IT might seem obvious but APIA Leichhardt learnt the hard way that goals win games.
The Tigers played out a 1-1 stalemate with Parramatta FC despite dominating for 85 minutes in their rescheduled PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s Round 13 clash at Lambert Park on Saturday.
It was a heartbreaking result for Danial Cummins’ side who completely outclassed their opposition but missed opportunities and a moment of madness cost them what appeared a sure win.
An early Nathan Elasi strike set the tone for the match as APIA controlled proceedings with little opportunity for Parramatta in the first half.
Wasted opportunities were the story of the second stanza and it came back to bit the home side when Daniel Rezo bundled home from close range after a Parramatta counter attack to steal an unlikely point for the visitors.
APIA has found new life in recent weeks and their new found vigour was evident in the opening exchanges.
Slick ball movement by the home side had Parramatta on the back foot early and it didn’t take long for APIA to take the lead.
A driving run from Nathan Millgate on the eastern sideline got the better of the visitors sliding defence before the defender delivered a pin point cross for Nathan Elasi to tap in at the back post.
The home side controlled proceedings and moved the ball around the park with ease.
Franco Consentino’s Parramatta team battled to fight their way back into the match but they couldn’t break down APIA.
Millgate was in the thick of the action again in the 34th minute.
The right back played a slick one two before blasting a shot from the top of the penalty area inches over the crossbar.
A free kick from Daniel Rezo from 20 yards out was the best chance for the Visitors but the midfielder’s curing effort wasn’t on target.
Nathan Elasi went close to a goal of the year candidate on the cusp of halftime when his silky back heel from a Corey Biczo cross went narrowly wide after being the goalkeeper.
The second half started much the same way as the first, APIA on top and Parramatta happy to sit back and defend.
Danial Cummin’s APIA sent wave after wave of attack but the home side were unable to find the finishing touch needed to find the back of the net.
Chances to Nathan Elasi and Corey Biczo failed to add to the score board and then a Tasuku Sekiya effort crashed into the woodwork in the 72nd minute.
Parramatta nearly stole a point from the match in the 80th minute but Blake Tuxford came to the rescue to make two big saves from Marco Sama efforts on goal.
Franco Parisi missed a gilt-edged chance in the 82nd minute when he dribbled through the Parramatta defence but seemingly forgot to shoot when he was one-on-one with the keeper.
APIA paid the price for their poor finishing in the 84th minute when Daniel Rezo snuck in to tap home a Parramatta counter attack as the visitors found a way to equalise despite being dominated all match.
Moments later Parramatta went inches away from taking the lead as APIA began to capitulate.
David Gullo sprayed his shot wide with the net wide open after enterprising buildup play from Sama.
It would only get worse for APIA with a rash challenge from Sean Symons resulting in a second yellow card and an early shower for the defender,
Despite being down to 10 men, APIA continued to push forward with Corey Biczo and Jordan Murray creating chances.
However, It just wasn’t to be for the home side with the referee’s final whistle confirming the 1-1 result.
A subdued Danial Cummins rued what could’ve been a third straight win for his side.
“We knew we had a tough 45 minutes in the second half but we just couldn’t capitalise on our chances,” the APIA coach said.
“They got stronger the longer the game went on and by failing to kill the game off we really were our own worst enemy.
“There was still plenty of positives to take from the match and we will learn from our mistakes and move on to next round.”
Parramatta coach Franco Consentino said the result was an example of how patience and resilience can pay off.
“The boys lifted well this afternoon and i knew the longer we stayed in the game better our chances would be of going home with at least a point,” he said.
“The result is a credit to our boys and it is great to secure a good result against APIA who are on a bit of a roll at the moment.
“We are struggling with injuries at the moment and hopefully if we can get a few results and get a few boys back then hopefully we are still in the mix for finals. However, our main focus is week to week.”
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1 (Elasi 13’)
Parramatta FC: 1 (Rezo 84’)
Saturday, July 9, 2016
Lambert Park, Leichhardt.
APIA LEICHHARDT TIGERS: 50. Blake TUXFORD, 2. Nathan MILLGATE, 6. Luke AUSTIN, 8. BICZO, 9. Nathan ELASI (10. Franco Parisi 61), 15. Themba MUATA-MARLOW, 16. Sean SYMONS, 18. Adrian UCCHINO, 20. Tasuku SEKIYA, 22. Zane SOLE, 23. Nick OLSEN (11. Jordan MURRAY 61’)
Substitutes not used: 4. Brad Bartels, 19. Brandon LUNDY, 92. Ryan Norval
Yellow Cards: Sean Symons
Red Cards: Sean Symons 85’
Parramatta FC: 1. Luke TURNBULL, 2. Ryan JOHNSTONE, 3. Blade RICHARDS, 4. Josh SYMONS, 6. Daniel GULLO (12. Tomislav BOROVICKIC 45’), 7. David GULLO, 8. Daniel REZO, 10. Marco SAMA, 18. Tom MALLET, 19. Mitchell LONG, 23. Aram TAYEBI DERAZKALA (14. Chris CARBONI 77’)
Substitutes not used:15. Christou HANA, 16. Evan RIMAS, 33.Corey FINCH
Yellow Cards: Daniel Gullo 22’ , Mitchell Long 35’, Tom Mallet 51’
Red Cards: None