Coast hit Saints for six
By Corinthian (Paul Green):
NSW PS4 NPL 2 Men – Round 13 – Feature Report
3pm, Sunday 14th June 2015 – Pluim Park, Lisarow
Central Coast FC 6
(Trent Buhagiar 25′, Adam Woodbine 26′, 63′, Lachlan Wales 42′, 90’+2, Alexander Arbelo 75′)
St George Saints FC 1 (Stevan Ilic 60′)
Central Coast FC returned to their best, after their faltering 2-1 loss the previous weekend in Sydney to the much-improved University side, posting a resounding 6-1 win over a lacklustre St George team at Pluim Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Central Coast had been in a strong position to challenge for the competition lead, prior to their loss against the ‘students’ and that setback left them a little off the pace again, but a defeat at Fraser Park the previous evening by leaders, Spirit FC, left the door open for the Central Coast team to narrow the gap again.
In fact, following Spirit’s catch-up game midweek 0-0 draw with Mount Druitt and now following this win, Central Coast have narrowed the gap to just three points.
The 3-0 loss near the start of the season, to Spirit FC here at Pluim Park, is really all that separates the two teams now.
Ahead of this match a few changes were made to the home side by coach Peter Preston, one forced, due to an injury suffered by ace- marksman, Jeremy Bingham, the previous weekend and the others no doubt influenced by tactical reasons.
Nathan Verity, who played with the Under-20 team on the dismal day at Lambert Park, when Central Coast went down to Sydney University, was brought back to bolster the defence and Lachlan Wales started the game, with his contribution a strong one again, having only come on off the bench in that ill-fated narrow loss.
St George have been rather inconsistent this season and they too had a changed line-up, having been beaten 3-1 at home by Macarthur the previous weekend.
This time they were without Anthony Abi Arrage, Tom Slater and Johnathan Kontalis and had striker Stevan Ilic on the bench, while one or two others were conspicuous by their absence.
Here they were sluggish early in the game and looked well off the pace against an admittedly speedy Central Coast team, that invariably plays at a high tempo.
Whatever the maladies were that brought about Central Coast’s defeat to Sydney University, there was no sign of them here and it was as much of a surprise as anything that it took them until the 25th minute to take the lead.
Doubling that a minute later was enough to deflate St George, who seldom looked potential winners of this one.
Wassim Hijazi did have a long-range effort in the sixth minute that went wide of the right-hand upright, after a fourth minute corner had been earned, but mostly the opening 20 minutes or so belonged almost totally to the hosts.
In the 13th, Central Coast’s Jake Mcging dwelt on the ball and possession was turned over to Wassim, who set sail for goal and looked likely to score; but the home defence got back to cover and the shot eventually was fired wide, under intense pressure.
Central Coast then stepped things up another notch and Lachlan Wales sent Trent Buhagia away with a neat through-ball in the 17th, but the latter somehow managed to clip the ball over the bar.
In the 25th, after a struggle for the ball out wide on the right and just inside the Central Coast half, the ball was won by the locals with Wales and Alexander Arbelo combining to set up Buhagiar again, this time the striker finding the target, low, with an effective tap-in.
St George were unhappy about the lead-up, as they made claims that midfielder, Tarek Ercan, had his shirt tugged by one opponent, allowing a second to escape with the ball.
The incident was not picked up by any of the officials and amid vehement protests from the visitors, Central Coast had the lead.
Then a minute later, still reeling from that apparent injustice, it was Buhagiar’s turn to become provider as he slipped the ball to his skipper on the day, Adam Woodbine, another man who had not started against Sydney University.
He put the chance away with a minimum of fuss and the 2-0 lead was beginning to look like a pretty solid foundation.
In the 42nd they had more cause for celebration, as Wales did well to lift the ball over the heads of defenders and the keeper, from wide on the left and just outside the penalty area, to make it 3-0.
St George made two changes, one at half-time and another soon after, with a little improvement noted, but the closest they came during those first 15 minutes was with a Wassim Hijazi header that was nodded just wide.
Substitute, Stevan Ilic, however, managed to put away an easy header in the 60th minute to reduce the arrears, off a nice cross from the right by-line by Joseph D’Elia.
If St George fans present had hopes of a fightback, those were soon dashed.
Central Coast posted their fourth in the 63rd, Woodbine allowed to run through, virtually unchallenged, to find the roof of the net with an accomplished finish, for 4-1.
Daniell Zeleny had to clear the ball off the St George line in the 72nd, as Central Coast continued to dictate terms and they went 5-1
up in the 75th, as livewire 20 year old midfielder, Arbelo, found some space to deliver a low finish, just inside the right-hand post, perhaps demonstrating that his year off playing in Uruguay in 2014 had done him no harm at all.
Central Coast gave some of their players a break towards the end, with Jayden Priest and Steve Whyte coming on for Woodbine and Buhagia, but there was little St George could do by that late stage and they merely relieved the battle-weary Zeleny with ten to go, bringing on the promising Ali Nasreddine.
Just to rub things in, the home team grabbed a sixth two minutes into stoppage-time, to make it 6-1 and help their goal difference, with the return game against Spirit FC soon to come and eagerly awaited, no doubt.
St George, who have now slumped to eighth place, having only won five games thus far, have struggled for consistency and will be travelling to The Crest to play the Berries next Saturday night, no doubt aware that their next opponents posted their first win in weeks, last Saturday night.
Although Central Coast have been beaten on three occasions now, they are still scoring quite freely and this could make all the difference later in the season, when Spirit FC face a string of away games, while Central Coast have a more even distribution of their own matches.
They face Hakoah Sydney City East next Sunday, whom they beat 3-0 at Hensley Athletic Field at the teams’ first meeting and they will fancy their chances of getting the double,before travelling to Christie Park a week later to see if they can bring Spirit FC undone.
Crowd: About 120
Central Coast FC: 1. Blake Tuxford (gk); 5 Brian Jamba (3 Joshua Forbes 77′), 4 Nathan Verity, 18 Jake Mcging, 2 Liam O’Dell; 10 Alexander Arbelo, 8 Joel Hardwick, 16 Daniel Mcfarlane; 17 Lachlan Wales, 9 Adam Woodbine (c) (7 Jayden Priest 77′), 12 Trent Buhagiar (13 Steve Whyte 82′)
Subs not used: 40. Beyhan Irmako (rgK), 15 Christopher Hurley
Coach: Peter Preston
Yellow cards: Joel Hardwick 64′; Red cards: Nil
St George Saints FC: 17. David Hamilton (gk); 15 Peter Pelekanos (19 Stevan Ilic 51′), 3 Emmanuel Elali, 5 Daniell Zeleny (6 Ali Nasreddine 80′), 13 Lenox Tweneboa; 14 Andrija Petkovic (20 David Wilson 56′), 8 Tarek Ercan, 10 Michael Yarnold (c), 7 Matthew Sadler, 16 Joseph D’Elia; 11 Wassim Hijazi
Subs not used: 21. Lachlan Kerr (rgk), 23 David Ilic
Coach David Perkovic
Yellow cards: Tarek Ercan 59′, Michael Yarnold 70′, Stevan Ilic 85′; Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Rob Nieuwenhuis
Assistants: Janush Adabjou, and Brandon Lovric
Ratings and miscellaneous
Weather: Mild mostly sunny afternoon, dry and still conditions.
Players noted: Trent Buhagia (CCFC), Joel Hardwick (CCFC), Lachlan Wales (CCFC), Nathan Verity (CCFC), Daniel Mcfarlane(CCFC), Joseph D’Elia (SG)