4-3 win by the Eagles Mens team
Stanhope Gardens was the venue between the hosts The Western Raiders and the still winless Sydney City Eagles.
Raiders opened well having the games first chance. The Eagles defence was caught napping from a kick in by Ray Miller who found Benny Lam but luckily for an alert Peter Spathis the Eagles could’ve gone behind.
The Eagles then clicked into gear a lovely ball by Marino Musumeci found a wide open Heber Carvalho whos attempted cross court ball to the awaiting Andres Gomes was intercepted by an acrobatic Peter Akers save.
The same combination again combined with a lovely Andres Gomez ball playing in Marino Musumeci but once again Akers was able to stop the Eagles raid. The nippy Eagles trio of Carvalho, Gomez and Musumeci were wreaking havoc on the Raiders at will and it was the quick interchanging of passes between the 3 that left Gomes with an opportunity which he hit wide.
The Raiders best chance in the opening stanza came 6 minutes in with a barn storming run by Mark Lancaster down the right flank found the diminutive Lam who had his shot stopped by Australias Number 1 goal keeper Peter Spathis from point blank range.
The introduction of Leo Carle was the inspiration behind the Eagles next attacking move. Carle played a lovely pull back pass to Gomes who returned the ball to Carle who found an oncoming Carvalho which was a pure genious and entertainment at its finest but still no goal.
The Raiders then had an opportunity to go ahead after some fancy footwork by Dale Southern and then some equally impressive short passing but the Eagles defence held strongly, the Eagles then won the ball on their D and surged down court, first it was trickery by Gomez who beat a defender and unselfishly found Andrew Paine whos left foot shot was unstoppable and gave the Eagles the lead.
The Eagles continued to dominate the game and could’ve increased their lead through attempts by Musumeci and Zeballos but it was the Raiders against the run of play that scored the games next goal. A basic short kick-in was the Eagles undoing with Lam playing a ball to Reece Iredale who tucked it away.
A mazy run by Ray Miller looked promising for the Raiders but that was until he was dispossessed by Leo Carle who stormed downfield and found Heber Carvalho who took one touch before nicely finishing to give the Eagles the lead going into half time.
It only took the Eagles 2 minutes to get back into the flow of peppering the Raiders goal first it was Carvalho and then Gomes had his miss hit shot cleared of the line but it was only a further minute before they extended their lead.
The classy duo of Andres Gomez and Leo Carle combined with Gomez racing down court leaving numerous Raiders in his wake after some fancy footwork he then drew the goal keeper before Carle then showed his teammate he would not be over shadowed with some fancy footwork of his own, got the keeper to drop before neatly chipping Akers to extend the Eagles lead. Carle then had a thunderous drive tipped over by the alert Akers, who was far and away the busiest Raider on the court.
The Raiders then had a little spurt of pressure where new midweek signing Kane Wright had a good shot blocked by Spathis and then had another shot stopped by a sliding Paine. Ben Lam then drew an Eagles defender and played a nice ball to Reyze Kelly who delightfully rolled Paine and cut the ball back to Iredale who had his shot cleared of the line by Zeballos.
The Raiders were beginning to get on top and had it not been for slightly over hit pass by Miller the Raiders would’ve scored with Lam lurking at the back post on a 2-1 break. It was all Raiders at this time and goal scorer Iredale had a shot well saved down low to his left by Spathis as did Lam but this time Spathis went down to his right.
The re introduction of Carle stemmed the tide, first it was his ball that put Paine through only to find Akers in fine form and then that man again Paine who after some nice trickery played in Zeballos who should’ve scored.
The Raiders then found themselves back in with a chance when Carle for the first time in the game got dispossessed by a hard but fair challenge by Wright. Wright then skipped down the left sideline and placed a superb shot across Spathis to cap off a good move and give his new team a way back into the game.
2 minutes later and the Raiders should’ve been back on level pegging. Miller who had a quiet game up to this point received the ball in his own half of the court and went along his merry way first beating Musumeci and the help of Carle before drawing Gomes and played a brilliant ball to the free Southern who drew Spathis and found Miller who continued his run back post only for Miller to inexplicably hit the post with Spathis beaten.
With 5 minutes remaining the Eagles bombed what could’ve been the best team goal of the season, once again it was Carle at the forefront of the move. Squaring the ball before quickly checking back to play a sharp 1-2 with Paine, Carle continued his run and with the outside of his trusty left foot found Gomez who had peeled away from his marker who in turn squared the ball back to the on coming Carle who drew then beat the pivot to find a wide open Gomez who would’ve easily scored with a first time shot but was to nonchalant and wasted a glorious chance. It was from that corner though that Gomez redeemed himself playing a lovely square ball to Andrew Paine who got his second of the game from close range.
With what proved to be the last kick of the game Kane Wright gave the Raiders a glimmer of hope with his second of the game to cap off a debut which would’ve impressed his new coach Mark Cotter with a shot from just outside the area after some poor Eagles defending.
The Raiders toiled hard but the score line was quite flattering considering the amount of possession and shots the Eagles had.
The Eagles have been under strength early in the season, but on what was on show today they will without doubt be in the reckoning come finals time. Their constant movement with and without the ball and their slick passing game was a joy to behold and any team with Carle and Gomez are in with a chance.
The Eagles now move above the Raiders into 5th position while the Raiders drop down a place to 6th.
Sydney City Eagles – Paine 12′ 45′, Carvalho 20′ Carle 27′
Western Raiders – Iredale 18′, Wright 37′, 49′
Eagles – 2. Spathis, 19. M. Musumeci, 16. A. Paine, 17. H. Carvalho, 18. A. Gomez
Subs – 13. C. Zeballos, 20. L. Carle, 10. C. Hanly, 1. A. Messina, 14. M. Candy, 12. M. Nishiji
Raiders – 1. P. Akers, 11. B. Lam, 23. M. Lancaster, 15. R. Miller, 14 M. Kelly.
Subs – 16. R. Iredale, 9. D. Southern, 7. R. Kelly, 45. K. Wright
Eagles – Carvalho, Carle
Raiders – R. Kelly, Miller, Akers
A.Best, G. Lee, 3rd – B. MacPherson