The Bonnyrigg White Eagles’ Premiership assault continued in fine fashion with an inspired second-half performance against 10-man South Coast Wolves on a chilly Saturday night at Bonnyrigg Sports Club.
Hot on the heels of derby delight last weekend, the White Eagles extended their brilliant run of form in the PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 division.
Robert Younis, Yuta Kokado and an inspired finish from David Vrankovic got the job done for the in-form Eagles who temporarily move into second place and lurk just one point behind ladder leaders Blacktown City as a result.
A bland first half never looked like exploding into the avalanche of action that followed in the second half, but some stern words from Brian Brown saw his charges put on a much more committed showing after the break.
Before that, the majority of good play had come from the travelling Wolves, who turned strength in midfield into genuine attacking threat.
Jordan Murray was particularly troublesome and his darting runs down the middle caused Ben Spruce plenty of problems early on.
He should have scored after just five minutes when a lovely bit of Wolves play through the middle opened the up the right flank.
The ball made it’s way to Murray who had taken up a dangerous position on the penalty spot, but an average first touch took away precious milliseconds, manifesting in a tame shot which was easily dealt with by Bonnyrigg keeper James Chronopoulos.
The Wolves continued to get into promising positions but the final ball was never as good as that again, leaving Murray and Peter Simonoski starved of genuine opportunities.
At the other end, a rather pedestrian White Eagles were restricted to speculative long-range efforts, which failed to cause Wolves’ keeper Thomas Manos too many problems.
If the White Eagles were lacklustre in the first 45, they were anything but after.
Younis had the home side 1-0 up just one minute after the restart when he kissed a Tynan Diaz free-kick from the left of the box off the tip of his toe into the back off the net past a helpless Manos, who watched on as his defenders failed to cope with a relatively straight-forward set-piece.
Manos’ despair was short-lived, however, as the Wolves responded with an instant equalizer.
The Wolves more than deserved to be on level terms on the back of a strong first half and they showed remarkable spirit to score one minute after Younis’ opener as David Stojic turned the ball home at the far post to cap off a fine bit of play from the Wolves.
Parity was short-lived, though, as the White Eagles stumped up yet another possible ‘IGA Goal of the Week’ contender.
This time it was David Vrankovic, who was enjoying a fantastic performance in the middle of the park instead of his usual stopper role that stepped up to the plate.
A White Eagles break down the left wing saw the ball cut back to the menacing Vrankovic a good 20 yards from goal and the former A-League prodigy showed all his class when he unleashed a stunning first-time strike to leave Manos stranded in the middle of his goal as the ball sailed into the top-right corner.
The night went from bad to worse when Wolves substitute Joseph Lavalle did his best impression of Gone in 60 Seconds when he got himself sent off five minutes after entering the game.
A late challenge earned Lavalle a yellow card, which quickly turned to red when his dissent forced the referees hand.
From there, the White Eagles mercilessly exploited their numbers advantage in search of a third goal and they did not have to wait long.
Kokado secured the points in the 79th minute with a first-time shot from just inside the box which deflected in off a desperate slide from a Wolves defender.
The result was a pleasing one for Bonnyrigg coach Brian Brown, who praised his side for another professional performance.
“The surface made it difficult to play open fast football, and credit to the Wolves because they probably should have been up at half-time and they were playing really well,” Brown said.
“I thought the second half was ours and we deserved the result.”
Brown highlighted Vrankovic’s performance – and his goal – as particularly noteworthy.
“I reckon that’s the fourth week running we’re in for goal of the week,” Brown said.
“It was an outstanding goal, but his whole performance was good. His second half was very good.
“He’s played a bit in midfield for us, even if he is a stopper but he’s very adaptable and he’s given us a good shift in there, as did Ray Miller who was great all game.”
Wolves’ coach Jacob Timpano was left frustrated by the result after what he thought was a good performance from his side.
“It’s very frustrating. Blind Freddy could see we should have been a few up after half-time,” Timpano said.
“We concede from a soft set-piece and get a goal back, which we thoroughly deserved, and then they get a goal like that and it hurts us.
“But we outplayed them in the first half, and I’ve been honest in my comments after every game this season but I think the officials didn’t help.
“I think the first yellow card (for Lavalle) was soft, but I suppose if he’s said something after that he deserved the second.”
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3 (Younis 46’, Vrankovic 65’, Kokado 79′)
South Coast Wolves 1 (Stojic 49’)
Saturday July 18, 2015
Bonnyrigg Sports Clubs
Referee: Ryan Shepheard
Assistant Referees: Raymond Osborne and Danny Horstead
Fourth Official: Brendon Lovric
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: Chronopoulos, Mansueto, Miller (Caira 80’), Tadrosse, Vrankovic (Mun-Soo 80’), Diaz, Fox, Kokado, Peterson, Spruce, Younis (Jener 70’)
Substitutes not used: Canak, Matic
Yellow Cards: Spruce 45’
South Coast Wolves: Manos, Baldacchino, Griffin, Mackenzie, Madden, Matthews (Alsaad 78’), Murray, O’Rourke, Price, Simonoski (Welch 78’), Stojic (Lavalle 66’)
Substitutes not used: Hamilton, Fielding
Yellow Cards: Griffin 30’, Simonoski 65’, Lavalle 71’
Red Cards: Lavalle 71’
-By Matthew Galea, National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Editor, at Bonnryigg Sports Club