Sutherland Sharks have broken its five game winless streak with a 2-0 victory against a freefalling APIA Leichhardt Tigers during its PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at Seymour Shaw on Saturday.
A goal in each half courtesy of Jordan Figon and Stephen Hayes helped the Sharks to the unexpected win.
APIA battled to stay in the match but a red card to Themba Muata-Marlow in the 76th minute killed the chances of the visitors.
In only the 7th minute APIA’s Jordan Murray robbed Takuya Muruyama on the left and fired in a powerful cross to former Shark Nick Olsen who fired wide to the relief of Sharks keeper Nathan Denham.
Sutherland finally found their feet ten minutes later with a delightful move involving Jordan Figon and Stevie Hayes playing an inch perfect through ball for Tomohiro Kajiyama. APIA keeper Ryan Norval was quickly off his line but the nippy little forward got in first and clipped the ball just wide of the upright.
Nick Littler had a free-kick from outside the box for Sutherland that had direction but lacked power and Norval was able to comfortably contain.
Jordan Figon opened the scoring in the 32nd minute when a clever pass from Da Silva allowed ricocheted into the path of the striker to fire home.
Sutherland could have doubled its lead moments later when a cross goal shot from Figon was palmed away by Norval at full stretch.
Themba Muata-Marlow responded for APIA with a thunderous shot from 30-yards out just before the break that had Denham copying his counterpart with an acrobatic save.
It had been a slow start from Sutherland but they finished the half on top.
It was a full bloodied affair at the start of the second half with Nathan Elasi finding himself in the referee’s book.
APIA set out to put the ball over the top and utilise their pacey forward line but the Sharks were alert and snuffed out any impending threat down the flanks.
The match became a battle in midfield with limited chances to score as neither side was willing to give an inch.
A headed effort by Figon was denied by Norval in the 66th minute from a corner on the right and then Perry Moustakas was thwarted from a free-kick.
It was a night Muata-Marlow would soon want to forget when he received a second caution and sent from the field for a foul on Figon – something that could hurt the Tigers who will miss the services of the big defender.
The resulting free-kick curled into the net courtesy of Steve Hayes.
A raft of substitutions ensued but it didn’t alter the final outcome, a welcome three points for besieged Sharks coach Carlos Villazon.
“We played a really good game but after 10-minutes I felt we controlled the game and deserved the win tonight,” he said.
“Steve Kayes started to control Franco (Parisi) and he is the one who makes Leichhardt tick.
“In our last two games we have improved and started playing like a combined unit and the three points were deserved.”
Daniel Cummins was not impressed with his side’s performance.
“It certainly wasn’t a good day at the office,” he said.
“We’re in a bit of a hole right now and that display wasn’t acceptable from the boys.
“Even if we are missing a few it is no excuse.”
“I threw some of the young guys on at the end to give them a bit of experience and get some fresh legs on the pitch.
“We have a pretty heavy schedule ahead, I felt that started to show late on but we’ll continue to work hard and the results will improve.”
Sutherland Sharks 2 (Figon 32’, Hayes 64’)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 0
Saturday, 21st May 2016
Seymour Shaw Park, Miranda
Referee: Adam Susz
Assistant Referees: Ray Osborne & Nathan Wotton
Fourth Official: Michael Herro
Sutherland Sharks: 1. DENHAM Nathan ©, 3. MURAYAMA Takuya, 4. KAYES Steven, 5. LITTLER Nick, 9. FIGON Jordan, 10. DA SILVA Joshua (8. McSTAY Chris 88’), 15. MOUSTAKAS Perry, 19. FITZPATRICK Callum (16. GOMEZ-CASTRO Laureano 68’), 20. FARMER Mitchell, 23. HAYES Steve (12. STERGIOU Lukas 80’), 35. KAJIYAMA Tomohiro
Substitutes Not Used: 17. ANDREW James, 21. LOE Nikolas,
Yellow Cards: Figon 45’
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 92. NORVAL Ryan, 2. MILLGATE Nathan, 4. BARTELS Bradley, 10. PARISI Franco © (12. COX Dominic 84’), 11. MURRAY Jordan (5. HOOPER Brendan 82’), 14. ELASI Nathan, 15. MUATA MARLOW Themba, 17. VLASTELICA Adrian, 18. UCCHINO Adrian, 19. HASEGAWA Kenta (8.BICZO Corey 54), 23. OLSEN Nick,
Substitutes Not Used: 21. STEWART Mathew, 50. TUXFORD Blake
Yellow Cards: Elasi 47’, Muata-Marlow 66’
Red Cards: Muata-Marlow 76’
3 – Stephen Kayes (SS)
2 – Jordan Figon (SS)
1 – Nick Littler (SS)
-By PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Micky Brock