Mark Rudan enjoyed a fairytale return to the Sydney United 58 bench as his side defeated Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3-1 in their PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition clash at Sydney United Sports Centre to condemn Brian Brown’s men to their fifth consecutive loss of the 2017 season.
Panny Nikas showed why he’s one of the league’s best as he grabbed a brace in a scintillating display, while substitute Adrian Vranic got the other for the home side.
Bonnyrigg youngster Hassan Jalloh continues to find the back of the net but it was in vain on Sunday afternoon.
The White Eagles lined-up yet again without various important players and struggled to come into the game in the opening period.
In the 12th minute United 58’s Glen Trifiro showed some neat footwork to beat a couple defenders before stinging the palms of Stevan Savicic.
Yutaro Shin was first to the rebound but was adjudged to be in an offside position.
Nikas was everywhere for United 58 but struggled to find the final cutting pass toward Matt Sim or Shin.
The away side’s best chances came from a number of free kicks near the centre of the park.
However Bonnyrigg failed to capitalise from their set pieces.
United 58 looked more likely to score, but some desperate defending from Bonnyrigg allowed them to keep the game scoreless.
The White Eagles almost hit the front two minutes before the break. A neat cut back by Greg Kondek found Ray Miller who shot toward goal.
What should’ve been a routine save for Tom Manos was anything but as he spilled the effort, allowing Jalloh to rush in for a chance. The young striker could not poke the ball into the net and it deflected wide for a corner.
It seemed to spring the game into life and only a minute later Nick Olsen showed some skill to bring the ball down and chip toward Sim in the box.
Sim could only flick the ball to Savicic who wasn’t troubled.
With half time beckoning, Shin broke through but was brought down about 30 metres out by David Vrankovic.
Nikas stepped up to take the set piece and when everyone was expecting a cross, the creative midfielder surprised Savicic with a shot on goal which sailed just over.
Olsen should’ve had United 58 in front three minutes after the restart.
The White Eagles didn’t deal well with a corner, as the ball popped up for the Reds winger on the edge of the box, who unleashed a powerful shot just over the bar.
The White Eagles continued to scramble well but couldn’t keep the ball while under pressure from United 58.
Yianni Fragogiannis created a great chance for United 58 with a cutting pass through the Bonnyrigg defence.
Shin moved toward goal but Savicic was quick off his line, closing the angles and saving well from the United striker.
The home side had the lead in the 63rd minute.
A mistake by the White Eagles defence saw a poor clearance land at the feet of Nikas who made no mistake and drilled the ball into the bottom right corner.
Only two minutes later United 58 doubled their advantage.
Youngster Vranic latched onto a fine through ball by Nikas, after being introduced to the match only five minutes earlier, and placed his shot beyond Savicic.
Jalloh gave the White Eagles a lifeline only 90 seconds later.
A deep free kick was headed down by Zack Mackenzie, allowing teenager Jalloh to bundle the ball home.
Sim should’ve sewn up the result for the Reds in the 79th minute but his shot went well over the bar after receiving the ball with a lot of time at the far post.
It was curtains for the White Eagles with seven minutes to go as Nikas again showed all his class.
Receiving the ball from some way out, Nikas unleashed an unstoppable effort which found the top corner of the net to the elation of the home faithful as he notched up his fifth goal of the 2017 campaign.
United 58’s assistant coach Jerry Bilokapic believed the win was a turning point for his side
“We are a work in progress and are still a long way away from where we want to be,” he said.
“The derby is always a good game to get your head around and it gives you momentum going forward into the season,”
With Rudan back in the dugout, Bilokapic insists the winds of change have been felt at the club.
“The discipline, work ethic, everything we do is what we’re used to in the last four years we’ve been here,” he said.
“The main thing is to keep the work rate up and get back to where we want to be.”
Despite being riddled with injuries, Brian Brown wasn’t happy after his team recorded its fifth straight defeat.
“It’s been a horrendous start,” he said.
“We’re starting to get a few back to training and hopefully get a few more players ready to play.”
Brown lamented his side’s lack of discipline and focus which he believed cost his side the game.
“In the first half we defended really well but didn’t create much,” he said.
“A couple silly mistakes cost it for us.”
Sydney United 3 (Nikas 63’, 83’, Vranic 65)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Jalloh 67’)
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Referee: K. Ams
Assistant Referees: L. Greenshields & T. Shields
4th Official: T. Plasto
Sydney United 58 FC: 21. Manos, 5. Tomelic, 6. Uskok, 7. Shin (9. Vranic 60’), 8. Sim (3. Woodcock 88’), 17. Bilic, 18. Trifiro, 20. Markovic, 22. Fragogiannis, 23. Nikas, 32. Olsen (16. Paric 60’).
Substitutes not used: 2. Vlismas, 3. Woodcock, 40. Pervan.
Yellow Card: Tomelic 13’
Red Card: N/A
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC: 20. Savicic, 3. Vrankovic, 5. Jenner, 6. Mackenzie, 7. Kondek (10. Lo 78’), 8. Danaskos (27. Ivanovic 69’), 12. Gil, 14. McDonald, 15. Miller, 16. Gallaway, 21. Jalloh.
Substitutes not used: 72. Geddes, 13. McKenzie, 19. Shaw.
Yellow cards: Vrankovic 45’, Miller 85’
Red Card: N/A
3 – Panny Nikas (SU)
2 – Matthew Bilic (SU)
1 – Tomislav Uskok (SU)
-By Nikola Pozder