APIA Leichhardt Tigers prevailed in an eight goal thriller at Bonnyrigg Sports Club with late goals to Jordan Murray and Tasuku Sekiya sealing a remarkable 5-3 victory over Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
Danial Cummins’ unfancied side found themselves cruising with a two-goal cushion at the break of the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s clash courtesy of two fine breakaway goals from Nicholas Olsen and Sean Symons.
However, APIA surrendered their advantage in emphatic fashion after the half-time lead when Yuta Kokado and Robbie Younis struck to restore parity.
It preceded a manic final ten minutes in which the visitors restored their advantage through substitute Jordan Murray, before Aaron Peterson levelled once more for Bonnyrigg.
But there would be further drama only minutes later when Sekiya rounded James Chronopoulos to put APIA back in front, before Olsen finally sealed all three points with his second as a truly epic affair came to a close.
It didn’t take long for the ninth-placed visitors to make an early statement of intent.
APIA established their superiority early on when Olsen stroked the Tigers ahead after five minutes. After spearheading a dangerous surge down the right, Tasuku Sekiya and Nathan Elasi exchanged passes on the edge of the area before Olsen slotted past Chronopoulos for the breakthrough.
A stunned Bonnyrigg looked for a quick counter punch but were caught flat-footed and found themselves floored again through another exceptionally crafted counter attack from Danial Cummins’ side who doubled their advantage through Sean Symons, who lashed the ball past Chronopoulos from close range.
Bonnyrigg had failed to threaten their energetic and spirited guests in a first half that saw the Lambert Park outfit ride out the White Eagles ineffectual sequences of possession before ferreting forward on the counter attack.
But the aura of impenetrability that aided the Tigers’ cruise slowly began to evaporate as the second half resumed, and it didn’t take long for the hosts to pull one back when Yuta Kokado tucked away Aaron Peterson’s cutback from the byline.
The momentum was now with the White Eagles and Bonnyrigg gaffer Brian Brown called upon Robbie Younis midway through the second half to take advantage, with the White Eagles talisman duly restoring parity with just his second touch, sweeping home Kokado’s cross at the back post.
Both sides threw caution to the wind with ten minutes remaining and APIA restored their lead when their substitutes combined with Jordan Murray slotting home after a delightful one-touch move with Franco Parisi on the edge of the box.
Celebrations from the travelling faithful were cut prematurely short when Aaron Peterson scrambled the ball over the line following Younis’ cross to bring Bonnyrigg level, but Danial Cummins’ side were not to be denied and took the lead for a third time when Sekiya rounded Chronopoulos and found an empty net to make it 4-3.
With Bonnyrigg flooding numbers forward in the dying seconds, Olsen sealed a memorable brace on the counter attack with a confident curling finish at the back post to conclude an incredible contest.
An elated Danial Cummins praised his side for their persistence after regaining and consoling their lead at the third attempt.
“It’s been a few weeks coming now from the boys and I’m so proud of how we stuck together until the end,” he said.
“Bonnyrigg is never easy to beat here, but we worked on countering them at training and we deserved our lead at the break.
“To come back in the final minutes again and win a match like this is just incredible.”
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3 (Kokado 51’, Younis 66, Peterson 86’)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 5 (Olsen 5’, Symons 17’, Murray 83’, Sekiya 90’, Olsen 90+2’)
Saturday 11th June 2016
Bonnyrigg Sports Club, Bonnyrigg
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1. James CHRONOPOULOS, 21. Bo-Hyun CHUN, 16. Samuel GALLAWAY, 17. Mun-Soo GIL, 10. Yuta KOKADO, 7. Gregory KONDEK (9. Robert YOUNIS 56’), 15. Raymond MILLER, 19. Aaron PETERSON, 4. Michael ROBINSON, 3. David VRANKOVIC, 4. Nikola ZONJIC
Substitutes Not Used: 29. Alexsander JOVOVIC, 18. Asmir KADRIC, 13. James MCKENZIE, 20. Stevan SAVICIC,
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 6. Luke AUSTIN, 4. Bradley BARTELS, 13. David D’APUZZO, 9. Nathan ELASI (10. Franco PARISI 77’), 15. Themba MUATA-MARLOW, 92. Ryan NORVAL, 23. Nicholas OLSEN, 20. Tasuku SEKIYA, 22. Zane SOLE, 16. Sean SYMONS (11. Jordan MURRAY 70’), 18. Adrian UCCHINO
Substitutes Not Used: 8. Corey BICZO, 5. Brendan HOOPER, 50. Blake TUXFORD
Yellow Cards: 13. David D’APUZZO 52’, 4. Bradley BARTELS 80’
Red Cards: N/A
-By PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s reporter Jacob Windon