Round 13 of the 2016/17 Football NSW Select NSW Premier League saw Inner West defeat Enfield 3-1, Dural dominate Mascot 10-2, South Coast stun Northside 2-1, while Boomerangs and Mountain Majik slogged out a 3-3 draw.
The results make for a fascinating final round as Inner West (31 points) still head Dural (28) and Enfield (22), with Boomerangs (17), Majik (17) and UTS (14) sorting out the final playoff position, Mascot (10) and South Coast (9) also involved in an effort to not finish last.
Inner West need a single point to wrap up the open men’s premiership but a shock loss to Northside this weekend would open it up for Dural to steal first place with a win over Majik. Enfield finish third and host the knockout semi-final no matter what the outcome of its Mascot clash.
The battle for fourth is fascinating: the Mountineers concede a damning goal-difference (-10) to co-fourth place Boomerangs (-1) leaving Majik with little choice but to beat Dural this weekend to have any chance, also needing bottom-side South Coast to pull something out of the bag against the Territorians in Wollongong. UTS (-3) can only hope both Mountain and Boomerangs lose and gift them a shot at the finals should they claim a remarkable victory at home versus Magic.
Then there’s the wooden spoon. Vipers lead Taipans by a point and travel to Enfield this weekend while the Coasters play Boomerangs at home. Here’s the motivation: Last-placed South Coast have finished bottom both times they’ve contested the open men’s premier league (2015/16 and 2011/12), while competition foundation club Mascot have never finished last.
Mountain man Jordan Guerreiro might still have work to do to claim the Golden Boot prize; he stands on 16 goals ahead of this weekend’s match-up against juggernauts Dural, nearest rival Vic Koutsoufis (14) suiting up for the Warriors. Enfield’s Michael Kouta (13) is the only other player left in the picture, Rovers play Vipers in the final round.
It’s also a hearty congratulation to Inner West Magic after they wrapped up yet another club championship, building an unassailable 34-point lead over Mascot and with eight of nine teams holding top-two positions.
Records indicate Magic have won eight of the 10 Premier League Club Championships contested (they also won the preceding two Futsal League club championships), Mascot claiming last year’s trophy and Sydney City winning in 2010/11 (Vipers and Eagles have also finished runner-up twice each).
Mountain Majik 3 (Kaan Kilinc, Andrew Luttringer, Samuel Gulisano) Boomerangs FS 3 (Jason O’Dwyer 2, Brett Forward)
UTS Northside 1 (Nathan Amore) South Coast Taipans 2 (Mitchell Ferraro, James Markovic)
Inner West Magic 3 (Daniel Fogarty, Chris Zeballos, Brian Griffin-Colls) Enfield Rovers 1 (Lachlan Wright)
Mascot Vipers 2 (Alex Euripidou, Leonardo Pinto) Dural Warriors 10 (Greg Giovenali 2, Wade Giovenali, Brendan Hoyer, Vic Koutsoufis, Nathan Niski, Bruno Pivato, Blake Rosier, Samuel De Oliveira)
Majik, Boomerangs draw
It was a game of two halves as Mountain Majik and Boomerangs FS battled out a dramatic 3-3 draw at Blacktown Leisure Centre.
The Territorians came out firing and dominated play only to concede three goals on the counter as Kaan Kilinc breached the Boomerangs wall on the quarter-hour and goals to team-mates Andrew Luttringer and Samuel Gulisano elevated Majik to an unexpected 3-0 halftime lead.
Jason O’Dwyer pulled one back for the travelers straight after the break and it was game on when an O’Dwyer rocket inside the final 10 minutes had the Boomerangs trailing 3-2, and not even a straight red card to Boomers keeper Ashley Collins and a second yellow to team-leading scorer Michael Rinaudo could stop a stirring comeback as Brett Forward cheekily backheeled into goal at the far-post in the final minutes of play to force a gasping 3-3 stalemate.
A fifth level-scoreline for both clubs this summer saw them break the record for most league draws in a season, moving ahead of Inner West’s mark of four in 2014/15 – and overall honours are well and truly locked between the clubs following an equally-thrilling 4-4 draw earlier this season to go with a win apiece last season.
Unfortunately for Boomerangs, the shared result gave them an unenviable record of 12 straight winless away games, eclipsing Mascot’s 11 road trips without success from 2013/14-2014/15. The last time the Capitalists tasted premier league victory in NSW was a 7-2 win against Phoenix at Ryde way back in November 2013.
The upside is that a win, and maybe even a draw, against South Coast in Wollongong this weekend would see them take the fourth playoff position.
