Derby draw at Arlo

By Corinthian (Paul Green):

NSW PS4 State League 1 Men – Round 13 feature game

3pm, Sunday 21st June – Arlington Oval, Dulwich Hill

Stanmore Hawks FC 1 (Angelo Petratos 32′)
drew with
Dulwich Hill FC 1 (Stephen Hrysanthos 24′)


Stanmore Hawks were the hosts for this derby game at Arlington Oval and they were facing co-tenants, Dulwich Hill, in what was officially a home game for the Hawks.

They’d gone close to troubling Hills Brumbies at Lily’s Football Centre the previous week, though their opponents here, Dulwich Hill, had beaten the Brumbies up at the Seven Hills ground just before that.

Dulwich Hill were without play-maker Sash Tirevski and they had to shuffle some players around to try and maximise the team’s effectiveness

It was to be a tough task for Hawks’ coach Soteris Mavrou and his men, they knew that, but as it was a derby, the form book should not have been such a factor, as bragging rights for the Kings of Arlington would mean that everyone would be expected to lift their game.

Dulwich had almost won the first meeting here, earlier in the season, conceding a last minute penalty to draw 4-4, at home, after fighting back from 3-0 down to lead 4-3; but if they were to prolong their push for the top-spot in the division they’d needed to win this to remain on the heels of the big three ahead of them.

Since bringing back Sam Messam from across the Tasman, recently, their prospects had improved markedly and he was finding the net for them with a remarkable regularity already.

But it was not to be, as the spoils were once again shared, this time in a 1-1 draw, with both goals coming in the first half-hour or so.

Goalkeeping errors were the key factor in the way things panned out, with neither team’s strikers having much luck, otherwise.

The match was a well-contested one and relatively devoid of anything over-aggressive. Good football was attempted by both sides, but the mid-fielders were the most effective players on the pitch in terms of breaking things down and not a lot of chances were created.

For Stanmore, captain Steve Liavas was spending more of his time defending than attacking, which was largely due to the danger presented by Dully’s Kiwi star, Sam Messem, who dropped deeper-and-deeper as the game progressed, with his other attacking team- mates doing much of the work up front.

Dulwich Hill’s James Morrison put in a good shift, winning plenty of the ball and showing good technical skill for most of the match.

This was no thrill-a-minute encounter, it has to be said, more a cautious and respectful meeting of two teams with different objectives.

For Stanmore, who’ve slipped well down the table, it was a game they’d like to have won, but against a strong team like Dulwich Hill a draw would also have been quite acceptable.

Dulwich Hill, on the other hand, really wanted the win to maintain their challenge for honours, but they were clearly missing a vital ingredient and according to their experienced coach, Norman Tome, that was the absence of Sash Tirevski.

“We weren’t at our best really today and we didn’t put them under enough pressure, didn’t create enough chances, so Stanmore should be happy to get away with the point, I think.

“I think we dominated possession today, but we needed someone to make things happen and that’s how important Sash is to the team.

Tirevski had to miss the game through injury on this occasion.

Hawks’ coach, Soteris Mavrou, however, was bewailing the mistake by his goalkeeper that  saw Dulwich Hill take a 25th minute lead.

“I don’t know why he came out and left his line,” he said.

“I’ve been telling him not to do that, that unless it’s a one-on-one situation.

“They were lucky really, though, as we had a man on the line; but he had difficulty clearing the ball and it gave them a second chance.

Mavrou was referring to Dulwich Hill’s Kiwi striker, Messem, breaking quickly down the left and aiming an angled shot towards an empty net, after Stanmore keeper, James Webb, had come well off his line.

He did so in vain, though, after spotting the sudden raid, when Messem sprang the offside-trap, out wide, leaving the keeper stranded and nowhere near his goal.

Veteran stopper Angelo Petratos and another defender raced back to try and save the situation, but the latter managed only to miscue and the loose ball fell at the feet of Stephen Hrysanthos, who had an easy tap-in for 1-0.

But a blunder at the other end of the park saw Stanmore draw level in the 32nd.

A free-kick sent over by Neil Philippou, into a crowded goalmouth, was looking secure for the defending team until Dully keeper,  Mario Farias, spilled the ball under pressure and Petratos – who’d come up for the dead-ball situation – pounced, using all of his experience to slam the ball into the roof of the net, alert to the split-second it fell loose.

