Played at an often frantic pace, the White Eagles? two first-half goals courtesy of Brad Boardman were too much for the Reds, who re-opened the contest via a Luka Glavas penalty, though finished the match with nine-men.
Sydney United forced the issue in the opening minutes with new signing Mirtan Pavlovic causing grief for the White Eagles defence with his physical presence. It was Pavlovic that orchestrated the opening chance as Damon Collina met Pavlovic?s cross from the right-flank only to scuff his first-time effort as Bonnyrigg shot-stopper Ali Akbal parried at the second attempt.
Bonnyrigg?s response arrived on 7? minutes via Jamie McMaster. The speedy midfielder left three Reds defenders behind en-route to the edge of the penalty-area before his run was ended by a Sean Mitchell foul. The result was a free-kick from the edge of the penalty-area where dead-ball specialist Daniel Severino sent his curling effort agonisingly wide of the mark.
The White Eagles backed up moments later, again via a set-piece, as Brad Boardman?s header was deflected wide for a corner.
The resulting corner produced the opening goal of the match. The Reds defence poorly dealt with Severino?s cross, as Vedran Janjetovic misjudged the trajectory of the ball, leaving Bonnyrigg?s Brad Boardman unmarked for the easiest of tap-ins.
The White Eagles continued to pepper the Reds defence with McMaster ?running a muck? out of midfield. It was McMaster?s cross from the left on 13? minutes that had the Reds on the back foot; another poorly cleared attempt allowed Vuko Tomasevic a shot on target, though he failed to beat Janjetovic with his low-driven effort.
The Reds replied courtesy of Pavlovic. The burly striker used his strength well to beat his markers before providing Steve Hayes with a look-in. From point-blank range, Hayes drove his effort over the crossbar, much to the despair of the Sydney United bench.
Bonnyrigg extended their lead on 22? minutes, again via a set-piece. Severino?s curling free-kick from deep picked out the glancing header of Boardman who finished off at the back post for a two-goal lead.
The Reds defensive woes continued as Boardman exquisitely turned, with his back to goal, to beat his marker and create a yard of space to shoot. The burly striker picked his spot, though lacked the power as Janjetovic easily parried to thwart any danger.
Milorad Simonovic kept the pressure on for the visitors when he latched onto Shane Webb?s cut-back from the right on 38? minutes to unleash a venomous low-drive on goal, denied only by a goal line clearance by Michael Cindric.
Sydney United closed the half with a Pavlovic free-kick from a promising position following a foul on Steve Hayes. The striker?s curled attempt lacked any conviction as Ali Akbal coolly watched the ball finish well-wide of the intended target.
Sydney United?s task at hand took a turn for the worse as captain Joe Vrkic was given his marching orders moments after the break. Vrkic?s tackle on McMaster was deemed a bookable offence by the referee, leaving the Reds to play-out the afternoon with ten-men.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Reds pulled a goal back via the penalty-spot courtesy of Luka Glavas. The Sydney United striker won the spot-kick after being challenged illegally in the penalty-area by Wade Oostendorp, before sending Ali Akbal the wrong way to re-open the contest.
Elsid Barkhousir should have drawn the home-side level moments later as Glavas? square ball across the face of goal picked out the striker. Ali Akbal was quick off his line to pressure Barkhousir; the shot-stopper?s presence was enough to put the striker off and the chance went begging.
Bonnyrigg brought some calm to the Reds storm with a strong-hold of possession shortly after. David Gullo was picked out at the back post on 63? minutes, though his fierce drive failed to hit the target.
At the other end, Ali Akbal produced a fine save from point-blank range when Barkhousir rose highest to head Pavlovic?s cross from the left-flank, before sending his teammates forward on the counter-attack.
Substitute Juan Carlos Chavez combined well with McMaster down the right-flank to send the latter clear on goal. McMaster?s curled left-foot effort from a slightly decentralised position failed to hit the target.
