PS4 NPL Capital Football Review: Round 18

Belconnen United stole the three points from Monaro Panthers at Riverside Stadium, scoring twice in the final nine minutes to win 2-1.

Sunday16th August 2015
Riverside Stadium 
Belconnen United 2 (Goran Mukevski 81, Aisosa Ihegie 88) def Monaro Panthers 1 (Mark Shields 55)

Belconnen United fell short of winning the championship, but Coach Dean Ugrinic praised the way the club has turned things around after almost getting kicked out of the National Premier League (ACT) last year.

Mark Shields put the home side in front early in the second half before Goran Mukevski's goal started the fightback and Aisosa Ihegie finished it with just two minutes remaining. Just months after winning last year's grand final, Belconnen were almost booted out of the league for their financial woes - which was then compounded by a mass exodus of players.

However they will play finals again this season and could finish as high as second in the league - depending on the result of this Sunday's Cooma-Canberra FC clash. They have also won the club championship, both for the men and women, which is determined by ladder placings across all the NPL (ACT) grades.

"It's disappointing [not to win the championship], but given what transpired 10 months ago and rebuilding the squad after eight players left from our grand final side I think we've had a tremendous season," Ugrinic said.

"Ten months ago we were almost being kicked out of the league and now we're club champions in both the men's and the women's, and we've now got finals to look forward to."


Kambah 2
Gungahlin United 4 (Shane Murray 2, Nathan Tidmarsh, Daniel Barac) def Tuggeranong United 1 (Dom Szrakity)

Gungahlin also came from behind to beat Tuggeranong after Dom Szrakity scored the opener.

However a Shane Murray brace, as well as goals to Nathan Tidmarsh and Daniel Barac, meant their clash with Canberra Olympic will decide the last finals berth.

A superior goal difference means Olympic will go through with a draw, while Gungahlin need to win.

United coach Claudio Canosa hoped they could "skip the final hurdle".

"It's a very important match, for Gungahlin in its first year of being in the league to have the possibility to be in the finals will be a great moment," he said.

"We are going to make sure that we do as much as we can to prepare the team for that game."

Gungahlin United have set up what is essentially a knockout game to get into the finals in their postponed Round 11 match against Canberra Olympic this Sunday at 3:00pm.