Football, bloody hell.
The words of Sir Alex Ferguson rang truer than ever at Melita Stadium on Sunday evening as Parramatta FC completed a stunning comeback to beat Bonnyrigg White Eagles 5-3 scoring four unanswered second-half goals after heading into the break 3-1 down.
Bonnyrigg were eager to make an early impact on the match, and might have opened the scoring when a loose ball dropped kindly for Robert Younis on the edge of the box, but his volley swung narrowly wide of the far post.
Parramatta responded in kind, breaking up the other end and feeding a pass across to Joshua Gersbach, who dug under his shot to send the ball sailing over the crossbar.
Bonnyrigg opened the scoring with their next attacking wave, in the 3rd minute of the game.
Aaron Peterson was seemingly the only man alive to the opportunity as a pass dribbled across the six-yard box, and he used his body to shield the ball from his defender before turning and rolling shot inside the far post and past a confused Luke Turnbull in the Parramatta goal.
Deserving of its lead, even after only a few short minutes, Bonnyrigg eased concentration in possession, and momentarily let the run of play favour their opponents.
Younis and Peterson became isolated up front while Parramatta searched for a way back into the match, but while winning the ball from Bonnyrigg was proving to be a relatively simple task, completing a pass in their own attacking third was the opposite.
On a rough, uneven pitch, the players allowed themselves to be dragged into a period of fouls and free kicks in midfield that threatened to define a fairly lackluster first half.
A struggle for fluency ensued, with neither side able to maintain possession deep in their opponent’s half without being caught by a stray leg.
Parramatta brought quality back to the match with a goal on the break in the 27th minute through Blade Richards, who slapped a shot past goalkeeper James Chronopoulos from just inside the penalty area after collecting a square pass from Shayne Ardle on the right to draw his side level at 1-1.
Bonnyrigg hit back just over ten minutes later, with Aaron Peterson scoring a second goal – an uncontested glancing header – to put the visitors back in the lead.
Soon after, they scored a third, when Younis worked room for a shot inside the six-yard box which Luke Turnbull could only push into the path of Tynan Diaz, who finished from less than a meter out to give Bonnyrigg a commanding 3-1 lead at halftime.
Parramatta opened the second half with the score line delicately poised, determined to avoid conceding another early goal which might have taken the game beyond them, they rolled forward in search of an opportunity.
A penalty after just five minutes of the half was a lifeline.
Marco Sama was brought down in the box and Daniel Rezo took Parramatta to within a goal of their opponents with a drilled spot kick that sent Chronopoulos diving the wrong way in the Bonnyrigg goal.
With their lead now in immediate danger, Bonnyrigg looked to click into gear as the game stretched into a series of counter attacks, leaving defenders scrambling to recover at both ends.
While attempting to hold onto his cards, the referee was called into action a number of times in the middle of the half to award yellow cards to players from both sides, including one shown to David Vrankovic for a nasty slide on Marco Sama near the halfway line.
Parramatta continued to look for an equaliser, and sent those gathered at Melita Stadium into near-delirium when Luke Grima leveled the score at 3-3 in the 69th minute, meeting a deep free kick from the right with his head and flicking the ball on past a stretching Chronopoulos.
They scored again just minutes later, this time through Aram Tayebi.
Tayebi was sent through on goal with a pass on the edge of the box and, after holding his shot until the goalkeeper’s legs opened to give him space to aim for at the far post, slotted the ball home to give his side the lead with their third unanswered goal of the half.
Even with a remarkable comeback complete, the home side weren’t finished, and scored a fifth in the dying minutes of the game.
With Bonnyrigg beginning to resort to a desperate long ball game, Sama picked up a pass deep on the right flank and drove past three defenders before deftly lifting the ball over the onrushing Chronopoulos.
Bonnyrigg might have scored in injury time as a cross dropped to Adam Jenner standing at the far post, but he couldn’t get his feet in the right position and blasted his shot wide and high, the afternoon decidedly Parramatta’s.
"My team just doesn’t know how to give up and we showed it tonight," said Parramatta coach Franco Consentino.
"We conceded three cheap goals, but we knew at halftime that we needed to be next to score, and we managed to run them down."
Bonnyrigg’s Brian Brown was understandably less pleased with his side’s performance.
"We were outfought, out chased and outrun in the second half,” Brown said.
"I’m extremely disappointed that we didn’t take advantage of our chances in the first half, and with the fact that the five goals we conceded were due to basic errors. It’s not easy to take."
Parramatta FC 5 (Richards 27′, Rezo 50′, Grima 69′, Tayebi 75′, Sama 85′)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 3 (Peterson 3′, 38′, Diaz 45′)
Sunday July 26, 2015
Parramatta FC: Turnbull, Ardle (Grima 51′), Clowes, Gersbach, Symons, Gatt, Rezo, Sama (Martey 87′), Tayebi, Richards, Speranza
Subs not used: Wright, Chavez, Vais
Yellow Cards: Clowes 57′, Grima 68′, Rezo 90′
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC: Chronopoulos, Mansueto (Caira 84′), Gil, Diaz, Kokado, Miller (Zonjic 63′), Peterson, Spruce, Tadrosse, Vrankovic, Younis (Jenner 72′)
Subs not used: Matic, Doyle
Yellow Cards: Vrankovic 53′, Peterson 57′, Gil 65′, Spruce 67′, Caira 90′
– By Max Grieve, PS4 NPL New South Wales Men’s 1 Reporter, at Melita Stadium