Bensah Afiabo 40’) Tigers FC 3 (Goran Josifovski 6’, Stephen Domenici 19’, 65’)
Tigers FC continued their march towards reclaiming the PS4 NPL League Championship they won in 2014 as they fought off a fierce challenge from Woden-Weston FC at Woden Park on Saturday afternoon in atrocious conditions. Woden-Weston, who are rooted to the bottom of the competition ladder, certainly didn’t play like a team with only one win to their name all season as they hustled and harried their high-flying opponents and came within a whisker of gaining a reward.
The Wanderers had to come from 2-0 down after twenty minutes to get back into the match as the Tigers appeared to have set off on another routine win after Goran Josifovski has given them the lead in only the sixth minute. And that was doubled before the twenty minute mark as Stephen Domenici bagged his twelfth goal of the campaign. With a two-goal cushion, all appeared rosy for Gaby Wilk and his team.
Woden-Weston though look to have rediscovered some of the zest with which they have played in some matches this season and Matthew Waters, who is turning into a real find in his debut PS4 NPL campaign, reduced the gap with a well-taken goal on 32 minutes. Incredibly, the beleaguered hosts find themselves level five minutes before the interval as the abrasive Bensah Afiabo forced home the equaliser.
This meant that the Tigers faced the prospect of having their lead at the top of the table possibly overturned by the chasing pack twenty-four hours later unless they could re-establish the dominance they had shown in the opening quarter of the fixture. Fortunately for the treble-chasing Tigers FC they have, in Domenici, one of the most lethal forwards in the competition and, when he was most needed, he popped up again netting his thirteenth of the season in the 65th minute.
There was still plenty of time for Woden-Weston FC to try and force another match leveller but the Tigers were in no mood to relinquish their lead again and held on to claim what, at the end of the season, may turn out to be a pivotal, and very much needed, three points.
Woden-Weston FC: 1. Josh WADE, 2. Bradley OLIVERA, 3. Adam DE FRANCESCHI, 5. Jean-Baptiste BLAISE, 6. Ben GRIEG, 7. Matthew WATERS, 8. Richy HURTADO LORA, 11. Bensah AFIABO, 12. Tim DEHELEAN, 15. Christopher MCEWAN, 16. Goran MILUTINOVIC
Substitutes used: 9. Daniel DI-SALVATORE
Tigers FC: 1. Francois BANGWENI, 2. Nahuel GUERREO, 3. Hussein FUREJE, 4. Osman FOFANAH, 5. Dejan SANTRAC, 6. Milan POPOVICH, 7. Goran JOSIFOVSKI, 8. Jeremias IBARRA, 9. Daniel BARAC, 14. Nicolas ABOT, 17. Stephen DOMENICI
Substitutes used: 10. Alex OLORIEGBE, 11. Julian BORGNA
YELLOW CARDS: 11. Bensah AFIABO, 16. Goran MILUTINOVIC (Woden-Weston FC), 4. Osman FOFANAH, 17. Stephen DOMENICI (Tigers FC)
RED CARDS: Nil
Sunday 5th June
Gungahlin United 0 Canberra Olympic 2 (Philippe Bernabo-Madrid 17’ (pen), Tom McLachlan 75’)
Canberra Olympic kept track of Tigers FC at the top of the PS4 NPL ladder with a routine 2-0 win over Gungahlin United. A first half penalty from Philippe Bernabo-Madrid, added to by a goal from Tom McLachlan in the second stanza, ensured that Olympic kept pace with the Tigers who had won at Woden-Weston FC the day before.
With Gungahlin Enclosed being passed unfit for play the match was, on short notice, switched to the synthetic fields at Nicholls Enclosed. With neither team being particularly inclined to play on the artificial turf during the course of the season, coupled with the driving rain that refused to relent for the majority of the ninety minutes, meant that the match failed to hit any spectacular heights.
This was despite the best efforts of both teams, who tried to play football in difficult conditions that made life for the few spectators who braved the monsoon quite appalling. It was likely that a moment of magic, or maybe a defensive error, would be the main talking point and Olympic benefitted in the seventeenth minute when the tricky Pat Ross-Magee was adjudged to have been fouled inside the area and the visitors were awarded a penalty.
Bernabo-Madrid, who would himself admit that he has yet to attain the heights of last season after suffering a knee injury early in the 2015 campaign, took another step towards full rehabilitation by calmly doing the business from the spot, recording his sixth goal of the season and giving his team a priceless lead as they continued to chase Tigers FC at the summit of the PS4 NPL ladder. And it was that goal that separated the teams at the interval.
