Monaro Panthers claimed the surprise result of the round, and perhaps the season to date, with a 3-1 victory away to Canberra Olympic at O’Connor Enclosed.
Saturday 28th May
Belconnen United 1 (Jason Ugrinic 28’) FFA COE 1 (Louis D’Arrigo 75’)
By William Bremner
On a cool crisp late autumn evening the Belconnen Blue Devils and FFA COE fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw at McKellar Park.
Both teams pride themselves on playing a fast proactive game but on this occasion it was the youngsters from the FFA who had the better of the encounter. The visitors where looking to end a string of defeats while their hosts hoped to build on their encouraging result against the Tigers the week before.
The game started well with both teams looking to penetrate after smart build up play. Belconnen through the good work of Dustin Wells, playing a withdrawn 'false 9' role and through the industry of captain Taylor Beaton used their possession well but did not create anything more than one or two decent half chances.
FFA were constantly able to break the Blue Devils lines and their quick ball movement created plenty of headaches for Belconnen. They might have taken the lead twice as breaks into the left of the Devils area resulted in wild efforts blasted wide of the near post. In fact for all their intricate lead up play they did not unduly bother Adam Perakovic in the Belconnen goal as most of their finishing failed to hit the target.
Canberra FC 4 (Ivan Pavlak 34’, Thomas James 48', Izach Clements 55’, Misko Naumoski 59’) CU Academy 0
A depleted Canberra FC cruised to a 4-0 win over the CU Academy at Deakin Stadium to move back into contention near the top of the PS4 NPL league table.
Missing a plethora of regular first grade players, including Robbie Deeley, James Field, Nathan Evans, Josip Jadric, Ryan Keir and Ian Graham, FC shook off any notions that they were ripe for the taking with a committed and determined performance.
The Academy, featuring former FC players Sam Brown, Niko Kresic and Daniel Subasic in the starting line-up, and with Thomas Milicevic coming off the bench, there was certainly a real feel to the match and the visiting side provided a number of scares to the title-chasers in the early stages. When FC settled though they started to open up the Academy defence utilising the pace of Ivan Pavlak to great effect with Thomas James again in fine form.
Sunday 29th May
Tuggeranong United 2 (Nikolaos Kalfas 14’, Emilio Kista 37’ (pen)) Tigers FC 6 (Nicolas Abot 6’, Daniel Barac 36’, Dejan Santrac 55’, 81’, Stephen Domenici 57’, 90+3’)
Tigers FC regained the leadership of the PS4 NPL competition with a 6-2 success away at Tuggeranong United on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers were worth their victory but the final scoreline certainly had a touch of gloss on it as Tuggeranong more than matched their opponents for large parts of the game but lacked the ruthless, clinical efficiency that the title chasing Tigers possessed in the final third.
In an even opening half it was the visiting team that took the lead in the sixth minute. Former Tiger Liam Highmore under hit a back pass towards Tom Barton in the Tuggeranong goal and Argentinean forward Nicolas Abot read it perfectly to intercept and roll his finish into the net for a composed opener. Tuggeranong’s reply was emphatic as Nikolaos Kalfas beat his man and rammed a finish beyond the diving Francois Bangweni.
Canberra Olympic 1 (Victor Yanes 69’) Monaro Panthers 3 (Martin Deng 15’, Ed McCarthy 16’, Daniel Felizzi 76’)
The Panthers knocked Olympic off the top of the table and pushed themselves into fifth place, six points off a top four spot but, perhaps more significantly, at the head of the chasing pack of six clubs currently outside the finals placing.
The key to the unlikely success was a hard-working determined group of players who followed their coach’s game-plan to perfection. Defending stoutly, and with less of the ball than the title-chasing Olympic, the Panthers relied on a speedy counter-attacking game and it worked wonders inside the opening quarter of the match in which they gave themselves the platform for their ultimate success.
Two goals in the space of a minute around the quarter hour proved to be just what the Panthers required as firstly Martin Deng struck his first goal of the season before Ed McCarthy followed suit, seconds later, with what was his fourth of the campaign. A 2-0 lead gave the Panthers, without the industrious Alan Murphy who was suspended, something on which to hold.
Gungahlin United 0 Woden-Weston FC 0
By William Bremner
Gungahlin Enclosed oval is not the most pleasant venue when the wind blows icy cold and the spectators, few as they were, are forced into the open spaces to view the event.
The event in this instance was a football match between the hosts, Gungahlin United, and their opponents Woden-Weston FC. Both teams would have been hoping for better positions in the table at the half way point than they currently occupy and indeed a win to the Gunners would have moved them into a healthy fifth spot.
Sadly the performance from both teams was in keeping with the climatic conditions and the end result, a scrappy 0-0 draw, did little to improve either side’s lot.
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