After every round of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Men’s season Team of the Week brings to focus the best players from that weekend.
Points were shared at Blacktown in a tightly fought contest between Spartans and Wollongong that saw a standout display from Justin Pasfield, allowing the visitors to hold on for a 0-0 draw. The former A-league keeper was immense in goals against a Spartans outfit desperate for a much-needed home ground win. Pasfield was called upon numerous times during an attacking burst from the Spartans just after the hour mark, but remained poised under pressure to make some excellent saves. Thomas Whiteside, a Spartans rising star, was solid at the back for the home side and defended brilliantly to deny the Wolves attack, whilst setting up some great chances with some darting runs up the wing.
Parramatta caused one of the upsets of the season thanks to a classy goal from Joshua Symons that condemned competition heavyweights Blacktown City to a 1-0 loss. The Parramatta captain rallied his defence superbly to spark some counterattacking raids that caught City on the back foot. After his side peppered the goal for much of the second-half, Symons rose above the pack to head home a corner to give Parramatta the lead. A desperate tackle in the dying minute from Symons blocked a last-ditch attempt from City’s attack. Earlier, Mitchell Mallia got the home crowd buzzing with some electric attacking football, outsmarting the Parramatta defense for much of the first half. Despite the chances he presented, City couldn’t find the net.
An entertaining match at Cromer Park saw both Manly and Bonnyrigg nail 3 goals each. The lead changed throughout the match as both sides pushed hard for a win. Aaron Peterson was dangerous up front in the opening exchanges but couldn’t execute the final touch. With his team down after 30 minutes, Peterson found his aim and put Bonnyrigg back in the contest with a clinical header. Young gun Dom Fergusson impressed in midfield for Manly. Some slick passes and great awareness showed maturity beyond his years, as Fergusson delivered some quality balls into attack, his side taking the lead in the second half. But Peterson lifted his intensity and after an excellent set-up, was brought down in a sloppy tackle in the penalty area that lead to a Robbie Younis equaliser from the resulting spot kick.
Sutherland showed excellent fighting spirit to defeat Olympic in their match on Sunday. A tense first half saw both sides press relentlessly in attack but consistently squander the finishing touch. The match looked set for a scoreless first half, before Nicholas Littler found the net with a well-timed header. Littler continued to apply pressure in the second half, both in attack and defense. Some courageous tackles coupled with endless stamina showcased the class of Littler, as he proved to be a key cog in the Sharks 2-1 victory.
Goal machine Chris Payne snagged a brace in the first half to give Sydney United a 3-2 win over Rockdale. Payne needed little time to warm up, striking in the 4th minute. His teammate and fellow attacking weapon Panni Nikas was everywhere in midfield with some strong runs and boundless energy. The two caused headaches for Rockdale’s defense, and Payne was soon presented the opportunity for his second. Stepping up to the penalty spot in the 35th minute, Payne had a chance to overtake Nikas as this season’s leading goal-scorer and executed perfectly to score his 13th goal of the season.
A thrilling match between APIA and Hakoah was heading for a tight draw, before Nathan Bowden-Haase delivered the knockout blow right on full time. The skipper was on fire for Hakoah, shutting down countless chances in defense through some inspirational tackling. After scoring in the opening exchanges, Adrian Vranic stepped up to give Hakoah the lead for a second time, holding off a strong challenge from the defense to sneak a goal home. The young gun has been on fire since his midseason move from Sydney Olympic. But APIA refused to yield and tied the scores with only a few minutes left. Bowden-Haase had other ideas though and proved to be the hero with a last-gasp winner.
GK- Justin Pasfield Wollongong Wolves
LB – Nick Littler Sutherland Sharks
CB – Nathan Bowden-Haase Hakoah Sydney City East
CB – Josh Symons Parramatta FC
RB – Thomas Whiteside Blacktown Spartans
LM – Mitchell Mallia Blacktown City FC
CM – Panni Nikas Sydney United 58 FC
RM – Dom Ferguson Manly United
ST – Aaron Peterson Bonnyrigg WE
ST – Adrian Vranic Hakoah Sydney City East
ST – Chris Payne Sydney United 58
-By Harry Easton