Zabaks fell awkwardly to the ground after claiming a cross from the right-flank, hitting his head and suffering a neck injury in the process. The concern follows the serious head injury Zabaks sustained at the same venue, same goalmouth, against Manly United FC last season. A CT scan revealed that Zabaks was clear to go home which eased fears of anything serious, Football NSW wishes Phil the best of luck with his recovery.
A double to Daniel Severino and a goal to young gun defender David Vrankovic outweighed Mark Picciolini?s strike to secure the White Eagles the points, even though the Wolves did have their own moments of possessional dominance.
Sasho Petrovski showed all his class and experience in the early exchanges, constantly dropping deep to receive the ball and get his wide men forward. Petrovski had three men surrounding him in the 2? minute as he slalomed his way towards the penalty-area before winning his side a free-kick. The resulting effort was easily dealt with by the home side.
In the 6? minute, the Wolves carved out the first real opening of the evening. John Martinoski?s floated cross from the right picked out Mark Picciolini who sent his glancing header inches wide of the up-right. Picciolini?s effort was nice, though the striker had snuck into an offside position.
South Coast continued to press in the attacking third and again it was Martinoski getting forward. The wide-man cleverly beat his marker before going to ground under a heavy challenge to win his side a free-kick. Stjepan Paric?s delivery in the 9? minute carried some pace, though Phil Zabaks was quick off his line to comfortably claim.
The White Eagles responded immediately with a fine forward foray by Nathan Elasi in the 10? minute. Elasi used his pace to beat two defenders and create some space on his right foot before turning his effort wide of Brody Crane?s left-hand post.
South Coast continued to hold their own in midfield and Andres Gomez tried his luck from distance in the 12? minute, sending his effort wide of goal.
Bonnyrigg carved out a fine sequence of passes in the 18? minute out of defence as Elasi was sent through. The speedster created the space before laying off to McMaster to his right. The attacking midfielder took a touch before hitting a thunderous effort into the lunging body of a Wolves defender.
The home side fell into their stride and had the visitors on the back foot at the 25? minute stage. A corner from Daniel Severino ? his third in the space of 2? minutes ? had the Wolves scrambling as the defensive line somehow managed to clear the loose ball inside the penalty-area.
New Bonnyrigg signing Jared Lum nearly found the opener in the 28? minute as he latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the penalty-area. Lum hit his effort first time, though dragged the shot wide of goal.
Bonnyrigg found the lead via the penalty-spot courtesy of Severino. The White Eagles number 10 cleverly turned defence into attack with an exceptional through ball into the path of McMaster in the 31? minute. McMaster held the ball up nicely and forced David Abel into a tackle inside the penalty-area, leaving the referee without a choice but to award Bonnyrigg the spot-kick.
South Coast responded with a swift counter-attack moments later, though Martinoski?s run down the left-flank failed to reap reward.
On 39? minutes, the Wolves had an appeal for a penalty waved away by the referee. Lawrence Drake?s vicious drive on goal ricocheted off David Vrankovic, though the referee waved play on as the young defender cleared the line for Bonnyrigg.
South Coast closed the half on the front foot with some good possession in the attacking third. Martinoski continued to show his speed and flashy touch, running at his marker and centering for the front two strikers on two occasions, though Zabaks & Co. ensured the White Eagles held onto the goal lead going into the break.
The Wolves continued to pressure Bonnyrigg after the re-start as Petrovski had Zabaks scrambling with a low-driven free-kick in the 47? minute. Petrovski?s effort packed some real power, though the ball swerved inches wide of goal.
At the other end, Bonnyrigg doubled their advantage in the 49? minute. Severino?s free-kick from the right picked out David Vrankovic at the back post. The young defender rose highest to head home his first goal of the season.
Despite the set-back, the Wolves continued to press forward and Mark Picciolini capitalised on a poorly cleared Bonnyrigg attempt. Picciolini was on hand to slot home from close-range, making for a very interesting second-half.
Bonnyrigg responded immediately and restored their two goal lead as Severino was sent through on goal before sending an audacious chip over a stranded Brody Crane, much to the delight, and relief, of the White Eagles supporters.
