Lions win out in battle of the big cats
By Corinthian (Paul Green):
NSW – PS4 NPL 2 MEN – ROUND 3 Catch up – BOTN Feature
8:15pm, Wednesday 6th May 2015 – Mills Park, Asquith
Northern Tigers FC 0
Bankstown City Lions FC 2 (Michael Beauchamp 7′, Dean Heffernan 23′)
Competition leaders, Northern Tigers, came unstuck in a big way in Wednesday night’s catch-up game from Round 3 at Mills Park, when Bankstown City Lions made it a one-act affair with a comprehensive 2-0 win over their long-time rivals.
The Lions came out of the blocks apace and soon began to dictate affairs, with many of their players committed forward, including both centre-backs, former internationals and A League stars, Dean Heffernan and Michael Beauchamp.
It should come as no surprise, then, that even with an attacking array of genuine talent, that Bankstown’s two goals in their easy romp to victory came from each of those two aforementioned defenders.
And even with the 2-0 lead remaining that way for the remainder of the match, the home side will take little comfort from merely holding their opponents out in the second-half, as Bankstown’s dominance was no less apparent after the break.
For the hosts, perhaps a tough tussle against Hakoah the previous Sunday night could have taken the edge off them, both mentally and physically, as Bankstown, whose game at the weekend had been rained off, were looking by far the fresher side with the greater hunger and that impression continued for the entire 90 minutes.
Northern Tigers did get their players forward from the start, it has to be said, but they had little fortune close to goal, with the Lions’ defenders blocking anything that looked remotely like a shot and cutting off supply-lines repeatedly.
The Tigers also suffered from an injury to in-form striker, Tai Smith, who had to leave the scene in the 40th minute.
The game was barely a minute old when the very lively Brima Kamara ran onto a pass from authoritative schemer, Damir Prodanovic, with the equally impressive Aaron D’Mello providing close support.
Bankstown looked even at that early stage to be in the mood to do some damage and surely enough, after only seven minutes, they had the lead.
Once again committing players forward, Michael Beauchamp advanced from his own half to make his way up-field menacingly and after exchanging passes with Kamara and with D’Mello also involved, Beauchamp made his way into the six-yard box to toe-poke the ball home past a bemused Matt Nemes. Tigers’ defenders appeared mesmerised at the swift interchange of passes leading up to Beauchamp finishing it all off so tidily.
Tigers looked shell-shocked after that early setback and although they tried to get forward as much as possible, they had to contend with an equally offensive Bankstown, who were in no mood to settle for 1-0.
When Dean Heffernan got forward in the 23rd minute, he was able to score the second with a low grounder from 25 yards out that had looked relatively harmless until it squirmed underneath the body of the diving keeper, Nemes.
Nemes would not have been too pleased with that, as he was a Bankstown City Lions player in 2014.
Northern Tigers created some reasonable chances after that, going close twice, but having little luck in the process.
A free-kick in the 24th from Smith was pushed around the right-hand post by Lions’ keeper, Dion Shaw as Tigers tried to make their way back into the game.
A move involving Smith and Stewart set up a chance for McConaghy in the 35th, but the shot from the latter went narrowly across the face of goal.
It was Matt Nemes who atoned for his earlier mistake with some fine second-half saves to deny Bankstown any more of the glory.
Grant Lynch was doing some very effective work down the left flank for the Lions and when he laid on a pass for Kamara in the 48th, the Northern Tigers’ keeper was ready for it and made a smart push around the post.
In the 65th a clever lob from very deep by D’Mello had Nemes in a lot of bother, as he’d been caught off his line, but he managed to race back and just get enough on the ball to claw it away off the line and to safety.
Bankstown had control for most of the game, though, and eventually their opponents ran out of steam and also out of fresh ideas.
The win was only Bankstown’s third of the season, having drawn two and lost one other, with another game called off.
Tigers had lost only once before this, to the other Bankstown side, the Berries, on the opening day of the season.
They face a difficult game on Saturday night at Christie Park against a resurgent Spirit FC who beat them 4-0 in pre-season.
No doubt, with the derby feeling about the match, we’ll probably see a totally different Tigers side in that one.
Bankstown Lions, on the other hand, face a less daunting away game at Fraser Park on the Sunday.
“I’m happy with the way we played tonight,” said Lions’ coach, Leo Carle, as he made his way to the car park post-match.
“Everyone did well tonight and we should have probably won by a few more, so I’m satisfied with the performance.
“Only our execution let us down in front of goal, otherwise it would have been a much bigger margin.
Tigers’ coach, Steve Hurd, will be putting on his thinking cap ahead of the Saturday night game against Spirit, aware that he may be without the budding Tai Smith, who had to pull out before half-time against the Lions, with some heavy bruising and may take some days to shake that off.
The loss certainty put a dent in the Tigers’ ambitions to maintain an outright lead in the division, with Central Coast and Spirit now ready to draw level with them again, both of them with games in hand.
Crowd: Approx 50
Northern Tigers FC: 1. Matt Nemes (gk); 2 Russell Farrell, 4 Michael Rolston, 5 Samuel Porter, 3 Lucas Dawson; 15 Hayden Kyha (10 Shervin Adell 74), 23 Julian Lim, 18 Tai Smith (7 Matthew West 42); 17 Braden Cheng, 9 Liam McConaghy, 19 Daniel Stewart
Subs: RGK 21 Harrison Devinish-Mears, 12 Samuel Ryder, 16 Steve Baveas
Coach: Steve Hurd
Yellow cards: Lucas Dawson 75, Daniel Stewart 88; Red cards: Nil
Bankstown City Lions FC: 1. Dion Shaw (gk); 2 Todd Halloran, 5 Michael Beauchamp (C), 8 Dean Heffernan, 3 Grant Lynch; 20 Alvaro Malmierca; 7 Brima Kamara (16 Jason Park 83), 4 Aaron D’Mello (6 Reuben Lagos 88), 10 Dominic Hudap, 11 Huseyin Jasli; 23 Damir Prodanovic (9 Chris Gomez 79)
Subs not used: RGK 30 Nicholas Carosi, 15 Billy Darwich, 7 Reuben Lagos
Coach: Leo Carle
Yellow cards: Aaron D’Mello 40; Red cards: Nil
Ratings, points, etc.
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Assistants: Joon Park and Danny Horstead
Weather: Cold, becoming colder, with light breeze.
Players noted: Michael Rolston (NT), Daniel Stewart (NT), Brima Kamara (BCL) Aaron D’Mello (BCL) Michael Beauchamp (BCL), Dean Heffernan (BCL)