The visitors should have put the result beyond the Reds reach following another swift counter-attacking move. Chavez and McMaster again combined well down the right-flank as the latter delivered a pin-point cross into the path of Severino who could only watch as his diagonal effort across the face of goal finished agonisingly wide of Janjetovic?s left-hand post.
Severino was at it again moments later as his long-range bomb via his trusted left-foot finished inches over the crossbar.
Bonnyrigg went close again via their playmaker in the closing stages as Severino again saw his effort thwarted by some desperate defending. The White Eagles number 10 took a touch too long to create the space to shoot, though despite getting an effort on goal was denied by the head of Collina on the goal line.
Sydney United striker Luka Glavas was also given an early mark with a straight red card on 89? minutes, leaving the Reds to fend with nine-men for the closing minutes.
Despite the final forward forays in the closing minutes, Brian Brown?s White Eagles held out for a massive three-points.
White Eagles boss Brian Brown was ecstatic following the win:
?I am very pleased with the boys, they battled really hard in some warm conditions, and we have taken three-points from Sydney United,? Brown stated.
?We were well organised across the park, managed to go two goals up and I am very pleased with the attitude of the team as a whole.
?To Sydney United?s credit, they challenged in the second-half and pressured us somewhat, though I am just glad that we kept our shape and gave them very little in the final third throughout the match,? Brown ended.
Sydney United boss David Zdrilic managed to draw some positives from the match, despite the loss:
?I am not as disappointed as I would normally be, considering the effort that the boys put in during the second-half.
?Playing most of the half with a man down, and behind on the scoreboard, my guys went out and gave it everything, and I can?t ask for more than that from the players.
?The conditions were difficult, playing the match early as well made it tough, though this was the case for both teams, so full credit must go to Bonnyrigg for their win.?
In the Grade 20 division, Sydney United secured maximum points with a come from behind 2-1 defeat of the White Eagles. S. Mallira had the visitors ahead inside of the opening minute following a slip-up by the Reds defence, before S. Veleski drew the home-side level on 45? minutes. Veleski secured the points for Sydney United with a fine solo effort 20? minutes from time.
Sydney United 1 (Luka Glavas 52? (pen))
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2 (Brad Boardman 10?, 22?)
Saturday, 27th March, 2010
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referees: Murray Wilson and Adam Coombes
Fourth Official: Matthew Samson
Sydney United: 1.Vedran Janjetovic; 19.Mitchell Thompson, 5.Damon Collina, 6.Joe Vrkic (C), 4.Michael Cindric, 23.Ivo Bosnar, 21.Sean Mitchell (22.Peter Zorbas 54?), 10.Steve Hayes, 16.Elsid Barkhousir (32.Ante Tomic 73?), 11.Luka Glavas, 25.Mirtan Pavlovic (29.Adam Jenner 79?)
Substitutes Not Used: 20.Roy Bell, 34.Tomislav Cirjak
Yellow Cards: Sean Mitchell 7?, Mitchell Thompson 21?, Joe Vrkic 28?, 49?, Vedran Janjetovic 80?
Red Cards: Joe Vrkic 49?, Luka Glavas 89?
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1.Ali Akbal; 7.Nikola Zonjic, 20.Wade Oostendorp, 6.Vuko Tomasevic (C), 4.Michael Brown (3.Graeme Forbes 75?), 9.Brad Boardman, 10.Daniel Severino, 11.Shane Webb, 17.David Gullo (13.Juan Carlos Chavez 64?), 8.Milorad Simonovic (16.Stefan Helata 70?), 19.Jamie McMaster
Substitutes Not Used: 90.Nenad Vekic, 5.Milan Zoric
Yellow Cards: Michael Brown 31?, Milorad Simonovic 42?, Jamie McMaster 58?, Stefan Helata 90?
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Brad Boardman (BWE)
2 ? Daniel Severino (BWE)
1 ? Mitchell Thompson (SU)
-By Joseph Carlucci