The flowing mane of Boomerangs coach Kristian Collins receded a little after a hair-pulling tussle. “They didn’t have ball for the first 15 minutes and they scored three goals off turnovers… we could’ve been 5-0 up in the first five minutes,” he said.
“We just needed more composure in the final-third, so nothing needed to change for the second half. We were plenty good enough to get ourselves back into the game, we just had to make sure the scoreline didn’t get to us and needed to test their keeper a bit more.”
“When we got to 3-2 down we were looking comfortable and they were looking rattled, and I was thinking this was our game to lose. We defended well down a player and then rotated the three defenders out and brought on four fresh players and had so many chances,” Collins said.
“It’s frustrating to not have Michael [Rinaudo] and Ashley [Collins] next weekend, but Brad Sawyer is back from overseas and he’s added an extra threat. There’s more at stake for us than South Coast, so our boys know what they have to do.”
Majik coach Babak Menati wouldn’t buy into ‘fortune’ and remained forthright in his Australian Futsal role. “1-0 up at halftime might be lucky, but 3-0 up is not lucky,” he said.
“I try my best to tell my players the game is not over and that we need more push, and in the second half Boomerangs played very good and took their chances. With all respect, the game was in two halves – one was ours and one was for them.
“I’m not happy with the draw, but my players played very good and I’m very happy with them – five games unbeaten is a good reward for them. Maybe I could’ve done better changes, so I take responsibility for the result.”
“Next week we will respond but we’re not looking to beat Dural; they are a very respected team by us and one of the great teams in Australia with great players,” Menati said.
“For us it’s an opportunity to gain experience. I will play my young players against Greg [Giovenali] and the other great players to get more experience.
“I’m looking forward to the game; it will be tough for us and all I’m looking for is improvement every week and hopefully with a nice outcome. If I can’t help in some area of Australian Futsal I would never get involved!”
Coasters edge Northside
South Coast Taipans ground out a determined 2-1 win against UTS Northside at Marrickville PCYC to give themselves a belated shot of avoiding this year’s wooden spoon.
A terrific Mitchell Ferraro strike put South Coast ahead midway through the opening term before UTS – who were without captain-coach Grant Lynch – fired back with a neatly-taken Nathan Amore freekick a minute later to lock up the scores 1-1 at halftime.
The game was there for the taking throughout a tense second period and four minutes from the end James Markovic capitalised on some great lead-up work from Matt Mazevski to score the winning goal and put Taipans in a position to move off the bottom should they beat Boomerangs at home this weekend and seventh-placed Mascot trip up against Enfield.
Incredibly, 14 different players have scored for South Coast over summer (only Campbelltown and Mascot have identified more seasonal scorers with 15 each in 2011/12); the downside is that just two Taipans have scored more than twice – Matt Mazevski and Riku Iwauchi notching up half the team’s 27 goals.
Coast coach Bobby Mazevski has always maintained a belief his young side can and will continue to improve. “I thought we dominated much of the second half and deserved the points,” he said.
“UTS missed Grant Lynch I felt but, taking nothing away from the guys, we ground out a result which I think has been coming over the last few weeks. With a healthy contingent of youth players we can look to build for the future.”
Northside now need more miracles than Mary McKillop to make the finals. First, UTS need to shock competition leaders Inner West and also hope Dural hold their form to beat Mountain Majik and South Coast pull off an upset over road-weary Boomerangs… but stranger things have happened in the beautiful sport of Futsal!
Magic overcome Rovers
Inner West held off Enfield Rovers 3-1 in an exasperating derby at Valentine Sports Park – but the premiership isn’t in safe Magic hands just yet.
Inner West began with a bang and two goals in two minutes midway through the half gave them the ascendancy – Chris Zeballos scoring from a well-constructed set-piece before Daniel Fogarty stole the ball midcourt and raced in to drive a well-placed shot past Richard Curmi in goal for Enfield (Fogarty scoring in his third straight derby).
Magic made it 3-0 10 minutes into the second period when Brian Griffin-Colls dismissed Rovers veteran Lachlan Wright and drove the ball past Stephen Spirou; but the lopsided scoreline sparked the visitors into life and Enfield began to dominate forcing Inner West keeper Roberto Maiorana to make two brilliant acrobatic saves before Wright smashed one in five minutes from the end.
To underline the competitiveness of this fixture, both sides have won six times each to go with a thrilling 4-4 deadlock; however the end result means Inner West only a need a draw against UTS this weekend to seal the premiership… but Northside are playing for their playoff lives and an unlikely success would leave the door open for Dural to steal top spot should they better Mountain Majik.
