National Premier League Round 7 – Review.
Sunday 25th May
Canberra FC 5 v Canberra City 0
Canberra FC ensured they remained top of the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football after defeating a belligerent Canberra City 5-0 at Deakin Stadium. The home team was always in control of the match but City made them work hard for their goals with strikers Alex Oloriegbe and Philippe Bernabo-Madrid sharing the five between them. Oloriegbe put FC ahead in the 12th minute, slotting home from close range after great approach work from Daniel Bennett and the home team went 2-0 up when Bernabo-Madrid converted from the spot following a foul on Oloriegbe by James Perry. City striker Deng Aleer Deng was causing mischief to the FC defence with his tireless running and, after Bernabo-Madrid has scored his second of the match, following a cut back from Ryan Keir, Deng won City a spot-kick after he was adjudged to have been pushed by FC custodian Jakob Cole. Ben Doyle fluffed the chance though, hammering high and wide and denying City a consolation. As it was FC went on to score two more before the close as Oloriegbe claimed a hat-trick. After tapping in a Bernabo-Madrid cross the forward, at the third time of asking, crashed a shot into the roof of the net to round out another excellent performance.
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Cooma Tigers 5 v FFA COE 0
The FFA COE was taught a lesson by Cooma Tigers at Nijong Oval on Sunday afternoon as they were defeated 5-0 in a match that saw the Tigers virtually wrap up the three points by the half-time interval. The Centre of Excellence youngsters were up against it from the off as Cooma hit the front as early as the fifth minute when Goran Josifovski, who would go on to complete a hat-trick, opened his account with a fine finish. Josifovski was on fire in the first half and made it 2-0 to the home team in the fourteenth minute before completing a first half treble with three minutes remaining of the half. There was still time for one more before the break as the Tigers were awarded a penalty and Stephen Domenici made no mistake from the spot. Trailing 4-0 at the interval the FFA COE needed a good start to the second half, unfortunately for the visitors they found themselves further behind only a couple of minutes after the resumption. Again the Tigers were awarded a penalty and again Domenici did the honours showing his clinical streak from the dead ball to take the game firmly out of reach of the FFA COE. The Centre of Excellence defended stoutly after this and there were no further goals but, by then, the damage had already been done.
Canberra Olympic 3 v Belconnen United 1
Canberra Olympic snapped their three game losing streak with a stunning 3-1 success over second placed Belconnen United inflicting a first defeat of the season on the Blue Devils in a manner that suggests they may soon be back to the kind of form that brought them silverware last term. In a nervy encounter it was evident that Olympic had real need and had a super start, taking the lead in the thirteenth minute as a pair of former Belconnen players combined to open up their ex-club. Callum Smith made the inroads and Michael Reeve applied the coup de grace to send the home support crazy. The Blue Devils aren’t fighting for the title for nothing however and they stormed back into the game to end an even half trailing by the odd goal. The advantage that Olympic gained was cancelled out in the 67th minute as Jason Ugrinic equalised for the visitors with a well-taken goal, his fourth of the season. But far from demoralising Olympic the setback only spurred them into further action and they regained the lead just five minutes later as Josh Gaspari found room to belt a low shot into the bottom corner past Rade Kosanovic. Belconnen pressed for an equaliser for the second time but Olympic wrapped up the points in stoppage time as Robbie Deeley netted a priceless third.
Monaro Panthers 1 v Woden Valley 1
Monaro Panthers and Woden Valley shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium but the Panthers had their goalkeeper Rory Larkin to thank for preserving a share of the spoils with the stopper making a series of superb saves to deny Woden all three points. In what is sure to be a tight race for top four spots, the point apiece keeps both teams on the coat-tails of those already occupying the semi-final places with honours even. It was the Panthers who took the initiative first taking the lead in the first half thanks to a goal from Josh Calabria, his second of the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football campaign. It was a lead that the hosts seemed certain to take into the break but Woden hit back with a god goal of their own as Mitch Steenbergen levelled matters up with his first goal of the season. With the scores all square at the break the chance was there for either side to take all three points and both had opportunities to do so with Woden creating the better chances but some solid defending and some excellent goalkeeping from Monaro, meant they could not find the critical breakthrough to take the maximum return. The result pushed the Panthers into sixth place, ahead of the FFA COE, whilst Woden Valley has closed the gap on the Centre of Excellence to a point and is now just four points off the top four in what is turning into a real battle in mid-table.