National Premier League Round 6 – Review.
Saturday 17th May
Belconnen United 2 – Canberra FC 2
A 94th minute header from substitute Josip Jadric earned Canberra FC a point from a 2-2 draw with Belconnen United at McKellar Park on Saturday evening. Jadric rose highest to nod past Blue Devils goalkeeper Ashley Collins deep into added time to deny Belconnen the three points, but it was hard to argue that the league leaders weren’t worthy of a point from an excellent contest. In a fairly dour opening half there was very little to choose between the teams with Belconnen firing the closest salvo when main man Dustin Wells tested the reflexes of Canberra FC shot-stopper Jakob Cole early on, the ‘keeper diving to his right to palm, the ball over the bar for a corner. After a goal-less first half Canberra FC took the lead when Philippe Bernabo-Madrid headed in a cross after Belconnen failed to clear a free-kick. Belconnen then turned the match on its head with a brace of goals within five minutes. After FC failed to clear a long ball Jason Ugrinic sent a majestic lob over Cole and into the net. And the hosts were in front in the 71st minute when Dustin Wells swung over a delicious cross that Michael Taurasi met with a bullet header that flashed into the corner. With time running out and the home team looking certain of victory, FC sent one last foray forward and Jadric pounced to send the away support into delirium.
Sunday 18th May
FFA COE 2 – Canberra Olympic 1
A goal from Peter Kekeris in the 57th minute ultimately condemned Canberra Olympic to a third defeat of the season as the FFA Centre of Excellence downed the faltering Grand Final trophy holders 2-1 at the Australian Institute of Sport. It’s a mystifying fall from grace for Olympic who have lost their mojo of late as were left trailing midway through the opening half as Kosta Petratos scored his second goal in two matches to put the home team ahead. Facing the possibility of being on the end of a trio of losses, Olympic rallied at the interval and hit back within two minutes of the re-start. Awarded a free-kick within striking distance, Kiwi Robbie Deeley curled a cracker over the wall that cannoned back off the post. Hit-man Mark Shields was quickest to react to the rebound and had the simplest of tasks to nod home from close range for his fifth goal of the season. At 1-1 the game was there for the taking but it was the young charges from the Institute that took the bull by the horns and struck next as Kekeris rounded off a move to restore the FFA COE lead. Staring down the barrel of another defeat Olympic fought hard to get back on level terms but, try as they might, they could not penetrate the FFA COE defensive line and slumped to a third defeat in a row that sees them drop to fifth on the ladder.
Woden Valley 1 – Cooma Tigers 3
Cooma Tigers recorded a second win in succession with a 3-1 win over Woden Valley at Kaleen Enclosed in a high octane match that showed the qualities of both combatants. Having stunned Canberra Olympic last week Woden started brightly but it was the visitors, and in particular the in-form Robbie Cattanach, who took a strangle-hold on proceedings. Having blitzed Tuggeranong for four at Nijong Oval seven days ago Cattanach opened the scoring in the 29th minute. It was a lead they held until half-time although they were grateful to Woden striker Lukas Cole for passing up the opportunity to score a penalty with an amazing display of sportsmanship after his team were awarded a spot-kick with a Tigers player down injured. Cole simply passed the ball back to Francois Bangweni instead of attempting to level the scores. After the break it took only four minutes for Gaby Wilk’s team to extend their advantage as Stephen Domenici struck his second goal of the season. Woden however refused to buckle and within 120 seconds had got themselves right back into the contest. Cole had smashed a double in the win over Olympic and the striker showed he was still in prime form with another well-taken goal to make it 2-1. Mitch Stevens’ group have a solid look about them right now and they pushed on looking for an equaliser. However, in Cattanach the Tigers have a genuine match-winner and the playmaker netted his seventh goal of the season with fifteen minutes remaining to kill off the Woden challenge. The home team still kept plugging away but a two-goal deficit proved too much to handle.
Tuggeranong United 2 – Monaro Panthers 1
Tuggeranong United moved into third place on the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football ladder after they defeated Monaro Panthers 2-1 at Kambah 2. United had to come from behind to do so, over-turning a Monaro opener to claim the three points in a game that could have gone either way and was excellent entertainment for a decent crowd. The Panthers took the lead in the 21st minute when Tim Stewart was robbed on the edge of his own area by Thomas James whose low cross was inadvertently diverted into the net by defender Michael Gurney. Tuggeranong equalised five minutes later when a superb team move culminated with Muad Zwed scampering around Kris Trajanoski in the Panthers goal to roll home from eight yards. Both teams had chances after these goals with James a menace to the Tuggeranong defence throughout the encounter. At 1-1 at the break it was anyone’s game and the second half was an even affair with defences firmly on top. But the hosts made the crucial breakthrough in the 57th minute as Sean Kiddey latched onto a loose ball to thunder a glorious half-volley beyond Trajanoski and into the top corner for a stunning match-winner that pushed United closer to the top two.
(Capital Football Media Release)