ROUND nineteen of the Grade 20s competition was played out over the weekend, with one match on Saturday and five on Sunday.
The match of the round saw Bonnyrigg White Eagles travel to Melita Stadium for a gripping 3-3 draw on Sunday afternoon.
Match of the Round
Parramatta FC 3-3 Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Sunday 3pm at Melita Stadium
Parramatta FC fought to come from behind twice to earn a 3-3 draw with Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Melita Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Despite kicking off, the visitors found themselves in trouble almost immediately when Alexander Doyle played a loose pass across the face of the goal to Parramatta’s Frank Martey, but the shot was blocked – fortunately, for the Bonnyrigg midfielder – by the goalkeeper at his near post, and the ball ran out of play for a corner, which came to nothing.
Determined to keep pressing for an early goal, Parramatta conceded against the run of play in the 9th minute when Luke DeBrot won a corner for Bonnyrigg, which was taken by Andre Guzman. Whipped in to the top of the six yard box, Taylor McDonald rose highest to meet the ball in front of a crowded goal, glancing his header on past the keeper to put Bonnyrigg into the lead.
Parramatta looked to find stability quickly, and Matias Da Silva Santos and Martin Lo worked tirelessly behind the forwards to create scoring opportunities. Just five minutes after McDonald’s goal, Parramatta were presented with a gilt-edged chance to find parity when they were awarded a penalty. Domenico Tripodi stepped up for the home side and placed a hard shot into an open goal, with the keeper diving the wrong way, to level the score at 1-1.
Pressure on the Bonnyrigg goal eased after Parramatta’s equaliser, and the visitors were able to take advantage in a more open game. Alexander Doyle might have put his side into the lead again when he found himself on the ball at the head of a five-man counter, but the goalkeeper rushed forward and spread himself well to take the shot with relative ease. Up the other end, Parramatta searched for a goal to give them the lead, and nearly had it when David Chung shaped to shoot in space on the left side of the box, but Terry Bradshaw sprinted across and slid in courageously to block.
Bonnyrigg restored their lead in the 37th minute when Milan Borovina collected a square pass from Kosta Zarafetas near to directly in front of goal, the striker making no mistake as he slammed a shot under the stretching goalkeeper. Parramatta’s immediate reply came from Da Silva Santos, who charged down on goal after the restart but had his shot blocked for a wasted corner to leave his side 2-1 down at halftime.
Parramatta came out in the second half intent on restoring relative order, and made it 2-2 when a freekick into a crowded box fell fortuitously for Shoichi Momohara, who hit his shot into the net from a few metres out to draw his team level for a second time.
The home side took the lead shortly afterwards: Da Silva Santos broke down the right before passing inside to Nicholas Valjak, who scored with a neat finish from close range, giving Parramatta a lead to protect for the first time all afternoon.
Bonnyrigg responded well to going behind, and nearly drew level at 3-3 when the ball came to Kosta Zarafetas on the right side of the box, but he struck his shot against the crossbar as the goalkeeper closed him down. The match began to edge frustratingly towards a conclusion, with both sides taking plenty of time to recover from fouls on a dirty, bumpy pitch.
With little more than ten minutes remaining, Bonnyrigg equalised: Zarafetas drilled an optimistic ball across the face of goal to where Hayden Tucker was waiting, and he tapped the ball into an empty net to level the score at 3-3.
The visitors might have come away with all three points with their few final attempts as the seconds ticked down to full time, but were unable to find another obvious opportunity in a distinctly open game, and the match ended 3-3.
"I don’t think we played inspired football," said Parramatta coach Andrew Prentice. "Their first two goals came from us not playing smart. We created chances, but we didn’t play to the conditions, and that’s what cost us.
"This pitch isn’t great, so we can’t play like we’re playing on a carpet. The instructions before the game were pretty clear – it took until we conceded for things to kick in, but I want us to be proactive, rather than reactive."
Said Bonnyrigg coach Steve Sigmund: "It was disappointing not to come away with all three points – it was a scrappy game, and I think we had the better of it. Parramatta scrambled well, but we have to take our chances when we have them."
Parramatta FC 3 (Tripodi 15′, Momohara 55′, Valjak)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 3 (McDonald 9, Borovina 37′, Tucker 79′)
Sunday July 26, 2015
Parramatta FC: Bereveskos, Da Silva Santos, Di Ruocco, Lo, Mallett, Martey, Momohara, Tripodi, Vais, Turnbull, Chung
Substitutes: Awad, Valjack, Taunton, Jung, Bentan
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC: Borovina, Bradshaw, Carboni, Douglas, Guzman, Krljar, Matic, Zarafetas, McDonald, Doyle, DeBrot
Substitutes: Sanchez, Tucker, Zarafata, Jelenkerian, Kamara
Sutherland Sharks FC 3-0 Manly United FC, at Seymour Shaw
Still with a match in hand over the sides around them – principally Blacktown City and Marconi Stallions – Sutherland Sharks notched an important 3-0 win over Manly United at Seymour Shaw in the only Saturday afternoon match to keep themselves well in the hunt for the premiership as the final few rounds of the competition play out. Jordan Roberts scored twice in the Sharks’ first win in July, after a washout at Rockdale last weekend and a 2-1 loss to APIA in the round before. Jeremy Cox also snagged a goal to consign Manly to their sixth consecutive defeat, a run which has seen them fall to sixth place, seven points adrift of fifth-placed Sydney United 58.
Blacktown City FC 1-1 Marconi Stallions, at Lilys Football Centre
Blacktown City and Marconi Stallions drew 1-1 in a top-of-the-table clash that sees Marconi drop one place to third, while Blacktown City remain first despite the result. Marconi now sit three points behind Blacktown City and one behind the Sutherland Sharks, though the Sharks have a game in hand on the Stallions. Blacktown City’s six-match winning streak comes to an end with the draw, while Marconi fall behind Sutherland Sharks after their fourth consecutive week without a victory.
Sydney United 58 FC 1-1 Rockdale City Suns, at Sydney United Sports Centre
Rockdale City Suns managed an unexpected 1-1 draw with Sydney United 58 FC at Sydney United Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon to keep themselves above twelfth-placed Bonnyrigg White Eagles, only staying off the bottom due to goal difference. United’s push for a semi final spot was dealt a blow by the draw, which keeps them in fifth, four points behind fourth-placed Sydney Olympic, and eight in front of sixth-placed Manly United. Michael Loupis scored Rockdale City’s goal, earning their fifth draw of a difficult season.
South Coast Wolves FC 2-0 APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC, at Win Stadium
South Coast Wolves beat APIA Leichhardt Tigers 2-0 at Win Stadium on Sunday afternoon to move one place up the ladder to seventh, pushing Parramatta FC into eighth below them. The result was the Wolves’ second win in four games, a marked turnaround on the six consecutive losses they suffered mid-way through the season. APIA, meanwhile, hold their spot in ninth place after their sixth loss in seven games, closer to the bottom of the table than a place in the finals.
Sydney Olympic FC 3-0 Blacktown Spartans FC, at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic won comfortably at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday afternoon, overcoming Blacktown Spartans 3-0. Goals from Michael Trajkovski, James Andrew and Thomas Bonomy secured the result for Olympic, their sixth win in as many games. The Spartans stay tenth after another disappointing result, while Olympic hold their place in fourth, now only two points behind third-placed Marconi Stallions.
– by Max Grieve, PS4 National Premier Leagues Grade 20s Reporter