2016 brings some good changes to football in the National Premier League (NPL2). For a long time, NSFA’s Northern Tigers have been a central fixture of this league and were the 2015 Champions. This year, they are being joined in the league with two new teams: Sydney FC and North Shore Mariners.
The North Shore Mariners are based at Northbridge and are the result of a development partnership between Northbridge and the Central Coast Mariners. This year, the Mariners will have senior teams playing in the NSFA Premier League, NPL2 and A League.
I am looking forward to some great local football at the elite NPL2 level as well as following the progress of the NSFA Premier League.
Mariners vs Tigers U20
U20’s elite football is such an interesting game to watch as it is fast and disciplined. In tonight’s match, the Tigers were much more disciplined than the Mariners with lots of set piece football. Players were playing for space, with good ball control and quick smooth play. Tigers players were constantly feeding Rosano upfront who managed two goals in the first half.
2:0 at half time.
In the second half Tigers piled on the pressure which saw Mariners getting increasingly frustrated.
The Tigers U20 football style could be characterised by lots of quick touches and short, direct passes. Lots of laying-off the ball to other players. Again, constantly feeding their men up front which saw Rosano get his hat trick and Turrin wrap up the match making it a 4:0 win.
A good game of football to watch.
The main game was a different affair entirely. The Mariners started at break neck pace having a shot on goal in less than 60 seconds. This rattled the Tigers who took an age to settle in to their game. Neither side could dominate play and nor would they give the other a chance to string together many plays.
After 20 mins Tigers had found some rhythm and started to produce some good shots on goal.
The Mariners continuously spread wider across the field, winning longer plays and stealing the ball more often. Each time the Tigers made a break for the Mariners goal, the ball was stolen from a player coming in from behind.
Both sides played the offside trap well, stopping any chance of major breaks from the boys upfront.
0:0 at halftime. Both sides playing a fast in-your-face brand of football with lots of shoulders and a few pulls of the coat tails.
The Tigers had some good plays, but kept on having the ball stolen from them as they approached the 18 yard box. Goal Keeper Nemes yelling orders at his players until his voice went hoarse midway through the second half.
The breakthrough for the Tigers came 26 minutes in to the second half. Bringing the ball up the left wing, it took three shots on goal before one eventually went over the line; messy, but a goal is a goal and a good psychological edge for the Tigers in a tough, close match.
A breakaway from a Mariners free kick, saw the Tigers run the entire field for an almost open goal, only to be pulled down just on the edge of the box. However, the free kick went high and wide.
It looked like the result was going to be 1:0 in a scrappy, messy outing for both sides, but in the dying moments of the game, the Tigers strung together a series of quality passes that resulted in a great second goal. That’s the style of football we come to watch.
Tigers Goals: J.Hardwick & B.Cheng