IT WAS a game that caught fire early, as three goals were scored in the opening 18 minutes.
The last of those, by Panni Nikas, decided the match, as Sydney United 58 came from a goal down to claim all three points against Bonnyrigg White Eagles. Substitute and recent new recruit and former Golden Boot winner, Richard Cardozo iced the cake, scoring only minutes after coming on as late substitute.
United’s comeback was sparked by Bonnyrigg’s opener, scored by Chris Tadrosse in the second minute, a lead that only last three minutes before Chris Triantis levelled.
Nikas had the final say, continuing his golden run since returning from a foot injury. It was his first NPL start for United 58 and he certainly showed his worth with the winning goal.
Referee Stephen Lucas awarded a free kick to Bonnyrigg to the left of the area, with only 60 seconds on the clock.
Ray Miller stood over it, and knocked it short to the skipper Tadrosse. His left footed cross looped over United 58 keeper Justin Pasfield, nestling in the top corner. Pasfield complained bitterly that he had been fouled, but it was hard to see where.
It was an explosive start and the perfect tonic for the home side.
It didn’t last long though, as some slack defending from the White Eagles allowed United to hit back straight away.
The in-form Matthew Bilic raced down the left, before whipping in a delicious ball to the back post. Triantis was on the spot, unmarked, and headed firmly past James Chronopoulos to level the score.
There was much to like about the tempo of the match, and Nikas was lively, relishing his first start.
It was another headed goal that put United ahead, and this time Triantis was the architect.
His cross from the right found Nikas, again unmarked, and suddenly United led.
Triantis was booked for simulation shortly after, and Robbie Younis had a shot whistle over.
The Bonnyrigg striker had another chance that he spurned early in the second half, before a cross from Reece Caira deflected onto the back post and out to safety.
Bonnyrigg were chasing the game and creating openings, but none they could take.
In the 71st minute, Younis had a free kick that he hit over the bar, and that truthfully would probably have been saved by Pasfield had it been on target.
The White Eagles thought they’d equalised seven minutes later, when Pasfield saved a shot from Younis, only to see Caira turn in the rebound. The celebrations were cut short though, as Caira was offside when Younis took his shot.
Bonnyrigg pushed and pushed, but they were undone by a sucker punch three minutes from time.
Cardozo, on only six minutes earlier, tapped in after Chronopoulos denied Mitchell Stamatellis.
The celebrations were in full swing on the United 58 bench, and the points were the Reds’.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Tadrosse 2′)
Sydney United 58 FC 3 (Triantis 5′, Nikas 18′, Cardozo 87′)
Sunday April 19, 2015
Bonnyrigg Sports Centre, Bonnyrigg
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees: Andrej Giev and Danny Horstead
Fourth Official: Peter Liaros
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: Chronopoulos; Jenner (Gil 67′), Fox, Spruce, Tadrosse (C), Mansueto, Canak (Doyle 74′) , Miller, Caira, Peterson (Kokado 72′), Younis
Substitutes not used: Zonjic, Savicic
Yellow cards: Caira 78′
Sydney United 58 FC: Pasfield; Dragicevic, Kofinas, Haydar (C), Camera, Stamatellis, Paric, Bilic (Cardozo 81′), Triantis (Proia 67′), Nikas, Zuvela (Tomelic 90+2′)
Substitutes not used: Tomic, Diacono
Yellow cards: Triantis 21′
3 – Mitchell Stamatellis (SU)
2 – Ray Miller (BWE)
1 – Justin Pasfield (SU)
– by Matthew Lopez, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Editor, at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre