Manly United defeated APIA Leichhardt Tigers 4-1 in an entertaining Round 20 contest of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s at Lambert Park.
For Manly United, the victory keeps them in third place on the ladder while for APIA Leichhardt the season is all but over.
The home side did take the lead through Brandon Hooper midway through the first stanza of play but two goals to Richie Cardozo and Luke Giverin in the space of 60 seconds sent the visitors into the break with a 2-1 lead.
In the second half Manly United scored twice more through Cardozo and Shane Cansdell-Sheriff to round out the scoring as the dismal afternoon continued for the Tigers.
In the tenth minute the game’s opening salvo was a shot from outside the box by Zane Sole which was well held by goalkeeper Dylan Mitchell.
Manly United’s opening chance arrived six minutes later when Brendan Cholakian had a free header in the box but put the ball wide of the mark.
In the 19th minute Brendan Hooper scored the opening goal and it arrived for the Tigers. A corner that was floated across to the far back post was met by Nathan Millgate’s header but keeper Mitchell made a brilliant reflex save, but only as far as Hooper who made no mistake with his head from close range.
In the 29th minute, from a rebound, a beautiful shot from outside the box by Tasuku Sekiya ended up just wide as APIA mounted more pressure on the visitors.
Just four minutes later the pressure though was on up the other end. Adam Parkhouse found himself in the clear with space on the left but he fired over the crossbar when he really should have done a lot better.
Manly United however equalised and then took the lead within the space of a minute. In the 38th minute, when a ball was played square from the right across to Richie Cardozo, he majestically fired it into the top left hand corner of the net.
There was hardly time to settle down and within 30 seconds Luke Giverin received the ball on the left and placed it diagonally into the far corner of the net leaving goalkeeper Ryan Norval stranded.
These two goals for Manly United had the visitors playing out of their skin in the last few minutes of the first stanza of play.
The game now had now changed considerably with Manly United going into the break in the lead when probably they didn’t expect it to be so.
Nathan Elasi fired a powerful diagonal shot just wide of the mark as APIA tried to equalise in the 52nd minute.
The Tigers clearly had exited the dressing rooms with great intention but unfortunately conceded shortly afterwards.
Manly United scored in the 54th minute when APIA lost possession and Parkhouse fired a strong shot which Norval parried into the path of Cardozo for an easy tap in.
It was Cardozo’s second goal and Manly’s third as the Tigers were letting the game clearly slip away.
In the 65th minute Cardozo curled a free-kick from outside the box but it finished just wide of the goal. It would have been a very nice goal indeed had it been a few centimetres the other way.
In the 77th minute a corner by Giverin was beautifully flicked on by Shane Cansdell-Sheriff who headed the ball diagonally into the back of the net for Manly United’s fourth goal.
In the 89th minute Brendan Cholakian won the ball off an APIA defender and sprinted towards goal but his final shot was well held by Norval. It was to be the final shot in anger for the evening as the Northern Beaches boys took full points from Lambert Park.
After the game assistant Manly United coach Bob Catlin, himself a former APIA goalkeeper of note, stated that he was pleased with his side’s performance.
“The boys did a great job even though it took a little while to settle down,” he said. “I thought we controlled it quite well and, in the end, it could have been a couple more.
“The team has been really good this year. We started back in November last year and it has been a long, hard season but they are reaping the benefits now and hopefully we’ll just keep rolling on.”
Over in the APIA Leichhardt dressing room coach Danial Cummins wasn’t too displeased with his side.
“We played well, especially in the first half hour or so but a lack of concentration late in the first half got us,” he said.
“Manly are good side and they are in the top three for a reason, but when they get an opportunity that’s the difference. They can punish us and we missed our chances to punish them.
“There’s still a lot for us to play for this season in the last two rounds coming up. The boys are part of a better team than we have shown, so we need to end the season with some consistency and show that we can really play,” he said
APIA Leichhardt: 1 (Hooper 19’)
Manly United FC: 4 (Cardozo 38’, Giverin 39’, Cardozo 54’, Candsdell-Sheriff 77’)
Sunday 31st July 2016
Lambert Park Leichhardt
Referee: Daniel Stack
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields, Josh Adabjou
Fourth Official: Brandon Lovric
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 92. NORVAL Ryan, 2. MILLGATE Nathan, 5. HOOPER Brendan, 8. BICZO Corey (11. MURRAY Jordan 65’), 9. ELASI Nathan (10. PARISI Franco 78’), 15. MUATA-MARLOW Themba, 16. SYMONS Sean, 18. UCCHINO Adrian, 20. SEKIYA Tasuku, 22. SOLE Zane (19. LUNDY Brandon 46’), 23. OLSEN Nicholas
Substitutes not used: 4. BARTELS Bradley, 50. TUXFORD Adrian
Yellow Cards: Millgate 22’, Hooper 64’
Red Cards: Nil
Manly United FC: 1. MITCHELL Dylan, 3. LOBB Jamie, 4. OUGHTRED Travis, 5. WILLIAMS Rhys (21. FOX Joseph 13’), 6. GALLAGHER Sam, 9. CARDOZO Richie (19. BALDERSON Scott 71’), 10. CHOLAKIAN Brendan, 11. PARKHOUSE Adam (7. COOPER Travis 65’), 14. PANDUREVIC Dejan, 17. CANSDELL-SHERIFF Shane, 22. GIVERIN Luke
Substitutes not used: 18. BRAGG Daniel, 20. CATLIN Shaun
Yellow Cards: Giverin 69’
Red Cards: Nil
-by Joe Russo, PlayStation®National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Lambert Park