National Premier League Round 10 – Review.
Saturday 14th June
Tuggeranong United 1 v Belconnen United 3
Belconnen United went to the top of the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football ladder for at least 24 hours after defeating Tuggeranong United 3-1 at Kambah on a cool Saturday afternoon. And, whilst the Blue Devils were worthy of the three points, Tuggeranong was disappointed not to have emerged from the contest with at least a share of the spoils after missing a sixtieth minute penalty when Ashley Collins brilliantly denied Daniel Colbertaldo from the spot and from the rebound with a superb double save. Earlier Belconnen had dominated the opening half and gone into the break with the lead after Tom McLachlan arrived on cue to slide home a cutback by the over-lapping Milan Popovich. The visitors went 2-0 up with twenty-two minutes to play as McLachlan claimed a second, deflecting substitute Michael Taurasi’s shot past Rowan Shepherd in the Tuggeranong goal with his stomach. Dustin Wells saw a free-kick crash back off the crossbar for the Blue Devils whilst Muad Zwed and Colbertaldo may have scored before half-time for Tuggies. As it was the hosts did pull one back with time running out as Michael John grabbed his third goal in three games after reacting sharpest to a Sean Murphy flick-on. Any faint hopes of a draw were dashed though when Taurasi broke away in stoppage time to lift the third Belconnen goal over the advancing Shepherd.
Sunday 15th June
Woden Valley 2 v FFA COE 4
The FFA COE closed the gap on the top four with a 4-2 win over ten-man Woden Valley at Kaleen Enclosed on a cold Sunday afternoon in Canberra. The hosts saw Conor Nolan dismissed for a second yellow card offence early in the second half and, with their midfield inspiration, went any chance that they had of getting back into the contest. The early exchanges were fairly even as both teams went close before the FFA COE took the lead midway through the half. Awarded a penalty for an infringement in the area, Jamal Reiners took the responsibility to score, calmly finishing from the spot. The lead was short-lived however as Woden hit back within three minutes as John Gibson levelled. Just as it appeared as if the sides’ would enter the interval all-square, the FFA COE hit the front through a goal from Jamie Dimitroff. Needing to force a way back into the match, the hosts were soon up against it as Nolan saw red and the visitors profited from the extra man as Reiners netted his second of the match and third of the season. With Woden looking for a way back into it, the Centre of Excellence hit them on the break again and Peter Kekeris put the tie out of reach of Woden, making it 4-1. There was still time for a Woden consolation through Gibson’s second, but the FFA was deserved winners.
Cooma Tigers 2 v Canberra FC 1
A goal in the last minute from Stephen Domenici has handed Cooma Tigers what could prove to be a priceless 2-1 victory over Canberra FC on a difficult playing surface at Nijong Oval. Domenici struck the winner with time running out to continue the Tigers remarkable recent run and push them up into second place on the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football ladder. The result means that long time leaders Canberra FC have now slipped to third having lost their last two matches. With the game being played on the adjacent pitch to the normal Tigers’ home matches due to an unplayable surface, the smaller arena proved tough for both teams to master. After a goal-less opening half the fixture kicked into gear early in the second stanza. Goran Josifovski is enjoying a superb 2014 in the Cooma colours and the free-scoring forward netted his sixth goal of the campaign to put Cooma ahead. Canberra FC’s response was almost immediate as they upped the tempo and drew the ledger level as an unfortunate own goal off Iain Elliott made it 1-1. Both teams had their chances to take out the victory but it was Cooma who would be triumphant at the final whistle as Domenici hit his sixth of the NPL season to pilfer a priceless success. Cooma ended the match with ten men after Dejan Santrac was sent off.
Monaro Panthers 1 v Canberra City 0
Monaro Panthers recorded their third win of the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football season with a scrappy 1-0 victory over Canberra City on a bitterly cold day at the Riverside Stadium. The Panthers were just about worthy of their victory over a battling City but the manner in which they achieved it owed much to a stroke of good fortune. Daniel Linstead’s deep cross from the right-hand touchline, close to half-way, in the nineteenth minute looked destined for the hands of City custodian James Ward. Unfortunately for the visiting ‘keeper he either misjudged the flight, or lost the ball in the low afternoon sun and, after getting a good piece of the ball, inexplicably fumbled it over the line and into the back of the net. If that was fortune favouring the Panthers, it deserted them after that as they twice went close to establishing a two-goal lead. Martin Deng was the unfortunate player on both occasions as firstly he saw a thumping header cannon off the bar safety with Ward a statue, before a curling shot from the same player crashed back off the base of the post and away to safety. For their part City threatened an equaliser in a second half in which they probably shaded the action. Daniel Di-Salvatore, summoned from the substitutes’ bench, went closest but was denied by Rory Larkin and Monaro took the win.