Men's Premier League - West Pymble take third straight title
West Pymble FC secured a third straight Men’s Premier League title with a 2-1 win over Lindfield at Charles Bean Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The result, in combination with North Sydney’s loss to Willoughby Dalleys, was enough to see Greg Fuchs’ side build an unassailable lead at the top of the table with one game in hand.
Both sides were in contention for the title before kick-off and it was Lindfield who started on the front foot, with Justin Ciabatti unlucky not to open the scoring in the opening exchanges. After getting in behind the defence, the striker showed great awareness to lob a shot over goalkeeper Clem Burgmann, but the ball bounced centimetres over the crossbar.
West Pymble were looking for a breakthrough of their own thanks to a series of corners, but fullback Pete Spinos came closest with a driven shot from outside the area.
The home side would find the lead in the 16th minute. A ball over the top was not dealt with by the West Pymble defence, allowing Joshua Ciabatti to fire a shot past Burgmann with the outside of his right foot.
Rob Tall was looking the most dangerous for the visitors on the left flank as they looked to break open the Lindfield defence, while Etinosa Amegor provided a robust threat up front.
Joshua Ciabatti continued to cause problems, nutmegging a defender on the edge of the box before firing a shot goalwards that was deflected out for a corner.
West Pymble grew in strength as the half wore on though, and found an equaliser in the 27th minute. Once again Rob Tall sped his way through the defensive line, producing an unerring finish into the bottom corner past Ali Amirzoghi.
Tall nearly found his second minutes later after being released by Karlo Maralit, but this time Amirzoghi stood his ground and made a strong save to deny the visitors the lead.
A pair of chances then fell to Joshua Ciabatti as Lindfield began to reassert themselves heading towards half time. The number 24 was finding plenty of space down the right flank but not a killer touch, first shooting straight into the arms of Burgmann before blazing a first-time shot wide.
Just moments before the break Lindfield were given a golden opportunity to restore their lead, being awarded a penalty after a handball inside the box. Blake Cameron stepped up to take the spot kick, but his effort was well saved by Burgmann, diving well to his left to keep the scores level.
The change in momentum was clear in the opening minutes of the second half as West Pymble hit the lead in the 47th minute from a Sam Clayton header.
With Lindfield on the back foot, West Pymble’s Joel Carter played a swift one-two with Matt Laming to find space in the box, but his effort flew over the crossbar rather than into the back of the net.
Joshua Ciabatti looked to lead his side back into the contest, driving a powerful shot from distance after drifting in from the left flank. Burgmann was beaten, but the crossbar was not.
As the half wore on the speed of play began more frenetic, with Lindfield fighting for a way back into the match and West Pymble looking to extend their lead. Substitute Michele Pezzano had a chance to equalise for Lindfield from a pinpoint corner delivery, but despite being unmarked his header was sent wide of the goal.
West Pymble showed their nerve to hold out their opposition though, ending their rivals' title hopes for another year as the full-time whistle sounded.
The celebrations were just starting for the visitors, who erupted into cheers as news of North Sydney’s defeat came through, handing Greg Fuch’s side their third premiership ahead of their final fixture against Old Barker next weekend.
Lindfield FC - 1 (Joshua Ciabatti 16’)
West Pymble FC - 2 (Rob Tall 27’, Sam Clayton 47’)