BONNYRIGG White Eagles secured a 2-1 victory against an impressive 10-man Sutherland Sharks at Seymour Shaw Park.
A strong start from the White Eagles saw them open the scoring within two minutes via Aaron Peterson.
Sutherland were forced to play majority of the match with 10-men after Daniel Miltwani was sent from the field after bringing down Robbie Younis in the box before the striker doubled his side’s lead.
Jordan Figon got the Sharks back into the contest on the stroke of half time and despite a strong second half the home side went down to a strong Bonnyrigg outfit.
The visitors opened the Sutherland defence up almost immediately from the kick off, and took an early lead.
Ray Miller won the ball in the middle of the park playing a lovely through ball to Peterson. The striker took the ball inwards towards goal before his shot was deflected off a retreating Sharks defender and into the back of the net.
The midfielder turned provider again in the 8th minute with a great ball to Reece Caira who fed the oncoming Tynan Diaz but the winger skied his shot over the bar.
Bonnyrigg continued the assault and could have had another goal in the 12th minute after Caira’s shot was parried by Sharks keeper Nathan Denham into the path of Younis only for Nick Littler to come back to clear.
Sutherland started getting back in the game after the opening quarter of an hour, without really testing Bonnyrigg keeper James Chronopoulos.
The home side were unlucky not to bring the score level on 24 minutes when Steve Hayes found Seongjin Park on the right with the winger’s shot beating Chronopoulos before being cleared on the line by Nikola Zonjic.
Sutherland’s task got even harder in the 26th minute when centre back Mitwali was shown a red card after bringing down Younis in the box. The striker made no mistake from the spot, hammering the ball into the roof of the net to make it 2-0.
A man down Sharks coach Steve O’Connor was forced to sacrifice attacker Peter Crevani to bring on defender Mitchell Farmer as his side struggled to get out of their own half.
Farmer’s night was short lived however with the defender stretchered from the field after succumbing to a knee injury after only 8 minutes.
Minutes later Younis had the ball in the net for a second time after getting on the end of a Adam Jenner cross only for the goal to be disallowed with the striker in an offside position.
The Sharks were not giving up hope with Matt Gordon forcing a great save out of Chronopoulos in the 43rd minute.
Their persistence paid off when they pegged one back through striker Jordan Figon on the stroke of half time. After being fouled, Hayes floated a free kick into the Bonnyrigg box with Littler’s header cannoning off the cross bar and straight to Figon who easily slotted the ball home.
Sutherland started the second half on a positive note creating a chance within a minute.
But it wasn’t long before the numerical advantage started working for the White Eagles as Peterson took on the Sharks defence before finding Jenner who sliced his shot across the face of goal.
Both sides had their keepers to thank in the 58th minute. Chronopoulos tapped an O’Connell free kick onto the cross bar, before the visitors attacked themselves as Younis forced a spectacular save from Denham.
The Sharks remained well in the contest half way through the half as the White Eagles started getting frustrated with themselves giving away several free kicks in their own half.
Hayes had a great chance from a free kick on the edge of the box in the 65th minute but the midfielder’s shot sailed well over the bar.
A minute later Miller got onto the ball and drove the ball just wide of the left hand upright.
The end to end action continued with Bonnyrigg substitute Alex Canak finding space on the right in the 79th minute but his cross come shot failed to meet the target.
Two minutes later the home fans were up on their feet after Figon appeared to have equalised only for the ball to hit the side netting.
As the match moved into the dying stages Bonnyrigg continued to miss chances with Yuta Kokado sending his shot over the bar with six minutes remaining.
Following the match Sharks coach Steve O’Connor said he was proud of his troops’ effort.
“We kept up in a way and scoring a goal before half time enthused us and thought we could get something out of it,” O’Connor said.
“The damage was down early on after the early goal we gave away and then the pen and the send off so we were a bridge too far in the end.
“But it showed good character which is what we have been speaking about in terms of taking little steps towards becoming a top team.”
In the opposing dressing room Bonnyrigg White Eagles head coach Brian Brown said his side should have sewn up the match early in the first half.
“I will wake up in the morning and say we picked up a tough three points at Sutherland,” he said.
“We knew it would be but the way we started the game, we started with a really good side and shape and looked like we were going to score a few goals.
“I thought the red card changed the game, they really did lift. I think any other day we would have scored 10 goals.”
Sutherland Sharks 1 (Figon 44’)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2 (Peterson 2’, Younis 27’ PEN)
Saturday April 11, 2015
Seymour Shaw Park, Miranda
Referee: Chris Young
Assistant referees: Patrick Teleki and Janush Adabjou
Fourth Official: Adam Vainauskas
Sutherland Sharks: Denham (C), Crevani (Farmer 30’)(Antoniou 38’) ,Figon, Gordon, Hayes (Jovovic 79’), Littler, Mitwali, O’Connell, Park, Stergiou, Tratt
Substitutes not used: Depta, Lokolingoy
Yellow cards: Gordon 51’, Tratt 86′
Red Cards: Mitwali 26’
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: Chronopoulos, Caira (Canak 58’), Diaz, Fox (Gil 72’), Jenner, Miller, Peterson, Spruce, Tadrosse (C), Younis (Kokado 70’), Zonjic
Substitutes not used: Mansueto, Savicic
Yellow cards: Younis 49’, Fox 56’, Tadrosse 90+2’
3- Ray Miller (BWE)
2- Steve Hayes (Sutherland)
1- Robbie Younis (BWE)
– by Chris Georges, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Seymour Shaw Park