BONNYRIGG White Eagles have put the heat on Blacktown Spartans and the IGA NPL NSW Mens 1 Premiership by stealing a 1-0 victory over FFA Cup round of 32 side Blacktown City at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre.
Nikola Zonjic was the match winner, bundling the ball home when Blacktown City keeper Blake Tuxford spilled the ball from a Chris Tadrosse corner.
The Bonnyrigg defender was on the spot to take advantage of the mistake, prodding the ball home shortly before the hour mark.
It means that Bonnyrigg White Eagles are temporarily on top of the table ahead of Spartans match against Marconi Stallions tomorrow.
Bonnyrigg could have scored more, but Tuxford was otherwise superb and the young goalkeeper distinguished himself on a number of occasions, making some fine saves.
The first chance of the match fell Blacktown City’s way and on another day it would have been buried without second thought. Sasa Macura’s run took him to the byline and when his cut-back found Ryuiji Miyazawa it seemed that the Blacktown City number 9 would add another goal to his tally.
But his connection was not true and instead, Bonnyrigg keeper Matthew Nash recovered well to make a superb save to his right.
Bonnyrigg began to feel their way into the game and there was 20′ minutes on the clock when they carved an opportunity. Aaron Peterson fed Terry McFlynn, who looked awkward and out-of-position on the right of midfield all night, and his cross found the head of Younis. The Bonynrigg forward was unable to keep his header down.
Shortly after, Dylan Fox gave away possession cheaply, leaving Macura, Travis Major and Daniel Araujo to knit together an attacking move that needed a timely, sliding intervention from McFlynn to stop Araujo getting a cross in.
Confusion between Shayne D’Cunha and Tuxford resulted in the two clattering into each other as they tried to thwart Peterson, who found himself in behind on 24′ minutes. D’Cunha managed to get his head to the ball before being cleaned up by his keeper and a corner resulted.
On the half hour Robbie Younis smashed a dipping right footer at goal from 25 yard out that looked destined for the back of the net. Tuxford showed superb judgement to read the flight of the ball and tip it over the bar.
The sides headed to the sheds level after a 45′ minutes that was often bogged down in midfield and mired in caution.
Immediately after the break, Alex Mansuetto lashed a shot at goal from distance that Tuxford repelled, the keeper springing high to his right to touch the ball over the bar.
Bonnyrigg was showing much more intent in the second stanza and they were rewarded with their goal in the 57′ minute.
Tuxford will not want to look back at it for it was not a moment for which he will feel any fondness, but once he spilled the ball, Zonjic was on hand to punish the error.
He showed great resilience to not let the error effect his concentration though, and he made another superb stop to deny Ken Chun’s well struck shot.
Mark Crittenden sent on Danny Choi and he looked lively, forcing Mansuetto to concentrate on defending, which he did well.
Choi had a shot on his weaker right foot that was stopped comfortably by Nash and Peterson dragged a shot wide from a good position, but it was one goal that decided the match between two evenly matched sides who are sure to meet when the whips are cracking in the finals.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Nikola Zonjic 57′)
Blacktown City 0
Saturday August 2, 2014
Bonnyrigg Sports Centre, Bonnyrigg
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees: Adam Coombes and Mitchell Clark
Fourth Official: Adam Vainauskas
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1.Matthew Nash; 2.Alexander Mansuetto, 4.David Vrankovic, 5.Chris Tadrosse (C), 6.Nikola Zonjic, 9.Robbie Younis (16.Howard Fondyke 85′), 12.Dylan Fox, 18.Adrian Ucchino,19.Aaron Peterson (26.Jordan Crighton 90+2′), 21.Ken Chun, 35.Terry McFlynn (8.Alexander Canak 57′)
Substitutes not used: 20.Tristan Prendergast, 11.Benjamin Spruce
Yellow Cards: Adrian Ucchino 69′
Red Cards: Nil
Blacktown City: 13.Blake Tuxford; 3.Giorgio Speranza, 5.Jacob Poscoliero, 7.Travis Major (C), 8.Sasa Macura, 9.Ryuiji Miyazawa, 10.Shayne D’Cunha (17.Kieren Paull 79′), 14.Mitchell Mallia, 16.Kearyn Baccus, 18.Daniel Araujo (11.Danny Choi 65′), 19.Zac Cairncross
Substitutes not used: 1.Nenad Vekic, 4.Lewis Beumie, 12.Joel Hardwick
Yellow Cards: Zac Cairncross 59′
Red Cards: Nil
– By Matthew Lopez, National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 Editor, at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre