The 2016 Men’s PUMA F-League ignited in intrigue over the weekend as Vic Vipers stunned the Warriors at Dural and Heat at Valentine’s, while Inner West beat Vipers and Galaxy won two in the ACT to set up a tight points table.

And with news the postponed Dural versus South Brisbane fixture would be registered as a 0-0 draw, the Vics leapfrogged them onto 21 points to lead Warriors (19), Inner West (13) and East Coast (12), with Galaxy (10) and South Brisbane (7) still in the playoff picture.

The Golden Boot race is also wide open with Vipers star Adam Cooper (11), Warriors’ Wade Giovenali (10), South Brisbane’s Adam Stacey (10), North Canberra’s Brett Forward (9) and Victor Brauner (8) setting the pace.

Inner West Magic 5 (Aaron Cimitile, Daniel Fogarty, Brian Griffin-Colls, Mark Symington, Dean Lockhart) Vic Vipers 2 (Jonathan Barrientos 2)

North Canberra Untouchables 7 (Jason Farrell, Brett Forward 2, Ryan Tredinnick 2, Victor Yanes 2) Galaxy FC 8 (Scott Fenn, Renagi Ingram, Gerardo Soto, Tuan Cao, Samim Rohani, Vinicius Leite, Ryo Yazawa 2)

Boomerangs 2 (Glenn Smith, Jake Wilsener) South Brisbane 4 (Caleb Urlich, James Egeta 2, Adam Stacey)

East Coast Heat 3 (Alex Vlismas 2, Jordan Guerreiro) Vic Vipers 7 (Adam Cooper 3, Miguel Barrigos 2, Matthew Vragovski, Shayan Alinejad)

North Canberra 4 (Brett Forward 4) South Brisbane 2 (Adam Stacey 2)

Boomerangs 4 (Brad Sawyer, Rob Cattanach, Jonathan Ciminelli, Elie Darwich) Galaxy 6 (Scott Fenn, Renagi Ingram, Ryo Yazawa, Tuan Cao 2, Vinicius Leite)

Dural Warriors 2 (Wade Giovenali) Vic Vipers 3 (Adam Cooper, Victor Brauner)

 

Magic defeat Vipers

An inspired Inner West Magic bettered Vic Vipers 5-2 in an entertaining game at Valentine Sports Park on Friday night.

Vipers got off to a flyer when Jonathan Barrientos steered one home but the Magic response was swift as Aaron Cimitile, Daniel Fogarty, Brian Griffin-Colls all scored to help Inner West lead 3-1 at the changeover.

The second half was nervy until goals from Mark Symington and Dean Lockhart opened up a four-goal gap, Barrientos adding a late Vics consolation as Inner West claimed an important win.

 

Galaxy shave Untouchables

The federal election wasn’t the only close battle on the weekend as Galaxy FC edged North Canberra Untouchables in a high-scoring thriller at the AIS Training Halls on Saturday afternoon.

If you ever wanted a game for the fans, this was it – 15 goals in total, a 10m penalty on the buzzer, and an epic one-goal win.

The game was destined for a big second half as both teams entered the sheds at 2-2, Galaxy coming out firing in the second term netting a flurry of goals and pushing the game to what seemed beyond-doubt with North Canberra trailing 6-2.

But the Untouchables fought with heart and determination to bring the game back to 8-5 with two minutes remaining and, in a fifth-man attack, captain Jason Farrell netted a long-range shot to bring them within two a minute from the end.

A 10m penalty awarded to NCU saw Ryan Tredinnick clean up the keeper’s save and slot home a finish to make it a 7-8 score line and 10 seconds on the clock.

North Canberra pressed desperately hoping for a miracle and received one through a handball to claim another 10m penalty with two seconds left – a shot to tie the game or a save to win it ended with a fantastic Galaxy deflection leaving the visitors with all three points and the home side with nothing but a spectacle of a match.

Brett Forward, Ryan Tredinnick and Victor Yanes collected doubles for Untouchables, while Ryo Yazawa netted a pair for Galaxy – a total of 11 scorers one short of the most ever in an F-League contest.

It was a brilliant display of Futsal from both teams and a great deal of sportsmanship – what F-League is all about.

 

South Brisbane beat Boomerangs

South Brisbane downed Boomerangs 4-2 in a clear result at a chilly AIS Training Halls on Saturday evening.

The Queensland visitors were full of running from the get-go, penetrating the home team’s defence with a goal by Adam Stacey in just the third minute, James Egata converting another chance moments later to lift South Brisbane two goals up.

Jake Wilsener halved the deficit for Boomerangs, finishing off a nice passage of passing as the Territorians looked to gain some momentum, but it was Egata who scored for South Brisbane in the death throes of the first half.

The second period was a tightly-contested arm wrestle with little action in the front-third by either team until Glenn Smith executed a lovely goalmouth flick-on in the 31st minute to close the gap to just a single goal.

At 3-2 down and with time ticking away Boomerangs went to a fifth-man powerplay for the last two minutes of the match, but the strategy failed to pay dividends with South Brisbane scoring against the run of play in the final minute to record a 4-2 result.

 

Vipers douse Heat

Vic Vipers put their Friday night loss to Inner West behind them with a hardfought 7-3 win over East Coast Heat at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday night.

