Students get second-half lesson

By Corinthian (Paul Green):
NSW PS4 NPL 2 Men – ROUND 14 feature report

7:30pm, Saturday 20th June 2015  –  Lambert Park, Leichhardt

Sydney University SFC 0
lost to
Spirit FC 3 (Abraham Majok 52′, 66′, Jacob Harris 90’+2)

After Sydney University continued their recent revival to down Hakoah at Hensley Field the previous weekend and Spirit FC had lost at Fraser Park 2-1, with two key players missing, this match at Lambert Park could have been a close one.

Competition leaders, Spirit, had lost some of their lustre of late having dropped valuable points on their travels and since Sydney University had downed Central Coast ahead of their win against Hakoah, much was expected of Raul Blanco’s ‘students’ here.

The home side appeared to be at full strength, too, adding further confidence for their supporters who would have remembered Spirit escaping with a 3-2 win on home soil after a late scare in stoppage-time looked like robbing them of at least two points on that occasion.

Spirit FC lost striker Kuag Reec during the warm-up when he failed to pass a late fitness test, having sat out the Fraser Park game as a precaution, following a tough midweek draw at Mount Druitt.

Then half an hour into the game Spirit FC captain, Daniel Cunningham, who’d missed the previous game through injury, had to make way for the club’s Mr Reliable, Ross Kethel, after failing to respond to treatment on the sidelines shortly before leaving the field altogether.

Ryan Johnstone, injured after a heavy tackle during the first-half, soldiered on, needing to go through a second warm-up at half-time in order to return after the break, without stiffening up, but he managed to last until the 81st minute.

With their opponents those issues to contend with University must have fancied their chances of beating another top side at their home venue for 2015.

University stopper, Marton Vass, however, also hobbled off in the first-half and failed to re-appear after the re-start.

Skipper Nathan Sampson went down a couple of times during the game and had to be replaced in the 60th by Matthew Faadni, a player who looked to have some years of experience under his belt.

And so things had evened themselves out by that stage, at least from a fitness perspective.

The first-half was an even affair, with nothing to choose between the two sides, but after losing Vass at the break, the home team never looked as secure, with Spirit lifting the tempo a notch or two as the game progressed.

In the 52nd a fast Spirit raid yielded the opening goal of the game, put away by the speedy Abraham Majok, who took a flick on from Gosue Sama, who was solid all evening in the ‘number ten’ role.

Henry Wells was causing a lot of problems for the University defence on the right-flank and the diminutive wingman was the source of some good deliveries into the box.

Majok made an even faster run from deep in the 66th to waltz past the last defender and the keeper, before slotting home, low, to make it 2-0 and the only way University could have stopped him would have been to send him crashing to the ground and a sending-off and a penalty would have been the certain outcome, had they succeeded.

After replacing a visibly struggling Ryan Johnstone in the 81st minute, Spirit’s talented winger, Jacob Harris, took a nice pass from Grant Cornwell before sending a slashing volley into the top-right corner of the net, in the second minute of stoppage-time.

University keeper, Mark Bozic, made a number of fine saves, while the home attack had lost much of its thrust after Sansom was forced to leave the field and the Spirit defence took care of any threat from the likes of Peter Crevani and Sansom’s replacement, the speedy Ammar Alyassan.

“We had to make a statement tonight to answer the critics,” said a relieved Spirit coach, John McLafferty, after it was all over.

“We knew we had to make up for the poor result last week and we wanted to win it badly enough tonight to get the result we needed.

“Considering that we lost our striker during the warm-up and our captain early in the first-half, everyone did a good job tonight to atone for last week’s poor showing.

University fought hard all the way, but every time they looked like making their way back into the game their opponents found another goal to put space between the two teams.

Sydney Uni coach, Raul Blanco, will now be sweating on the recovery of his skipper and inspirational leader, Sansom, before they take the field next weekend and also hoping that Marton Vass will be fit to resume as well.

Match details

Crowd:  approx 50

Sydney University SFC: GK 1 Marko Bozic;  16 Adam Porcu, 43 Marton Vass (19 Matthew Faadni 46), 4 Kim Gyubeom, 13 Alexander Sopina;  35 Thomas Keenan (10 Santiago Rodriguez 64), 17 Stefan de Jesus, 12 Dario Borovickic, 32 Tayfun Buyukkopru, 44 Peter Crevani;  3 Nathan Sansom (C) (7 Ammar Alyassan 60)
Subs not used: RGK 21 Patrick Ferrara, 8 Khushaba Khushaba

Coach: Raul Blanco
Yellow cards: Tayfun Buyukkopru 56, Matthew Faadni 60; Red cards: Nil

Spirit FC:  41. David Lowery (gk); 19 Tom Lovell (c2), 2 Daniel Cunningham (c1) (6 Ross Kethel +30′), 4 Nicholas Trimble, 13 Lord Darkoh; 3 Henry Wells, 8 Grant Cornwell, 14 Ryan Johnstone (7 Jacob Harris +81′), 22 Gosue Sama; 9 Tim Simpson (10 Ossama Zaki +62′), 11 Abraham Majok
Subs not used: RGK 1 Murray Nelson, 5 Andrew Robertson

Coach: John McLafferty
Yellow cards: Nil; Red cards: Nil

Referee: Michael Weiner
Assistants: Christopher Hughes and Darren Allatt

Ratings and miscellaneous

Weather: Cold and dry, light breeze
Game: 7/10
Pitch: 10/10 (Synthetic)

Players noted: Marko Bozic (SU), Dario Borovickic (SU), Abraham Majok (SFC), Ryan Johnstone (SFC), Grant Cornwell (SFC), Gosue Sama (SFC)