The National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s 2019 season has finally commenced and boy did it kick off with a bang!
Whilst some teams are still finding their best combinations, others have made most of their pre-season and had no troubles hitting the target.
A healthy dose of competitive football and plenty of goals to savour, find out who hit the ground running and grabbed points to go.
Match of the Round:
On a beautiful Saturday evening the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s kicked off for the 2019 season.
It was a celebration of football down at Blacktown International Sportspark as football codes also went head to head.
Just finding a park to the ground was proving to be a case of chaos and this transpired on the pitch during the first stanza.
The match was attended by a healthy crowd, home supporters out in numbers to see their side fresh and make their mark early this season.
The travelling Bonnyrigg supporters were eager to see their team back in the fray and winning games.
Let the battle commence!
Boy was it a battle, with clashes of bodies across the park, supporters could feel the physical intensity from all the way up the hill.
It would be Bonnyrigg who worked their way quickest into the game, earning a penalty after sliding Bradie Smith into the box who was clipped late as he looked to cut back to a team mate.
Up stepped new recruit Hussein Jasli who took aim opting for more precision, fired towards the bottom corner. Spartans keeper Michael Figueira read it will and dove hard to his right, palming away the shot.
Whistle blows. Encroachment is the call. Referee says take it again!
Looking to make good of his first chance, Jasli again stood at the top of the run-up.
Mind games now at play.
He strode in and fired for the same corner, yet incredibly, Figueira dove the same way and denied him once again to the roar of support from the home crowd.
The penalty saves kicked Spartans into life and their first chance came soon after, off the back of a quick counter Connor Eldridge was played into the box and fired his shot only inches wide into the side netting. It should have sparked signals of danger for Bonnyrigg as only minutes later, Spartans had the lead.
After being squeezed tight, Spartans were forced to hit long and with a touch of fortune, the second ball landed back in their possession eventually finding the feet of Eldridge. This time he made no mistake, firing his shot low and with too much power for the keeper, the ball found itself rippling the back of the net.
Play resumed and it would be Bonnyrigg who would begin making the most of the change in score-line. Finding more rhythm to their game they grew in confidence and with a delightful diagonal ball for Mark Symington, whose first touch set him up perfectly, snapped a volley on the turn. The crowd gaped as the ball sailed towards goal, the final destination however was the clang of the crossbar and out.
The intensity would rise once again and neither side could really make many clear cut chances with both sides midfield battling for supremacy. It looked as if the score-line may remain the same heading to the break however, Spartans were given a glorious chance and pounced.
A free kick on the edge of the box was taken by Lachlan Rose who cleverly disguised the shot, curling low through the wall and clanging off the inside of the post. Christian Torrelli reacting fastest strode in and tapped in the rebound to give the hosts a healthy 2 goal advantage.
Returning to the field for the second period, Bonnyrigg needed to find the extra gear to get themselves back in the match. Surprisingly, this would come from the back end of the field rather than magic from further up.
Only a few minutes into the second half had passed and Spartans reclaimed possession high up the field with Garang Awac surging forward and fired across a devastating ball for Rose, who unmarked at the back post had the goal to aim for.
It would have surely been 3 for the hosts if not for Bonnyrigg’s illustrious keeper James Chronopoulous who scrambled across and made a fine last ditch save to deny the shot.
The save gave the visitors a sense of purpose once again and began to take more control in the game. They were assisted when Spartans striker Eldridge was sent for an early shower after a second yellow with a third of the game still to play.
Never seeming to lose composure, Bonnyrigg maintained poise and began mounting attack after attack on the Spartans defence. The extra man advantage meant the Spartans were forced to work doubly as hard as Bonnyrigg would not relent.
The tension rose around the ground and the intensity flared once more as Bonnyrigg inched closer to a way back with Spartans starting to tired.
Finally, after periods of long possession and numerous attacks, the visitors got their goal. It would come off the back of yet another dangerous ball into the box as Spartans keeper Figueira misread the cross and unable to clear the lines.
Amongst the scramble in the box, Richard Darko managed to squeeze a shot through the bodies and into the net, 2-1 with just over 15 to play.
Nervous energy from the home support could be felt all around as Bonnyrigg only ventured harder in the quest for an equaliser.
Hubbard’s men were really put to the test in their first competitive hit out, and were holding on by the skin of their teeth as Figueira made yet another fine save late in the game to deny Amar Adilovic from close range.
Almost unbelievably Bonnyrigg did not have their equaliser in stoppage time when Peterson could not hit the target after holding his defender off superbly, firing over the bar from inside the 6 yard box.
With the majority of the home crowd aching in anticipation for the final whistle, the referee called a halt to proceedings.
A huge sigh of relief and cheer in celebration from the home crowd, the Spartans battered left the field victorious.
Saturday 2nd March 2019, Blacktown Football Park
Blacktown Spartans 2 (C. Eldridge, C. Torreli)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (R. Darko)
Blacktown Spartans: D. Akol, G. Awac, R. Blanco, H. Brown, C. Eldridge, J. Orchard, E. Patramanis, A. Pecora, L. Rose, S. Tanaka, N. Tarasenko, S. Tokuno, C. Torrelli, M. Ward, M. Figueira
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: J. Chronopoulos, S. Gallaway, B. Smith, G. Subara, D. Vrankovic, J. Armson, H. Jasli, R. Miller, M. Rodic, R. Darko, M. Symington, A. Adilovic, G. Kondek, J. Mckenzie, A. Peterson, S. Savicic