MANLY United and South Coast Wolves were both left feeling disappointed following a tame 1-1 draw on Saturday night at Cromer Park.
The home side were coming off an impressive 5-3 victory against Sydney United 58 FC last weekend, and started the contest the better of the two squads.
Chris Payne should have opened the scoring after just 3′ minutes.
The striker had a free header inside the six yard box at the near post but could only force his effort well wide.
Brendan Cholakian was the next to threaten the Wolves.
He worked himself into a good position 20 yards out from goal but his hopeful effort was gobbled up by Tom Manos, with five minutes on the clock.
The visitors took a while to hit their straps and should have done better on 13′ minutes.
Following a mazy run from Darcy Madden where he was eventually fouled, Brendan Griffin stepped up to try his luck with a free kick.
Dylan Mitchell in the United goal wasn’t troubled, with the effort on 13′ minutes sailing well over the crossbar.
Adam Parkhouse, who was a constant menace down the left flank all game for United, whipped in a good cross with 20′ minutes played.
Payne reacted first, but his effort trickled to safety.
You sensed it was going to be a tight contest and a few moments later Nahuel Arrarte’s men took the lead against the run of play.
Peter Simonoski stormed into the box and was body checked by Jamie Lobb. It was a rash challenge and referee Kelly Jones had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Simonoski dusted himself off and promptly outfoxed Mitchell from 12 yards to give Wolves the game’s first goal.
On 27′ minutes Manos, who played his junior football with Manly and is a one time Lucas Neill scholarship winner, was lucky not to be cautioned.
It appeared obvious to all at the ground he handled a ball outside the box, but Jones waved play on.
The game then hit a lull leading into the break and the patient home fans in the Lucas Neill Grandstand hoped for a better second half showing.
Naturally their prayers were answered on 53′ minutes – via an own goal.
Parkhouse delivered a teasing cross to the near post which James O’Rourke deflected past Manos to square proceedings.
Manly’s superior fitness was obvious in the final half an hour and it appeared a matter of time before they found a winner.
Payne was unfortunate to see a goal bound effort somehow deflect over on 61′ minutes which summed up the game.
Both coaches cleared their benches late on in search of three points, but in the end a draw was a fair result.
United were not clinical and the Wolves defended well, happy to ask questions on the counter attack via long balls.
The home side were best served by left back Rhys Williams and Daniel Bragg was tidy in the middle pulling the strings.
Manly boss Paul Dee felt it was two points dropped.
"We completely dominated possession and had the vast majority of the attacking moves,” he said.
"Wolves are a destructive team – they always have numbers back in defence and run all day.
"I was happy with what we did with the ball, we just didn’t take our chances."
Wolves skipper Chris Price was content with a draw on the road.
"It has been a busy few weeks for us, with (Westfield FFA) Cup games and league games,” he said.
"We had our tails up when we took the lead and tried to hold on, but it wasn’t to be."
Manly United FC 1 (O’Rourke OG 53′)
South Coast Wolves 1 (Simonoski 22′)
Saturday May 16, 2015
Cromer Park, Cromer
Referee: Kelly Jones
Assistant referees: Danny Horstead, Christian Layland-Greenaway
Fourth official: Karl Davies
Manly United: Mitchell, Beuchat, Bragg (McDonald 76′) Cholakian, Lobb, Oughtred, Parkhouse, Paull, Payne, Saric (Pandurevic 42′) Williams
Substitutes not used: Liiband, Forbes, Kuleski
South Coast Wolves: Manos, Baldacchino, Fielding, Griffin, Mackenzie, Madden, Matthews (Stojic 76′) Murray (Alsaad 88′) O’Rourke, Price, (Lavalle 76′), Simonoski
Substitutes not used: Hamilton, Delbanco
Yellow cards: Madden 7′, Fielding 83′, Simonoski 84′, MacKenzie 87′
3 – Rhys Williams (MU)
2 – Daniel Bragg (MU)
1 – Peter Simonoski (SCW)