The NSW Premier League leaders drew first blood through Alex Mansueto in the opening minutes before the hosts hit back in the second-half via Blake Powell?s placed header.
Bonnyrigg were first out of the blocks, pressuring the hosts right from the outset; Alexander Canak making a nuisance of himself to force the Sutherland defence into conceding an early corner.
The visitors were immediately rewarded for their early ambition as Sutherland failed to clear their lines, allowing Mansueto to beat a host of players to the ball to side foot home the opening goal.
Sutherland looked to respond immediately, pushing forward in numbers as the match?s early intensity continued.
Both sides let fly with a series of crunching tackles in an intense physical battle, resulting in bookings for Nick Stavroulakis and David Vrankovic while Mansueto required an early substitution having coming off second best in a heavy 50/50 challenge.
Matt Gordon found time and space on the left wing to deliver a threatening cross into Bonnyrigg?s 18-yard box only to be denied by a fine intervening header by Chris Tadrosse.
Only a brilliant save from Nikodin Matic stood between Chris Price and an equaliser soon after; the nomadic attacker flicked Panni Nikas? cross goalward only to see the Bonnyrigg custodian?s reflex save pry the effort away from goal.
Sutherland continued to carve out opportunities in front of goal only to see Price drag an effort wide before Gordon?s goalbound header was well held by Matic.
While the hosts continually tried their luck from range, Nikola Zonjic gave the home fans a scare at the other end as he weaved through the heart of Sutherland?s midfield and rifled an effort just over the crossbar from 30 yards.
The match threatened to boil over late in the half as tempers flared and tackles began to border on downright dangerous, with Canak and Gordon seeing yellow late in the half as Bonnyrigg held their slender lead going into the interval.
Brian Brown and Robbie Stanton?s half-time team talks appeared to have a calming effect on their respective teams as the wild challenges of the first half made way for a free flowing second-half.
The hosts continued to press forward in an attempt to wear down the Bonnyrigg defence and were rewarded with the equaliser as Matt Bailey found Powell unmarked at the far post; the winger rose to guide his header past Matic and send the home fans into raptures.
The ball soon became bogged down in a midfield battle that saw attacking chances few and far between.
With the match rolling into the final quarter of an hour substitute Chris Payne managed to created space for himself only to see his effort deflected wide while Tadrosse found Ben Spruce with the following corner; the defender hooked his header just over the crossbar.
The near miss sparked Sutherland back into life as Nikas pulled a shot wide on the turn before Stavroulakis? low drive drew a confident save from Matic.
Robbie Younis came within inches of restoring the visitors lead soon after, launching a low and powerful effort just wide of Nathan Denham?s near post.
Gordon could and possibly should have been the hero for Sutherland at the other soon after, volleying well over the crossbar from around the penalty spot as the match drew toward an end.
With neither side able to find a deciding goal in added time the fulltime whistle a close to an entertaining and fairly evenly contested fixture that could have gone either way.
Sutherland Sharks coach Robbie Stanton was pleased with the performance of his side and thought they had done more than enough to win tonight?s fixture:
?I?m happy with the performance but I think the result was a bit disappointing,? said Stanton.
?I thought we had enough chances to clearly win it.
?We restricted them to just a few chances and created enough to win the game three or four times.
?It was a nice and dominant performance in the end.
?There are a few things you have to do to counter them with their style of football.
?We weren?t prepared to change our football philosophy, but there were a few actions we changed that I think in the end made a massive difference.
?In the end I think that?s how we got the goal and I thought.
?I?m very happy tonight as the performance was what we?re after.
?Usually if you get the right performance you get the right result and tonight we have to be disappointed that we couldn?t get the win.?
Following Blake Powell?s standout performance on the right flank, Stanton took time to praise the young player along with several other key members of his young squad:
?Blake is a fantastic kid,? remarked Stanton.
?We?ll probably lose him to the A-League in time; he is very multitalented and would be a good player to pick up.
?He had a great game tonight; I think a lot of our players had a good game like Tyson (Rhodes) at the back was rock solid for us, and so was Yianni (Fragogianis).
?Yianni is a different player in the way he holds the ball and his distribution for me is amongst the best in the competition.?
Bonnyrigg White Eagles coach Brian Brown was content with a draw this evening, feeling it was a fair result on the night:
?I?m happy with a point,? said Brown.
?I think after missing a game last weekend we looked a bit short in the game and a few boys had a bit of an off night tonight.
?Anyway, Sutherland are a good side and they made it tough for us.?
Brown also took time out to praise the performance of Chris Tadrosse after yet another impressive night on Bonnyrigg?s left side:
?Chris is outstanding every week,? said Brown.
?I?m really surprised that no A-League clubs have tried to snatch him up
?He?s certainly got the ability to play at that level.?
Sutherland Sharks 1 (Blake Powell 57?)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Alex Mansueto 3?)
Saturday, June 23rd, 2012
Seymour Shaw, Miranda
Referee: Ryan Sheppard
Assistant Referees: N Backo and C Fisher
Fourth Official: N Roberts
Sutherland Sharks: 1.Nathan Denham; 3.Tyson Rhodes, 4.Yianni Fragogianis, 5.Paul Cotte, 6.Matt Gordon, 8.Chris Price, 10.Matt Bailey (7.Jim Bakis 68?), 14.Nick Stavroulakis, 18.Michael Stuart, 19.Blake Powell, 23.Panni Nikas
Substitutes Not Used: 9.Hussein Salameh, 12.Hayden Morton, 13.Nick Tsattalios, 22.Simon Jaeger
Yellow Cards: Nick Stavroulakis 12?, Matt Gordon 42?
Red Cards: Nil
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 33.Nikodin Matic; 13.Nikola Stanojevic, 21.Ken Chun (9.Robbie Younis 63?), 6.Nikola Zonjic, 2.Alex Mansueto (11.Ben Spruce 21?), 7.Tynan Diaz, 19.Harris Gaitatzis (15.Chris Payne 63?), 16.Adrian Ucchino, 4.David Vrankovic, 8.Alexander Canak, 5.Chris Tadrosse
Substitutes Not Used: 10.Jordan Simpson, 20.Andrew Bazi
Yellow Cards: David Vrankovic 18?, Alexander Canak 40?
Red Cards: Nil
-By Mike Shoolman