PS4 NPL: Log-Jam at Top of Table
PLAYSTATION 4 NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES: CANBERRA
Saturday 25th June
Woden-Weston FC 2 (Daniel Di-Salvatore 54’, Matthew Waters 66’) CU Academy 1 (Tomas Krklec 86’)
Woden-Weston FC claimed their second win of the season with a 2-1 success over the CU Academy at Woden Park on a cold Saturday evening in Canberra. Two second half goals, struck by Daniel Di-Salvatore and Matthew Waters, were enough for the team to take the points and jump above the Academy on the PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues table after Matchday 12.
In an even first half chances were very much at a premium with nothing able to separate two teams who tried to play good football on a difficult surface in temperatures that had the watching crowd stamping their feet to keep warm. The game needed a goal to spark it into life and it got one nine minutes into the second half.
Striker Daniel Di-Salvatore has express pace and his hard-work in the final third was rewarded with his second goal of the season. Not to be outdone, Matthew Waters netted his third of the campaign under ten minutes later to give Woden-Weston a cushion that they would not let slip.
The Academy made it a nervy final few moments for the home team as Tomas Krklec pulled a goal back with four minutes remaining, but the Wanderers withstood one last hurrah from the youngsters to come away with the points.
Woden-Weston FC: 1. Josh WADE, 3. Adam DE FRANCESCHI, 4. Christopher MCEWAN, 5. Roy ROMEO, 6. Ben GRIEG, 7. Matthew WATERS, 8. Richy HURTADO LORA, 9. Daniel DI-SALVATORE, 11. Arok THON, 12. Tim DEHELEAN, 16. Goran MILUTINOVIC
Substitutes used: 2. Anton HOSKOVSKY, 14. Jarryd CLIFTON, 15. Brady NIXON
CU Academy: 1. Sam BROWN, 3. Ridwan HANNAN, 4. Antoni TIMOTHEOU, 5. Niko KRESIC, 7. Joshua GULEVSKI, 8. Adrian MACOR, 9. Sam WHITHEAR, 11. Tomas KRKELC, 15. Lachlan GRIFFITHS, 17. Tony MADDAFARI, 18. Jonathan TUREK
Substitutes used: 2. Lachlan FIELDS, 6. Bul JUACH, 14. Niko UJDUR
YELLOW CARDS: Nil
RED CARDS: Nil
Sunday 26th June
Canberra FC 0 Belconnen United 2 (Dustin Wells 40’, Nikolas Popovich 60’)
By William Bremner
On a bright but chilly afternoon two of Canberra's NPL heavyweights fought out an entertaining match at Deakin Stadium. Traditional rivals Canberra FC and Belconnen United, third and fourth in the table respectively, both needed the points to stay in touch with the top two and it was the visitors who came away with the spoils enjoying a 2-0 victory.
This was a game of high quality as both sides showed why they are consistently in the mix when the sharp end of the season comes around. Sound team structures that provide a significant platform from which quality individuals launch their undoubted skills meant the large crowd in attendance could enjoy football in Canberra at its best.
Belconnen started the brighter and indeed where much the better side in the opening stanza. New signing Nikolas Popovich, impressive throughout, provided a regular threat to the Canberra FC defence when either collecting the ball in front and bringing others into the game or when using his pace to attack the spaces in behind. It was he that created the first real chance of the match when he rounded Rashid Farid as he came of his line only to find the angle too tight and his pass across the six yard box was intercepted by the retreating defence and comfortably cleared.
Prior to that inspirational captain Taylor Beaton had a couple of long range shots off target and Dustin Wells, relishing in a slightly deeper lying role menaced the FC goal without real effect. Canberra FC talisman Thomas James had been kept relatively quiet but he created a half chance when his wickedly delivered set piece from the right of the box was scrambled to safety.
The break through goal came five minutes before half time when Wells, combining with Popovich, reacted quickest on the edge of the area and placed a beauty beyond the despairing dive of Farid in the home goal. Delight for the visitors and a bitter blow for the hosts just before half time meant both coaches might have to amend their respective team talks.
The second half started with the home team in the ascendency. James and Domenic Giampaolo began to find more space and as a consequence Belconnen found themselves under a period of sustained pressure. James must have thought he had the equaliser when he found himself round keeper Adam Perakovic but just as he was about to pull the trigger Matt Grbesa descended from the clouds with a bone crunching brilliant tackle that sent the ball to safety. Both he and Perakovic would combine later to keep a goal bound shot out as Perakovic deflected the close range effort and Grbesa was on hand to clear off the line.
