Fraser Park catch-up with a win

By Corinthian (Paul Green):

8:15pm Wednesday 10th June 2015  – Fraser Park, Marrickville

Fraser Park FC 1 (Hussein Akil 36′)
Bankstown Berries FC 0

Fraser Park, one of a number of clubs with outstanding games to make up due to inclement weather earlier in the season, caught up with Bankstown Berries on Wednesday night and helped themselves to three more valuable points after a hard-earned 1-0 win over the struggling visitors.

The Berries have gone off the boil a little after a bright start to the campaign, which was preceded by them winning the Pre-season Cup.

Their form has gradually tapered off, after winning their first match away to Northern Tigers in brisk fashion, with a string of disappointing results leading into this mid-week catch-up game from Round 6.

It was to prove a frustrating night for embattled Berries’ coach, Wally Savor, whose team could not overcome a spirited home side, who’d been reduced to ten men at the 55 minute mark, after left-back David Talone collected a second caution for a late tackle on a Bankstown player sprinting towards the Fraser Park goal on a counter-attack, following a corner that saw possession quickly turned over.

Despite being a man down for well over half-an-hour the Fraser Park players dug deep to protect their first-half lead, provided for them  by central-midfield creative force, Hussein Akil.

The Fraser Park defence and most of the other players in midfield chipped in with some hard work and dogged marking over the remainder of the match. Wayne Estevao in the Fraser Park goal was in good form, too, with no shortage of willing runners when fresh attacking opportunities arose, Jeffrey Issa and Adem Kir getting things going whenever they could, but front-runner, Nicola Todoroski, who was given some good openings by the pair and by Hussein Akil, was often found a little off the pace and unable to capitalise on those half-chances.

Early on in the game Fraser Park had signalled their attacking intent, with Hussein Akil, for instance, getting away down the right only to fire fiercely into the side-netting in the third minute.

Kir and Alexander Veljanovski combined in the ninth minute to set up Nicola Todoroski, but Berries’ keeper, Michael Frost, was quickly off his line to deny the big centre forward.

A Berries’ free-kick in the 28th looked promising for a moment, but Thomas Taylor’s on-target effort was claimed comfortably by Estevao.

Fraser Park piled on the pressure after the half-hour mark, winning a succession of corners and fully testing the Berries’ backline.

The last of these, in the 35th, delivered to the near-post by the experienced Adem Kir, was met cleverly by Hussein Akil with the deftest of glancing headers to find the roof of the net and put the home side a goal up.

Two minutes later the visitors went close to drawing level, a volley from Jun Kato, from 20 yards, flying just wide of the upright.

The second-half began with the Berries pushing the Fraser Park defence to the limit, with wave-after-wave of attack and home team clearances which failed to deal with the threat, with the ball havinhg to be cleared off the Fraser Park line at one stage,

In the 65th, and after the sending-off by referee Ben Abraham of Talone, Fraser Park continued to try and stretch their lead, but with Jeffrey Issa’s fast move down the right holding some promise, it was unfortunate that his low cross was to prove beyond the reach of Nicola Todoroski, who was just a yard too slow to get to the ball inside the six-yard box.

Two minutes later Bankstown Berries had another good chance to draw level, a free-kick from 30 yards out by substitute Nick Paras well on-target, driven low, but well-taken by Estevao, who made sure he got right behind that one.

Another Jeffrey Issa cross, in the 77th, was to prove elusive for Fraser Park striker, Todoroski, again, while Berries’ spearhead, Dimitri Zakilas, got his head to a cross in the 79th, but glanced his frantic effort just wide, as Bankstown stepped up the tempo and began to push more and more men forward.

Two late chances for Bankstown looked likely to steal a point, but again neither Paras nor Zakilas could hit the target, when well- positioned, close to goal.

Even in stoppage-time, as Fraser Park began to look at the clock for some relief, the Berries had chances, but their finishing and stout defending by the locals denied them the goal they needed so badly.

Fraser’s players defended as a team, always willing to work for one another in a game that, for once, did not provide an avalanche of goals, or expose any defensive frailties, as we’d seen in some of the team’s earlier matches.

Having already beaten Spirit FC 1-0 away, at the start of the season, now that they’re playing the competition leaders a second time on Saturday night they can certainly make it a tough assignment for the Northern Sydney outfit on this synthetic metropolitan pitch.

Spirit could only manage a 0-0 draw on the same night that Fraser Park and Bankstown Berries met and the coming weekend’s game may well be decided by which team pulls up best after their mid-week exertions.

There were any number of tired bodies in the Fraser Park dressing room after their 1-0 win over the Berries, with Talone suspended for Saturday night and Hussein Akil, taking a heavy second half tumble on the firm pitch, while others looked the worse for wear as well.

If Spirit came through Wednesday’s encounter against the no-nonsense Mount Druitt with fewer bruises and muscle strains then they may be able to exact revenge on Saturday night.

But  if Fraser Park show as much resilience as they did against the Berries, they will certainly provide the testing material for Spirit.

Berries have a tough assignment away to Macarthur Rams, also on Saturday night, to look forward to.

Match details
Crowd:  approx 100

Fraser Park FC: GK 1 Wayne Estevao; 15 Rocci Gabey, 18 Alexander Todoroski, 5 Nicholas Dimitropoulos, 3 Davide Talone; 4 Alexander Veljanovski, 6 Suad Ameli; 9 Jeffrey Issa (Pat Cappuccio 84), 8 Hussein Akil (11 Stefan Jovanovic 90), 12 Adem Kir (10 Paulo Oliveira 84); 17 Nicola Todoroski
Subs not used: RGK 22 Riley Keayes

Coach: Mile Todoroski
Yellow cards: David Talone 29 and 55, Hussein Akil 81, Suad Ameli 86; Red cards: David Talone 55

Bankstown Berries FC: GK 1 Michael Frost; 2 David Burbidge (18 Matthew Trotter 46), 5 Joseph Savor, 3 Liam McKenna, 12 Mitchell Davidson; 8 Thomas Taylor, 10 Jun Kato (14 Nicholas Paras 74), 11 Joel Anscomb (22 Jake Bradshaw 72), 16 Milan Zoric; 7 Kyle Ewart, 19 Dimitri Zakilas
Subs not used: RGK 42 Jake Senior, 6 Shivan Swamy

Coach: Wally Savor

Yellow cards: Thomas Taylor 20, Jake Bradshaw 73; Red cards: Nil

Referee: Ben Abraham
Assistants: Darren Allatt and Adam Naylor

Ratings and miscellaneous
Weather: Cool, mostly dry after a wet morning and afternoon, overcast with occasional drizzle.
Game: 7/10
Pitch: 10/10 Synthetic
Players noted: Rocci Gabey (FP), Adem Kir (FP), Hussein Akil (FP), Jeffrey Issa (FP), Milan Zoric (BB), Kyle Ewart (BB)