Manly no match for red hot Sydney United 58
Goals from Panny Nikas and Matt Sim on either side of half time has helped Sydney United 58 edge Manly United 2-1 in a tight PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s contest at Sydney United Sports Centre.
The Reds broke the deadlock on the cusp of half time via a deflected free kick from Nikas and doubled their advantage 43 seconds into the second half when Matt Sim fired a rocket past Dylan Mitchell to set up an unassailable 2-0 lead
Leigh Egger netted a consolation deep into injury time after heading home Sam Wilson’s corner as United 58 conceded for the first time in 450 minutes of football.
However, Egger’s goal wasn’t enough to halt a seventh straight win in all competitions for Mark Rudan’s men.
United 58 endeavoured to take the game to Manly early on and started with all the swagger of a side on a six-match winning streak.
Early pressure amounted to little though, and the first genuine attempt on goal fell to Manly skipper Brendan Cholakian who skipped past a couple of challenges before dragging his shot from outside the box wide.
The match’s initial energy began to fizzle out and both sides struggled to create clear cut opportunities. The best chance of the half arrived at the end of a lovely passing move involving Glen Trifiro and Nicolas Olsen who released Riley Woodcock down the right flank, but Yutaro Shin could only guide the fullback’s inviting delivery wide of the post.
Shin spurned an easier chance to open the scoring minutes later after fantastic one-touch interplay on the edge of the box involving Olsen and Trifiro again but the Japanese forward saw his snapshot comfortably gathered by Manly goalkeeper Dylan Mitchell.
Manly’s best opportunity of the half fell to Nikola Taneski after a superb darting run from Cholakian who teed up the former Bonnyrigg attacker outside the box but ballooned his effort well over the bar.
The Reds ended the first half in the ascendency and opened the scoring on the cusp of half time in fortuitous fashion when Panni Nikas’ free-kick took a heavy deflection off the Manly wall to wrong-foot a helpless Dylan Mitchell.
Having taken the lead with one of the last kicks of the first half, United 58 doubled it seconds into the next one. A slaloming run and ball inside from Olsen found Sim in space on the edge of the box who thrashed an unstoppable low strike past Mitchell for 2-0.
A sickening head clash between Sydney United 58 goalkeeper Thomas Manos and Manly forward Dejan Pandurevic saw play stopped for a lengthy period and when action returned the hosts reasserted their authority over the contest.
Rudan’s men enjoyed several opportunities to add a third with Olsen hitting the post and Sim firing wide but cantered to victory in the final stages.
A solemn Warren Grieve wasn’t too downbeat about his side’s loss and praised his charges for taking the match to Sydney United 58.
“I think we put together the better of the chances in the first half, we looked good in wide areas and had some great deliveries into the box,” he said.
“The goal right on half-time was unfortunate to concede but it is what it is. The second goal killed us – I think we were still in the sheds to be honest.”
Sydney United 58 talisman Panni Nikas said his side are nearing top form with the Reds continuing to climb the ladder.
“I’d say we’re about seventy per cent there,” he said.
“We just have to keep winning. Our game inside the penalty box is improving week by week and we’re looking forward to each game.”
Manly United will look to bounce back from their third loss of the season at home to Hakoah Sydney City East next Saturday, while Sydney United 58 face a mouth-watering top of the table contest at Blacktown City on Sunday.
Sydney United 58 2 (Nikas 45’, Sim 46’)
Manly United 1 (Egger 90’)
Sunday 14 May, 2017
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Sydney United 58: 17. Matthew Bilic (2. Kristopher Vlismas 85’) , 21. Thomas Manos (40. Lucas Pervan 65’), 20. Peter Markovic, 23. Panagiotis Nikas, 32. Nicholas Olsen, 7. Yutaro Shin, 8. Matthew Sim, 5. Anthony Tomelic, 18. Glen Trifiro (16. Stjepen Paric 90’), 6. Tomislav Uskok, 3. Riley Woodcock
Substitutes Not Used: 35. Andre Schroeder, 9. Adrian Vranic,
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
Manly United: 13. Scott Balderson, 10. Brendan Cholakian, 12. Leigh Egger, 6. Dominic Ferguson, 3. Jamie Lobb, 8. Sasa Macura, 1. Dylan Mitchell, 4. Travis Oughtred, 14. Dejan Pandurevic (19. Daniel Saric 65’), 11. Nikola Taneski (16. Sipan Berti 82’), 17. Sam Wilson
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Shaun Catlin, 15. Hamish Galbraith, 28. Mitchell Rooke
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
3 – Panni Nikas (SU58FC)
2 – Glen Trifiro (SU58FC)
1 – Nick Olsen (SU58FC)
-By Jacob Windon, National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter