BONNYRIGG White Eagles proved too good for Manly United, winning 2-1 at home in a tightly fought contest.
Bonnyrigg were quickly into their stride, witching the point of attack and pulling Manly around the pitch without testing Dylan Mitchell in the opposing goal in the early stages.
Manly, to their credit, held their shape well and looked very disciplined in defence, managing to break up the Bonnyrigg attacks before they became too dangerous.
It came as no real surprise when the break through arrived in the 13’ minute. Alex Doyle played the perfect ball for Aaron Peterson to run on to and slot home to open the scoring for Bonnyrigg. The home side had looked slicker and hungrier for the points during the opening 15’ minutes and the pressure finally tolled.
Daniel Bragg fired the first Manly shot in anger in the 24’ minute but it fizzed well wide of James Chronopoulos’ right hand stick.
This was quickly followed by Christian Rhys two minutes later who skinned Adam Jenner and attempted to lob Chronopoulos, however once more it slipped wide of the mark with the ‘keeper unsure and back-peddling rapidly just in case.
The White Eagles were playing very controlled passing football, always probing for an opening without giving too much away at the back, forcing United to work hard for any scraps of a chance they were able to fashion.
The first stanza had been a fascinating half of football, high tempo, high skill in attack and defence. It paved the way for a tremendous second period.
Peterson switched flanks after the break and lead his counterparts a merry dance. Kieran Paull, after his first-half exertions, was the latest to face the Bonnyrigg striker and was handling him well on the Manly right.
Manly were certainly seeing more of the ball by the hour mark however their possession wasn’t telling in front of goal and the match turned into a tactical battle with not too many chances created.
Bonnyrigg slowly began to go through the gears and pushed quicker and higher up the pitch but apart from a Mun-Soo Gil shot from distance that didn’t trouble Mitchell, there wasn’t too much to shout about in way of opportunities created.
It was Robbie Younis who finally added a second home goal when he put in by Tynan Diaz in the 77’ minute, but it took two attempts to get the ball over the line.
Bonnyrigg were now well in charge but a rush of blood saw a straight red card produced a minute later.
Doyle and Brendan Cholakian were tussling for the ball when it appeared Doyle put his head into the Manly midfielder and received his marching orders.
It was Cholakian who reduced the deficit in stoppage time but it was too little too late.
“It was a great win for us as we are down to the bare bones,” Bonnyrigg coach Brian Brown said.
“With the amount of injuries and suspensions we’ve had I am extremely happy with the result. It was one of those hustle and bustle kind of games and neither side ever took control of it but fortunately our defenders did really well tonight and especially Adam Jenner who was playing for the first time in that position so a lot of credit should go to him particularly for his first-half performance.
“With him and Tynan Diaz, Dylan Fox and Chris Tadrosse dominating at the back it was the foundation of our victory.”
Manly coach Paul Dee was disheartened with conceding two slack goals.
“We are very disappointed in the result because we had the opportunity to get something from this game and we didn’t. We conceded two silly goals and that’s hurt us in the end,” he said.
“There has been times in the past when our heads may have dropped when conceding but there is a different culture at the club now and the boys fought really hard when they were down and they didn’t lose their focus and fought until the end which is a pleasing aspect. I think what is disappointing for both teams is the position that each team had didn’t equate to clear cut chances but we move to next week now.”
Assistant coach Bob Catlin added: “I felt at times we really had our foot on their throat and perhaps should have put it to them and ram it home but we didn’t get the tempo high enough during the game and when they got the second goal it was a bit of a killer for us as we were just about to change our shape.
“We wanted to push for the equaliser but the second strike did us and when their player received the red card we re-grouped and pushed on and got one back but realistically we didn’t really look like scoring tonight but credit to the guys for not giving up."
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2 (Peterson 13’ Younis 77’)
Manly United 1 (Cholakian 90+2)
Saturday 30th May, 2015
Bonnyrigg Sports Centre, Bonnyrigg
Referee: Michael Weiner
Assistant Referees: Joon Park & Lance Greenshields
Fourth Official: Branson Lovric
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: Chronopoulos, Tadrosse (C), Diaz, Canak, Younis (Mansueto 88), Fox, Jenner, Doyle, Miller (Douglas 75), Gil, Peterson (Kokoda 83)
Substitutes Not Used: Krljar, Savicic
Yellow Cards: Gil 47
Red Cards: Doyle 78
Manly United: Mitchell, Paull, Lobb, Williams, Payne, McDonald, Cholakian (C), Parkhouse (Saric 62), Oughtred, Bragg (Ferguson 85), Pandurevic (Castelnuovo 72)
Substitutes Not Used: Forbes, Pollard
3 – Jenner (BWE)
2 – Cholakian (MU)
1 – Peterson (BWE)
– by Micky Brock, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre