BONNYRIGG White Eagles came back after conceding an early goal, to take all three points against Sutherland Sharks.
It was the visitors who hit the front in the second minuted when Jordan Figon sent in a cross which James Chronopoulos parried into the path of Steve Hayes who pick his spot and found the back of the net.
It was a goal which set up the contest nicely.
Seongjin Park followed this up in the fifth minute with a looping a shot from the edge of the box, which James Chronopoulos pushed into the air before gathering. The ‘keeper then made a fantastic stop against Figon as Sutherland overwhelmed the home side in a bright start.
Bonnyrigg countered when Yuta Kokoda went down the left but his cross was too powerful and found the sideline on the opposite side of the pitch as they rallied from the early set-back.
Ray Miller broke down the middle to set Tynan Diaz through on goal with the striker hitting a powerful shot that Sharks ‘keeper Andrew Depta did extremely well to keep out. Diaz would have certainly thought he would restore parity but for the reflexes of the Sutherland gloveman.
However it was the Sharks who were making the better in-roads inside the opening quarter-hour but couldn’t make their early dominance count on the score board.
What ensued was an enthralling midfield battle and the occasional scamper down the flanks.
Figon found the net from an Alex Jovovic pass inside the box in the 38’ minute which was ruled out for offside. From the restart the ball found Aaron Peterson who shimmied past two Sharks defenders and unleashed a shot arrowing inside the post that Depta again did well to keep out.
Diaz netted a bizarre equaliser in the 42’ minute, floating in a corner that bounced inside the box and into the net without being touched. The Sharks defence were up in arms believing Depta had been taken out but the goal stood.
In a fascinating 45’ minutes of football it would be difficult to tell which coach would be the best pleased but the match promised a scintillating second-half to come with all to play for.
A madcap scramble in the White Eagles’ box eventually saw the ball put out for a goal kick in the 50’ minute although stern words were used during the break as both came out for the restart with plenty of fire in the belly and the tackles began to match it.
Miller put Bonnyrigg ahead in the 55’ minute, heading home from a Chris Tadrosse cross from the left after being fed by Kokoda. It was a sweet move started by Robbie Younis winning the ball in midfield, and Sutherland had been made to pay for their early profligacy.
Bonnyrigg extended their lead when Sutherland thought Peterson was offside from a Mun-Soo Gill pass in the centre of the box but the nippy striker spun delightfully to curl a right-foot shot into the top left hand corner. It led to Matt Gordon picking up a caution for his protestations and another controversial decision was marked down by the visitors.
The White Eagles then had a goal wiped out themselves in the 76’ minute when Kokoda appeared to out jump the Sharks defence only to be given an offside flag that didn’t please the home faithful and led to further lively debate.
Sutherland reduced the deficit when Jacob Tratt headed home form a Hayes short corner routine to set up a grandstand finish to an excellent game.
“I had a feeling this match would go the way it did because Sutherland are on a bit of a roll and working really hard in games and even when we played them in the first game of the season they went down to ten men and out ran us on the pitch so we knew it would be a struggle tonight," Bonnyrigg coach Brian Brown said.
"It was the same tonight when they chased us everywhere and credit to our guys to go a goal down early and come back is a great performance
“It was a good hard game and you have to take into account the pitch has become very bumpy and for both teams to put on the display they did is a credit and if the surface was in better condition this match could have been even better than it was tonight and these things do need to be considered. That said, it doesn’t really matter it was a tough game or the performance as it’s the three points that count and that’s how I’m going to look at it from now on.”
Sutherland coach Steve O’Conner wasn’t the happiest person in the ground after the game.
“We knew Bonnyrigg would come back into the game but we had another two good chances after the goal to add to our tally and it should have been three nil," he said.
"I felt their equaliser was a clear foul on our ‘keeper so that was disappointing and then they are back in the game just before the break. Even then we came back out and worked hard but they the benefit of the doubt with a few calls and us not picking up at the right time, particularly for the second goal.
“We came back again and created a few chances at the end and at 3-2 you think is we had have taken our early chances the result and outcome could have been totally different as it puts a different dynamic in the match. Goals change games as they say.
“We couldn’t break them down at the end and they have a few experienced players who slowed the game down a bit and they are a decent side but having said that I am proud of the commitment shown by our lads tonight, they played really well and battled away and took it to them. It’s hard to get a win here but we were in it and we had our opportunities but we’ve got to learn to take them and then how to close games down.”
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3 (Diaz 42’, Miller 55, Peterson 70’)
Sutherland Sharks 2 (Hayes 2’, Tratt 86’)
Saturday 27th June, 2015
Bonnyrigg Sports Centre, Bonnyrigg
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Assistant Referees: Raymond Osborne & Nathan Wotton
Fourth Official: Brandon Lovric
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: Chronopoulos, Mansueto, Vrankovic, Tadrosse (C), Diaz, Younis (Caira 90+3), Fox, Miller (Canak 81), Gil, Kokoda, Peterson
Substitutes Not Used: McDonald, Douglas, Savicic
Yellow Cards: Miller 20’, Gil 79’
Sutherland Sharks: Depta, Tratt, McKenzie, Gordon, O’Connell (C), Park (Lockolingoy 57), Jovovic, Stergiou, Moustakas, Figon (Antoniou 57), Hayes
Substitutes Not Used: Littler, Mitwali, Loe
Yellow Cards: Figon 42’, Hayes 62’, Gordon 70’, Antoniou 82’, Tratt 87
– by Micky Brock, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre