As the state descended into bitter coldness, the State League Men’s only heated up this weekend – with all top four teams claiming vital victories.

Match of the Round – Nepean FC vs. St. George FA: 0-1.

St. George FA continue to win game after game, but did not find things easy against a strong Nepean FC this Saturday.

A bitterly cold Cook Park hosted two teams who have made positive starts to the second half of the season, with St. George continuing to hold first place and Nepean experiencing rebirth under new coach Magdy Andrawes.

The visitors picked up where they left off last weekend, commanding the pace of the game in the first half and creating numerous chances. Nepean, however, continued to press a high line and did not back away from the challenge.

Both sides seemed to cancel each other out as the half progressed, each defending resolutely and cautious when pushing players forward. The atmosphere was tense, with the feeling that a single goal could break things wide open – however, none came in the opening period.

The second half saw St. George start to turn the gears, as they pushed harder to find a goal. They found particular luck down the flanks with quick transition football.

The visitors came close to taking the lead when Sean Richardson had his shot cannon of the upright, after beating his fullback on the inside along the right flank.

St. George finally broke through in the seventy fifth minute, thanks to another goal from talented youngster James Spanoudakis. Sam Messam broke quickly down the left flank, beating his fullback and cutting the ball back to Spanoudakis to finish.

In the final fifteen minutes, Nepean threw everything they had at the home side but could not break down the league’s best defensive unit. St. George sat slightly deeper, continuing to hit on the counter attack.

Ultimately, neither team could find another goal and the game concluded with only the narrowest of margins separating them.

St. George coach Manny Spanoudakis is happy with his side’s performance, which he describes as “very positive and well deserved”.

“This is a very different Nepean to the one we played in Round 2. Full credit to their coach, they are a very good team who will push for the top four.”

Spanoudakis highlights the performances of Umlil, Webster and Vass whose experience within a relatively young squad shone throughout the game.

“I’m also happy that Sean Thomas and Bill Taanidis have made a successful return from long term injuries.”

Nepan coach Magdy Andrawes is also pleased with his team’s performance, despite the result – which he contrasts to their 7-1 loss in Round 2.

“It was a close game and I’m very proud of the boys. I feel we deserved to get something out of the game – in any case, it was a massive improvement and I’m confident if we are to replicate that performance and effort next week, our lads will get rewarded well.”

“Credit to St. George, as they remained tight and proved why they have the best defence in the league.”

Match Stats

Nepean FC                                           0

St. George FA                                      1 (J. Spanoudakis 75’)

Article Originally Published: www.footballnsw.com.au