A late equaliser from Dejan Pandurevic ensured the spoils would be shared between Manly United and Sydney United 58 as the two championship hopefuls drew 1-1 in their PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Round 10 clash at Cromer Park
Pandurevic’s glancing header four minutes from time cancelled out an earlier strike from Panni Nikas, who turned home a rebound after half-time for his ninth of the season.
It was a fitting end to a compelling contest which featured the league’s benchmark survive one of their sternest examinations of the campaign after a hugely positive showing from Manly.
Paul Dee’s men struck the woodwork three times in what was a hugely enthusiastic and spirited showing in front of the Cromer Park faithful.
But although the concession of the late goal will sting for the visitors, it was another precious point gained for Mark Rudan’s visitors, who remain in pole position on the competition ladder and offered plenty of resilience in holding out their spritely hosts.
The sides took to the field as fourth-placed hopefuls and the competition frontrunners at the time of the matches’ commencement and it was an encounter that lived up to its pre-game billing.
Manly embarked on a promising start that saw skipper Brendan Cholakian and Adam Parkhouse threaten early on, before energetic fullback Kieren Paull crashed a shot against the underside of the post on the cusp of half-time.
Sydney United 58 found little joy in an offensive sense but took the lead against the run of play when Nikas pounced in the box after Yutaro Shin’s powerful effort was parried by Manly custodian Dylan Mitchell.
It looked as though the visitors had claimed what might’ve been a vital goal, but the Manly onslaught continued with the post coming to the aid of Thomas Manos and the United 58 rearguard once more when Cholakian’s clever free-kick was helped on at the near post by Rhys Williams.
Dominic Ferguson entered the fray to aid Manly’s search for parity and the substitute spurned a wonderful opportunity to bring the scores level when he pushed his effort over the bar after a tidy piece of skill on the edge of the box.
When Ferguson hit the post again for the hosts with ten minutes remaining the result appeared in vain for Dee’s outfit but Manly salvaged the point they merited at the death through Pandurevic who met Paull’s whipped ball in with a tidy header at the near post.
It was a richly deserved equaliser according to Manly United manager Paul Dee who praised his outfit for their persistence.
“We came here to beat them today and we certainly created enough chances to,” he said.
“It was frustrating not to get all three in the end but I’m really proud of the boys.”
Sydney United 58 manager Mark Rudan was in good spirits despite victory being snatched from underneath his charges.
“In the long run this will be a valuable point,” he said.
“It’s a tough away match, a tough place to come and Manly are a very good side, a top five side.”
Manly United 1 (Pandurevic 86’)
Sydney United 58 1 (Nikas 60’)
Saturday 14 May, 2015
Cromer Park, Cromer
Manly United: 10.CHOLAKIAN, Brendan, 7. COOPER, Travis (18. BRAGG, Daniel 61’), 6. GALLAGHER, Sam, 22. GIVERIN, Luke (8. FERGUSON, Dominic 61’), 3. LOBB, Jamie, 1. MITCHELL, Dylan, 4. OUGHTRED, Travis, 14. PANDUREVIC, Dejan, 11. PARKHOUSE, Adam, 2. PAULL, Kieren, 5. WILLIAMS, Rhys
Substitutes Not Used: 30. BALNEAVES, Todd, 20. SYRON, Mackenzie, 36. SEPAROVIC, Nathan
Yellow Cards: 6. GALLAGHER, Sam 20’, 22. GIVERIN, Luke 59’
Red Cards: N/A
Sydney United 58: 19. BILIC, Matthew (4. BOSNAR, Eddy 62’), 21. MANOS, Thomas, 10. MILKESKI, Robert, 3. MOCHIZUKI, Masato, 23. NIKAS, Panni, 6. PAYNE, Chris, 7. SHIN, Yutaro, 11. TANESKI, Nikola, 24. TRATT, Jacob, 8. TRIANTIS, Peter, 20. USKOK, Tomislav
Substitutes Not Used: 12. VRLIC, Anthony, 40. KOLIOMIHOS, Gabriel, 13. DARKO, Richie, 17. STEWART, Jack
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
3 – Brendan Cholakian (MAN)
2 – Panni Nikas (SYD)
1 – Kieren Paull (MAN)
– By PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Jacob Windon