The race for the NPL Capital Football title heated up after Canberra FC's big win over Woden Valley in Round 13.
National Premier Leagues: Capital Football
Round 13 – Review
Thursday 17th July
Canberra City 5 (Misko Naumoski 4’/55’, Sam McDonald 17’, Gimale Essacu 51’/70’)
Tuggeranong United 3 (Muad Zwed 7’, Zac Munster 67’ (pen), Ethan Munster 88’)
Canberra City recorded their first win of the NPL season as they put a huge dent in Tuggeranong United’s hopes for a top four spot with a surprise, but well-merited, 5-3 victory at Gungahlin Enclosed in a midweek catch-up game.
City was worthy victors looking sharper and hungrier to every ball against a surprisingly lacklustre and lethargic Tuggeranong. There were stand-outs across the park for City, in particular winger Luke Gibson and central defensive pairing David Dexter and James Perry with Valentine Ugwumba enjoying a fine match in midfield.
City went ahead in the 4th minute as Misko Naumoski took advantage of a punched clearance to curl home a delightful top-corner finish. Muad Zwed quickly restored parity only for Gibson to turn his marker inside out and cross to the far post where Sam McDonald expertly volleyed into the corner.
City increased the lead after the break as Gimale Essacu swept home at the end of a breakaway before Naumoski added his second, pouncing on a loose ball to coolly slot past Forbes-Shepherd. United defender Matt Menser then saw red for a second yellow card offence before Zac Munster pulled one back from the spot. Essacu made the game safe for City with his second, a stooped header, in the 70th minute making substitute Ethan Munster’s debut first grade goal largely meaningless. Just reward for City’s perseverance and determination in what’s been a tough year.
Saturday 19th July
Woden Valley 1 (Marco Gayer 42’)
Canberra FC 5 (Adam Spaleta 16’, Alex Oloriegbe 31’ (pen), John Gibson 34’ (og), James Field 45’, Anthony Giorgi 90’)
Canberra FC moved top of the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football league table, albeit ahead of Cooma Tigers Sunday afternoon clash with Monaro Panthers and having played a game more than Belconnen United, as they saw off Woden Valley 4-1 in an away game played at their home venue of Deakin Stadium due to the unplayable pitch at Kaleen Enclosed.
The match was as good as won by half-time as FC took the game by the scruff of the neck, opening the scoring through a deflected Adam Spaleta shot in the 16th minute and adding a second from the penalty spot in the 31st, Alex Oloriegbe netting after Julien Renard was penalised for handball. John Gibson was unfortunate to turn in the third FC goal after Jason Denham had saved Daniel Bennett’s shot, the ball rebounding off the Woden skipper and rolling in, before Marco Gayer got one back, looping a header over Jakob Cole after an under-hit back-pass from Aidan Brunskill.
James Field added Canberra FC’s fourth on the stroke of half-time, slotting home after Denham had denied Oloriegbe. The match petered out after the break with chances rare at either end. FC took the opportunity to give a first team debut for teenager Anthony Giorgi close to full-time and the youngster rounded out the match with a superb solo effort, dancing into the area and finishing with aplomb.
Sunday 20th July
Canberra City 1 (Misko Naumoski 10’ (pen))
FFA COE 0
Canberra City recorded a second victory within the space of four days as they followed up their midweek win against Tuggeranong United, their first of the campaign, with a second, defeating FFA COE 1-0 at Gungahlin Enclosed thanks to a 10th minute penalty from Misko Naumoski.
Naumoski calmly converted from the spot to register his third goal in two matches with what ultimately proved to be the decisive moment of the encounter. There’s no doubt that City deserved their win once more having gained a degree of confidence in shaking the monkey off their back on Thursday night and they played with a freedom and style seldom seen this term by the men in yellow.
Defensively, City was sound once more with James Perry and David Dexter marshalling the area in font of goalkeeper James Ward to great effect and denying the FFA COE the clear cut opportunities that they craved. City created chances themselves with the free-running Gimale Essacu causing issues to the FFA COE defence and Luke Gibson once more underlying his importance to the squad with some barnstorming runs down the wing.
Maximum points from their last two matches has lifted City to within a point of Woden Valley in eighth and in with a chance of lifting themselves off the bottom of the ladder and avoiding the dreaded wooden spoon.
Cooma Tigers 5 (Stephen Domenici 24’, 44’, Julian Borgna 32’, 79’ Jordan Lando 72’)
Monaro Panthers 2 (Darian McGarry-Watson 55’, Josh Calabria 76’)
Cooma Tigers roared to the top of the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football league ladder as they saw off the visiting Monaro Panthers with a 5-2 win at Nijong Oval. The Tigers knew that the three points would send them top of the pile and they duly obliged taking the game to Monaro and leading 3-0 at the interval to virtually ensure top spot by the half-time whistle.
The hosts took the lead in the 24th minute as livewire Stephen Domenici netted his first of the afternoon and it wasn’t long before they were celebrating a second as Julian Borgna made it 2-0 only eight minutes later. Cooma has been in superb form of recent weeks and wrapped up a ninth win in succession when Domenici grabbed his second, and tenth of the campaign, just before half-time.
It was much better second half performance from Monaro who fought back into the contest when Darian McGarry-Watson reduced the deficit ten minutes after the resumption, but that only kicked Cooma up another gear and Jordan Lando, summoned from the substitutes bench, restored the three-goal lead with eighteen minutes left on the clock. Josh Calabria then brought Monaro back to 2-4 but the leaders had the last laugh when Borgna notched his second of the day and completed a 5-2 win with the Tigers run showing no sign of stopping.
Canberra Olympic 4 (Mark Shields 14’/35’/38’, Daniel Barac 32’)
Tuggeranong United 1 (Daniel Colbertaldo 71’)
Canberra Olympic boosted their own finals hopes and put a dent in Tuggeranong United’s aspirations of a place in the top four with a convincing win at O’Connor Enclosed. Four first half goals, including a hat-trick for former United striker Mark Shields, had Olympic home and dry by the interval and, despite a better performance from the visitors after the interval, the damage had already been well and truly done.
Olympic were ahead in the 14th minute as Shields rose to head into the top corner, but it was a three-goal burst in six minutes that decided the result. Daniel Barac was first onto the score sheet showing hunger and desire to stretch and reach a cross ahead of Rowan Forbes Shepherd in the Tuggeranong goal, flicking his finish into the net off the underside of the crossbar. But Shields wasn’t far behind. Barac pounced on a mistake by Michael Gurney in defence and was hauled down by the United defender. Referee Sam Nixon played the advantage and Shields advanced to coolly flick past the ‘keeper for his second. And the forward had the match-ball two minutes later as he reacted fastest to an attempted headed clearance to nod over Forbes Shepherd from a tight angle, the ball looping into the net. Daniel Colbertaldo’s flicked header was scant consolation for Tuggeranong in the second half.