The Blue Devils made it two on the hour mark when Popovich sprinted clear on the break and dinked a delicate chip over Farid as he went to ground at his feet. Both teams had numerous other chances to add to the score line. Jason Ugrinic hit the bar when he was well placed to convert and substitute Goran Mukevski missed the target altogether when similarly placed. Canberra FC rattled the bar when Giampaolo thundered a shot goalwards and substitute Ryan Kier picked out keeper Perakovic with a placed shot from the edge of the box.
All in all a game that painted local football in the best possible light. The host of Canberra FC juniors on hand to witness the encounter added to a great atmosphere that even the dropping temperature failed to dampen.
Canberra FC: 1. Rashid FARID, 3. Thomas MILICEVIC, 5. Izach CELEMENTS, 8. Ian GRAHAM, 9. Thomas JAMES, 10. Dominic GIAMPAOLO, 11 Ivan PAVLAK, 13. Kye EDWARDS, 15. Jordan LAMB, 19. Michael MENSAH, 21. Nikola BARISIC
Substitutes used: 6. Ryan KEIR, 16. Ross COSTANZO, 20. Alex OLORIEGBE
Belconnen United: 1. Adam PERAKOVIC, 3. Dustin WELLS, 4. Matt GRBESA, 5. Cameron REINHART, 6. David KEMP, 7. Taylor BEATON, 9. Sam SMITH, 10. Jason UGRINIC, 13. Jonathan REIS, 16. Matt VALERI, 19. Nikolas POPOVICH
Substitutes used: 8. Conor NOLAN, 11. Goran MUKEVSKI, 17. Toby RICHTER
YELLOW CARDS: 3. Thomas MILICEVIC, 5. Izach CELEMENTS, 19. Michael MENSAH, 21. Nikola BARISIC (Canberra FC), 5. Cameron REINHART, 13. Jonathan REIS (Belconnen United)
RED CARDS: Nil
Tigers FC 1 (Nicolas Abot 90’) Canberra Olympic 2 (Philippe Bernabo-Madrid 41’, Jeremy Habtemariam 48’)
Canberra Olympic claimed a second win over the Tigers in a week with a 2-1 success at Nijong Oval that has opened up the chase for the PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues title in Canberra. Olympic, who ended Tigers Westfield FFA Cup ambitions the previous Saturday, have moved level with their opponents on points with only the Tigers superior goal difference keeping them ahead of the chasing pack.
In an even contest both teams had chances before the break with opportunities at each end and the goalkeepers, Jakob Cole and Angelo Konstantinou forced to be on their toes. Tigers weren’t about to go quietly into the night and Daniel Barac, rather controversially, was sent clear on goal by a pass from Julian Borgna, after Olympic had kicked the ball out of play for treatment to a Tigers player, but Konstantinou remained alert to save.
As is was it wasn’t until four minutes before the interval that Olympic took the lead, Philippe Bernabo-Madrid skipping away from the defence and placing an accurate finish beyond Cole and into the net. And Olympic made it two three minutes into the second half. Jeremy Habtemariam was alive to a chance when he dispossessed the dawdling Nahuel Guerrero and finished adroitly.
The Olympic ‘keeper then denied Nicolas Abot with a spectacular save before the home team were incensed not to be awarded a penalty when Dejan Santrac went down in the area. At the other end Olympic’s claims for a spot-kick were also waved away. Tigers would end the game with ten men when Barac was dismissed for picking up a second yellow card after fouling Josh Calabria leaving them very much up against it.
The home team did manage to force a nervy last few minutes when Abot did find the net with stoppage time looming but the away side hung on for victory.
