A wonderful evening to beckon this Heritage Round clash of heavyweights as Bonnyrigg White Eagles did battle with Sydney Olympic to produce a thrilling spectacle with the home side running away with a 3-1 victory.
The visitors started the game brightly and applied pressure to the White Eagles without troubling James Chronopoulos although Dylan Fox and Adam Jenner got an early workout in the centre of the home defence.
When Yuta Kokada stole the ball in midfield in the seventh minute he broke down the left and centred for Alex Canak who was perfectly positioned in the centre of the area, but inexplicably skewed the ball over the bar to give Olympic an unexpected let off.
However the White Eagles did take the lead in the ninth minute when Dylan Fox found the back of the net to settle the home side anxieties in a very open contest.
Melbournian Dimitri Hatzimouratis forced Chronopoulos into a save at the base of his left-hand upright, but from an acute angle, he wasn’t able to produce enough power behind the shot to trouble the ‘keeper.
Harris Gaitatzis stepped up for a free-kick in the 18’ minute with Taiga Soeda running over and attempted to curl the ball past Chronopoulos, but the keeper had his angles covered and held on to the ball easily as Olympic knocked on the door.
Kokada then forced the Olympic ‘keeper down smartly to his left however the ball bobbled awkwardly off the pitch just in front and bounced over the giant gloveman and out for a goal-kick in bizarre fashion in the 23’ minute. Had it gone in it would have been a definite candidate for the oddest goals of the year highlight reel.
Robbie Younis, of course the man on the spot once more, made it two zip on the night on the half hour mark when a slip in defence allowed the Bonnyrigg striker to get on the ball and plant a sweet left-foot shot past the hapless Henderson to double the home side’s lead.
Although competitive, Olympic could have no complaints with the score line as Bonnyrigg certainly had the upper hand in this keenly contested battle of heavyweights.
The home side were out-muscling their counterparts and winning the important one on one clashes.
The match swung again when Olympic were awarded a penalty in the 38th minute when White Eagles skipper Chris Tadrosse was adjudged to have fouled Gaitatzis in the area and the striker duly stepped up to plant the ball past Chronopoulos with the deficit reduced to a single goal, it was game on once more.
The whistle brought to an end a pulsating half of football with no further addition to the score.
Six minutes into the second-half and Olympic fell further behind when a Kokada shot took a heavy deflection off the defence to loop over the stranded Henderson and restore the two goal cushion for the home side.
Petar Markovic forced Chronopoulos into a point blank reaction save in the 58’ minute, the ‘keeper did extremely well to keep it out as Olympic pushed on.
It wasn’t the death knell for Olympic but the intensity in the match dropped from both after the third Bonnyrigg strike, although Henderson was made to work the harder of the two ‘keepers and forced to punch clear on a number of occasions.
A sweeping move from the home side saw a three on two situation with Ray Miller slipping the ball to the right for Alex Canak whose shot went wide of the mark with Younis galloping in at the back stick and in the clear in the 72’ minute.
There wasn’t much more in the way of goalmouth action other than a smattering of half-chances but a cameo role for Jake Douglas, on late for Aaron Peterson, produced a fine cut in from the right flank and ended with a shot into Henderson’s side netting that would have capped off a memorable evening for the hosts.
Brian Brown was happy to have collected the three valuable points at the end of the match.
“I always thought when third plays fourth in the competition it would be a tough game and where you had to be prepared to turn up and battle hard for the scraps.
“Our boys won the battle and created a lot of chances which was really pleasing and with the effort I got from the team tonight it was a real Bonnyrigg performance.
“Olympic are a very, very good team and that means our performance was far better than normal.
“We have some players to come back and the theory is it’s at the right time of the season but that doesn’t always work out but it will create the pressure for places and that is a good thing and that means we’ll get some hard training in this week and see who can make the team for our next game,” he concluded.
A dejected opposition counterpart had Grant Lee stating.
“It was very disappointing in some ways and at times looked like men against boys with our naivety.
“In the first half we created a hatful of chances and came up with some great opportunities when we dominated quite well but then our own mistakes were our undoing.
“In the first ten minutes we conceded a poor goal when we allowed their boy to turn on the edge of the box and clip one to the back post and then give away another one with over commitment and a slip in the box under no pressure and Younis tucked it away again.
“And again in the second half when in the first five minutes we did the same thing again, almost a carbon ‘copy of their first goal other than he’s hit it low and hard.
“The player was allowed to cut in and cross it from the sideline and you teach the under 12s not to do that however with two ball playing sides on the park it would be a good spectacle to watch but it’s more disappointing for us as I don’t think Bonnyrigg won the game so much as we lost it.
“Our naivety in key situations gave it to them and had we tucked away a few goals from our early pressure and did the smart things well you never know what the result may have been but we didn’t and we’ve paid the price.”
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3 (Fox 9’, Younis 30’, Kokada 51)
Sydney Olympic 1 (Gaitatzis 38’ pen)
Saturday 13th June, 2015
Bonnyrigg Sports Centre, Bonnyrigg
Referee: James Lewis
Assistant Referees: Andre Giev & Nathan Wotton
Fourth Official: David Haslett
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: Chronopoulos, Tadrosse ©, Diaz (Spruce 89), Canak, Younis, Fox, Jenner (46), Miller, Gil, Kokado, Peterson (Douglas 84)
Substitutes Not Used: Krljar, Savicic
Yellow Cards: Diaz 85
Sydney Olympic: Henderson, Sorge, Hooper, Spyrakis (Gaitatzis.M 68), Angel, Hatzimouratis (Green 86), Gaitatzis.D (Keir 83), Markovic ©, Soeda, Shirai, Tsattalios
Substitutes Not Used: Danaskos, Sadaka
Yellow Cards: Sorge 52, Tsattalios 90
Man of the Match
3 – Kokada (BWE)
2 – Miller (BWE)
1 – Younis (BWE)
– by Micky Brock, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Lambert Park