Hawkesbury City beats Southern District Raiders, moves to top of table

Prasheel Sharma was one of Hawkesbury City's best players in the club's 1-0 defeat of the Southern District Raiders. Picture: Geoff Jones

Prasheel Sharma was one of Hawkesbury City's best players in the club's 1-0 defeat of the Southern District Raiders. Picture: Geoff Jones

HAWKESBURY City Football Club defeated the top of the table Southern District Raiders at the weekend, in what was a huge win for the club.

City snatched a 1-0 win over the previously undefeated Raiders at Bensons Lane, in front of a packed grand stand, in Football NSW’s NPL 3 competition.

City’s defence held the Raiders, who had previously scored 23 goals in the opening five rounds of the competition, without a goal in a tremendous performance by the first grade team.

The under-20s and under-18s also bagged wins to give Hawkesbury 21 club championship points.

City coach Dean Bertenshaw said he was impressed by the performance of his team.

“It was a tough game. They had a pretty good team. They're on top of the competition for a reason,” he said of the Raiders.

“They were better than us in the first half, they were very skillful and fast and looked good early. But in the last half hour of the game I thought we finished strongly over them.

“We had some great chances after we scored our goal about 10 minutes in the second half.”

Bertenshaw said a mid-week FFA Cup match against Waverley had sapped a lot of the strength of the City team, and was pleasantly surprised to see how hard the team fought against the Raiders.

The mid-week match ended up going for two hours, after City snatched a late goal to equalise against Waverley.

Extra-time went on for quite a while, and was made all the more difficult that City had been with 10 men on the pitch for the majority of the game.

Adding to the fact his team had played a hard game, Bertenshaw said some untimely injuries, plus a red card from FFA Cup match, meant he only had 11 regular first graders, with the bench made up of young players in case of an emergency.

Bertenshaw said the combination of new clubman Matt Liddell at stopper, and Prasheel Sharma in the mid-field, worked very well, and thwarted all of the Raiders’ attacking opportunities.

“Matt was very strong at the back. He is about 6'5” and looks more like an AFL full forward. He was solid as a rock,” Bertensahw said.

“Prash worked very well in front of Matt and the Raiders blokes just couldn't get past them.”

The match was played in front of a crowd that Bertenshaw estimated to be about 500 people, and he said the atmosphere was fantastic.

Before kick off, the team had what is called its ‘Cultural Night’, which saw Uruguayan music and dancing at the field.

The club has a number of players and coaches from Uruguay. They organised their first Cultural Night last year, and people enjoyed it so had another.

“We had a big crowd in on Saturday. We had the Cultural Night with the drummers and dancers and there would have been over 500 people in there,” he said.

“We had the radio there doing commentary on the game so it was just a great night for us.”