NPL Capital Football Round 8 Wrap

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NPL Capital Football Wrap sourced from Capital Football by Russ Gibbs.

Belconnen United claimed top spot on the ladder this weekend with a 3-2 victory over the point-less Tuggeranong United. Belconnen’s rise up the ladder was helped by FFA COE’s 6-3 goal-fest win over Canberra FC and Tigers FC 3-2 upset of Canberra Olympic.

FFA COE 6 (Nicholas Panetta 8’, 60’, Daniel Arzani 18’, Charlie Devereux 23’, 59’, Jamie Dimitroff 36’)
Canberra FC 3 (James Field 62’, Thomas Milicevic 64’, Thomas James 88’)

A remarkable beginning to Round 8 of the PlayStation 4® National Premier Leagues: Capital Football saw FFA COE defeat Canberra FC 6-3 at the Australian Institute of Sport to move into second place in the ladder ahead of the Sunday matches. In a bizarre match, Canberra FC created heaps of chances but was made to pay for their profligate finishing by an impressively ruthless FFA COE side that raced into a 6-0 lead by the hour mark before a comeback from the visitors saved them from abject humiliation. But it all could have been so different. Had Ian Graham converted his fourth minute penalty, rather than see his shot saved by Duro Dragicevic, a different outcome could have occurred. As it was the FFA COE was outstanding in its attacking outlook and made FC pay, cruising into a 4-0 lead by the break. Nicholas Panetta, enjoying a superb start to the season, opened the scoring in the 8th minute before Daniel Arzani made it two just ten minutes later. Charlie Devereux added the third goal in the 23rd minute and Jamie Dimitroff crashed home the fourth six minutes before the break as the hosts ran riot, threatening to destroy the FC defensive structure. There was little let-off for the visitors after the break as Devereux and Panetta bagged quick-fire goals to push the score out to half a dozen, the latter grabbing his fifth of the season. Facing a hammering FC regrouped and finally found their mark. James Field started the mini comeback with his second goal of the season in the 63nd minute, quickly followed by a strike from fellow midfielder Thomas Milicevic. Marko Vrkic then saw red for a reckless tackle, with Thomas James lobbing Dragicevic for his fifth goal of the season close to full time. By then it was evident that FFA COE had done more than enough and continued their solid start to the NPL campaign.

Canberra Olympic 2 (Tom McLachlan 22’, Nick Bobolas 76’)
Tigers FC 3 (Julian Borgna 23’, 40’, Jeremias Ibarra 55’)

Tigers FC roared their way back into the title race at the top of a congested PlayStation 4® National Premier Leagues competition by knocking over former league leaders Canberra Olympic 3-2 at O’Connor Enclosed in front of a raucous crowd. The Tigers have had something of a Jekyll and Hyde start to the defence of their League Championship crown and they suffered a setback at the start of this match when the home team took the lead in the 22nd minute. Tom McLachlan scored plenty in his breakthrough season with Belconnen United last year but had yet to taste the glory of a league goal for Olympic so it was with some relish that he put his side ahead midway through the first half. The joy was short-lived however as the Tigers hit back within seconds as Julian Borgna found space to manoeuvre room to equalise. That silenced the home support and they were further disillusioned five minutes before the half-time break when the visiting Tigers went further ahead as Borgna doubled his, and his team’s tally, giving the Tigers a narrow 2-1 lead at the break. The second half continued along the same vein with both teams looking threatening in attack and looking likely to score with each attack. It was the Tigers who, crucially in the long term, netted next. Midfielder Jeremias Ibarra has had an excellent campaign to date and grabbed his third goal of the season in the 55th minute to put the Tigers 3-1 to the good and leave Olympic with a lot to do to salvage something from the match. The home team gave themselves a chance when centre back Nick Bobolas reduced the arrears with fourteen minutes to play but the Tigers held on under some late pressure to record a vital win that brings the within touching distance of the top.

Tuggeranong United 2 (Zac Munster 15’, Harry Pettit 60’)
Belconnen United 3 (Goran Mukevski 32’, Cameron Reinhart 55’, Jason Ugrinic 63’)

Belconnen United sit proudly atop the PlayStation 4® National Premier Leagues Capital Football competition after eight rounds following a narrow 3-2 victory over Tuggeranong United at Kambah 2. The competition leaders were made to work hard by a stubborn Tuggeranong side that still sit bottom of the table and are awaiting their first point of the campaign. Having reached the last four of the Westfield FFA Cup Qualifiers in midweek, setting up a semi-final tie with Belconnen in the process, Tuggeranong will surely break their duck soon if they continued to apply themselves in the same manner as they did in this fixture. They had the temerity to stun the Blue Devils and take the lead in the 15th minute. Zac Munster used to plunder goals for fun in the Blue Devils lower grade and has found the Westfield FFA Cup to his liking but has struggled for goals in the league, so opening the scoring here would have been a much needed fillip for the young striker. Belconnen though has plenty of attacking weapons in its arsenal and one of them, Goran Mukevski, dragged his team level in the 32nd minute. The Blue Devils started the second half brightly and took the lead through an unusual source five minutes after the resumption when defender Cameron Reinhart popped up at the other end to put the visitors in front. It was Tuggeranong’s turn to respond and defender Harry Pettit forced the teams’ level again on the hour. However, Belconnen hit the front almost immediately again as Jason Ugrinic, summoned from the bench, netted what proved to be the match winner in the 63rd minute. Ugrinic has been Belconnen’s leading light in front of goal this season and the replacement found the space to bag the all-important fifth goal of the afternoon. Tuggeranong battled for a response but Belconnen confidently held on to take a valuable three points. For Tuggeranong, who ended the match with ten men, the search for a point goes on, but if they play like this most weeks, then that wait should be short-lived.

Monaro Panthers 2 (David Jenkins 34’ (og), Mark Shields 60’)
Woden-Weston FC 2 (Sam McDonald 14’, Nikolas Popovich 42’)

Monaro Panthers and Woden-Weston FC shared four goals as they drew 2-2 at the Riverside Stadium in an entertaining match that ebbed and flowed and ended in what was, arguably, a fair reflection of the ninety minutes play. It was the visiting Woden-Weston FC who got off to a fast start as the Panthers, perhaps still suffering a hangover from their midweek Westfield FFA Cup exit at the hands of Tuggeranong United, were sluggish and left to chase the match as Sam McDonald, a summer signing from Canberra City, scored his first goal for his new club. Monaro fought their way back into this engaging battle and were duly back on level terms in the 34th minute. Mark Shields was heavily involved as the ball bounced around the Woden-Weston penalty area with David Jenkins, the Woden-Weston FC utility player, subsequently adjudged to have turned the ball past his own ‘keeper to bring the Panthers back to 1-1. If that was a disappointment for the visitors they soon had reason to smile again as Nikolas Popovich, looking sharp after a return from a long-term injury, put them back in front three minutes before the half-time break. The game could have gone either way in the second half with chances at both ends and the respective goalkeepers, Rory Larkin (Woden-Weston FC) and Jack Pettit (Panthers) called upon to make a number of saves. Monaro will feel they deserved a share of the points and Shields gave them the best chance to get that when he slotted his fourth of the season in the 60th minute. After that chances came and went with both teams forced to settle for a point apiece at the conclusion of an absorbing match.

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