Blacktown Spartans dream start to the 2014 IGA National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 competition continued on Saturday night with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre.
The Spartans imposing unbeaten record of four wins from four starts ensures that the Rooty Hill-based side remains firmly at the top of the table.
However, it was Bonnyrigg’s Bo Hyun Chun who created the first opportunity of the encounter when the Spartans failed to clear a loose ball in the 6’ minute. Chun stepped a would-be defender on the front edge of the box and powered off a shot which was only denied by the cat-like reflexes of Carlos Saliadarre who dived full-stretch to his left to save a certain goal.
The home side didn’t have to wait too much longer though to slip one past Saliadarre and it was from a well taken free-kick out on the left side in the 12’ minute that had the local crowd cheering in unison.
A knock-on header from the free-kick saw a mass of bodies within the box and had Saliadarre scrambling from the on-target shot. The Spartans keeper managed to keep the header out, but the ensuing Alexander Canak shot took a deflection and the ball skewed back to the right side of the netto ensure that Bonnyrigg would lead from the front.
The Spartans retaliated in fine fashion just 11’ minutes later when Greg Kondek produced a beautiful run down the right side and delivered an equally great cross to the middle where an awaiting Ray Miller took a touch and powered a left foot drive past the keeper’s right with 23’ minutes gone on the clock.
The Spartans momentum continued and the manner of their comeback justified their stance as the competition frontrunners as they took the lead for the first time in the game. And it was a Ray Miller through-ball in the 36’ minute that found an unmarked Corey Biczo who made a nice 15-metre run out on the right and chipped the keeper to put the Spartans in the lead where the score remained as the teams headed into the sheds for the break.
Whatever coach Brian Brown said to his Bonnyrigg side at the intermission certainly paid dividends as the home side came out on all cylinders firing and it didn’t take long for the men in red and blue to level the scores at two-a-piece when an unmarked Robbie Younis, on the back post from a corner, peeled off and slotted home a header from close range in the 49’ minute – it was his first for the year and a possible sign of more to come for the ace marksman.
Younis was in the thick of the action again almost immediately when in the 51’ minute he looked certain to provide his side with the go ahead goal after the ball deflected off the star striker and looked bound for the net. The brilliance of Saliadarre, who reacted in the blink of an eye, sprinted back and somehow managed to get his right glove to the ball mere millimeters from the goal line to ensure that the deadlock remained.
As the rain began to drizzle the entertainment out on the field began to heat up with both teams relishing the opportunity to snare the full three points throughout the final quarter of the game. Bonnyrigg and the Spartans both had their opportunities through some brilliant attack, only to be negated by sessions of equally solid defence.
Chun was one who looked the most likely for the home side in the 81’ minute through some individual brilliance down the right side. The talented attacking midfielder bamboozled the Spartans defencewith some fancy footwork, before firing a shot off from well inside the box at an acute angle that slammed into the near post and ricocheted across the goal line and out of harm’s way.
However, it was a 91’ minute penalty that sealed the game for the Spartans after Bonnyrigg’s Benjamin Spruce brought down Elsid Barkhousir in the box. Barkhousir recovered to make no mistake with the ensuing penalty to ensure that his side remains unbeaten after four rounds notching up his fourth goal in the 2014 season.
“Four wins from four starts and probably not at our best over the past two weeks,” claimed victorious Spartans coach Ben De Haan.
“To come away from home and to win here is always very pleasing as it’s a very hard pitch to play on and it was also very heavy and quite boggy given the recent rain.
“We were probably a bit scrappy and we gave away two goals from set pieces which we’ll work on.
“I was very pleased with our back four in defence as they were solid all night, and as always Carlos [Saliadarre] was a rock at the back there for us. We missed a few chances but in the end I’m very happy to come away with the win.”
Bonnyrigg coach Brian Brown, although disappointed with the late loss, was pleased with his side’s performance.
“I’m very proud of my team and the way we played out there tonight,” conceded Brown.
“Full credit must go to the Spartans who turned up tonight and put on a good show, but I think our second half performance was outstanding – especially after going in at the halftime break a goal down.
“Sure, we did make a few mistakes, but that’s how football goes and we just need to get organised and refocus on next week’s game as there certainly are no easy games in this year’s competition.”
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2 (Alexander Canak 12’, Robert Younis 49’)
Blacktown Spartans 3 (Raymond Miller 23’, Corey Biczo 36’, Elsid Barkhousir 90+1’)
Saturday April 5th, 2014
Bonnyrigg Sports Club, Bonnyrigg Heights
Referee: James Lewis
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields and James Tesoriero
Fourth Official: Kearney Robinson
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1.Matthew Nash; 5.Chris Tadrosse, 6.Nikola Zonjic, 7.Tynan Diaz, 8.Alexander Canak, 9.Robert Younis (13.Adam Jenner 78’), 10.Mitchell Long (19.Aaron Peterson 61’), 11.Benjamin Spruce, 12.Dylan Fox (16.Howard Fondyke 45’), 18.Adrian Ucchino, 21.Bo Hyun Chun
Substitutes Not Used: 14.Jordan Crighton, 20.Tristan Prendergast (GK)
Yellow Cards: Robert Younis 19’, Howard Fondyke 55’
Red Cards: Nil
Blacktown Spartans: 1.Carlos Saliadarre; 2.Luke Austin, 3.Nathan Millgate, 4.Brett Studman, 5.LukaDukic, 6.Greg Kondek (9.Elsid Barkhousir 61’), 7.Phillip Makrys (15.Kingsley Williams 61’),8.Raymond Miller, 10.Emmanuel Giannaros, 11.David Gullo (14.Jacob Ott 90+3’), 13.Corey Biczo
Substitutes Not Used: 17.Kieran Dalton, 21.Riley Keayes
Yellow Cards: Luke Austin 19’, Emmanuel Giannaros 30’, Brett Studman 60’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Luka Ducic (BS)
2 – Bo Hyun Chun (BWE)
1 – Greg Kondek (BS)
– By Gary McDonald