A SECOND half blitzkrieg from a ruthless Sutherland Sharks secured a 4-0 victory over Manly United FC on Sunday afternoon at Cromer Park.
Following a scoreless first stanza, Nick Littler opened the scoring before two goals from Panny Nikas in three minutes ensured three points for the Sharks.
When Nathan Elasi added a fourth, a rout looked possible but the home side managed to stop the rot.
It was a far cry from the opening 45′ minutes, where Manly more than held their own.
On 21’ minutes Dom Ferguson picked out Scott Balderson whose cushioned header was played into the path of Chris Payne.
Payne had time to measure his half volley, but he snatched at the chance, spraying the ball well over the crossbar.
Seconds later Brendan Cholakian hit a rocket destined for the top corner, only to see Sharks keeper Nathan Denham brilliantly push it on to the post.
With 25’ minutes played Payne should have scored, but hesitated at the final moment and lashed his shot into the side netting.
Elasi fired a warning shot from distance on 34’ minutes, showing the away side were up for the challenge.
Two minutes after oranges Denham denied Payne from point blank range, and it proved to be pivotal when his team took the lead moments later.
Littler directed home a bullet header from a Nikas free kick which Dylan Mitchell had no chance of stopping.
Nikas doubled the Sharks advantage on 58′ minutes from six yards and then put the away side out of reach with his team’s third after 60′ minutes. It was his eighth of the year as he currently leads the IGA NPL NSW Mens 1 goalscorers charts.
Elasi rubber stamped a clinical period with Sutherland’s fourth after 64’ minutes and at that moment you felt the end score could have been anything.
Both teams cleared their benches approaching fulltime with the game lacking any spark.
To Manly’s credit, heads never dropped collectively, but they will be disappointed at how quickly the game disappeared from their grasp.
Sutherland boss Robbie Stanton was understandably pleased at the final whistle.
“Manly asked plenty of questions in the first half, but I felt we did the little things well,’’ he said.
“In the second half I asked for the boys to show some cutting edge in the final third and we were able to do that.”
His opposite Paul Dee felt the fulltime score was a little flattering.
“We had a number of chances early on to go in front, but weren’t good enough to take them,’’ he said.
“Sutherland were clinical after the break and that is the difference in this competition – there are teams who can hurt you if they get a roll on and that was the case today.”
Manly United FC 0
Sutherland Sharks 4 (Nick Littler 49’, Panni Nikas 58’, 60’, Nathan Elasi 64’)
Sunday April 27, 2014
Cromer Park, Cromer
Referee: James Lewis
Assistants Referees: Nick Backo and Keith Yau
Fourth Official: James Tesoriero
Manly United FC: 1.Dylan Mitchell; 7.Scott Balderson, 10.Brendan Cholakian, 12.Dom Ferguson, (19.Daniel Saric 73’) 8.Danny Grant, 5.Josh Lawson, 9.Chris Payne, (22.Jack Green 70’)16.Jed Prater, 11.Robert Speranza, 13.Masakatsu Tanaka, (14.Damir Prodanovic 66’) 6.Josh Ward
Substitutes not used: 3.Leigh Egger, 20.Tonu Liiband
Yellow cards: Chris Payne 44’
Red cards: Nil
Sutherland Sharks: 1.Nathan Denham; 9.Nathan Elasi, 29.Mitchell Farmer, 16.Ethan Galbraith, (8.Lukas Stergiou 83’) 6.Matt Gordon, 5.Nick Littler, 23.Panny Nikas, 19.Nick Olsen, 3.Adamos Pierettis, (12.Jordan Figon 75’) 14.Nick Stavroulakis, 2.Jacob Tratt
Substitutes not used: None
Yellow cards: Matt Gordon 41’, Ethan Galbraith 43’
Red cards: Nil
3 – Panny Nikas (SS)
2 – Nathan Denham (SS)
1 – Nathan Elasi (SS)