Played at a fast pace throughout, the White Eagles managed to overturn a one-goal deficit, and some Sydney United dominance early in the opening half, to secure a second shot at Blacktown City next weekend.
Following an even exchange in the opening minutes, where both sides had set-piece attempts on goal to no avail, Luka Glavas sprung the off-side trap to go one-on-one with Phillip Zabaks. With complete composure, the former A-League striker drove his effort into the back of the net to send the Reds ? today in their alternate strip of black ? a goal ahead.
Bonnyrigg?s instant replies arrived via the long-ball from deep, and on 15? minutes, Paul Cotte?s searching ball for Brad Boardman nearly reaped reward, though the burly striker was adjudged to be offside.
On 18? minutes, Daniel Severino and Boardman combined via a set-piece. The latter?s header, with his momentum moving away from goal, failed to hit the target.
The White Eagles found their equaliser on 22? minutes as Boardman blasted home from close-range a Nathan Elasi knockdown. The striker?s initial header back across goal found Elasi, and the young midfielder cleverly played the ball back to Boardman who hit his left-foot volley first time into the back of Ryan Norval?s net.
The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the visiting Sydney United as Bonnyrigg kept the foot on the accelerator to score the go-ahead goal 2? minutes later. Jamie McMaster?s trickery down the right-flank allowed the midfielder the time to turn and play a neat square ball into the path of Severino who drove his effort into the back of the net with his trusty left-peg.
Sydney United did manage an immediate reply as Ivo Bosnar sent Steve Hayes through on goal with an exquisite short pass behind the Bonnyrigg defence, though Zabaks was alert to the danger and made a fine save at his near post.
Boardman was in the thick of things again for Bonnyrigg moments later as he combined well with Milorad Simonovic on the edge of the penalty-area before providing the latter with a look-in on goal. Simonovic took a first touch to line-up his effort on goal, though his low-driven final attempt was easy pickings for Norval.
Sydney United?s best chance to draw level in the first-half arrived in the 42? minute via the feet of Elsid Barkhousir. The Sydney United striker latched onto a pin-point through ball from Hayes, though with the goal at his mercy, Barkhousir could only side-foot his effort into the side-netting.
Following the break, Bonnyrigg picked up the intensity in-search of the killer blow, though the Sydney United defence held firm. Paul Cotte took the initiative – against the call of teammate McMaster on the right-flank – to try his luck from distance, though the final effort finished well-wide of the intended target.
Despite the visitors best efforts to get back into the match, David Zdrilic?s men were forced to defend deep and look to hit on the counter-attack. Luka Glavas very nearly beat the offside trap on the hour as he chased down Todd Brodie?s cross from the right, though Zabaks was quick off his line to thwart any danger.
Sydney United substitute Petar Markovic made an immediate impact after replacing Peter Zorbas. The midfielder picked up Shane Lyons? cross from the left-flank, at the back post, and had his first effort blocked by the retreating defence, before blasting his follow-up effort over the crossbar.
Daniel Severino received a rather nice, yet fortuitous, square ball on the edge of the penalty-area in the 65? minute on his favoured left foot, though the midfielder failed to connect cleanly, and scuffed the chance wide of goal.
Markovic nearly caught the Bonnyrigg defence out with a tremendous counter-attacking move on 72? minutes. The Sydney United midfielder picked up the ball on the halfway line and used his speed and skill to get into the penalty-area. From the right-side of the goal, Markovic cut back onto his left foot and sent a curling effort into the top left-hand corner, denied by a tremendous Zabaks save at full stretch.
At the other end, Sydney United dealt with a Severino set-piece, though the rebound fell to McMaster who blasted an effort in on goal ? goalkeeper Ryan Norval did exceptionally well to get down and parry to his left.
Brodie and Glavas combined in the 80? minute with the former delivering a cross from the right. The delivery was hit with pace and Glavas? glancing headed attempt failed to trouble the Bonnyrigg defence.
Sydney United?s difficult task of finding an equaliser was made all the more difficult 6? minutes from time as David Zdrilic was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident involving White Eagles captain Paul Cotte.
The Reds persisted to find an equaliser, and were nearly rewarded when Joe Vrkic ventured forward to get on the end of a cross from the right. The defender?s volley on the turn had goal written all over it, though Zabaks was at his absolute best to save acrobatically down to his right.
Daniel Severino ended any hopes of a Sydney United late surge with an exceptional free-kick in injury-time. The set-piece maestro drove in a curving effort from outside the penalty-area, over the out-stretched arms of Ryan Norval, for another gem delivery to add to his remarkable collection.
Following the match, White Eagles captain Paul Cotte expressed his delight with the victory:
?The boys are all very pleased with the way things went today, we played with a lot of character and we really worked hard to get the result.
?It wasn?t easy playing earlier, and also coming off a heavy defeat like last week, though there is a lot of confidence in this group, and all the boys really put in a big effort, and I think we thoroughly deserved the win.?
Quizzed about the grand-final, Cotte is looking forward to another shot at Blacktown City FC:
?Of course we were disappointed losing against them last weekend, it wasn?t the way we wanted it to go. Perhaps the weekend off prior to that match hurt us, though we are coming off a big victory today, and we will be looking to make up for the recent loss against them (Blacktown City FC) with success in the grand-final,? ended Cotte.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3 (Brad Boardman 22?, Daniel Severino 24?, 90?+2?)
Sydney United 1 (Luka Glavas 7?)
Saturday, 21st August, 2010
Bonnyrigg Sports Club, Bonnyrigg
Referee: James Lewis
Assistant Referees: Daniel Dewhurst and Sarah Ho
Fourth Official: Andrew Best
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 99.Phillip Zabaks; 2.Paul Cotte (C), 3.Graham Forbes, 20.Wayne Ostendoorp, 12.Chris Tadrosse, 19.Jamie McMaster (17.David Gullo 90?+4?), 8.Milorad Simonovic, 11.Shane Webb (16.Damien Laiman 90?+3?), 10.Daniel Severino (14.Kenga Takushima 90?+3?), 15.Nathan Elasi, 9.Brad Boardman,
Substitutes Not Used: 4.Willie Al-Rikaby, 1.Ali Akabl
Yellow Cards: Jamie McMaster 34?
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney United: 1.Ryan Norval; 4.Michael Cindric, 5.Damon Collina (C), 7.Todd Brodie, 8.Shane Lyons, 10.Steve Hayes (6.Joe Vrkic 60?), 23.Ivo Bosnar, 22.Peter Zorbas (14.Petar Markovic 55?),19.Mitchell Thompson, 16.Elsid Barkhousir (9.David Zdrilic 75?), 11.Luka Glavas
Substitutes Not Used: 21.Sean Mitchell 30.Cem Akilli
Yellow Cards: Mitchell Thompson 70?, Todd Brodie 90?+4?
Red Cards: David Zdrilic 84?
3 ? Daniel Severino (BWE)
2 ? Jamie McMaster (BWE)
1 ? Nathan Elasi (BWE)
– Joseph Carlucci