Parramatta FC played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with the Sutherland Sharks on a chilly Wednesday evening at Melita Stadium after the two clashed in a rescheduled round 4 PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 1 fixture.
The visitors immediately attempted to spread the play wide but a plethora of misplaced passes amounted to little early on until a floated free-kick for Parramatta in the 6’ minute produced a corner after Joshua Symons had his header cleared.
From the corner both Roberto Speranza and Marco Sama had efforts cleared on the line by Sharks skipper Nathan Denham and the Sharks defence as the visitors struggled to clear.
The Eagles were quickly into their groove and took the game to Sutherland who continued to probe for the opening by pulling the Parramatta defence about the park.
Daniel Rezo had a chance from a lay off by John Tsironis just outside the area but the ball took a bobble and the shot was skied way over as Parramatta were finding a little extra space to create chances.
It was Sutherland who took the lead however in the 18’ minute when Seongjin Park finished off a neat move. It was the visitors first real attacking chance of the game which they took the opportunity with both hands.
Sean O’Connell warmed the hands of Luke Turnbull in the 31’ minute when twisting his way past two defenders pulled a left-footed shot which the keeper did well to hold at the second attempt.
Literally after this chance fell, the home side equalised when Sama found the back of the net from some distance that beat Denham down low. It was little more than they deserved for their endeavour.
When Parramatta did have the chance to break through Blade Richards down the left late in the half, the midfield were too slow to react and he was forced to hold the ball up in the box, enabling the Sharks defence to get back in numbers and stifle any opportunity.
Half-time arrived with no addition to the scoring.
Aram Tayebi and Richards linked well down the left on the resumption but an over hit cross allowed Sutherland to clear through Matt Gordon with ease with no Parramatta FC player coming in at the back stick and another promising move went begging.
It was Gordon who scampered forward in the 50’ minute and provided Dylan Caton with a chance but the young striker scuffed the shot on the edge of the area.
There was plenty of industry but not much in the way of finesse being shown by either of these two battling sides who were eager for the points and the nervousness showed in their play.
Tayebi centred for Tsironis, who finding himself free in the middle of the box in the 55’ minute, opted to pass it wide instead of taking on the shot that was again cleared easily by Gordon who had been the standout for the visitors so far.
It summed up the fragile confidence of teams to a tee.
Sharks defender Perry Moustakas sent over a cross for Park in the 61’ minute with the Korean volleying just wide of the intended target but it was all a little sporadic for the visitors.
Park came close again with a curling left-footer in the 69’ minute but falling backwards skewed it wide of the upright in what would have been a spectacular strike. It wasn’t to be.
Jordan Roberts tried his luck from distance without troubling Turnbull between the sticks but neither was able to make any penetrating runs yet it was the visitors who were showing the greater desire.
O’Connell should have done better when a corner fell to him around 25-yards out but another shot was belted way off target as we neared the end of the game.
It was all a little too predictable and with Parramatta sitting back hoping to hit on the break the play became bogged down and stifled.
Lucas Stergiou attempted another cross that Park misdirected over the bar in stoppage time and Jacob Tratt picked up a caution with almost the last action of a game that saw two weary sides unable to break each other down after a hectic playing schedule, leaving a Sharks spokesperson to comment afterwards.
“We lacked the intent to press Parramatta tonight and it has to be said we are very disappointed with our effort in this one, it has to be the worst performance of the season by us.
“We put them under pressure on a few occasions and won the ball but we should have done it more often and at the end of the day we need to move the ball quicker than we did tonight.”
“I think you had two teams out there that were very fatigued from the recent fixtures,” stated Parramatta boss Franco Consentino before adding.
“We’ve both played a lot of games in the last two weeks and I think that had a lot to do with it and that showed tonight.
“That said I am pretty happy with the way we performed tonight because we changed the system a little bit and played two up front for the first time this season to have a look how that would go.
“We had our opportunities so I have to be happy with our performance.
“I don’t think this will help either side in the next couple of weeks as they were pretty flat and need to freshen up.
“I don’t really look at a game where we have to defend to get a point because that point isn’t going to save you in the relegation battle and it’s the three points we are after and I don’t feel we sat back tonight and had the better of the chances.
“All of their efforts were really from distance and overall I feel we created better chances but we didn’t take them.”
Parramatta FC 1 (Sama 31)
Sutherland Sharks 1 (Park 18)
Wednesday 20th May, 2015
Melita Stadium, Chester Hill
Referee: Ben Abraham
Assistant Referees: Danny Horstead & Mitch Clark
Fourth Official: Adam Naylor
Parramatta FC: Turnbull, Speranza, Wright, Symons, Gatt ©, Gullo, Rezo, Sama (Cirjak 82), Tsironis, (Grima 67), Tayebi, Richards
Substitutes Not Used: Chavez, Mallett, Williamson
Yellow Cards: Tsironis 59
Sutherland Sharks: Denham ©, Tratt, Littler, Gordan, O’Connell, Park, Stergiou, Moustakas, Roberts, Antoniou (Devlin 72), Caton (McStay 87)
Substitutes Not Used: McKenzie, Mitwali, Depta
Yellow Cards: Antoniou 35, O’Connell 71, Tratt 90+2
3 – Richards (PFC)
2 – Gordon (SS)
1 – Sama (PFC)
-by Micky Brock, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Belmore Sports Ground.