Bonnyrigg maintained their perfect start in the IGA National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 competition following a grinding 1-0 win over Manly United FC at Cromer Park on Saturday night.
The White Eagles were shooting for their fourth win in succession, and it was striker Robbie Younis who was the difference.
Fresh from a four goal haul against Central Coast Mariners Academy last start, the former Adelaide Reds marksman headed home a free-kick after 14’ minutes to open the scoring.
Manly started the brighter, with Colin Iley snatching at a half chance after 2’ minutes.
Moments later, Younis signalled his intent, but United keeper Dylan Mitchell was on his toes, deflecting the ball out for a corner.
The next 20’ minutes of the game lacked spark, with both squads happy to play long balls into the final third.
As a result the crowd were left frustrated, wondering where another goal would potentially come from.
They were woken from their slumber when Younis played in Mitch Long, but he couldn’t control his effort, blazing over the bar on 27’ minutes.
Bonnyrigg were content to continue trying to play the offside trap, only to find United’s back four more than up to the task.
Ben Spruce pinged a hopeful ball for Younis to steam on to after 36’ minutes, but once again Mitchell beat him to the punch.
Manly United midfielder Sean Seavill tried his luck from distance moments later, only to see ball trickle well clear of Matthew Nash’s near post.
Teammate Danny Grant went very close to squaring the ledger moments later after ghosting in unmarked at the far post.
The diminutive Kiwi rose high enough, but couldn’t keep his header down.
A few minutes after oranges Younis showed why United’s defence had to be on their toes at all times, smashing an effort on the turn just over the crossbar.
On 56’ minutes the away supporters were left feeling very nervous following some very fancy footwork from Nash.
With Scott Balderson ready to bounce, the gloveman elected to ‘rip’ the blonde playmaker and very nearly lost the ball on the six-yard box.
If Balderson had managed to get a clean touch on the ball it would have been one of the bloopers of the season and gifted Manly an equaliser.
58’ minutes on the clock and the contest was shaken up after Spruce was shown a straight red for a poor tackle.
The defender had no complaints about the ruling from referee Adam Susz, eventually trotting off the pitch, leaving the league leaders in dire straits.
Brendan Cholakian almost made them pay with a brilliant free kick with 64’ minutes played, only to see Nash parry the effort out for a corner.
United continued to press in search of a point knowing Bonnyrigg would tire, but were unable to break their opponents down.
They almost stole a result at the death after Cholakian crossed in a great ball for Josh Lawson, but his effort drifted wide, consigning Manly to another defeat at home.
United coach Craig Midgley was upbeat outside the sheds at the final whistle:
“Bonnyrigg are the best side in the competition, simple as that,’’ he said.
“That showed why in the first-half, they were better, but our second-half our tempo was good.
“We feel disappointed not to get a point, but I thought collectively were we decent.”
His opposite Brian Brown was relieved to snare three points:
“We started well, but the sending off obviously changed things,’’ he said.
“I was very happy with the way we dug in and played for each other.
“Not many teams come to Cromer Park and have an easy game, it was just the type of grinding contest I felt we needed.”
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Robbie Younis 14’)
Manly United FC 0
Saturday April 6, 2013
Referee: Adam Susz
Assistant Referees: Alex Long and Michelle Allan
Fourth Official: Ben Abraham
Manly United FC: 1.Dylan Mitchell; 12.Brendan Cholakian, 2.Leigh Egger, 4.Graeme Forbes, 6.Danny Grant, 3.Roberto Hamad, (32.Michael McGinley 74’) 10.Colin Iley, 5.Josh Lawson, 7.Scott Balderson, (25.Dom Ferguson 80’) 8.Sean Seavill, 11.Matt Sim (14.David Cain 17’)
Substitutes Not Used: 20.Tonu Liiband
Yellow Cards: Seavill 59’, Balderson 61’, Cholakian 90’
Red Cards: Nil
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1.Matt Nash; 8.Alex Canak, (7.Tynan Diaz 63’) 21.Bo Hyun Chun, 16.Howard Fondyke, (15.Steven Hesketh 77’) 10.Mitch Long, 2.Alex Mansueto, (14.Jordan Crighton 82’) 11.Ben Spruce, 5.Chris Tadrosse, 18.Adrian Ucchino, 9.Robbie Younis, 6.Nikola Zonjic
Substitutes Not Used: 33.Niko Matic
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Spruce 59’
3 – Robbie Younis (BWE)
2 – Matt Nash (BWE)
1 – Danny Grant (MUFC)
-By Andrew Prentice