APIA Leichhardt Tigers have taken all three points from Lambert Park, beating the Sutherland Sharks 2-1 in their round six clash.
With both teams being last start losers, it shaped as a important affair for both teams and possession was evenly shared in the early stages, as both teams felt each other out.
Two goals in two minutes broke open the match after an even opening.
After retaining possession for a period of time in the Sutherland half, APIA’s Nathan Millgate played a wonderful ball down the right flank to Corey Biczo who, one-on-one with the keeper, calmly slotted between his legs to take the Tigers into the lead on the 15 minute mark.
Just minutes later, play opened up inside the box for the first time for Sutherland and with no defensive pressure on Seogjin Park, he was able to shoot for goal, curling his shot into the top corner to get the Sharks back on level terms.
After the score came back to a stalemate, Sutherland dominated possession for the next period of the match, but were unable to take any of the opportunities they made, as they looked to go ahead.
One of these chances came in the form of Sean O’Connell, who came from the right side and made a nice run through the middle of the field. After taking the ball onto his left foot he shot from just outside the box but the effort was just wide.
It wasn’t long before the scorers were troubled again though. 42′ minutes in Blake Powell took a long range shot from 25 yards which was struck beautifully and managed to scream past the outstretched hand of Andrew Depta to put the Tigers back in front. It was an absolutely cracking shot from distance.
Just moments before the break in added time, Nicholas Littler, who was already on a yellow card from earlier in the half, came in for a late challenge and was subsequently sent from the field as referee Kurt Ams issued him his second yellow.
APIA missed a golden opportunity just after the break to take the game away from Sutherland as the ball was crossed into the box from the right side, and with an open goal in front of him and looking for a brace, Blake Powell pulled his shot just over the bar.
With just eight minutes to go before the break a ball came in from the right flank into the box and it was looking as though it would be tapped in by Nathan Elasi but he couldn’t stretch his foot far enough and the ball sailed past the goal mouth.
Sutherland had a great opportunity to snag a draw in the final moments of the match as the ball was cut back into the box from the left. Substitute Aleksandar Jovovic had a chance to score, but sprayed the ball over the crossbar.
After the match, Tigers assistant coach Rod Williams was happy with how his team performed.
"I thought it was a great, well structured performance, the boys trained hard all week and I think it showed on the park," Williams said.
"Unfortunately we missed a few opportunities but in terms of the bonding and how we are playing, especially after last week, we were able to turn it around today and play some really good football".
Meanwhile, Sutherland coach Steve O’Connor conceded that crucial errors cost his team.
"I thought we played well in the first half and were on top of the game, we gave them a sucker punch goal at the back which has cost us," he said.
"Those things change the game, I thought we were comfortable and we were causing them problems. We’ve been like that in a few games and that’s cost us, as well as players being sent off."
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC 2 (Biczo 15′ Powell 42′)
Sutherland Sharks FC 1 (Park ’17)
Sunday 19th April 2015
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Christian Layland and Matthew Reidy
Fourth Official: Matthew McOrist
APIA Leichhardt FC : Norval; Biczo (Olsen 65′), D’Apuzzo, Millgate, Parisi, Petkovski (Elasi ’21), Powell, Studman, Symons, Ucchino, West (C)
Substitutes not used: Bazi, Kayes, Rhodes
Yellow Cards: D’Apuzzo 51′
Sutherland Sharks: Depta; Figon (Antoniou ’64), Gordon, Hayes, Littler, Mitwali (Lokolingoy), O’connell, Park, Seongiin (Jovovic ’69) Tratt, Mcstay
Substitutes not used: McKenzie, Evans
Yellow Cards: Littler 23′
Red Cards: Littler 45+1′
3- Franco Parisi (ALT)
2- Blake Powell (ALT)
1- Sean O’Connell (Sutherland)
– By Jack Hislop, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Lambert Park.