Bonnyrigg White Eagles kept its 100% record in firm order with a dramatic late win at home against Sutherland Sharks on Saturday evening.
Trailing the Sharks 2-1 with 6’ minutes remaining, the White Eagles, who were without a doubt the dominant team throughout the 90’ minutes, netted twice – Tynan Diaz from the penalty-spot before Aaron Peterson netted the winner.
Nikola Zonjic had given the home side the lead early in the second-half before Nathan Elasi and Panni Nikas scored for Sutherland.
The win for Bonnyrigg sees its 100% record remain intact, meanwhile the loss for Sutherland sees the side record its first loss of the season.
The home side lost leading goal scorer Robbie Younis in midweek after picking up a quad injury – word is that last season’s Golden Boot winner could be out for up to three weeks.
Out of the Sharks dressing room, striker Brad Boardman – on return to Bonnyrigg Sports Centre for the first time since vesting the red and blue of the club in 2011 – was left on the bench for this clash with youngster Nicholas Olsen getting the nod alongside Nathan Elasi.
The opening exchanges were a little cagey before a swift Sutherland counterattack on 5’ minutes led to an opening for Panni Nikas on the edge of the penalty-area. The Sharks playmaker’s effort however failed to force Matthew Nash into a save.
Bonnyrigg’s response arrived shortly after via captain Chris Tadrosse down the left. The left sided defender whipped in a cross with pace, only just missing the head of Tynan Diaz who was well shielded by the Sharks defenders.
The home side carved out the first opening of note via a set-piece on 13’ minutes. From the edge of the penalty-area, the well-rehearsed White Eagles set-piece showed that a lot of thought had gone into play, though Diaz’s execution saw the ball driven directly into the Sharks wall.
Diaz was at it again 5’ minutes later when he was played clear out on the right. The swift ball movement by the White Eagles’ midfielders was top-notch, and the Bonnyrigg number 7’s shot packed a massive punch though failed to dip under the crossbar.
Bonnyrigg kept the pressure on in the front-third, as Tadrosse was next to pose a threat on the Sharks goal. The White Eagles’ captain delivered a wicked set-piece from the right – hit with his trusty left-peg, though was denied by a strong fisted save by Nathan Denham.
Sutherland’s best responses at the other end arrived via consecutive corners, both magnificently executed by Nikas.
Bonnyrigg should have taken the lead in the 28’ minute from a corner. Tadrosse’ delivery to the back post was headed back across goal by Mitchell Long, however the lunging legs of the White Eagles players failed to hit the target.
Tadrosse fired powerfully only 2’ minutes later, again from a free-kick, though Sharks captain Nick Stavroulakis got his head behind the ball to divert for a corner.
The resulting corner saw another scramble ensue though once again Sharks players scrambled to clear any danger as Denham smothered the loose ball at the first attempt.
Sutherland looked to up the ante and did manage to slow down the Bonnyrigg dominance with some quick movement of the ball via Nikas through to Olsen.
On 43’ minutes, Nikas’ free-kick delivery was headed for Elasi at the back post, though Nash made a competent save to thwart any danger.
Just prior to the break, Long had an opening in-front of goal though the White Eagles’ number 10 failed to bring the ball down quickly enough to get a shot off on goal.
Following the interval, the home side continued to hold the majority share of possession in the middle of the park, though it was the Sharks that continued to threaten on the counterattack.
On 51’ minutes the White Eagles found an opening down the left via Tadrosse. The Bonnyrigg captain forced Denham into a fine save with a powerful shot on goal.
The Bonnyrigg onslaught continued with Adrian Ucchino and Howard Fondyke getting more into the match. An exchange of passes in the middle of the park saw the White Eagles stretch the Sharks, though the final delivery continued to fall short.
On 55’ minutes, another goalmouth scramble in-front of Denham had the White Eagles supporters on the edge of their seats, though once again Aleksander Canak & Co. were left frustrated with some scrambling Sharks defending again saving the day.
The barrage of Bonnyrigg pressure finally took its toll on the Sharks, just short of the hour. A fine delivery by Diaz from the left to the back post was picked up by Long, after Denham failed to hold onto the ball. Long’s immediate centre into the path of Nikola Zonjic was crisp, and the defender made no mistake in drilling the ball into the back of an empty net.
Totally against the run of play at the other end, the Sharks found an equaliser. Nathan Elasi showed skill and composure to close in on goal before side-footing the ball past Nash who was fast off his line.