Concern surfaced around Bonnyrigg Sports Ground on 58? minutes as Phil Zabaks remained on the floor after a collision with a Wolves player after going up to claim a cross. The heavy fall saw Zabaks appear to injure his neck, and the paramedics were not taking any risks with moving the goalkeeper.
Play resumed almost 20? minutes later as Andrew Bazi took his place between the sticks, in place of Zabaks.
Bazi was immediately forced into action, parrying at point-blank range a David Abel header in the 80? minute. The reflex save is certainly a contender for save of the season, especially coming only moments after entering the fray on a very cold evening.
Bonnyrigg nearly found their fourth in the 83? minute as Severino?s pin-point set-piece from the left-flank picked out Brad Boardman at the back post. Rushing to close in on the ball, Boardman could only send his header wide of the up-right.
New signing Blake Powell also had the crowd on their feet when he hit a tremendous volley against the crossbar. The attacking midfielder?s attempt had the goalkeeper beaten, though the crossbar came to the Wolves rescue.
2? minutes later, it was Severino to test the Wolves rearguard. The Bonnyrigg playmaker picked up a loose ball on the edge of the penalty-area and unleashed a powerful effort on goal, denied only by the scrambling Jacob Timpano who got his body behind the ball.
Mark Picciolini kept searching for a way back into the match though his effort in the 107? minute of play ? following the 20? minute delay – was easily parried by Bazi down to his right.
Lawrence Drake then tried his luck for South Coast in the closing stages following a one-two with Petrovski, though the midfielder?s effort finished wide.
After the match, the Bonnyrigg faithful were ecstatic about the result, though very concerned about their goalkeeper, Phil Zabaks. Football Manager George Mandic commented:
?We are concerned for Phil, especially following the horrific injury sustained last year. ?We?ll see what the news is from the hospital, though we are hoping he will get through this.?
In the opposite change room, South Coast Wolves boss Trevor Morgan was not impressed with the way the match unfolded:
?I thought we started well, we came here with a plan to take the match to Bonnyrigg and really did that well early on.
?The penalty given against us was harsh I felt, and that unsettled us a little, though we did still create chances, even after we went a second goal behind.
?The second and third goals arrived via two poor errors by our guys, and then we didn?t implement our style of play following the injury to Phil Zabaks.
?We let ourselves down a little there, and obviously we still have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks,? Morgan ended.
In the Grade-20 division, Bonnyrigg White Eagles came from behind to secure a point against South Coast Wolves. The 90? minutes ended with the scores locked at 1-1.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3 (Daniel Severino 32?, 55?, David Vrankovic 49?)
South Coast Wolves 1 (Mark Picciolini 52?)
Saturday 14th May, 2011
Bonnyrigg Sports Club, Bonnyrigg
Referee: James Lewis
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling and Steven Nguyen
Fourth Official: Leigh Pigram
Crowd: 800 Approx.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 99.Phil Zabaks (1.Andrew Bazi 75?); 5.Chris Tadrosse (C), 23.Tynan Diaz, 16.David Vrankovic, 19.Jamie McMaster, 9.Brad Boardman, 7.Nathan Elasi (12.T. Murayama 90?+13?), 11.Shane Webb, 14.Blake Powell (2.N.Stanojevic 90?+19?), 22.Jared Lum, 10.Daniel Severino
Substitutes Not Used: 6.J.Delia, 3.A.Bakovic
Yellow Cards: Nathan Elasi 35?
Red Cards: Nil
South Coast Wolves: 1.Brody Crane (C); 2.Alex Mansueto (7.Samet Kaynak 90?), 3.David Abel, 4.Jacob Timpano, 5.Nick Littler, 6.Lawrence Drake, 13.Stjepan Paric, 8.Andres Gomez (11.Chris Nathaniel 90?), 9.Mark Picciolini, 10.Sasho Petrovski, 17.John Martinoski (14.Cam Littler 90?+13?)
Substitutes Not Used: 16.Jake Duczynski, 20.Hayden Durose
Yellow Cards: David Abel 32?, Cam Littler 90?+15?)
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Daniel Severino (BWE)
2 ? Andres Gomez (SCW)
1 ? Blake Powell (BWE)
-By Joseph Carlucci