After falling behind to a Daniel Severino strike late in the first-half, Robbie Cattanach scored for Manly United FC 15? minutes from the end to secure his side a share of the spoils against the highly fancied White Eagles.
The match provided a fiery opening with neither set of players holding back with their challenges.
On the 6? minute Nathan Elasi used his pace to beat the oncoming Brad Swancott to the ball on the right-flank. Elasi?s fine touch setup the space for the former Melbourne Victory midfield to unleash an effort on goal though, from an acute angle, the retreating Manly United defence managed to get a body behind the ball to take the heat off Elasi?s stinging effort.
The resulting corner presented Jamie McMaster with a loose ball on the edge of the penalty-area. His powerful drive was skewed across goal, though picked out Brad Boardman at the far post who could only manage to head McMaster?s powerful effort goalwards with little power.
In the 10? minute, free-kick specialist Daniel Severino lined up one of his left-foot treats from distance. Severino?s effort carried a punch though was too central as Manly United shot-stopper Swancott parried the effort to safety.
The visiting side?s first forward foray of note arrived in the 11? minute as the experienced Craig Midgley weaved his magic down the right-flank. Midgley?s whipped in effort had the White Eagles on the back foot, though the defence managed to retreat and divert behind for a corner.
Midgley was in the thick of the action again moments later as his lunging effort released Robbie Cattanach behind the Bonnyrigg defence. Marsahlled brilliantly by Vuko Tomasevic, the White Eagles defence diligently thwarted the danger.
At the other end, Milorad Simonovic squandered a glorious chance when released through on goal. With only the goalkeeper ahead of him, and the threat of a Manly United defender breathing down his neck, Simonovic opted to shoot first time directly at Swancott for a routine save by the Manly United goalkeeper.
White Eagles goalkeeper Phillip Zabaks was called into action to pull off a fine save down to his left. Joseph Gibbs beat the offside trap with a perfectly timed run behind the defence, testing Zabaks at his near post from a sharp angle.
On 28? minutes, Manly United nearly got the break through. Cattanach?s powerful drive to the right byline saw the striker deliver a perfectly floated cross to the back post into the path of Keith Shevlin. The midfielder?s lunging effort was on-target, though denied by an exceptional goal-line save by Zabaks, retreating back across his line, much to the relief of the home crowd.
Manly should have taken the lead on 38? minutes when Andrew Mailer played Joseph Gibbs through on goal. The Manly United striker, with only Zabaks to beat, failed to find the opener ? denied by an outstanding Zabaks save down to his left.
Bonnyrigg?s response arrived via a set-piece in the 40? minute. McMaster?s corner to the near post from the right found Boardman, though the striker?s glancing header lacked precision and failed to force Swancott into a save.
Manly United did find the back of the net on 45? minutes via Pascal Julliard?s tap-in, though the referee quickly brought celebrations to a halt for the defender?s offside positioning. A fine glancing header by Cattanach was again parried by an in-form Zabaks, though the loose ball fell into the path of Julliard who was in an offside position.
Against the run of play in the closing stages of the half, the White Eagles quickly turned attentions to attack and found the opening goal via Severino. The White Eagles playmaker received the ball on the right side of the penalty-area and cut-back onto his preferred left foot to finish with aplomb past the helpless Swancott.
Jimmy Oates stung the palms of Zabaks in the early exchanges following the break ? the White Eagles shot-stopper again proving his worth with a fine save.
The visitor?s best forward forays continued to arrive via the feet of Midgley, though in the final third, the White Eagles defence remained unyielding.
Shy of the hour mark, Bonnyrigg lost goalkeeper Zabaks due to concussion following a clash with a Manly United opponent. The shot-stopper was stretchered from the field and taken to hospital for further examinations, allowing Ali Akbal some game time. Akbal too was impressive, leaving his line confidently to claim a cross for his first touch of the evening.
