10-man Students fall to Spirit

By Corinthian (Paul Green):

NSW PS4 NPL 2 MEN – ROUND 3 Catch up – BOTN Feature

8:15pm, Tuesday 5th May, 2015 – Christie Park, Marsfield

Spirit FC  3 (Nicholas Trimble 37′, 45’+3, Daniel Cunningham pen 45’+1, )
Sydney University SFC 2 (Jake Bradshaw 18′, Kim Gyubeom 74′)


Sydney University arrived at Christie Park, on a mild Tuesday night, without a point to their name, but with two successive successes on the road, in the FFA Cup preliminary rounds in Wollongong, before bowing out to Rockdale City Suns at Lambert Park six days before this match.

Here they surprised a confident Spirit FC with an early goal and looked good for perhaps at least a point, despite conceding  in the 37th minute.

What set them back, however, was a send-off for Santiago Rodriguez, after the midfielder received a straight red in the 43rd minute.

That was for a ferocious tackle on Spirit’s Lord Darko inside the penalty area, enabling home-team skipper, Daniel Cunningham, to put his side ahead from the penalty-spot, once the official formalities had been completed.

Sydney University were well in the game after taking the lead and while they conceded a third deep into first-half stoppage-time they fought on gamely, with only ten men in the second-half and scored the only goal during the remainder of the match, almost snatching a point right near the end of a very keenly- contested game.

It was looking quite rosy for ‘the students’ and for the later red-card recipient, Santiago Rodriguez, when the play-maker threaded the ball through for Jake Bradshaw to run onto and slip past Spirit keeper, David Lowery, with a stylish finish, after only 18 minutes.

Rodriguez could have been a major contributor for his side, had he been less impulsive in his defending, as apart from his ‘assist’ he fully tested Lowery with a shot in the 29th minute that the Spirit keeper did well to push around his post.

It could have been two nil by that stage, without surprising, as Uni striker, Gavin Forbes, also went close, with Lowery needing his feet to save a powerful effort at his near-post nine minutes earlier.

But in the middle stages of the first period Spirit began to make some progress and won a corner in the 37th minute.

Ryan Johnstone swung it over to the far-post and Nicholas Trimble rose highest to nod the ball powerfully into the ground and then, with one bounce, into the University net.

Down to ten men after the penalty had been awarded, the visitors were unable to defend a corner three minutes into first- half stoppage-time.

Despite loud yells of alarm at impending danger from a number of their defenders, nobody heeded the call to play safely and as Johnstone’s second corner came over, the ball was haphazardly cleared, but only as far as Trimble, who, this time, lashed a superb volley over the defenders and into the top-right corner of the net.

University began the second-half as well as they had the first, though short-handed this time and almost grabbed a goal back in the 56th.

Forbes cleverly found Bradshaw again, but this time Lowery was alert to the danger and came off his line quickly enough to deny the predatory striker.

Uni’s keeper, Marko Bozic, also did his best to compensate for his team being a man down, making several important saves.

In the 67th Kuag Reec, put through by substitute Jacob Harris, was disappointed when Bozic pulled off a strong save.

Five minutes later and still down 3-1, University’s efforts paid off as they reduced the deficit through Kim Gyubeom, who climbed well to nod in a free-kick from Adrian Porcu.

Spirit had to dig deep to repel a late University onslaught and it was a close thing for them, even with eleven men.

In the 90th Lowery just managed to cling onto a fierce shot from Forbes, who, two minutes into stoppage-time, then sent a volley inches over the bar from 12 yards, with home team fans holding their breath.

Overall, it was a good contest on a pleasant enough night.

It might be a different story when Spirit play St George the following Tuesday, as the weather turned a lot colder just 24 hours after this game was concluded.

“I can’t complain about my players’ performance at all,” agreed Sydney University coach, Raul Blanco, after he came back to the sheds.

“We did extremely well, but we’re still looking for our first point, unfortunately. We played well for the entire game, but mistakes cost us in defence again.

Spirit coach, John McLafferty, more upbeat than Blanco, inevitably, though still not entirely satisfied, took a measured view.

“They’re a better side than their position on the ladder suggests and they gave us a very hard game tonight,” he said.

“But I did tell the players at half-time to guard against any false sense of superiority, as I knew the University team would keep fighting in the second half.

“I told them at the end that I wasn’t happy with some aspects of their game, but we’ll take the three points and if we beat the (Northern) Tigers here on Saturday night we’ll go to the top of the table and I believe we will beat them.

After these words had been spoken McLafferty was an interested observer at Mills Park the following evening to see the Tigers going down 2-0 to the Bankstown City Lions – the subject of a separate report – so his bold prediction still stands up.

Just how much better than the Tigers this Spirit side are cannot be assessed by referring back to the home team’s 4-0 pre-season win here, as, since then, the Tigers have won four times and looked quite strong, losing only once before the setback against the Lions .

Spirit, on the other hand, had two of their games deferred which may have misrepresented their true status and they have been looking a lot stronger, so next Tuesday’s match against an improving St George may also go a long way towards sorting out the competition leaders.

Assuming Spirit do indeed get the better of their Northern near-neighbours Tigers first, on the weekend, that is.

Match details

Crowd: 50

Spirit FC:  41. David Lowery (gk); 19 Tom Lovell, 2 Daniel Cunningham (C), 4 Nicholas Trimble, 3 Henry Wells (7 Jacob Harris 60); 11 Abraham Majok (10 Osama Zaki 60), 8 Grant Cornwell, 14 Ryan Johnstone,  13 Lord Darkoh; 22 Gosue Sama, 21 Kuag Reec
Subs not used: RGK 50 Corey Finch, 17 Adam Soretto, 6 Ross Kethel

Coach: John McLafferty
Yellow cards: Daniel Cunningham 89, Gosue Sama 90+2; Red cards: Nil

Sydney University SFC: 1. Marko Bozic (gk); 46 Phillip Boceski, 18 Phillip Bures, 3 Nathan Sansom (C), 6 Jeremy Butnaru (8 Khushaba Khushaba 84);  4 Kim Gyubeom, 14 Daniel Mifsud (16 Adrian Porcu 75), 7 Ammar Alyassan (15 Victor Anyimba 46), 10 Santiago Rodriguez; 11 Jake Bradshaw,  9 Gavin Forbes
Subs not used: RGK 21 Patrick Ferrara, 12 Dario Borovickic

Coach Raul Blanco
Yellow cards: Kim Gyubeom 30, Phillip Boceski 45; Red Card: Santiago Rodriguez 43

Points, ratings, etc.

Referee: Adam Weir
Assistants: Janush Adabjou and Peter Liaros

Match 7/10
Pitch: 6/10
Weather: Dry and mild, becoming cool later, very little breeze.
Players noted: Ryan Johnstone (SFC), Nicholas Trimble (SFC), Gosue Sama (SFC), Marko Bozic (SU), Jake Bradshaw (SU), Nathan Sansom (SU)