Lions bring down Brumbies
By Corinthian (Paul Green):
NSW PS4 STATE LEAGUE 1 Men – Round 10
7:30pm, Saturday 30th May, 2015 – Lily’s Football Centre (aka The Gabbie), Seven Hills,
Hills United Brumbies FC 2 (Bruno Pivato 23′, Daniel Morsillo 27′ pen)
Rydalmere FC Lions 4 (Zakeriya Elrich 32′, 56′, 89′, Amaury Gauthier 50′ pen)
The race to the State League 1 title is certainly a tight one, so far this season and after Saturday night’s thriller at Lily’s Football Centre, it’s become no easier to forecast a likely winner, at least in first-grade, which does not, of course, provide for promotion, since only winning the Club Championship guarantees that.
Hills Brumbies went into the game as first-grade leaders, with just the one defeat, while visitors, Rydalmere Lions, were one of two undefeated teams and had the added benefit of holding two games in hand.
Other title-contenders, the two Mariners teams, North Shore and Western NSW, loom as strong chances too and Back of the Net will try to take a look at one or both of those sides in the weeks ahead.
Meanwhile, in this game, Rydalmere Lions looked the goods, coming from two goals down to beat Hills Brumbies 4-2.
It didn’t take them past the Brumbies, though, as they still have games to catch up on, one at home to Granville Rage and one at Cook Park, St Marys against Nepean Association.
Instead, one of those Mariners’ sides, North Shore from Northbridge, took advantage of Hills’ misfortune to move past them to the summit and emphasise the competitive nature of this Division.
From what we saw, either of these two who were in action at Lily’s Football Centre on Saturday night would not be out of place in the division above them, playing good football on a favourable artificial surface and scoring some quality goals.
Two of those goals may have been penalties and another a free-kick, but even the way those were taken looked impressive to the first-time visitor.
Hills Brumbies began the game well and took an early lead, with a second goal coming not long after, from the penalty-spot.
If Rydalmere were in any way daunted by this development, they certainly didn’t show it and continued to play the same way, with no greater sense of caution, yet a willingness to go forward and pass the ball quickly, with the back-four as keen to contribute as anyone.
It came as no great surprise, then, when the visitors pulled a goal back, before half-time, to put them in with a good chance to go on and win the game after the break.
Hills went into this game as the league’s top scorers, a status they retained, after scoring twice here; but at the rate at which Rydalmere rattled in their three second-half goals and their positive approach, given they have games in hand, it would not surprise to see them assume the mantle of top-scorers themselves before too long.
They’d gone into this game without three key players, including regular captain Chris Camilleri, so to get the better of the leaders on their own ground was a decent effort.
Although this was very much a team effort by Rydalmere, with their total-football approach, there were certainly some stand-out players, but more of that later.
Hills lined up with a new player, Bradley Robertson, who had the distinction of being sent off early in the second-half, after receiving two cautions within a few minutes, hardly endearing himself to his new club.
His dismissal came after Rydalmere had equalised from the penalty-spot in the 50th minute and soon after which, Rydalmere took the lead.
Having said that, Rydalmere looked more than capable of winning it without the extra man, such was their superiority over the final hour of the match.
Hills got their first in the 23rd after an even opening-period when Bruno Pivato got onto a nice cross from the right to go on and beat the keeper with a clever low shot tucked into the far left corner of the net.
Their hopes rose further, three minutes later, when Keunike Maralit was clearly brought down by Julian Aguirre, as Rydalmere defenders rushed out to intercept the invader bursting into their penalty area.
A well-taken penalty by Daniel Morsillo had hosts Hills 2-0 up and looking good for another home win and the chance to go further ahead at the top of the table.
The early stages of the game were full of interest, too, with a number of good chances created by both sides.
A near-post header from a Hills’ man was well-saved in the 11th by Rydalmere keeper, Harrick Sinpraseuth, after a Bruno Pivato corner.
Meanwhile, Zakeriya Elrich, in a sign of what was to come later, was proving a difficult man to keep out, as he made some big runs through the defence from out wide, with a couple of his crosses cut out, as well as a shot that he steered only narrowly wide.
In the 32nd he showed what he was fully capable of when he had another try on the left-flank and with other players in support, on his right, managed to shield the ball from his opponents with clever turns and juggling, before enleashing a left-footed volley with some venom into the top-right corner of the Hills’ net.
It was a goal of some class.
Since he was already taking the corners and free-kicks in the game his part in the fixture was always a highly-involved one.
He nearly helped add a second in the 40th, with a low cross he’d sent goal-wards latched onto by Amaury Gauthier, whose effort was superbly pushed onto and over the crossbar, with a reflex save, by Hills’ keeper, Cheyne Miller.
Elrich went close again in the 42nd, with a free-kick that was also pushed away by the keeper in fine style.