Magic maestro Matteo Maiorana called the game a typical physical Inner West versus Enfield battle.
“Nothing surprises me anymore when derby day comes along, Magic and Enfield battles are always epic. There is a fierce rivalry and neither team likes to lose and after our defeat earlier in the season we knew if we wanted to win the premiership we needed to win this game and the boys responded, I’m extremely proud of them,” he said.
“Fogarty and Zeballos were brilliant! They are the team’s senior players and they were implored to lead their team and they did just that.
“Enfield even without Shervin [Adeli] are a dangerous side; they have so many weapons but we defended resolutely and came away with a massive three points.”
“[Coach Stephen] Knighty and the boys have worked extremely hard and have earned the chance to claim the premiership – it’s been almost eight years since we won the men’s premiership and the boys knew [the club’s] expectations and have risen and met every one of them to date; but beating Enfield means nothing without a point next week versus UTS who still have a chance to make the finals themselves. We know it won’t be easy,” Maiorana said.
“Yesterday was a brilliant day for the club picking up the maximum 27 Club Championship points and being the only club ever to get two maximum-point hauls in the same season.
“Leading by 34 points we have an unassailable lead which secured our 10th club championship; we now want to add another record and be the first club to win the Open Men’s Premiership and Club Championship in the same season.”
Rovers coach Ernie Bivona remained upbeat despite a result that had no bearing on their overall standing. “Firstly I’d like to congratulate [Magic coach] Steven Knight with the job he’s done this season,” he said.
“Tonight’s game could have gone either way… I’m just happy we’re starting to wake up after our Christmas slumber – for years this has been our Achilles Heel.”
“Some very important saves made by their keeper kept them ahead and in control of the lead, [but] the positive from tonight’s game is we created a lot of chances; hopefully over the next few weeks we convert them into goals,” Bivona said.
“Obviously we were out of the minor premier’s race but no-one likes losing the derby, so the lads’ effort tonight made me proud.
“Now we go into the last round thinking about the next comp – the semifinals. I hope we get to play Inner West again at some stage, I really think that this is a neutral’s favourite fixture. I’m proud of the effort and passion the lads showed against a very well-drilled team… [and] I’m confident in the lads come February 18 – our heart will be on the sleeve!”
Warriors crush Vipers
Dural Warriors made it five wins on the trot following a convincing 9-2 win over Mascot Vipers at All Sorts Indoor Sports Centre that sealed a top-two finish and kept the pressure on competition leaders Inner West.
The defending champions showed their mettle as returned spearhead Greg Giovenali inspired his team with a brace of goals that helped Dural turn a 4-1 halftime buffer into a solid seven-goal victory – eight Warriors adding their name to a crowded scoresheet.
Dural have beaten Mascot in 14 of 15 premier league encounters going back to the 2009/10 competition, amassing 90 goals against Vipers in the process and Giovenali claiming more than a third of his 14 league doubles (5) from the annual meeting.
It’s also the seventh time this season (and fifth time in the last seven rounds) Warriors have tallied more goals than their premier league-leading 4.9 average (just ahead of Enfield’s 4.8)… but here’s the most telling stat: every time Dural’s had a winning streak of five or more games they’ve gone on to win the championship – watch out everyone else!
Warriors mastermind Rob Varela thought his side did everything it had to for the result. “It was a good performance against a team that sat deep and defended strongly. We showed patience in attack and were fairly tight in defence,” he said.
Now all Dural can do is beat Mountain Majik this weekend and hope for the best. Warriors sit three points behind leaders Inner West but with a far superior goal-difference, Magic requiring just a draw with UTS to claim the premiership. The X-factor in both these fixtures is that both Majik and Northside are desperate for a win that gives them an outside chance of making the finals.
Mascot’s only win against Dural came in October 2009 and, what looked like being a promising season, if they don’t beat Enfield on the road this weekend and South Coast beat Boomerangs in Wollongong, Vipers finish with a perhaps-undeserved wooden spoon.
Next week’s games
Football NSW Select Futsal Premier League final-round Saturday night features South Coast Taipans versus Boomerangs FS at University of Wollongong Sports Hub (5.40pm), UTS Northside tackle Inner West Magic at Marrickville PCYC (6.40pm), Enfield Rovers face Mascot Vipers at the Morris Iemma Indoor Sports Centre (7.50pm), while Dural Warriors host Mountain Majik at The Centre (7.55pm). Visit the Football NSW website (Futsal tab) for full details.
-By Dan De Nardi