Lightning couldn’t stop Northern Tigers
By Corinthian (Paul Green):
NSW PS4 NPL2 Men – ROUND 16
7:30pm, Saturday 11th July 2015 – Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Sydney University SFC 0
Northern Tigers FC 2 (Russell Farrell 73′, Matthew West 85′)
Northern Tigers maintained their form of recent weeks when they toughed it out against a resilient Sydney University side at Lambert Park on Saturday night, before emerging with a 2-0 win.
They were made to work for it by an opponent that’s improved a lot over recent weeks, but they were less effective here, in going forward at least, than they have been and perhaps that can be put down to the enforced absence of their former captain Peter Crevani, who had other commitments on this occasion.
The Tigers began the game brightly and apart from a spell towards the end of the first-half and just after the break, they had the right degree of application and intensity to eventually wear ‘the students’ down.
Yet the Tigers, too, had players missing, albeit some who’d already missed some games, like midfielder Steve Baveas and defender, Sam Porter, who has had to return to England and probably won’t be back this season.
They were also missing the absent Daniel Stuart and Braden Cheng, who were out of town.
There were a couple of good early chances for the visitors, who earned a free-kick and a corner within minutes of the start.
Jamie Craig took the first of those and soon after that a corner swept over by Paul Davies was met by Shervin Adeli whose effort just cleared the bar.
Tigers’ skipper, Michael Rolston, managed to find Tai Smith with a long, through pass a minute later, with Uni keeper Marko Bozic doing well to deny the Tigers’ man with a smart save.
At the other end Matt Nemes in the visitors’ goal had to be at his best to avert danger after Nathan Samson had threaded a pass from the left to Adam Porcu, by coming off his line to intervene.
After only eight minutes Adeli tried a shot from 30 yards out that flashed narrowly past the Uni upright and a short time later Tai Smith sent over a low effort, from wide on the right, that bounced back off the left-hand upright.
There were unheeded calls for hand-ball, after a Paul Davies free-kick in the 32nd appeared to strike one of the Uni defenders in the wall and striker Matthew West also took a tumble after a heavy tackle from Uni centre-back, Marton Vass, in the 40th, with little interest shown by the referee in any claims or a penalty on either occasion.
Lightning began to appear in the sky as the first-half came to an close and by the conclusion of half-time it began to look even more threatening.
In fact after only four minutes out on the field, heavy rain and hail began to sweep across Lambert Park and referee, Adam Susz, hastily instructed the players to leave the field.
The interruption was for only eleven minutes, however, as the rain soon abated, as did the lightning, sparing anyone the possibility of a postponement, with a 10pm curfew on the use of the lights uppermost in people’s minds during the unavoidable stoppage.
“In a way the extra break was good for us,” opined Tigers’ coach, Steve Hurd, as he explained how his players needed another team talk before returning to the fray.
“We didn’t finish the first half off too well and we began the second-half very sluggishly, even after some words from me at half-time.
“I reminded them again before they went out a second time and they were a lot better for the remainder of the match.
Not long after play got going again, the busy Liam McConaghy tried a shot from distance in the 53rd that Uni keeper, Bozic, managed to push around his post.
Then the Tigers had to survive something of a scare themselves when Uni skipper and centre-forward, Nathan Sansom, spotted Nemes off his line and tried an audacious long-range shot that narrowly skimmed the crossbar, in the 60th.
Smith in the 56th and West in the 58th had also gone close just before that, though the Uni raid was one of only a limited number during the game, from the students for whom, at times, it was a bit of a battle.
The Northerners were getting on top over the concluding stages, but still the all-important goal just would not come for them.
That is, until the 73rd minute, when a corner from the right caused problems for the Uni defence who came under pressure from McConaghy and West to win aerial challenges in a packed goalmouth.
When a Sydney Uni defender could only deflect the ball onto the left-hand upright, during the melee, up popped Tigers’ defender, Russell Farrell to squeeze the ball home.
After that, Sydney Uni, more and more concerned these days about preserving their NPL2 status, had to think seriously again about their attacking, rather than their defending.
They left themselves exposed, inevitably, with Tigers’ substitute, Julian Lim dispossessing an opponent close to the centre circle and then sending a well-directed pass through to Matthew West.
Uni keeper Bozic was hopelessly exposed and had no alternative than to leave his line to confront the Northern Tigers’ player.
But West was too nimble and sidestepped the intended challenge before going on to place the ball into a by-then empty net.
That was it, really, 2-0 to the visitors, who also won the Under-18s fixture 2-1 and the Under-20s 4-2.
Those points would be valuable in the club’s quest for the club championship, this season and a chance of promotion.
Beaten Sydney Uni coach Raul Blanco was obviously disappointed.
“Our passing today wasn’t good enough,” he admitted.
“They are a quality side (Northern Tigers) but we didn’t keep the ball well at all.”
“Yes, Peter Crevani was missing, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse. He wasn’t available today and it was up to us to cover for him not being here.
Tigers’ coach, Steve Hurd, was much the happier of the two men who addressed the camera post-match.
“We have to play Central Coast, Hakoah and Spirit FC in our next three games, so we’ll want to win all of them to be in with a chance of the Club Championship,” he observed.
Crowd: 50 approx
Sydney University SFC: 1. Marko Bozic (gk); 14 Daniel Mifsud, 4 Kim Gyubeom, 43 Marton Vass, 40 Matthew Fsadni; 10 Santiago Rodriguez, 17 Stefan de Jesus, 12 Dario Borovickic, 32 Tayfun Buyukkopru; 16 Adam Porcu (7 Ammar Alyassen 75), 3 Nathan Sansom (C)
Subs not used: RGK 42 James Conaghan, 8 Khushaba Khushaba, 13 Alexander Sopina
Coach: Raul Blanco
Yellow cards: Marton Vass 34, Santiago Rodriguez 69, Tayfun Buyukkopru 69, Matthew Fsadni 70, Stefan de Jesus 73; Red cards: Nil
Northern Tigers FC: 1. Matt Nemes (gk); 6 Paul Davies (11 Mitchell Smith 85), 4 Michael Rolston (C), 12 Russell Farrell, 13 Jamie Craig; 3 Lucas Dawson,15 Hayden Krha (23 Julian Lim 65), 10 Shervin Adeli (2 Samuel Ryder 80); 18 Tai Smith, 7 Matthew West, 9 Liam McConaghy
Subs: RGK 21 Harrison Devenish-Meares, 19 Robin Freiberger
Coach: Steve Hurd
Yellow cards: Tai Smith 70; Red cards: Nil
Referee: Adam Susz
Assistants: John Garcia and Joon Park
Ratings and miscellaneous
Weather: Cool, stormy for some minutes during early part of second-half, heavy rain and hail, then dry again.
Pitch: 10/10 (Synthetic)
Players noted: Kim Gyubeom (SU), Stefan de Jesus (SU),Adam Porcu (SU), Tai Smith (NT), Michael Rolston (NT), Matthew West (NT)