Victoria’s sole F-League entrant Vic Vipers opened up a healthy eight-point lead in the 2016 Men’s PUMA F-League following double-victory in the nation’s capital as East Coast split their Queensland road-trip, while Galaxy took Queensland-derby honours and Boomerangs won the all-ACT clash to end an 18-game losing run.
The Vics’ 27 competition points (having played a couple of extra matches) heads Dural (19), East Coast (16), Galaxy (14) and Inner West (13) in what looks likely to be a gripping battle for the top four places.
The Golden Boot is also nicely poised with Vipers star Adam Cooper (15), South Brisbane’s Adam Stacey (13), Warriors’ Wade Giovenali (10), Galaxy’s Samim Rohani (9), North Canberra’s Brett Forward (8) and Viper Victor Brauner (8) in the running (particularly as Cooper and Stacey have the least games remaining).
Boomerangs FS 4 (Jake Wilsener 2, Jonathan Ciminelli, Daniel Giovinazzo) North Canberra Untouchables 2 (Jason Farrell, Victor Yanes)
Galaxy FC 4 (Scott Fenn, Ryo Yazawa, Samim Rohani) East Coast Heat 4 (Anthony Haddad, Matthew Mazevski, Alex Vlismas, Lachlan Wright)
Boomerangs FS 1 (Elie Darwich) Vic Vipers 8 (Adam Cooper 3, Konrad Machoy, Alistair Dunlop, Cosimo Russo)
South Brisbane 5 (Dallas Dack, James Egeta, Pedro Goldgrub, Adam Stacey 2) East Coast Heat 7 (Daniel Fulton, Anthony Haddad, Grant Lynch 3, Christopher Zeballos 2)
North Canberra Untouchables 2 (Victor Yanes 2) Vic Vipers 4 (Jason Barrientos, Jonathan Barrientos, Adam Cooper, Konrad Machoy)
Galaxy FC 6 (Scott Fenn 2, Samim Rohani, Adam Finocchiaro, Jayden Bordin, own goal) South Brisbane 3 (Caleb Urlich 2, Adam Stacey)
Boomerangs beat Untouchables
Boomerangs FS downed cross-town rival North Canberra Untouchables 4-2 at the AIS Training Halls on Friday night, finally lowering the curtain on their excruciating 18-match losing sequence.
Several hundred spectators braved a cold Canberra winter’s night to see who would claim local bragging rights, and it was Untouchables who sprinted out of the starting gate faster than their hosts with NCU captain Jason Farrell knocking one past Boomerangs keeper Ashley Collins in the first minute.
Boomerangs responded in kind not 90 seconds later when Jake Wilsener finished off a nice series of passes to put it past Untouchables custodian Ray Moon, and the game maintained its pace and intensity with settled defences denying any more goals; Boomerangs playmaker Wilsener suffered what looked to be a game-ending injury toward the end of the half and a number of other players were also feeling the toll of a physical match.
With just 90 seconds left on the first-half clock, Boomerangs star Robbie Cattanach slammed a shot toward goal that was fended by Moon into the path of a prowling Daniel Giovinazzo who calmly slotted home to lift his side 2-1 in front at the break.
The match continued with the same intensity in the second stanza, with both defences working overtime to ensure the scoreline didn’t blow out – keepers Collins and Moon matching each other in goal to ensure the game would go down to the wire.
Victor Yanes scored for Untouchables seven minutes into the half to bring the game back to par at 2-2 and the players lifted another notch for the final period of play, Boomerangs benefitting from some slick interplay between Elie Darwich and Wilsener for the latter to slot home and take a 3-2 lead with four minutes on the clock.
North Canberra called time-out and went to fifth-man play with speedy Brett Forward taking up the position, but the gamble backfired when Jonathan Ciminelli took possession from Yanes high up court and calmly rolled the ball into an unguarded net to hand Boomerangs supremacy in this local-derby round.
Incidentally, the last time Boomerangs tasted F-League victory was against Capital FC in last year’s ACT-clash (way back in round four).
Galaxy, Heat stalemate
Galaxy FC and East Coast Heat fought out a ripping 4-4 draw at Logan Metro Sports Centre on Saturday afternoon.
A physical and well-balanced encounter saw just one goal separate the teams in the first half following a 16th-minute Matthew Mazevski strike from a direct freekick 12m in front of goal that pushed East Coast ahead.
Galaxy faced a further setback moments later when New Zealand international Lucas De Silva received a second yellow card to leave the home side carrying a player disadvantage into a tense second-half opening, but the Queensland defence held strong until East Coast’s Anthony Haddad broke away on a sweeping counter and beat a lunging Galaxy keeper James Weidmann to double the Heat lead.
Galaxy’s young Tal Galper was brought into the game on the half-hour mark scoring a solid far-post strike with his first touch, but the buffer was back to two a couple minutes later when wily Heat veteran Lachlan Wright scored while Galaxy pressed high with a fifth-man play.
The home side persisted with the powerplay and their full-court pressure ultimately paid off with a sharp Scott Fenn finish four minutes from the end narrowing the deficit to 3-2, only for East Coast to bounce straight back with a Alexander Vlismas response.