Bonnyrigg looked to hit back immediately via Canak on 68’ minutes. The attacking midfielder made a fine run to the near post to meet Alex Mansueto’s cross from the right, sending his glancing header wide of the mark.
Robbie Stanton sent on striker Brad Boardman to add some further strength up front, and the former White Eagles number 9 got involved by immediately throwing his body around up-front.
The change appeared to pay immediate dividends as the constant Bonnyrigg onslaught immediately subsided.
On 75’ minutes, that man Panni Nikas netted to send the Sharks into the lead. A sensational free-kick from the edge of the penalty-area was lofted over the wall and into the top right-hand corner, leaving Nash helpless in the process, much to the delight of the visiting Sharks contingent.
Bo Hyun Chun, in the centre of midfield for Bonnyrigg, showed his array of skill shortly after as he turned his marker and closed in towards the penalty-area before misplacing a pass for Diaz.
Bonnyrigg’s persistence in the front-third paid off when the referee awarded the home side a penalty after Canak was fouled by Sharks substitute Laureano Gomez Castro – the Sutherland number 12’s first involvement in the match.
In the absence of Robbie Younis, Diaz stepped up to the plate and drove home the equaliser, low and hard.
The White Eagles pressure took further toll on the Sharks when Michael Stuart was shown a second yellow card for the evening, leaving the Sharks to fend the final 5’ minutes with only ten-men.
Bonnyrigg substitute Jordan Crighton showed his skill and shooting ability in the 87’ minute when beating his marker before unleashing a venomous left-foot drive inches wide of Denham’s left-hand post.
In the 1’ minute of injury-time Bonnyrigg found its winner. Substitute Aaron Peterson, always the opportunist, pounced on a loose ball inside the penalty-area following some free-flowing build-up on the right. Despite parrying the first attempt, Nathan Denham could not stop Peterson’s follow-up with the striker poaching the match-winner.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles coach Brian Brown was very happy with the final result:
“Very happy with the effort put into the match by the boys tonight. I thought we were worth the points and I am very pleased that we continued to press even after going a goal behind.
“Our team didn’t change too much from last season in-terms of the players, so I can’t make a massive comparison to the ability of the two sides. I am happy with how we are progressing and I couldn’t have asked for more from the start the side has made this season,” ended Brown.
Sutherland Sharks captain Nick Stavroulakis was visibly disappointed with the final result:
“I thought it was a game of two halves – we started the match slowly, though I thought we did well in the second.
“There were a couple of 50-50 decisions that happened as well, and that could have changed the outcome as well.
“We have now lost our unbeaten record, though we need to bounce back in-time for next weekend to get back to winning ways,” concluded Stavroulakis.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3 (Nikola Zonjic 58’, Tynan Diaz 84’ (pen), Aaron Peterson 90’+1’ )
Sutherland Sharks 2 (Nathan Elasi 65’, Panni Nikas 75’ )
Saturday 13th April, 2013
Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referees: Valerio Bertuccioli and Sarah Ho
Fourth Official: Kearney Robinson
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1.Matthew Nash; 8.Aleksander Canak, 21.Bo Hyun Chun, 7.Tynan Diaz (4.Vuko Tomasevic 90’+4’), 16.Howard Fondyke (19.Aaron Peterson 68’), 15.Steven Hesketh, 10.Mitchell Long, 2.Alexander Mansueto (14.Jordon Crighton 71’), 5.Chris Tadrosse (C), 18.Adrian Ucchino, 6.Nikola Zonjic
Substitutes Not Used: 33.Nikodin Matic, 3.Tanaka Majakatju
Yellow Cards: Aleksander Canak 63’
Red Cards: Nil
Sutherland Sharks: 1.Nathan Denham; 7.Nathan Elasi, 17.Klim Gjoreseki (9.Brad Boardman 66’), 6.Matthew Gordon, 2.Nicholas Littler, 15.Perry Moustakas, 23.Panni Nikas, 8.Nicholas Olsen (12.Laureano Gomez Castro 82’), 14.Nick Stavroulakis (C), 3.Michael Stuart, 33.Nik Tsattalios
Substitutes Not Used: 22.Andrew Depta, 13.Reo Morinaga, 11.Patrick Savour
Yellow Cards: Nick Stavroulakis 1’, Klim Gjoreseki 31’, Michael Stuart 76’, 85’, Matthew Gordon 90’+1’
Red Cards: Michael Stuart 85’
3 – Tynan Diaz (BWE)
2 – Mitchell Long (BWE)
1 – Panni Nikas (SS)
-By Joseph Carlucci