Tigers FC: 1. Jakob COLE, 2. Nahuel GUERREO, 3. Hussein FUREJE, 5. Dejan SANTRAC, 6. Milan POPOVICH, 9. Osman FOFANAH, 10. Daniel BARAC, 11. Julian BORGNA, 12. Alan GASTON, 14. Nicolas ABOT, 17. Stephen DOMENICI
Substitutes used: 7. Goran JOSIFOVSKI, 8. Jeremias IBARRA
Canberra Olympic: 1. Angelo KONSTANTINOU, 2. Tim BOBOLAS, 3. Josh CALABRIA, 5. Phil YARNOLD, 6. Jeremy HABTEMARIAM, 7. Pat ROSS-MAGEE, 8. Bernard RENE, 9. Philippe BERNABO-MADRID, 11. Michael REEVE, 15. Tom MCLACHLAN, 23. Nathen MEGIC
Substitutes used: 12. Oliver WIEDERKEHR, 13. Ben BASSER-SILK, 18. Jordan TSEKENIS
YELLOW CARDS: 9. Osman FOFANAH, 11. Julian BORGNA, 12. Alan GASTON (Tigers FC), 3. Josh CALABRIA, 5. Phil YARNOLD, 23. Nathen MEGIC (Canberra Olympic)
RED CARDS: 10. Daniel BARAC (Tigers FC)
Gungahlin United 1 (Christian Junna 85’) FFA COE 0
By Ahmed Jbeili
Gungahlin United defeated the FFA COE 1-0 thanks to an 85th minute goal by Christian Junna at a freezing Nicholls Synthetic Oval on Sunday afternoon. Gunners got revenge on the visitors after losing their last game 2-1 to FFA COE earlier in the PS4 NPL season. The win ends a three game winning streak for FFA COE who were coming into the match as favourites.
The match took a while to get going with FFA COE dominating the possession early on but were unable to create any attacking threat. Despite not seeing any of the ball in the opening 10 minutes, it was Gungahlin who managed to get the first shot on goal. A quick counter attack through striker Frano Blazevic, who crossed in beautifully for attacker Regan Walsh, whose stretched shot was catching practise for FFA COE keeper Melad Ahmed.
Gunners had to sit back as FFA COE continued their control of the game and not letting the home side a sniff of the ball. Continuing to press and pass the ball in Gungahlin’s half, FFA COE began to really frustrate Gunners. Attackers John Roberts and Jaidon Seldon were menaces up front for the away side and if it wasn’t for the solid partnership of Gunners defenders David Dexter and Jack Green, FFA COE could’ve had two or three goals in before the 25-minute mark.
Frustration began to show with Gunners defender Jake Wilsener getting the first yellow card of the afternoon after a late challenge. It was difficult for the home side to form any kind of forward play. Attackers Yousef Mohamed and Marcial Munoz were good options on the counter and holding the ball up but couldn’t find any support going forward due to so many Gunners players committed in defence.
FFA COE attacker Louis D’Arrigo almost found the opening goal at the half hour mark. D’Arrigo past his defender and had only Gunners keeper Jason Denham to beat, but scuffed his shot wide of the goal. The visitors lost some momentum after that due to defender Kaleb Cox committing a late challenge on Munoz and was given a yellow card for the foul. In one of the last plays of the half, Gunners almost scored from a Christian Junna header after Walsh whipped in a lovely free kick but the goal was disallowed due to Junna being in an offside position. Half ended 0-0 with FFA COE feeling rather annoyed they didn’t score despite having so much of the ball.
The second half continued how the first half ended, FFA COE remaining in control of the match and Gunners sitting deep in their own half. It seemed as though nothing was going to break through the Gungahlin defence today. The FFA COE had to result to long shots from distance that didn’t trouble keeper Denham at all. Gunners would hit back with their own long distance shots, with Blazevic trying some audacious shots to try and chip keeper Ahmed from half way but the shots went just over the bar.
It looked as though the match would finish goalless as FFA COE couldn’t find a goal and Gunners had to wait patiently to make their move. Gunners’ persistence paid off in the 85th minute through attacker Junna. Winger Mohamed made a storming run through the FFA COE defence and played Junna through brilliantly. The attacker had only keeper Ahmed to beat and made no mistake, slotting the ball perfectly into the bottom left corner. The goal gives Gunners three points and a hard fought victory over a well-organised FFA COE. Some excellent patient play and a stubborn defence, moves Gungahlin in line for a fifth place position.