It was a similar tale in the second half as both teams attempted to play some decent football as the heavens continued to unleash a deluge on those below. It hardly seemed to affect fleet-footed winger Jeremy Habtemariam though and it was the skills of the will-o-the-wisp Habtemariam out wide that paved the way for McLachlan to calmly slide a finish into the net for the second Olympic goal with fifteen minutes remaining.
And that was duly that, as Olympic comfortably held fast to claim the points ahead of their titanic Westfield FFA Cup Qualifying Semi-Final with Belconnen United scheduled for midweek.
Gungahlin United: 1. Jason DENHAM, 2. Alex MOSCARITOLO, 3. David DEXTER, 7. Regan WALSH, 8. Christian JUNNA, 11. Jake WILSENER, 12. Mitch STEENBERGEN, 14. Liam WALSH, 15. David JENKINS, 16. Jack GREEN, 17, Frano BLAZEVIC
Substitutes used: 6. Justin RANKINE, 9. Nathan DUCK
Canberra Olympic: 1. Angelo KONSTANTINOU, 2. Tim BOBOLAS, 3. Josh CALABRIA, 6. Jeremy HABTEMARIAM, 7. Pat ROSS-MAGEE, 8. Bernard RENE, 9. Philippe BERNABO-MADRID, 12. Adam ROGIC, 18. Jordan TSEKENIS, 23. Nathen MEGIC, 99. Victor YANES
Substitutes used: 4. Joel VALTONEN, 11. Michael REEVE, 15. Tom MCLACHLAN
YELLOW CARDS: Nil
RED CARDS: Nil
CU Academy 4 (Sam Whithear 5’, Josh Gulevski 40’, 66’, Bul Juach 88’) Belconnen United 6 (Dustin Wells 7’, 45’ (pen), Aisosa Ihegie 18’, 25’, 54’, Jason Ugrinic 57’)
(Hawker Football Centre)
By William Bremner
Belconnen United warmed up for their Westfield FFA Cup Semi-Final against CanberrA Olympic with a high scoring win over CU Academy at Hawker Football Centre on Sunday. The 6-4 victory kept the Blue Devils in touch with their top of the table rivals but Coach Dean Ugrinic would not have been overly pleased with the lack of application in conceding four.
In fact the home team got off to a flyer when in the fifth minute a cheap turn over presented Sam Whithear with a simple tap in from close range. In keeping with the rest of the game the Blue Devils were back on level terms within two minutes. A free kick awarded on the edge of the CU box was taken quickly by Dustin Wells and his placed effort found the empty side of Sam Brown’s goal.
Bells tyro Sam Smith had been rewarded for some fine recent efforts with a place on the starting eleven but his game was prematurely ended when a head clash resulted in a broken nose. He was replaced by speedster Aisosa Ihegie and his introduction proved pivotal. On 20 minutes he raced into the penalty area and nudged the ball past the advancing Brown and into an empty net. Five minutes later he had his second as a Wells free kick was headed back across goal by Matt Grbesa and Ihegie was on hand to nod forcefully home.
At 3-1 it seemed that Belconnen were in complete control but some poor marking allowed Josh Gulevski to steal in and pinch one back in the 40th minute. On the stroke of half time Ihegie was at it again. This time his penetrating run was abruptly ended when Brown was adjudged to have impeded him as he rounded the under fire keeper. Wells stepped up and dispatched the resultant penalty without too much fuss and the Blue Devils went to the sheds leading 4-2.
Lots of rain and a deluge of goals in the first half provided for an exciting, if sometimes sloppy, spectacle. However Belconnen came out determined to improve and on the hour mark Ihegie had his hat trick forcing home at the second attempt. Shortly after Jason Ugrinic grabbed is 11th if the season when he finished from close range.
At 6-2, and with the points apparently in safe keeping, it was perhaps understandable that the visitors might take their foot of the pedal as they looked toward to Wednesday's semi-final. In doing so they invited the CU Academy back into the game. On 70 minutes Gulevski had his second when he thundered a right foot strike into the far side of the net leaving Adam Perakovic clutching at thin air. The same player moments later found himself free on the left of the Belconnen area and his right foot curling effort cannoned off the bar, was deflected back to him, and his follow up shot struck the base of the left hand post and bounced to safety.
The Belconnen faithful were becoming a little edgy even with the comfort of a three goal buffer. The performance of their charges, once they had dropped their intensity, did not inspire confidence that they may be able to rediscover the passion they had at the beginning of the second half. Indeed they were to concede again in the 90th minute when Bul Juach, on as a substitute raced past some static defending and slotted past the exposed Perakovic.