The tempo lifted yet another notch when Galaxy’s excellent fifth-man use resulted in two late Samim Rohani and Ryo Yazawa goals in the last minute of play to grab a share of the points with a 4-4 draw – a fair result on the balance of play.
These two sides are fast building a healthy league rivalry with a slender Heat victory (7-6) earlier this winter bookended by 4-4 and 5-5 draws – plus a total of 31 goals in three electric meetings.
Vipers bundle Boomerangs
Competition leaders Vic Vipers made thrift work of bottom-side Boomerangs FS 8-1 at the AIS Training Halls on Saturday afternoon, a 6-1 halftime lead making all the difference as a depleted home side dug in after the changeover.
Boomerangs were missing several players to injury (many from the previous night’s local derby), plus unavailability and suspension and at stages were required to use their back-up keeper as an on-field player.
As expected the Vics provided some quality Futsal and looked in command from the early stages producing an opening goal to Adam Cooper in the sixth minute and the scoring maintained a regular beat until the halftime-hooter sounded with Vipers five goals ahead, Elie Darwich scoring for the Territorians.
Boomerangs dug deep in the second half and they worked hard defensively to stop the rout, restricting the southerners to just two further goals; but the Victorian powerhouse club have now won eight of their 11 Boomerangs meetings and Cooper (who finished with a hat-trick) has plugged nine past them in the last four encounters.
Cooper’s eighth F-League hat-trick also pegs him alongside goalscoring freak Jarrod Basger and former Vipers team-mate Fernando De Moraes as the most in the men’s competition.
But while we praise an experienced campaigner, special mention must go to Boomerangs teenage rookie sensation Darwich who’s already showing he has the capability to match it with Australia’s best (and kicked a couple of national-league goals in his first few starts to prove it).
Heat burn South Brisbane
A resurgent South Brisbane second-half made life difficult for East Coast in a tense 7-5 Heat victory at Logan Metro Sports Centre on Saturday afternoon.
The home side looked pedestrian in the first period as East Coast capitalised on every opportunity, scoring in the first minute of play before three well-executed counter-attacks from South Brisbane errors in crucial areas of the pitch made it 4-zip by the quarter-hour.
South Brisbane finally broke their egg through some good build-up play but Heat added a fifth before the break to take a cosy 5-1 halftime buffer.
The Queenslanders rallied in the second term and put the first two goals on the board before East Coast stopped the momentum with some solid play that led to their sixth successful strike.
South Brisbane continued to rally and a comeback was brewing when South Brisbane added two more goals in quick succession to make it a nervy 6-5 with four minutes left to play.
South Brisbane moved to the powerplay and despite creating many scoring opportunities it was East Coast who found the back of the net one last time through a counter-attacking play, Grant Lynch finishing with a Heat hat-trick while team-mate Chris Zeballos bagged two.
Adam Stacey netted twice for South Brisbane, who’ve lost all seven league runs against East Coast, but this match was definitely the closest. Heat remain unbeaten in five Queensland fixtures.
Vics edge North Canberra
Vic Vipers sweated their way through a laborious 4-2 win against North Canberra Untouchables at the AIS Training Halls on Sunday morning.
The Vics stormed to a 4-1 lead by halftime but were harassed throughout the second half by a spirited North Canberra to eventually claim a two-goal victory – a 10th straight Vipers success in the capital territory.
Galaxy eclipse South Brisbane
Galaxy FC defeated South Brisbane 6-3 in a fiery Queensland-derby at Eagle Sports Complex on Sunday morning.
South Brisbane took an early lead through Adam Stacey and received another leg-up when Galaxy playmaker Renagi Ingram earned a straight red after reacting when fouled from behind during an attacking run, but South Brisbane failed to capitalise on their player advantage and in the 16th-minute Adam Finocchiaro found the back of the net to equalise for Galaxy.
Caleb Urlich gave South Brisbane a 2-1 lead late in the half scoring from a strong counter-attack, but 16-year-old Rhys Buick made his mark on the game with the confidence of a veteran making many darting runs and shots on goal and went rewarded on the stroke of halftime after pouncing on a loose ball (unfortunate to be deemed an own goal with the last touch coming off a South Brisbane player).
The 2-2 deadlock was broken with a suburb finish from Galaxy veteran Scott Fenn immediately after the restart and young Jayden Bordin found himself in the right place at the right time slotting home a far-post shot to lift Galaxy further in front on the half-hour mark.
With South Brisbane going to a fifth-man press Fenn scored his second with a long shot into an empty goal before his opposite Caleb Urlich seized on a momentary lapse in Galaxy concentration to fire in his second goal and make it 5-3 in the 35th minute.
However, a second yellow card to South Brisbane ‘s Connor George following an innocuous substitution foul dented their comeback and Samim Rohani stole the ball with his long-range shot into an unguarded net finalising the account at 6-3 to Galaxy.
Galaxy command a good record on ‘home-state’ turf losing just twice in 14 northern contests; on the other hand South Brisbane have won four of 20 Queensland-capital matches.
This week’s games
The 2016 Men’s F-League continues this weekend with just a solitary match between Inner West Magic and North Canberra Untouchables at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday morning (11am).