Gungahlin United: 1. Jason DENHAM, 2. Alex MOSCARITOLO, 3. David DEXTER, 4. Youssef MOHAMED, 7. Regan WALSH, 8. Christian JUNNA, 10. Marcial MUNOZ, 11. Jake WILSENER, 14. Liam WALSH, 16. Jack GREEN, 17. Frano BLAZEVIC
Substitutes used: 6. Justin RANKINE, 12. Mitch STEENBERGEN
FFA COE: 12. Jordan GRIFFITHS, 3. Patrick SCIBILO, 4. Kaleb COX, 5. Joel KING, 6. Kai TREWIN, 9. John ROBERTS, 14. Rahmat AKBARI, 17. Louis D’ARRIGO, 19. Mark MORIC, 21. Melad AHMED, 22. Jaidon SELDON
Substitutes used: 7. Jacob ITALIANO, 11. Mirza MURATOVIC, 20. Bryce BAFFORD,
YELLOW CARDS: 10. Marcial MUNOZ, 11. Jake WILSENER (Gungahlin United), 4. Kaleb COX, 9. John ROBERTS, 14. Rahmat AKBARI, 17. Louis D’ARRIGO (FFA COE)
RED CARDS: Nil
Tuggeranong United v Monaro Panthers – Match Postponed
14 Stephen DOMENICI (Tigers FC)
12 Jason UGRINIC (Belconnen United)
9 Thomas JAMES (Canberra FC)
7 Sam SMITH (Belconnen United), Domenic GIAMPAOLO (Canberra FC), Philippe BERNABO-MADRID (Canberra Olympic), John ROBERTS (FFA COE), Nicolas ABOT (Tigers FC)
6 Joshua GULEVSKI (CU Academy)
5 Aisosa IHEGIE, Dustin WELLS (Belconnen United), Jordan TSEKENIS (Canberra Olympic), Rahmat AKBARI (FFA COE), Daniel BARAC (Tigers FC)
4 Josip JADRIC (Canberra FC), Tomas KRKLEC (CU Academy), Ed MCCARTHY (Monaro Panthers), Bryce BAFFORD, Jaidon SELDON (FFA COE), Nikolaos KALFAS, Andrew SLAVICH (Tuggeranong United)
3 Ivan PAVLAK (Canberra FC), Jeremy HABTEMARIAM (Canberra Olympic), Daniel FABRIZIO, Sam WHITHEAR (CU Academy), Mitch STEENBERGEN (Gungahlin United), Darian MCGARRY-WATSON, Mark SHIELDS (Monaro Panthers), Alex OLORIEGBE, Dejan SANTRAC (Tigers FC), Marco GAYER (Tuggeranong United), Matthew WATERS (Woden-Weston FC), Own GOALS
2 Jonathan REIS*, Toby RICHTER (Belconnen United), Nikola BARISIC (Canberra FC), Daniel COLBERTALDO, Nathen MEGIC (Canberra Olympic), Louis D’ARRIGO, Jacob ITALIANO, Mirza MURATOVIC, Ben OBST, Marc TOKICH (FFA COE), Alex MOSCARITOLO (Gungahlin United), Daniel FELIZZI (Monaro Panthers), Nahuel GUERRERO (Tigers FC), Domenic COLUCCIELLO, Emilio KISTA (Tuggeranong United), Bensah AFIABO, Daniel DI-SALVATORE, Goran MILUTNOVIC (Woden-Weston FC)
1 Taylor BEATON, Matt GRBESA, David KEMP, Goran MUKEVSKI, Nikolas POPOVICH, Cameron REINHART (Belconnen United), Aidan BRUNSKILL, Izach CLEMENTS, Robbie DEELEY, Ryan KEIR, Misko NAUMOSKI (Canberra FC), Tim BOBOLAS, Robbie CATTANACH, Angelo KONSTANTINOU, Tom MCLACHLAN, Michael REEVE, Victor YANES (Canberra Olympic), Bul JUACH, Niko UJDUR (CU Academy), Lachlan BROOK, Mark MORIC (FFA COE), Frano BLAZEVIC, Nathan DUCK, Jack GREEN, Christian JUNNA, Marcial MUNOZ, Jason O’DWYER, Liam WALSH (Gungahlin United), Martin DENG, Michael PICCOLO, Sam ROESTBAKKEN (Monaro Panthers), Tim ANDERSON (Tuggeranong United), Julian BORGNA, Osman FOFANAH, Alan GASTON, Goran JOSIFOVSKI, Milan POPOVICH (Tigers FC), Sam SHADBOLT Tuggeranong United), Ben GRIEG, Tom HIRST (Woden-Weston FC)
*1 goal for Tuggeranong United
Photo: Glenn Dawson