That ended the scoring and Belconnen had the points and will take comfort from the fact they came through the fixture relatively unscathed, Smith being the exception. Their semi-final against Olympic now looms large and they will look forward to that game with high anticipation.
CU Academy: 1. Sam BROWN, 3. Ridwan HANNAN, 4. Antoni TIMOTHEOU, 5. Niko KRESIC, 7. Joshua GULEVSKI, 9. Sam WHITHEAR, 10. Daniel FABRIZIO, 11. Tomas KRKLEC, 14. Niko UDJUR, 18. Jonathan TUREK, 20. David CARDER
Substitutes used: 8. Bul JUACH, 15. Lachlan GRIFFITHS
Belconnen United: 20. Adam PERAKOVIC, 3. Dustin WELLS, 4. Matt GRBESA, 7. Taylor BEATON, 8. Conor NOLAN, 9. Sam SMITH, 10. Jason UGRINIC, 11. Goran MUKEVSKI, 13. Jonathan REIS, 14. Nicholas DAHL, 16. Matt VALERI
Substitutes used: 5. Cameron REINHART, 12. Aisosa IHEGIE, 17. Toby RICHTER
YELLOW CARDS: 1. Sam BROWN, 3. Ridwan HANNAN, 20. David CARDER (CU Academy), 11. Goran MUKEVSKI, 12. Aisosa IHEGIE (Belconnen United)
RED CARDS: Nil
Monaro Panthers v Canberra FC – MATCH POSTPONED
Tuggeranong United v FFA COE – MATCH POSTPONED
13 Stephen DOMENICI (Tigers FC)
11 Jason UGRINIC (Belconnen United),
7 Thomas JAMES (Canberra FC)
6 Sam SMITH (Belconnen United), Philippe BERNABO-MADRID (Canberra Olympic), John ROBERTS (FFA COE), Nicolas ABOT (Tigers FC)
5 Aisosa IHEGIE (Belconnen United), Jordan TSEKENIS (Canberra Olympic), Daniel BARAC (Tigers FC)
4 Dustin WELLS (Belconnen United), Domenic GIAMPAOLO, Josip JADRIC (Canberra FC), Joshua GULEVSKI (CU Academy), Ed MCCARTHY (Monaro Panthers), Jaidon SELDON (FFA COE)
3 Tomas KRKLEC, Sam WHITHEAR (CU Academy), Mitch STEENBERGEN (Gungahlin United), Darian MCGARRY-WATSON, Mark SHIELDS (Monaro Panthers), Alex OLORIEGBE, Dejan SANTRAC (Tigers FC), Marco GAYER, Nikolaos KALFAS, Andrew SLAVICH (Tuggeranong United), Own GOALS
2 Jonathan REIS* (Belconnen United), Nikola BARISIC (Canberra FC), Daniel COLBERTALDO, Jeremy HABTEMARIAM, Nathen MEGIC (Canberra Olympic), Bryce BAFFORD, Louis D’ARRIGO, Ben OBST (FFA COE), Alex MOSCARITOLO (Gungahlin United), Nahuel GUERRERO (Tigers FC), Domenic COLUCCIELLO, Emilio KISTA (Tuggeranong United), Bensah AFIABO, Goran MILUTNOVIC, Matthew WATERS (Woden-Weston FC)
1 Matt GRBESA, David KEMP, Goran MUKEVSKI, Cameron REINHART, Toby RICHTER (Belconnen United), Aidan BRUNSKILL, Izach CLEMENTS, Robbie DEELEY, Ryan KEIR, Misko NAUMOSKI, Ivan PAVLAK (Canberra FC), Tim BOBOLAS, Robbie CATTANACH, Angelo KONSTANTINOU, Tom MCLACHLAN, Michael REEVE, Victor YANES (Canberra Olympic), Daniel FABRIZIO, Bul JUACH (CU Academy), Rahmat AKBARI, Lachlan BROOK, Mark MORIC, Mirza MURATOVIC, Marc TOKICH (FFA COE), Nathan DUCK, Jack GREEN, Marcial MUNOZ, Jason O’DWYER, Liam WALSH (Gungahlin United), Martin DENG, Daniel FELIZZI (Monaro Panthers), Julian BORGNA, Osman FOFANAH, Alan GASTON, Goran JOSIFOVSKI, Milan POPOVICH (Tigers FC), Sam SHADBOLT Tuggeranong United), Daniel DI-SALVATORE, Ben GRIEG, Tom HIRST (Woden-Weston FC)
*1 goal for Tuggeranong United