Parramatta FC travelled to Seymour Shaw Park with high hopes of moving up the PS4 National Premier League NSW Men’s 1 ladder, but Sutherland Sharks FC was not prepared to play the role of accommodating host.
The Sharks dominated the game but relied on two costly errors from the Eagles to take a 2-1 win and put themselves back on the winners list after a disastrous 3-0 loss to South Coast Wolves last weekend.
A Daniel Gullo own goal and a long-range strike from Aleksander Jovovic were enough to overturn Marco Sama’s opener after just nine minutes.
Sama’s goal – the result of a long ball into the box which the Eagles forward expertly brought down under a strong challenge from Sharks keeper Andrew Depta – was a dream start for Parramatta, but proved one of few highlights on the night.
The goal came against the run of play after a strong start from the Sharks, who looked very dangerous down the right flank through eventual match-winner Jovovic, who linked up well with Jordan Figon.
Sean O’Connell directed play through the midfield, effectively controlling the game under some strong pressure from Parramatta’s Gullo.
For all his efforts in midfield, Gullo was helpless to stop the Sharks from levelling the scores after 21 minutes when he inadvertently sent the ball into his own net.
Figon did well to keep the ball alive at the far post following an O’Connell cross, sending the ball back across goal into the path of Gullo who could not stop from putting the ball past his keeper Luke Turnbull.
Despite Parramatta’s misfortune, the goal was a deserved one for the Sharks who were able to get behind the Eagles defence, which welcomed the return of Josh Symons and Steven Wright, with alarming regularity.
Sama’s goal proved a sucker punch, but the Sharks defence did not capitulate.
The Eagles offence struggled to create much of note despite Shane Ardle’s hard work down the left and Sama’s neat one-touch work up front, with Matthew Gordon particularly impressive at left full-back for the Sharks.
The teams could not be separated after 45 minutes, but it only took three minutes in the second half for the Sharks to take the lead.
Picking up the ball some 30 yards from goal, Jovovic tried his luck from distance hitting a firm, low shot on target to beat Turnbull at his near post.
Given his quality, Turnbull will have been disappointed to see the ball rustle the back of the net, spoiling what was otherwise another stand out performance from the Parramatta keeper.
Sharks coach Steven O’Connor was delighted to see his side turn in a much improved performance from last week and deliver an important result.
“We didn’t take our early chances, but the performance was good,” O’Connor said.
“We did our usual trick and went and conceded the first goal after a good start and put ourselves under the pump, but we fought back well.
“We were a lot better defensively and we were compact, but it was tough game. They’re decent and I don’t understand why they’re down the bottom end of the table, but it’s a pretty tight comp.”
O’Connor said he would have liked his strikers to convert their more conventional chances.
“In the end, you force errors from the other team. Our goals were unusual, particularly the second one, but we’ve missed some more straight forward ones,” O’Connor said.
“But I was a decent game and I’m pleased we’ve got the three points.”
Sutherland Sharks FC 2 (Gullo OG 21’, Jovovic 48’)
Parramatta FC 1 (Sama 8’)
Saturday June 20, 2015
Seymour Shaw Park
Referee: Daniel Elder
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields and Andrei Griev
Fourth Official: David Haslett
Sutherland Sharks FC: Depta, Tratt, Littler, Antoniou (Stergiou 90’), Figon, Gordon, Hayes, Jovovic, Moustakas, O’Connell, Park
Substitutes not used: Loe, Roberts, Mitwali, Lokolingoy
Yellow cards: O’Connor 41’
Parramatta City FC: Turnbull, Speranza, Symons, Ardle, Tsironis, Wright (Rezo 82’), Chavez (Martey 52’), Clowes, Gullo, Tayebi Derazkala, Sama
Substitutes not used: Grima, Richards, Gersbach
Yellow cards: Wright 18’, Tsironis 67’, Tayebi Derazkala 78’
-By Matthew Galea, National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 Reporter, at Seymour Shaw Park