Sydney United 58 FC are the inaugural National Premier Leagues (NPL) Final Series Champions, defeating South Hobart FC 2-0 in front of a strong crowd of well over 1000 at a wet KGV Football Park in Hobart.
The New South Wales Champions added the national crown to a successful 2013 under Mark Rudan with an early flurry setting up the inaugural NPL Finals championship.
United’s victory started brightly, with sharp attacking play and the visitors clinical finishing put them in the driver’s seat.
Sydney struck just 11 minutes in, Yuichi Yamayuchi entered left of the 18 yard box and South Hobart gloveman Matthew Ferguson raced from his line to try and shut down the danger but Yamayuchi swiftly squared a ball up to Glen Trifiro, who buried it past a desperate Ferguson lunge.
Their second goal came promptly after, with Ibrahim Haydar nodding home in the 15th minute. A straight corner came in to Haydar at the top of the six yard box, who headed firmly inside of the far post.
The home side went close to responding in the 35th minute, South entered the box down the right channel through midfielder Caleb Ludlow, Ludlow’s ball zipped across the box and missed the head of Kostas Kanakaris by a whisker to provide an agonising missed chance.
United should have made it 3-0 in the 38th minute, a great build up down the right involving Nathan Sherlock and Yamayuichi ended with a ball sent across the face off goal to United Captain Luka Glavas. Glavas misfired and the ball spilled off a South Hobart leg to Mathew Bilic, who had a look at an open goal and struck into the left upright.
The underdogs South Hobart fought back hard and on the shadow of half time it had appeared that they had pegged one back when Nick Morton volleyed home a knock from the left at back post but the hosts were denied with the attacking midfielder ruled offside.
South Hobart responded well after the break and played some attractive football, using width through Chris Hunt and Jordan Templin to test United’s defence. The Tasmanian team were far from disgraced in the final and continued to create chances.
South Hobart’s hopes weren’t helped when Morton was forced from the field in the 74th minute, falling heavily from an aerial contest seeing the midfielder helped off the field on a stretcher.
Their hopes of a fight back were all-but killed off in the 80th minute, when substitute Ben Hamlett was shown red for violent conduct.
United were tested but their victory never looked in doubt with the two early goals giving them a comfortable lead to sit on throughout.
Glen Trifiro was awarded the John Kosmina medal for best on ground in the NPL Grand Final. The midfielder played a stellar game, scoring a goal and having a huge influence over the result, frequently kick-starting attacks for the Champions.