It was points shared in a pulsating 1-1 contest between Mt Druitt Town Rangers and Sydney FC on Friday night at Popondetta Park.
Sydney FC might be disappointed not to take full points from the contest after their performance across the 90 minutes as the young side opened the scoring through a Patrick Wood thunderbolt but had to settle for a draw.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers put in a fantastic shift against one of the in-form teams of the National Premier Leagues NSW competition with Olayinka Sunmola curling home a wonderful goal to earn the hosts a point in a tightly contested game.
Both sides were chomping at the bit after losses last week and got straight into their work.
Both Sydney FC’s Matthew Scarcella and Town Rangers Jack Stewart had tame efforts.
Sydney FC started to find their rhythm and made inroads in the contest.
Zachary Sapsford prodded one wide from a cross then he nodded a header right at Rangers custodian Robert Fanella.
The Rangers put some passes together with some neat interplay before Louis Khoury fired over the bar and Stewart quickly followed, turning well, but fired wide.
It was almost a horror moment for Sydney FC at the back as defender Aiden Simmons tried to sweep away a cutback from Rangers Fumoto Kamada but swept it onto the post then away.
As the half wore on, Sydney FC started to surge forward and racked up the chances.
Patrick Wood fired home from inside the box then Scarcella’s effort ended up high and wide behind the goal.
Wood continued to show his experience with a pair of chances – a tame header that landed right in the hands of Fanella then a shot that was also blocked by the Rangers shot stopper.
The Sydney FC striker brought the house down at the end of the first half.
He found some space about 30 yards before Wood unfurled a venomous strike which left Fanella stranded and made it 1-0 going to the break.
Looking to build on their lead, Sydney FC had the majority of possession but their best chance came on the hour mark when Aaron Gurd’s header was claimed safely.
As the game started to open up, Mt Druitt Town pushed forward looking for the equaliser.
The hosts had a few chances that didn’t test Sydney FC custodian Adam Pavlesic.
Sydney FC kept looking for a second goal to give themselves a cushion.
Substitute Adrian Segecic played a delighted wall pass before he forced Fanella into a low save.
The hosts found an equaliser on the counter through a wonderful, curled strike.
The first effort from Solomon-John Monahan Vaiika was played to the feet of substitute Olayinka Sunmola to make it 1-1.
Buoyed by his goal, Sunmola almost made it a brace.
He latched onto a loose ball before he struck the base of the post to the groans of the home crowd.
Headed into stoppage time, Sydney FC went close to a winner.
Substitute Louis Agosti curled a cross onto the head of Sapsford which forced a fantastic stop from Town Rangers Fanella.
Speaking post match Mt Druitt Town Rangers coach Stewart Montgomery was pleased with the effort from his side against a top team.
“That was one of our more complete games in regard to our defensive and midfield requirements. Hopefully it is something to build on for us. We had a good crack at the side near the top and hit the post three times.” said Montgomery.
“It’s never been our problem in creating chances. Both sides had their chances but I think we controlled the game while they hit us on the counter as expected.”
For Sydney FC coach Jim Van Weeren, it was points dropped for his side in an open contest tonight in the west.
“I think we were far from our best. We still think we could’ve had more as could’ve they so maybe a fair result. We talked about their counterattack at the break and couldn’t implement it which is disappointing for us.” said Van Weeren.
“Drawing is better than losing but this was a contest we thought could’ve been a win. The whole group is disappointed after that and feel like it was two points dropped for us.”
Friday 13 May 2022
Popondetta Park, Emerton
Referee: Kelly Jones
Assistant Referees: Joon Park and Emma Kocbek
Fourth Official: Logan Jones
Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC 1 (Sunmola ‘79)
Sydney FC 1 (Wood ‘43)
Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC: 2. Solomon-Johnn Monahan-Vaiika (41. Ivan Sunjic ‘84), 6. Louis Khoury, 7. Jack Stewart, 8. Jason Perez, 9. John Roberts, 11. Fumoto Kamada, 15. Brayden Burr (18. Olayinka Sunmola ‘65), 17. Cooper Coskerie, 20. Robert Fanella, 21. Tarek Elrich, 22. Rhett Desilva (25. Mohommed Sabbouh ‘12)
Substitutes Not Used: 19. Bul Juach, 26. Rocco Fragale, 30. Jerome Narayan, 36. Justin Mercieca
Yellow Cards: Burr ‘17, Khoury ‘49, Sunmola ‘81, Roberts ‘87
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney FC: 3. Aaron Gurd, 4. Nathan Grimaldi, 7. Aiden Simmons, 10. Jaiden Kucharski (28. Louis Agosti ‘65), 13. Clayton Taylor (11. Adrian Segecic ‘53), 14. Zachary Sapsford, 16. Matthew Scarcella (9. Benjamin Gibson ‘65), 18. Oscar Priestman (37. Hayden Matthews ‘87), 19. Joseph Calusic, 22. Patrick Wood, 30. Adam Pavlesic
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Max Vartuli, 26. Aleksander Duricic
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Patrick Wood (SFC)
2 – Fumoto Kamada (MDTR)
1 – Olayinka Sunmola (MDTR)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)