Manly United FC’s fans were rejoicing in the Lucas Neill Stand on Sunday afternoon following an emphatic 3-1 win over Sydney Olympic FC at Cromer Park.
In what was easily their best performance at home in 2013, Craig Midgley’s men moved the ball around with aplomb.
Their intentions against the former NSL giants were obvious after just 2’ minutes.
Brendan Cholakian found Jimmy Oates in space down the left who then fired in a cross to Colin Iley who headed wide of the target.
Moments later, Matt Sim delivered a ball from the right, but it evaded Cholakian, who was lurking with intent at the far post.
After 8’ minutes Scott Balderson and Iley combined to play in Sim, who could only produce a tame effort which was gobbled up by Paul Henderson.
Balderson showed his teammates how it was done on 25’ minutes. Controlling the ball brilliantly inside the box, the blonde haired attacker smashed it home past Henderson to open the scoring.
After their bright start it was the least United deserved, and 3’ minutes later David Cain should have doubled the margin.
The midfielder played a delightful one-two with Balderson, but with just Henderson to beat, he lacked composure, shooting wide of the goal.
On the half hour mark Cholakian was denied by a smart save from Henderson, who was keeping the Belmore boys in the contest.
Grant Lee’s squad eventually woke from their slumber and fired a warning shot on 33’ minutes.
Playmaker Kingsley Williams met a Will Angel cross with purpose, but mistimed his leap, heading over the crossbar.
Lee no doubt delivered some home truths at half-time, because it was a different Sydney Olympic FC after the break.
On 56’ minutes Troy Danaskos hit the post and watched on with envy as the ball fell into the grateful arms of Manly keeper Dylan Mitchell.
Sim, who caused problems all afternoon with his energy, teed up Iley on 67’ minutes but the hard working Englishman couldn’t beat Henderson from the edge of the area.
United needed a second goal to ease their nerves, and it was their captain Graeme Forbes who obliged.
Olympic failed to clear their lines from a corner, and the defender squeezed his shot home on 75’ minutes.
Moments later the away side halved the deficit with a scrambled effort from Renato Franco Ramirez.
It set up a grandstand finish, with Manly finally securing the win at the death after Leigh Egger slotted home an inch perfect ball from Sim.
The goal came in the 92’ minute and the relief around the ground was obvious.
Danaskos then hit the post in the last minute of play to show it was not going to be Olympic’s day.
Manly skipper Forbes was a happy man outside the sheds at the final whistle:
“All the boys grafted well, we deserved the win,’’ he said.
“It started getting a little tight when they pulled one back and bombed players forward, but in the end we got that third goal and were comfortable.
“We have APIA-Leichhardt Tigers and Central Coast at home the next couple of games, so we have to keep things going and finish off 2013 on a good note.’’
Sydney Olympic coach Grant Lee was disappointed with the result, but not the performance:
“We pressed well and created, but didn’t finish,’’ he said.
“In the second-half we were very good, on another day we may have got something from the game.”
Manly United FC 3 (Scott Balderson 25’, Graeme Forbes 75’ Leigh Egger 90’)
Sydney Olympic 1 (Renato Franco Ramirez 77’)
Sunday 20th of July, 2013
Referee: Adam Susz
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling and Craig Fisher
Fourth Official: Tim Turner
Manly United FC: 1.Dylan Mitchell; 2.Leigh Egger, 7.Scott Balderson, (13.Tinashe Mugabe 65’) (25.Dom Ferguson 78’) 14.David Cain, 12.Brendan Cholakian, 4.Graeme Forbes, 10.Colin Iley, 5.Josh Lawson, 15.Jimmy Oates, 11.Matt Sim, 16.Josh Ward (30.Jack Green 87’)
Substitutes Not Used: 20.Tonu Liiband
Yellow Cards: Balderson 26’, Ward 48’
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic: 1.Paul Henderson; 11.Will Angel, (4.Michael Cindric 71’) 12.Troy Danaskos, 15.Zac Elrich, (9.Luke Grima 76’) 10.Renato Franco Ramirez, 22.Amaury Gauthier, 3.Brendan Hooper, 16.Brayden Sorge, (19.Chris Godoy Bascur 85’) 5.Brad Treloar, 8.Kinglsey Williams, 6.Marton Vass
Substitutes Not Used: 14.G. Bertacihi, 23.Luke Kairies
Yellow Cards: Treloar 39’, Grima 76’
Red Cards: Nil
-By Andrew Prentice