It was certainly a good time to score his first goal of the season in Stanmore colours.

After that early excitement we might have hoped for another goal-feast, but it wasn’t to be.

There were plenty of corners and free-kicks and Stanmore at times enjoyed a slight edge, but Dully had their moments as well.

Alex Yin fired a free-kick over the bar in the 28th, before Sam Awad powered a shot wide in the 30th.

Then came the equaliser and almost another goal four minutes later, with the lively Christian Ekwerike, out wide on the right, getting into a good scoring position, but sending his shot across the face of goal, missing the target at the far-post by a matter of only inches.

Stanmore keeper, Webb, was seen to better advantage in the 40th, when he came out to boot clear, as Messem bore down on goal from wide on the right. No doubt his coach was a lot happier with the outcome of that ensuing decision by his last man.

Another fast move from Ekwerike led to an excellent pass from the tall winger for Neil Philippou,in first-half stoppage-time, but the long-serving Stanmore striker scooped the ball over the bar from close-range to let Dully off the hook.

Dulwich Hill began the second-half a lot better and clearly seemed well in control at the back.

They went close in the 49th when a cross from the left by Alex Yin looked inviting for the on-rushing Robert Morrison, but the latter could not make contact, even as his momentum took him into the six-yard box, with his run obviously not timed well enough on that occasion.

Another good chance for Dully came in the 68th when substitute, Aaron Cordova, came in fast from the left, but was denied by a difficult angle, as his shot went across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.

Chances came and went, but apart from Stanmore’s Costa Bakoulis sending a shot that deflected off a defender in the 77th and a volley from Dully’s busy Alex Yin, that he could only send skywards in the 82nd, there was little to excite a decent  crowd at the famous old venue.

Perhaps the game could have been won dramatically in the first minute of stoppage-time, but when a header from Messem looked like securing all three points, Stanmore’s Peter Theodosi was there on the line to boot the ball clear, this time making solid contact.

It had been another absorbing contest and one that was played in a good spirit by the two familiar foes.

Watching from the stands was Stanmore’s latest signing, a new striker just arrived from Cyprus, who should be able to play next weekend.

Dulwich Hill, meanwhile, will be keen to see Tirevski back again, as big Sam Messem can again become more than just a provider, a role he adopted mostly in this encounter.

Match details

Crowd:  approx 120

Stanmore Hawks FC: 26. James Webb (gk); 23 Peter Theodosi, 4 Angelo Petratos, 5 Yorgi Mavrou, 6 Costa Bakoulis (12 Vincent Leto 90); 19 Dean Mugridge (14 Thierry Huet 61), 7 Steve Liavas (C), 8 Sam Awad, 13 Nicholas Kynezos, 9 Neil Philippou (2 Foday Kamara 88), 11 Christian Ekwerike
Subs not used: RGK 31 James Adams,  21 Rafid Hermiz

Coach: Soteris Mavrou
Yellow cards: Steve Liavas 41, Yorgi Mavrou 87, Peter Theodosi 90+3; Red cards: Nil

Dulwich Hill FC:  41. Mario Farias (gk); 4 Adam Johnston, 3 Jacob Maruca (7 Aaron Cordova 63), 2 Sam Cornish, 9 Robert Morrison; 5 James Morrison, 15 Joel Iannacito,  16 Alex Yin, 8 George Lagoudakis (6 Akwasi Agyei 66); 14 Sam Messam, 13 Stephen Hrysanthos (10 Frank Calcagno 83)
Subs not used: RGK 1 Lucas North, 17 James Cross

Coach: Norman Tome
Yellow cards: Adam Johnston 33, James Morrison 86; Red cards: Nil

Referee: Rob Nieuwenhuis
Assistants:  Keith Yau and Craig Fisher

Ratings and miscellaneous

Match 7/10
Pitch: 10/10 (Synthetic)

Weather: Mild and dry, hint of a breeze

Players noted: Angelo Petratos (SH), Sam Awad (SH), Costa Bakoulis (SH), James Morrison (DH), Adam Johnston (DH), Robert Morrison DH)