Bonnyrigg came to life, after the sluggish start to the half, as Shane Webb cleverly picked out Boardman with a floated cross from the left-flank. Boardman headed goalwards with power though was denied by Joey Schirripa ? much to the discontent of the home supporters who were certain a hand was used by the Manly United captain.
Manly United continued to search for an equaliser and Cattanach was the next striker to test the White Eagles? defence. The former NSW Premier League Player of the Year cleverly created a yard of space to unleash a diagonal effort across goal, though again Akbal did well to get down to his right and parry the ball to safety.
Cattanach did make amends in the 74? minute as some loose play in the White Eagles defence allowed the striker a look-in on goal. Cattanach, with a powerful effort, drove the ball underneath the crossbar to deservedly draw the visitors level.
The home-side?s response was one of frustration as the wheels started to come off with some poor passing across the park. On 85? minutes though, a neat cross from substitute David Gullo found the feet of Tomasevic in the penalty-area. The Bonnyrigg captain turned sharply to get an effort away, though the ball scraped the paint on Swancott?s left-hand post.
Shane Webb took matters into his own hands moments prior to the 90? minute with a fine slalom effort to create the space for a long-range effort. Webb?s shot packed a punch though finished wide of the intended target.
In the closing stages, Jimmy Oates nearly grabbed the headlines with what would have been an exceptional winner. The youngster picked up the ball on the right-flank and beat his marker with a nice cutback onto his left peg; the final effort though glanced inches wide of the up-right in what proved to be the final goal scoring opportunity of the night.
Following the match, Bonnyrigg White Eagles coach Brian Brown expressed his views on the performance:
?We started really well tonight, and played a positive first-half, though we really lost our way in the second-half with some very poor passing and decision making.
?Credit to Manly, at times you can only play as well as your opponent allows you and tonight Manly really went for it and made the task for us a difficult one.
?I am disappointed not to have picked up an extra two-points, though the season is still long and we have to continue to put in the work required,? ended Brown.
Manly United FC boss Phil Moss was proud of his team?s efforts:
?I have to commend the boys on their attitude tonight. To come to Bonnyrigg and pick up a point is a huge result, and we have gone through a difficult run of late.
?The performance tonight shows just how hard these boys have worked, and I am very pleased with their efforts tonight.
?I think, on the whole, the point is good, though we did create a number of chances and perhaps could have come away with something more in the end,? Moss ended.
In the Grade 20 division, Manly United FC ran out convincing 3-1 winners over the White Eagles.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Daniel Severino 45?+1?)
Manly United FC 1 (Robbie Cattanach 74?)
Saturday, 17th April, 2010
Bonnyrigg Sports Club, Bonnyrigg
Referee: Ryan Shepheard
Assistant Referees: G. Askham and N. Backo
Fourth Official: L. Agram
Crowd: 1,000 Approx.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 99.Phil Zabaks (1.Ali Akbal 60?); 4.Michael Brown, 6.Vuko Tomasevic (C), 7.Nikola Zonjic, 8.Milorad Simonovic (17.David Gullo 80?), 9.Brad Boardman, 10.Daniel Severino (2.Paul Cotte 60?), 11.Shane Webb, 15.Nathan Elasi, 19.Jamie McMaster, 20.Wade Oostendorp
Substitutes Not Used: 5.Milan Zoric, 13.Juan Chavez
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Manly United FC: 1.Brad Swancott; 2.Sean Bowden, 3.Roberto Hamad, 5.Pascal Julliard, 7.Andrew Mailer, 8.Keith Shevlin (19.Bradley Groves 72?), 9.Robbie Cattanach, 10.Craig Midgley, 16.Joey Schirripa (C), 17.Jimmy Oates, 22.Joseph Gibbs (11.Adam Foti 46?)
Substitutes Not Used: 20.Rhyss Keane, 12.Justin Hayward,18.Alex Hunt
Yellow Cards: Roberto Hamad 15?, Jimmy Oates 90?, 90?+3?
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Robbie Cattanach (MUFC)
2 ? Phillip Zabaks (BWE)
1 ? Craig Midgley (MUFC)
-By Joseph Carlucci