SFL 2018-2019 Round 29 wrap up7 min read
Following on from a whopping 55 goals in Round 28, the defences held up better last weekend with 36 goals scored. Still a solid 6 goals per match, for an entertaining round of Futsal!
Friday night’s matches though still averaged a whopping 9 goals per encounter. Starting with Fremantle FC’s convincing 8-2 victory over Perth AFC. Although the scores were tied 1-1 at half-time, and AFC were well into the match early in the 2nd half, until Fremantle took advantage of a tiring Perth side, several of whom were backing up from having played in the Draft match just before the SFL game. Benji Mikhael took out Man-of-the-Match honours with a hattrick and 2 assists (to take his season tally to 10 goals in 25 appearances). The 16 year old’s previous hattrick also came against AFC. He was ably supported by Liam Cummins with a brace (taking him to 9 goals in 20 appearances this season). Nathan Thorp was AFC’s best player and scored both goals for them. He continued his impressive debut season in the SFL with 21 goals in 19 matches.
The 2nd match of the evening provided another exciting encounter with Stirling Braza Ginga FC defeating Curtin Footbalista FC 4-2. Braza sprinted out of the blocks, with captain Pavel Parihuzic scoring within a minute to take a 1-0 lead. Expectations then were that they would run away with this match as they had done in the 2 previous meetings this season. Except, Footbalista have been growing in their 1st season in the SFL and are a harder nut to crack these days. They held firm, created a few chances of their own, tested Glenn Sheldon in the Stirling goals too, and 5 minutes in scored a cracking equaliser by Colm White, via an extraordinary pass from Farzam Mehrabi, a contender for goal-of-the-week. Mason Vojdani scored a 2nd just before half-time to take Curtin to a 2-1 lead at the break. However, Braza too are made of sterner stuff these days, and whilst they could not find gaps in Milad Alvani’s armoury for a 35 minute sequence in this match, they took a time-out with 10 minutes to go, went 5th man (fly-keeper) and scored 3 goals in the final 5 minutes to muscle their way past a vigilant & determined Curtin side. Footbalista did their best to hold on, but Stirling’s 5th man play opened up the gaps for their players to score.
The final match of Friday evening saw an enthralling 6-5 victory for Balga FC over South Perth FC in a match that ended in controversy as South Perth thought they had scored the equaliser but it was ruled out because it came just after the match-time had ended. A cruel way to lose, but nothing to be deterred by because they put in another inspiring performance. Both sides did. Despite trailing 0-2 early in the 1st half, Balga managed to edge back to 3-3 at half-time, with the 2nd half proving to be end-to-end action. We previewed that both sides loved to attack & so it proved. Gabriel Kieswetter again starred for Balga with a brace, and another contender for goal-of-the-week. Whilst Filip Rojnica and Ivan Palermo again impressed for South Perth also scoring 2 goals each. A worthy match in which neither side deserved to lose.
Following on from Friday’s encounters, Saturday’s matches proved to be cagier affairs, averaging only 3 goals per match. But they were no less exciting.
We begin with Joondalup ECU Jets’ 3-1 victory over Spearwood Lions FC, with David Neugebauer securing his 1st hattrick of the season for the Jets and claiming MOTM honours in the process. Neugebauer now has 12 goals in 12 matches for ECU. And Joondalup, as a result of the victory, swap places on the ladder with Spearwood. The Lions were gallant all afternoon, but could not find the answer to stop Neugebauer in good form. It’s 3 losses in a row now for Spearwood and they have 4 matches remaining this season to try to avoid the wooden spoon.
In the 2nd match of the afternoon, Rockingham Cambio Cumbre FC stunned Murdoch Warriors FC with a 2-1 victory. It was a surprising victory because Cumbre turned up for the match with only 5 outfield players, 2 of whom are youth products. Whereas Murdoch had their full compliment of 8 outfield players and were at near full strength. Murdoch even fielded their German giant Alexander Moertzsch, an imposing target player who has played intermittently this season. But, Rockingham turned up with a plan. Tightened up the space in which Murdoch could operate. Took it to 0-0 at half-time and sprang into action in the 2nd half with Chandra Nagendran scoring early and Youngjoon Park scoring late in the half. Justin Pearce scored just before the end of the match to bring the score back to 2-1. A missed opportunity for Murdoch to close the gap on 3rd placed Cumbre, and in the process they drop to 6th on the ladder. That is how tight the race is for a position in the finals with only 4 rounds to go! For Cumbre, a statement was made that, despite the departure of some big name players this season, they are still contenders for the title.
The final match of the round was another blockbuster affair with Perth Longobarda FC delaying the party for Cockburn EWA FC with a 1-1 draw. The draw means the gap at the top of the table between Cockburn and Stirling is down to 5 points and even if results do go their way next weekend, EWA will not be able to secure the minor premiership for a couple of weeks or maybe even until the final round of the season. They still have Braza and Cumbre to face in 2 of their final 4 matches! Coming back to the match, it was another cautious encounter with both sides careful about their defensive duties. Cockburn’s recent recruit, Abdullah Al-Mesbahi returned for his 2nd match of the season and Sergio Coelho also returned after a month out. Another recent recruit, Jan Cok scored early in the 1st half for Longobarda. And they maintained that lead into half-time. But, EWA did what champions do and levelled the match early in the 2nd half with a goal from Brandon De Abreu to follow on from his hattrick the previous weekend. Yellow cards ensued later in the half as both sides chased a result. In the end they settled for a draw.
With 4 rounds to go, Fremantle, Longobarda, Murdoch & Curtin are separated by only 4 points. One of those 4 sides will finish 7th and miss out on playing finals in June. And the bottom 5 sides are also only separated by 5 points, with 1 of them set to claim the dreaded wooden spoon. Exciting times ahead, leading up to the finals!