MANLY United turned on the style at Cromer Park, beating competition newcomers Hakoah Sydney City East 3-1 during its PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash on Sunday.
Goalkeeper Dylan Mitchell was a standout, saving his third successive penalty with the game in the balance at 0-0 midway through the first half.
The visitors started the contest the stronger, with a free kick from right back Lee Jones an early warning sign.
Hussein Akil could have opened the scoring with just four minutes played, but the striker scuffed his shot.
Moments later Hakoah turned the ball over cheaply and Manly’s Dejan Pandurevic hit a shot which trickled wide with Anthony Costa well off his line.
A Jones corner with 20 minutes on the clock was cleared off the line by United’s Luke Giverin and moments later Jones had the chance to give his team the lead from the penalty spot.
Much to the delight of the home fans, Mitchell held his nerve to parry out the effort and then Jones volleyed over from two yards in what was an incredible miss for a player of his class.
Pandurevic, Daniel Saric and Adam Parkhouse all blazed over with halftime approaching before teammate Luke Giverin showed how it was done, giving United a 1-0 lead when his drive whistled in at the near post.
With 43′ minutes played Pandurevic missed a sitter, but thankfully for the United striker defender Travis Oughtred doubled Manly’s lead just after the break.
Giverin delivered a perfect set piece, and the defender headed home from six yards to put the hosts in the box seat at 2-0 after 46′ minutes.
Travis Cooper should have put United in dreamland with an hour played, but Hakoah defender Nathan Bowden-Hasse scrambled to hack the ball to safety after Cooper took an eternity to force the ball home.
Pandurevic made it three after 69 minutes
Saric unselfishly squared a ball to the former Central Coast Mariners utility, who stabbed the ball home to secure the three points for Paul Dee’s men.
Substitute Daniel Bragg should have made it 4-0 with 75′ minutes gone but he snatched at his effort and saw his shot sail over the crossbar.
Akil pegged one back for Hakoah following a great team move with 82 minutes on the clock, and despite some nervous late moments, United deserved to sing their team song.
Defenders Oughtred and Jamie Lobb were solid as per usual, and should take most of the plaudits.
Manly skipper Brendan Cholakian was buzzing at the final whistle.
"We knew if we won the mental battle, we would win the game,” he said.
“Dylan (Mitchell) was great for us, he reads penalties well and his save changed the game.
"I thought we showed great fight, last year we would have lost that one.
"We just need to bury a few more chances, but that will come with time."
Hakoah Sydney City East coach Mark Robertson felt it was a game of two halves.
"I thought we played really well in the first 45 minutes, but were sloppy in the second half,” he said.
"Defensively we were poor, you can’t concede three goals at this level and expect to win.
"We have come through the divisions wanting a challenge and we have one in this league, with players keen to play at the next level in the A-League.
"Week in, week out we need to be consistent."
Manly United 3 (Luke Giverin 41′, Travis Oughtred 46′, Dejan Pandurevic 69′)
Hakoah Sydney City East 1 (Hussein Akil 82′)
Sunday April 10, 2016
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant referees: Danny Horstead, Jack Bell
Fourth official: Adam Vainauskas
Manly United FC: 1.MITCHELL Dylan, 10.CHOLAKIAN Brendan, 6.GALLAGHER Sam, (8.FERGUSON Dom 80′) 3.LOBB Jamie, 4.OUGHTRED Travis, 7.COOPER Travis, (5.WILLIAMS Rhys 66′) 14.PANDUREVIC Dejan, 11.PARKHOUSE Adam, 19.SARIC Daniel, 22.GIVERIN Luke, (18.BRAGG Daniel 47′) 2.PAULL Kieren
Substitutes not used: 16.BERTI Sipan
Yellow cards: Gallagher 73′
Red cards: Nil
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1.COSTA Anthony, 7.HUSSEIN Akil, 16.ANDRICOPOULOS Costa, (15.BANDUR Jacob 70′) 5.BOWDEN-HAASE Nathan, 18.D’MELLO Aaron, (12.ABBOTT Steven 59’ 23. DE JONG Andre, 14.JONES Lee, 31.LOPEZ Kevin, 17.MUNDELL Jordan, 11.RAE Gavin, 4.WALKER Bradley (3.BLUMBERG Dylan 87′)
Substitutes not used: 20.McKENZIE Matthew
Yellow cards: D’Mello 45′, Akil 76′
Red cards: Nil
3- Travis Oughtred (MU)
2 – Jamie Lobb (MU)
1 – Dylan Mitchell (MU)