North Shore shorthanded but come away with a point
By Corinthian (Paul Green):
NSW 2016 – PS4 NPL 2 – MEN – Round 3
6pm, Sunday 20th March 2016 6.00 – Lily’s Football Centre, Seven Hills (aka The Gabbie)
North Shore Mariners FC 1 (Marquin Smith 18′)
St George FC Saints 1 (Reuben Lagos 71′)
Promoted State League 1 side North Shore Mariners from Northbridge came into this game on the back of two straight defeats, the latest against table-toppers Bankstown City Lions.
Here they met St George, who’d won their opening match comfortably, before succumbing narrowly at home the following week to the strong Central Coast Mariners side.
This match was played at Lily’s Football Centre, as neither of the North Shore Mariners’ first choice fields were available.
North Shore Mariners, looking to get on the board at last, suffered a clear setback when they lost Chris Lindsay to a red card, after only half an hour, having taken an early lead through strapping young striker, Marquin Smith, one of their youthful UK finds from the previous season.
St George would have then expected to go on and win the game, having once drawn level, but the Mariners dug deep, showing many of the qualities that had earned them a runaway State League 1 title the previous season and the Saints had to settle for just a point.
In the last kick of the game St George almost lost it 2-1, needing to boot clear off their own line in stoppage-time to hold onto a point they certainly deserved.
But then again, North Shore Mariners deserved their share of the spoils equally well.
They had good shape, even following the departure of Lindsay, but prior to that, with Smith operating up front and using his solid frame and speed to good effect, the Mariners made most of the early running and took the lead after only 18 minutes, belying their poor form in their opening two matches against slicker opponents.
The home side took the lead when Smith showed his pace to latch onto a cross from the right and volleyed home convincingly, at close range.
Lindsay was sent off, after denying a goalscoring opportunity, just outside the box, to Bruno Pivato, but the ensuing free-kick was driven wide of the left-post.
Almost on half-time the Mariners nearly doubled their lead, Tadhg Purcell’s free-kick was on target, but superbly pushed around his left- hand upright by Saints’ keeper, George Bouropoulos.
St George kept plugging away and a goal looked certain, but it was only after Reuben Lagos came on for Jacob Sullivan, five minutes into the second-half, that the visitors began to look effective, going forward.
While the mostly individualistic Steven Ilic tried a few long-range shots, his close-in efforts were seldom enough to trouble the North Shore keeper.
Then Lagos got forward in the 71st and tried his luck from distance, with his powerful shot taking a huge deflection to wrong-foot the North Shore keeper, levelling the scores and setting St George up for a likely win.
But nobody told the Mariners that they were on the way to a third loss. as they kept their shape admirably and battled away for the remaining 20 minutes to wind up with a well-earned point.
Crowd: Approx 75
North Shore Mariners FC: 1. Anthony Zecchinati (gk); 3. Chris Lindsay, 4. Jack Grant, 6. Ricky Woodward, 7. Tadhg Purcell, 12. Nicholas Chapman; 17. Michael Cole, 20. Zac Sfiligoi, 21. Marley Petersen (19. Joseph Esposito 50), (14. Jake Mavin 90+1), 37. James Scott; 13. Marquin Smith (35. Julian Aguirre 81)
Subs not used: Stefan Giglio (rgk), 15. Jordan Mbakwe
Yellow cards: Nick Chapman 70, Jacob Esposito 88; Red card: Chris Lindsay 30
Coach: Joe Haywood
St George FC Saints: 1 George Bouropoulos (gk); 3. Ali Nasreddine, 5. Billy Darwich, 7. Stefan de Jesus, 13. Peter Vassilis; 15. Nicolas Rouzo, 18. Sam Cornish, 20. Alexander McCracken (15. Nicolas Perez 65’), 38. Jacob Sullivan (6. Reuben Lagos 50’); 17. Bruno Pivato, 9. Stevan Ilic
Subs not used: 21. Mark Stivic (rgk), 2. Daniel Kamel, 16. Thomas Menton
Yellow cards: Sam Cornish 60, Nicolas Rouzo 83, 90+2; Red cards: Nicolas Rouzo 90+2
Coach: Ivo de Jesus
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistants: Ray Osborne and Nick Talecki
Ratings and points
Weather: Cool, light breeze.
Pitch 10/10 Synthetic
Players noted: Marquin Smith (NSM), Michael Cole (NSM), Tadhg Purcell (NSM), Sam Cornish (SG),Nicolas Perez (SG), Billy Darwich(SG)