IT WAS a tale of three penalties at Sydney United Sports Centre, as the Reds scored an ultimately convincing 3-0 victory over Sutherland Sharks in the Match of the Round.
The first goal came from the spot, when in the 27th minute, Sutherland keeper Nathan Denham brought down Ibrahim Haydar.
Mirjan Pavlovic stepped up and dinked the ball cooly past the Sutherland keeper; there was a touch of Panenka as the ball floated into the back of the net.
At the same end on the hour mark, Sutherland should have drawn level. Again it was a mistake from a goalkeeper, this time Justin Pasfield bringing down Jordan Figon after the muscular forward beat him to a ball over the top.
Pasfield was booked, but saved a poor penalty from Sean O’Connell. The keeper held up a gloved hand of apology to his team mates, but he had redeemed himself in spectacular fashion.
Sutherland’s task was made all the more difficult when Nick Littler was given a second yellow with 15 minutes to play and from the resulting free kick, Ante Tomic curled a spectacular shot past Denham to put the game to bed.
There was still time for a second Sutherland penalty however, given when Haydar handballed in the area, but this time Seongjin Park took it and hit the post.
A late Anthony Tomelic drive from outside the area finished the job as United added some gloss to the scoreline. It was a thunderous drive that gave Denham absolutely no chance of saving.
But it could have been so different.
Sutherland flew out of the blocks and United found themselves on the back foot, fending off wave after wave of attack from the men in black.
Shane Webb found the side netting early on, and a Peter Crevani free kick whistled narrowly over Pasfield’s crossbar as the Sharks applied early pressure.
Pasfield and his central defenders Haydar and Theo Kofinas stood firm though, weathering the storm. Mitchell Farmer was the first player to enter Kris Griffiths-Jones’ notebook after a clash with Robbie Mileski that saw both players hobbled over in pain.
United’s first opportunity came on 20 minutes when a ball from Daniel Dragicevic found Pavlovic. He managed to chest the ball down to Stjepan Paric, but his shot was well blocked by Littler.
The first penalty followed, Denham clumsily fouling Haydar and Pavlovic showing his ice cool temperament from the spot.
Pasfield’s brain explosion threatened briefly to bring Sutherland back into it, but their own profligacy from 12-yards, and their own ill-discipline, cost them dearly as the scoreline blew out late in the game.
Sydney United 58 3 (Pavlovic PEN 27′, Tomic 75′, Tomelic 85′)
Sutherland Sharks 0
Sunday March 22, 2015
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referees: Daniel Stack and Janush Adabjou
Fourth Official: Tristan Harris
Sydney United 58 FC: Pasfield; Tomelic, Pavlovic (Cindric 86′), Tomic, Mileski (Proia 46′), Dragicevic, Camera, Stavroulakis, Paric (Bilic 86′), Kofinas, Haydar (C)
Substitutes not used: Smith, Babic
Yellow cards: Tomic 25′
Sutherland Sharks: Denham (C); Crevani (Jovovic 69′), Farmer, Figon, Gordon, Littler, McKenzie, O’Connell, Park (Mitwali 84′), Stergiou, Webb (Antoniou 69′)
Substitutes not used: Depta, Tratt
Yellow cards: Farmer 17′, Littler 26′, Webb 45′
Red cards: Littler 74′
3- Pavlovic (SU58)
2- Tomic (SU58)
1- Figon (Sutherland)
– by Matthew Lopez, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Editor at Sydney United Sports Centre