If those chances were a warning for Hills, they could still do nothing to hold back the tide after the game’s restart.
In the 50th minute a shot from Anthony Frangie was handled inside the Hills’ area and referee Katie Patterson quickly pointed to the spot.
It wasn’t free-kick taker, Elrich, who was summoned to take the penalty-kick, though.
Up stepped Amaury Gauthier and it wasn’t difficult to see why he was appointed to the task.
He drilled the ball low and just inside the keeper’s left post, in exquisite fashion, to further dent the home team’s morale.
After that came the sending-off and a third goal quickly followed.
Elrich, it was, who made the most of the free-kick awarded 25 yards out and only slightly to the right of centre.
The taker drove his shot superbly beyond the wall and in at the top-right corner, the strike of a player in complete touch.
Elrich by now was looking for his hat-trick, as well as trying to seal the game and he almost did it in the 76th when Hills’ defenders had to boot his individual effort off the line.
He finally put the game beyond any doubt and claimed the match ball – assuming he was allowed to take it home – after veteran utility player (these days, at least), Ballamodou Conde, broke up a Hills’ move inside his own half and then spotted Elrich taking off on a run with the keeper spotted off his line.
Balla Conde lifted the ball over the heads of defenders and on a day like this Elrich was sure to make the most of the chance, so late, to bring up his hat-trick with a clinical finish.
By no means was this game the work of merely their creative forces, as Rydalmere’s back-line produced an accomplished showing as well.
Technically sound, the defenders always looked in control, at least after conceding those early goals, with centre-back, Kim Cheong
It was hard luck for Hills to meet Rydalmere on such a day and for all kinds of reasons it was a case of the better team winning deservedly.
Hills’ coach, Joe Giovenali, shrugged his shoulders, when it was all over and agreed that it was a result he’d have to take on the chin.
Before the game he’d admitted to feeling a little nervous.
His new signing, as it turned out, only lasted 55 minutes before being sent-off, although that was not offered as an excuse.
Rydalmere Lions, on the other hand, had several regulars missing, including Chris Camilleri, but coach, Tony Basha, praised his entire squad for the performance.
“We were able to bring our best game with us today,” he said.
“I always thought we’d win the game, even when we went two down.
“I told the boys at half-time that Hills would need to score five to beat us today, as we always looked like scoring as many as we did.
“This surface suited our passing game and we never really let the ball move off the ground at any stage, there was no need to on that pitch.
Rydalmere’s own ground is not of such a high standard as this one, but Basha and the club management were enthusiastic about its future development, with lights on their ground recently enhanced to 200 lux and new amenities’ buildings erected at the Victoria Road facility.
“We’ll eventually put in an artificial pitch ourselves, with the full support of Parramatta Council,” Basha explained.
“This club has been going for a long time and we are getting ready to go further ahead.
“The council is right behind us with our plans to fully develop the facility.
Over the coming weeks it will be interesting to see if Hills Brumbies recover from this setback and if Rydalmere can reproduce this kind of effort on a weekly basis.
They’ll almost certainly have two sets of Mariners keeping a weather-eye out for both of them.
Crowd: about 100
Hills Brumbies FC: GK 1 Cheyne Miller; 4 Ryan Faulkner (14 Liam Lawler), 5 Thomas Brandon, 3 David Brennan (39 Adam Savetta 59), 16 Greg Giovenali; 8 Daniel Morsillo, 35 Alex Mccracken, 10 Bruno Pivato, 36 Bradley Robertson (C); 12 Steve Biason (13 James Maguire 58), 18 Keunike Maralit
Subs not used: RGK 21 Jackson Franich, 32 Jordan Lane
Coach: ‘Joe’ Giovenali
Yellow cards: Bradley Robertson 51 and 55, David Brennan 55; Red cards: Bradley Robertson 55
Rydalmere FC Lions: GK 1 Harrick Sinpraseuth; 8 Addison Sayan, 5 Salman Hassani, 3 Kim Cheong, 21 Damien Smith; 7 Zakeriya Elrich (20 Aaron Avery 90), 6 Julian Aguirre, 10 Ballamodou Conde (C), 24 Amaury Gauthier; 12 John Fahmi (11 Liam Delaney 83), 32 Anthony Frangie (18 Mortaza Safdari 73)
Subs not used: RGK 45 Ali Jalilibaleh, 2 Daniel Kamel
Coach: Tony Basha
Yellow cards: Julian Aguirre 55; Red cards: Nil
Ratings, points, etc.
Referee: Katie Patterson
Assistants: K Hockings and A Beckett
Pitch: 10/10 (Synthetic)
Weather: Cool and dry, minimal breeze.
Players noted: Bruno Pivato (HB), Daniel Morsillo (HB), Zakeriya Elrich (RL), Kim Cheong (RL), Addison Sayang (RL), Ballamodou Conde RL)