It only took the visitors a few minutes to hit the front when Adam Cooper rifled a freekick into the top corner and the game ebbed and flowed until Miguel Barrigos was on hand to put Vipers 2-0 up with a well-taken finish.

East Coast hit back almost immediately when Alex Vlismas found the net following some great lead-up work by Andrew Luttringer and just a minute from the break Vlismas grabbed an equaliser when he finished off a rebound after Jordan Guerreiro hit the crossbar.

Vipers came out in the second with a bit more vigour and two minutes in they regained the lead when Victor Brauner beat his opponent down the line and found Matthew Vragovski lurking at the far post where he made no mistake and four minutes later Jonathan Barrientos intercepted a stray pass before putting it on a plate for Barrigos and the Vics led 4-2.

Heat have come from behind in several games this year already and it was game-on again as Guerreiro pulled one back after he deflected a Anthony Haddad shot past Vipers glovesman Christos Apostolakis, but the Vics took control midway through the term with three quick goals – firstly, Barrigos found space before setting up Cooper for a neat finish before Cooper stole the show with a peach of a goal from 15-yards out to secure his hat-trick and put Vipers 6-3 in front.

Cooper then turned provider for Shayan Alinejad who finished off a powerful display from the visitors.

Only former Vics player Fernando De Moraes (8) and F-League leading scorer Jarrod Basger (8) have compiled more league hat-tricks than Cooper (6), who has now amassed 73 league goals to close in on Basger’s overall tally of 86. De Moraes has 60 goals to his name followed by Dural brothers Wade (56) and Greg Giovenali (54) and East Coast duo Jordan Guerreiro (50) and Daniel Fulton (49).

 

North Canberra overcome South Brisbane

North Canberra secured their first men’s F-League win with a terrific 4-2 win against South Brisbane at the AIS Training Halls on Sunday morning.

With both teams playing two very tiring matches the day before you might’ve thought the match would start off slowly, but not this one!

Brett Forward opened the scoring for the home team with a low, hard shot produced from a nice side-ball set-play and it wasn’t long after that Forward once again put the ball into the back of the net after a smartly-executed counter-attack.

The travelling Brisbane side then controlled most of the remaining first half with some good possession and swift counter attacks but were unable to beat Untouchables custodian Ray Moon as North Canberra braved their way to a tight 2-0 halftime lead.

The second half started off as fast as the first with both teams sharing numerous scoring opportunities without converting any, but with eight minutes to play the match truly turned into a nailbiter when South Brisbane’s Adam Stacey hammered one home into the top corner to halve the margin.

Untouchables restored their two-goal lead through a nice counter attacking play linking Michael Sydney and Forward, who linked up again a minute later to make it four goals to the star Territorian.

South Brisbane went fifth-man for the remaining six minutes, Stacey continuing his fantastic F-League campaign with a 10th winter goal, but North Canberra held firm to secure the club’s first ever men’s victory.

 

Galaxy better Boomerangs

Galaxy held off Boomerangs 6-4 at Lyneham Hockey Centre on Sunday morning to keep their noses in the post-season window.

The match started with both teams looking controlled and structured and, for the first time this season, Boomerangs scored first to take an early lead.

It didn’t last long however as Galaxy tied it up in the eighth minute, and then took the lead a minute later, extending their advantage to 4-1 before Robbie Cattanach dragged one back for Boomerangs just before halftime.

The visitors come out firing on all cylinders in the second half and their dominance went rewarded with two quickfire goals that built a comfortable 6-2 buffer, but to their credit Boomerangs continued to work hard and saw the fruits of their labour with a maiden F-League goal to 16-year-old Elie Darwich, followed by a cracking Brad Sawyer goal from keeper Nick van Aalst’s long-throw release.

Tuan Cao netted twice for Galaxy, but only one club has unearthed more F-League scorers than the Territorians – Darwich becoming the 36th scorer in Boomerangs colours (in 81 games). Dural has found 34 different scorers over the years (87 games) and Vipers 28 (70 games), but nothing compares to a staggering 55 different players netting for East Coast Heat in just 69 contests.

 

Vipers nip Warriors

Vic Vipers produced a stunning 3-2 victory over Dural Warriors at Dural Sport & Leisure Centre on Sunday afternoon.

The game was locked at one-apiece at the break and a frantic second stanza saw Vipers claim a third-straight success against their F-League rivals.

The one-goal difference also underlined the Vics’ tight-game specialist tag as they’ve won 12 of 16 league games decided by the margin (including four times against Dural) – Maccabi Hakoah won four of five matches in their only F-League season and Capital FC claimed three of five one-goal results during their stint (Warriors have won six of 13).

 

This week’s games

It’s another huge 2016 Men’s F-League weekend kicking off with a Friday night ACT-derby between Boomerangs FS and North Canberra Untouchables at the AIS Training Halls (6.30pm), the action continuing on Saturday afternoon with Galaxy FC against East Coast Heat at Logan Metro Sports Centre (1.15pm), Boomerangs versus Vic Vipers at the AIS Training Halls (1.45pm), while South Brisbane tackle East Coast at Logan Metro Sports Centre (4.45pm).

On Sunday morning North Canberra face Vipers at the AIS Training Halls (10.45am) and Galaxy meet South Brisbane at Eagle Sports Complex (11.45am).