Bonnyrigg White Eagles made it two wins from two with another fine showing in the 3-0 defeat of Blacktown Spartans at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre on Saturday night.
Indeed it was the home side who were out of the blocks the quickest when inside the opening minute Nikola Zonjic was fouled outside the box. The resulting free-kick placed to the back stick was headed clear by Tyson Rhodes in a clear statement of intent to the visitors.
Resolute defending was the order of the day for the Spartans in the opening exchanges as they were pinned back on the edge of their area, however they are made of sterner stuff this season and looked solid at the back.
Bonnyrigg playing their customary expansive football by switching the point of attack through quick passing and switching wings, creating a few half-chances in the process, though not capitalised upon as they probed for a telling opening.
The home side was however almost caught undone with the quick ball over the top a couple of times, something they quickly adapted to in order to curb the danger.
Rhodes headed goalward in the 14′ minute for Blacktown but the effort lacked power and was easily grasped by Matthew Nash between the sticks.
The White Eagles responded seconds later with a Mitchell long effort that Spartans goalkeeper Luke Turnbull saved at point-blank range as the game began to open up as each side began to carve out clear-cut chances.
Spartans had Turnbull under the posts as skipper Carlos Saliadarre was on the bench for the Western Sydney Wanderers in their 1-1 derby clash against Sydney FC on the same night.
Zonjic was being hassled at the back by Blacktown’s Andre Carle yet managed to come out on top in an intriguing contest, both sides opting to play through the middle and flanks instead of resorting to the long ball game.
Alex Canak received the first caution of the match in the 29′ minute for simulation inside the box much to the consternation of the crowd.
Greg Kondek soon followed for the Spartans with a misstimed tackle that looked worse than it was, although there was definitely a little needle creeping into the game in a hard but fair encounter.
It came down to Chris Tadrosse to open the scoring for Bonnyrigg in the 36′ minute when latching onto a loose ball and steering it home inside the far post.
For all the pomp and swagger Bonnyrigg only went to the break by the odd goal in a game that always looked likely to need more than a solitary strike to decide it.
As the visiting Blacktown Spartans showed they were not about to lie down and be rolled with, the Rhodes boys, Tyson and Brenton, working hard at the heart of the defence alongside Luka Dukic and Nathan Millgate.
Though neither truly hit their straps, it had been a fierce contest to the break with the home side just about worth their lead with neither goalkeeper really forced into too much work during the opening 45′ minutes.
Blacktown threw caution to the wind on the resumption with an entertaining style of attacking football that left them susceptible at the back, Turnbull twice forced to block strongly.
However, they were undone after good work down the Bonnyrigg left saw the ball fall invitingly for Robbie Younis to head back across the shot-stopper and into the net as the home side extended its lead.
Mitch Long almost extended it further 2′ minutes later but for the timely intervention off Brenton Rhodes was a last ditch tackle that took the ball around the post with the Spartans well-and-truly under the pump.
Adrian Ucchino, a terrific find by Bonnyrigg last season, lashed a curling shot wide of the far post from an acute angle as again the visitors found themselves camped in their own box – Turnbull once more called into making a fine save as they buckled but refused to succumb to the pressure.
Carle threatened sporadically for Blacktown with long-range efforts that Nash dealt with easily, as slowly but surely Bonnyrigg starved them of chances and relentlessly pressed home their advantage.
It was the home side who were to have the final word when substitute Aaron Peterson slipped through the defence to put the icing on the cake for Bonnyrigg. Peterson sent a shot across the hapless Turnbull, in off the post, to make it three on the night with a little over 6′ minutes remaining.
It was almost worse for the Spartans when Ucchino lashed a shot that Turnbull was able to send around the post in the final minute with the resulting corner amounting to nothing.
Bonnyrigg coach Brian Brown commented after the match:
“I felt we dominated the game from start to finish to be honest and on another day we could have scored maybe five or six.
“In fairness to Blacktown I think they set out to make things hard for us and they did for a little while but when we got the first goal it changed the complexion of the game.
“It was a great workout for us and for me; we scored three goals and kept a clean sheet so I am very happy.”
Blacktown Spartans coach Ben De Haan commented:
“We knew it would be a tough test. If I am being honest I felt that was the worst game we have played against Bonnyrigg.
“We’ve played better and still copped goals but we were not good at all tonight and I don’t feel we could string two passes together the whole game.
“After coming off the high of last week I feel this is the reality check some of the guys needed and a lesson in what is needed in this league to be successful.”
Bonnyrigg may not have been at their fluent best at times but it was enough when showing their resilience and guile to get them over the line with more than a little to spare.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3 (Chris Tadrosse 36′, Robbie Younis 57′, Aaron Peterson 83′)
Blacktown Spartans 0
Saturday 23rd March, 2013
Bonnyrigg Sports Centre, Bonnyrigg
Referee: Adam Susz
Assistant Referees: Nathan Wotton and Luke Burley
Fourth Official: Brett Lorimer
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1.Matthew Nash; 2.Alex Mansueto (7.Tynan Diaz), 5.Chris Tadrosse (C) (15.Steven Hesketh), 6.Nikola Zonjic, 8.Alex Canak (19.Aaron Peterson 71′), 9.Robert Younis, 10.Mitchell Long, 11.Ben Spruce, 16.Howard Fondyke, 18.Adrian Ucchino, 21.Bo Hyun Chun
Substitutes Not Used: 4.Vuko Tomasevic, 23.Nikodin Matic
Yellow Cards: Canak 29′, Chun 55′, Younis 80′
Red Cards: Nil
Blacktown Spartans: 20.Luke Turnbull; 2.Luke Austin, 3.Nathan Millgate, 6.Greg Kondek (17.Wassim Hijazi 66), 7.Andre Carle, 8.Brenton Rhodes, 11.Tyson Rhodes, 19.Simon Zahra (cpt) (9.Jordan Simpson 50′), 22.Pasquale Polistina (10.Bryan Soane), 25.Corey Biczo, 39.Luka Dukic,
Substitutes Not Used: 4.Simon Valastro, 1.Karl Bodenstien
Yellow Cards: Kondek 31, Austin 73, B.Rhodes 78, Dukic 80
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Robbie Younis (BWE)
2 – Brenton Rhodes (BS)
1 – Adrian Ucchino (BWE)
-By Micky Brock