Six unanswered goals and six different scorers saw St George City destroy Mt Druitt Town Rangers who have now slipped into relegation trouble following their heavy 6-0 defeat at Penshurst Park on Saturday evening.
Three goals in each half with Presley Ortiz, Paolo Mitry and Mo Khamis scoring in the opening stanza before Nathan Roberts, Pedro Ferrari and Andrew Vlahamadis all but assured City’s romp over the Rangers in their round 26 encounter.
The Rangers came into the match desperately seeking points whereas City, who won the corresponding fixture 3-0, were riding the crest of a wave in their first season in top flight NSW football and in no mood to concede anything, particularly at home.
The Reds, as they have played all season, defended in numbers and rapidly broke on the counter in an uncompromising display of football that would pay dividends.
The homes side’s early pressure paid off in the 9th minute when Ortiz was on hand to knock in the opening goal of the game followed closely by Mitry finding the outside of the post instead of doubling the lead.
However, the midfielder wasn’t to be denied and slotted home from just inside the area in the 13th minute to extend the home side’s advantage.
Mt Druitt, after a sluggish start, were struggling to see the ball nor mount an attack of their own such was the St George dominance in the early stages and showing no signs of letting up. Rangers needed to shake themselves from their torpor quickly.
Dominic Cox played a super one-two with Ortiz but fired straight at Dylan Niski between the sticks for the visitors.
Niski was called into action again when Maki Petratos cut inside from the right and fired goalward only to see the gloveman fly across his goal-line to turn the ball away for a corner. A super save to keep his side in the match.
Ortiz then hit the woodwork for City’s second time on the night with Marley Peterson unlucky with the follow up but Khamis found a third with an attempt that looped over the defence and nestled in the back of the net.
From a free-kick, Jackson Bandeira curled in a cross-cum-shot that Yaren Sozer comfortably held between the sticks in what was an all too rare foray forward for the visitors albeit they created a few half openings in the latter stages.
Rangers’ coach, Stewart Montgomery needed the half-time break to arrive to sort out his side as the fixture was rapidly getting away from them. If nothing else, damage limitation was required and a better performance after half-time.
No-one would have predicted City going to the break three goals to the good in what was expected to be a tough, physical meeting between the sides leaving the visitors a mounting to climb if they were to garner anything from the match.
No changes on the resumption but no doubt Montgomery’s words still ringing in the ears of the Rangers players as they started the second period in sprightly fashion forcing a succession of corners and half chances, none of which threatened the lead.
Khamis, ghosting into the area, should have netted his second of the match but managed to send his header over the crossbar and then found himself cautioned moments later.
Niski denied Mitry again when palming out a stinging shot as City looked to widen the gap on the scoreboard.
A major reshuffle from City saw coach Mirko Jurilj utilise his bench by bringing on all five substitutes in quick succession before Kotaro Katsuta was unable to gain enough height for the Rangers and tamely headed goalward for an easy Sozer gather.
Ferrari forced Niski to palm the ball out and from the corner it fell to Roberts who made no mistake when firing across the face and in at the back stick to increase the lead with Ferrari adding a fifth and substitute Vlahadamis also netting before the whistle.
In truth it could have been more embarrassing but for the woodwork and Niski between the sticks leaving a pragmatic Rangers’ coach Stewart Montgomery to comment.
“We have nothing to complain about after this performance,” he said.
“We were out thought, out played and out enthused from a side that is new to the competition.
“Mirko (Jurilj) has got them playing some good stuff and they were hungrier, more desperate and their execution was really good throughout.
“I don’t think there is anything positive we can take from the game, there is no sugar coating that performance but maybe it was a bit of a hangover from our midweek Waratah Cup match but we’ve got to be a lot more resilient than this.
“It’s never nice to be in this position but we’ve got to put this result behind us and move forward.,” he concluded.
Mirko Jurilj was restrained but beaming post-match.
“I’m very happy with the result,” he said.
“I thought we were very sloppy in the opening 20-minutes of the second-half.
“We didn’t play as well until we got the fourth goal but overall I’m very happy with the performance.
“Our execution tonight was a lot better and we could have had a lot more, twice off the woodwork, a sitter of a header and some great saves by the ‘keeper.
“With four more games to go it was very pleasing tonight and after bringing a number of players in before the start of the season, players we believe are of a good technical quality, they bought in to what we want and expect from the outset.
“Everyone knows, I work the boys hard and if we can attain a Top Four finish in our first season it will be a great achievement.
“We’ve got some tough games coming up, Blacktown City, my former club, away next week and we know that won’t be an easy ride but we’re looking forward to finishing off our final four games and seeing where we are at the end of that.”
The Rangers will need to dust themselves off quickly as they tack on Capital Football’s Canberra Croatia in the Round of 32 Australia Cup action next Friday at Popondetta Park while they’ll also have their minds on a must win Round 27 clash against the Sutherland Sharks as they fight for NPL NSW Men’s survival.
St George City FA: 6 (Presley Ortiz 9’, Paolo Mitry 13’, Mo Khamis 35’, Nathan Roberts 80’, Pedro Ferrari 82’, Andrew Vlahadamis 88’)
Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 0
Penshurst Park, Penshurst
Saturday 29th July, 2023
Referee: Logan Jones
Assistants: Jackson Tippet and Daniel Drewitt
Fourth: Mujtaba Ebrahimi
St George City FA: 1. Yaren Sozer, 2. Pedro Ferrari, 4. Brendan Hooper, 8. Dominic Cox, 9. Marley Peterson (11. Kosta Petratos 63’), 10. Paolo Mitry (25. Andrew Vlahadamis 68’), 16. Mo Khamis (7. Nathan Roberts 63’), 23. Franco Maya, 30. Presely Ortiz (3. Daniel Alessi, 68’), 70. Maki Petratos (24. Alex Kyriacou 71’), 99. Matthew Keremelevski
Subs Not Used: 12. Jack Kenny
Yellow Cards: Mo Khamis 55’
Red Cards: Nil
Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 90. Dylan Niski, 2. Solomon Vaiika (23. Daniel Dias 63’), 4. Cooper Croskerie, 8. Henry Davies, 10. Kotara Katsuta, 11. Jackson Bandiera, 12. Will Harvey (43. Abdul Faisal 75’), 15. Anthony Gallo (42. Bailey Jacobs 63’), 21. Tarek Elrich, 27. Olayinka Sunmola (22. Rhett De Silva 67’), 40. Shunta Nakamura
Subs not used: 25. Vasos Kartambis, 41. Ivan Sunjic
Yellow Cards: Olayinka Sunmola 18’, Solomon Vaiika 39’, Cooper Coskerie 53’, Anthony Gallo 60’, Shunta Nakamura 60’, Bailey Jacobs 85’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Presley Ortiz (SG)
2 – Matthew Keremelvski (SG)
1 – Pedro Ferrari (SG)
By NPL NSW Men’s Reporter Micky Brock