Blast from the past: Tram to Arlington Oval for the football

By Corinthian (Paul Green):
PS4 NPL2 POOL 2 Round 3

3pm, Sunday 15 February, 2015 – Arlington Oval, Dulwich Hill

FRASER PARK FC 2 (Nicola Todoroski 12, Alexander Veljanovski 62 pen)
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY SC 1 (Victor Anyimba 79)

Things became decidedly heated towards the end of this pre-season Third Round game at the picturesque Arlington Oval, one of the few stadiums in Sydney to boast its own Light Rail stop, Arlington, with its platform right opposite the main entrance.

Lambert Park has an LRT stop called Marion, behind one goal, but that’s more of a walk!

This was by no means a pedestrian affair, however, on a mild, still evening, under the lights on the quaintly-marked Arlington Oval pitch.

Junior games are obviously staged there, but whether those markings are acceptable for senior NSW football may need to be examined.

Fraser Park appeared to have the game in their keeping, having led 1-0 in the first half, after a nice header from Nicola Todoroski, following a corner on the left that was not cleared.

Todoroski, 18, is the younger of two sons of Fraser’s coach, the well-known Mile Todoroski, of Bankstown and Rockdale fame, especially.

The coach’s other son, Alexander, 23, had a more pivotal role at the heart of the team’s defence, more in keeping with his father’s own organisational-style background.

Opposing Todoroski and his sons, on this occasion, was an even better known coaching figure, Sydney University first-season coach, Raul Blanco, whose storied career takes in steering the Australian national team from youth to senior levels over many years after arriving from Argentina, as well as a highly successful spell at (Parramatta) Melita Eagles.

Blanco has his work cut out trying to mould a team at the University club which has a limited budget and seven students in its line-up.

The team finished in the lower reaches of the table in recent seasons and Blanco knows he has a big task in turning things around, which is his mission.

“We don’t want to be relegated, especially with a new grandstand being built for the club.

After the match, which Fraser won 2-1, Blanco expressed his frustration with the way things had gone.

“I was satisfied with their effort, but not their performance,” he said.

“We gave the ball away far too often and we only got going late in the game, when it was far too late.

Late, perhaps, but Fraser had to work hard to repel the surge over the final ten minutes that almost produced an equaliser.

Things became so heated that referee, Yerry Bitas, had to separate some of the players after some flying tackles which the recipients took exception to.

Very sound goalkeeping from Fraser’s Ben Needham, who came off his line repeatedly to punch clear in those dying stages, clearly spared the blushes of his defenders, who were trying to soak up a powerful late rally from the ‘students’.

Fraser Park had led from the first-half header and looked set to win comfortably after winning a penalty for handball in the 62nd.

There was no argument there, as the handball was clear-cut, following a contested cross from a corner, but there was growing dissent between the opposing players as the game wore on and University sensed a chance to peg one back.

The penalty put away perfectly by Alexander Veljanovski may have given Fraser Park a 2-0 lead, but having sat deep for most of the game, University began to surge forward and looked the better for it.

Occasional counter-attacks  by Fraser Park, with Monzon Ceaser their main front-runner, posed a few problems, but like their opposite number, the two Sydney Uni keepers, who exchanged places towards the end, did well to deny the home team’s efforts at extending their lead.

Hard-running Sydney Uni wide striker, Victor Anyimba, almost appeared too embarrassed to celebrate, after he found the net in the 79th.

His lofted cross-cum-shot found its way into the top-left corner of the Fraser Park net, with not only the keeper, but the opposition players, expecting the ball to go over the bar.

Instead, it dipped late to provide the students with a lifeline and they threw themselves forward relentlessly after that, though their effort had already become significantly enhanced after conceding that penalty.

Fraser have two more games on this artificial pitch to finish their pre-season campaign, as their own pitch is three weeks away from being changed to an artificial one, too.

And at Fraser Park they have a new million-dollar grandstand under construction, ready to be used by their fans in June.

Sydney Uni have been training three nights a week at their Lidcombe campus and will begin their own winter season at Lambert Park, also on an artificial pitch, until their own new grandstand is finished at the Sydney University main sports grounds, off Parramatta Road, which they’ll share with rugby union, upon completion.

So far, in pre-season, Sydney Uni have struggled, with one draw and two losses.

Fraser Park, by contrast, are undefeated after two 2-2 draws away from home at Central Coast and Northern Tigers, before this Arlington Oval fixture.

Match details:

Crowd: About 75

Fraser Park FC: GK 40 Benjamin Needham; 13 George Issa, 17 Alexander Todoroski, 5 Nicholas Dimitropoulos, 10 Paulo Oliveira; 4 Alexander Veljanovski, 6 Suad Ameli, 7 Kevin Oliveira, 8 Hussein Akil; 9 Jeffrey Issa, 15 Nicola Todoroski
Subs  (interchange): 12 Adem Kir, 14 Kim Daison, 3 Monzon Ceaser, 11 Carlo Musumeci
Yellow cards: Nicola Todoroski 51, Paulo Oliveira 83, Monzon Caeser 90, Hussein Akil 90

Sydney University SC: GK 21 Marko Bozic, 7 Khushaba Khushaba, 18 Phillip Bures, 4 Glen Downey, 3 Nathan Sampson; 13 Bruce Wilson, 6 Kim Gyubeom, 40 Phillip Boceski, 11 Jacob Blundell, 10 Victor Anyimba; 9 Gavin Forbes
Subs (interchange): RGK 1 Patrick Ferrara, 2 Rachid Bilali, 20 Chris  Phillips, 19 Adrian Lara
Yellow cards: Jacob Blundell 75, Kim Gyubeom 90+4

Referee: Yerry Bitas
Assistants: Alex Goodhew and Chris Bosevski

Match 7/10
Pitch: Synthetic

Weather: Mild, dry, still.