Manly United have recorded a 3-0 victory against former ladder leaders Blacktown Spartans in a chaotic afternoon at Cromer Park that saw referee Adam Weir issue two red cards.
Manly dominated territory in the opening stages and after some sustained pressure in and around the Spartans box, referee Weir awarded a penalty after he saw a handball in the box.
Scott Balderson was able to capitalise on this opportunity and put the ball past Spartans keeper Carlos Saliadarre to put Manly 1-0 inside the 3’ minute mark.
Having gained confidence from their impressive start, 18’ minutes in Manly created an attacking raid up the right flank thanks to the speed of Brendan Cholakian. The number 10 then passed it onto James Oates who crossed it into the box but he was unable to find the boot of another Manly teammate and the ball trickled past the far post untouched.
The opening exchanges were filled with niggle from both teams as heavy body contact was shown in a lot of the challenges, subsequently a number of yellow cards were handed out by referee Weir.
Manly created another opportunity as a beautiful cross by Oates from the right flank on the 35′ minute mark found the head of Daniel Saric unmarked in the box but the ball sailed just over the crossbar and the score stayed at 1-0.
The Spartans best opportunity of the first stanza came just before the stroke of halftime as a corner was crossed into the box which found Raymond Miller with a free shot at goal but his strong strike was well saved by Dylan Mitchell.
Manly United had a great opportunity at the start of the second stanza as Saric was awarded a free kick 10 yards out from the penalty box. Saric hammered the ball beautifully into the box and found the head of Balderson who just misdirected the ball and an opportunity for Manly to go 2-0 up not long after oranges went begging.
The Spartans were able to create quite a few half chances in the opening 30′ minutes of the second half but for most part were finding it difficult to crack a deep lying Manly side.
75′ minutes in the game went into chaos.
Firstly referee Weir issued a second yellow card to Joshua Lawson for a challenge just outside the penalty box, and then just two minutes after that, just metres away from where Weir issued Lawson with his second yellow, a straight red was handed to the Spartans’ Mitchell Long for a strong challenge on Cholakian.
Moments after, Chris Payne created an opportunity down the right flank for United as he beat Luka Dukic for the ball. Payne then played the ball off to Sim who waited in the box, then played it back to Payne who smashed it past the Blacktown keeper and Manly went 2-0 up.
In injury time, referee Weir issued a second penalty to Manly as Cholakian was caught up inside the box by Jacob Ott. The number 10 capitalised and made the score 3-0 to to complete an impressive victory.
Manly United coach Paul Dee, was extremely impressed with how his team performed.
“Our boys are committed to the cause, there’s been some unfortunate results, but the energy is still high in the camp and they know how hard we need to fight to beat those teams in the top four," Dee said.
“It’s just one game, but we’ll enjoy the win but it gives us an increased level of belief that we can take on these teams, particularly at home.”
Spartans coach Ben De Haan was unavailable for comment after the match.
The loss for the Spartans meant that they had lost top spot to rivals Blacktown City FC who recorded a 1-0 victory over the Sutherland Sharks to move them one point in front.
Manly United FC 3 (Scott Balderson (pen) 3′, Chris Payne 79’, Brendan Cholakian (pen) 90+2′)
Blacktown Spartans 0
Sunday 13th July, 2014
Cromer Park, Cromer
Referee: Adam Weir
Assistant Referees: Thomas Lee and Joon Park
Fourth Official: Sanuel Grasso
Blacktown Spartans: 1.Carlos Saliadarre (C); 2.Luke Austin, 5.Luka Dukic, 6.Greg Kondek, 8.Raymond Miller (7.Phillip Makrys 63′), 9.Elsid Barkhousir, 10.Emmanuel Giannaros, 13.Corey Biczo (20.Tomislav Cirjak), 14.Jacob Ott, 15.Mitchell Long, 17.Kieran Dalton (11.David Gullo 28′)
Substitutes Not Used: 16.Benjamin Tosi, 41.Nascimben Domenic
Yellow cards: Emmanuel Giannaros 40’, Elsid Barkhousir 88’, Luka Dukic 91’, David Gullo 78’
Red cards: Mitchell Long 78’
Manly United FC: 1.Dylan Mitchell; 2.James Oates, 4.Graeme Forbes (C), 5.Joshua Lawson, 6.J Ward, 7.Scott Balderson (17. Nathan Sim 47’), 9.Christopher Payne (8.Daniel Grant 80’), 10.Brendan Cholakian, 13.Roberto Speranza, 15. Rhys Williams, 19.Daniel Saric (22.Jack Green 32’)
Substitutes Not Used: 20.Tonu Liiband, 31.Dylan Whitlock
Yellow Cards: Roberto Speranza 7’, Joshua Lawson 9’, Soctt Balderson 38’, Brendan Cholakian 90′
Red Cards: Joshua Lawson 76′
– By Jack Hislop, National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 Reporter at Cromer Park