It was a tight local derby at Bonnyrigg Sports Ground on Sunday afternoon as the Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Sydney United 58 FC played out an entertaining 0-0 draw in the PlayStation 4 NPL NSW men’s competition.
Both teams were missing influential midfielders with Mun-Soo Gil a late withdrawal for the home side while captain Nick Stavroulakis was missing for United but Mark Rudan’s side did give debuts to former Central Coast Mariners defender Michael Neill while ex-Marconi Stallions player Sam Perre made an appearance off the bench.
What seemed a routine header away from Sam Gallaway almost caught Ryan Norval out but the White Eagles keeper managed to tip the ball out.
The first clear-cut chance fell the way of United as Chris Payne raced away down the right.
Moving in on Norval, Payne squared the ball for Matt Sim but Taylor Mcdonald was back for the White Eagles, making a fantastic return challenge to save a certain goal.
Bonnyrigg pushed forward and had their first chance in the 30th minute.
Hassan Jalloh picked up the ball on the right and crossed toward the far post finding the head of Ray Miller.
Miller’s goal bound header was cleared away by the United defence as Howard Fondyke volleyed the rebound wide.
Fondyke had another attempt eight minutes later but his shot sailed off target.
After the break the home side were on the offensive immediately.
Again it was Fondyke, as his effort from distance stung the palms of Tom Manos only minutes after half time.
United had their first chance of the second half on 53 minutes but Payne’s effort was cleared away by the White Eagles defence.
Payne was in again in the 55th minute as Panni Nikas played in the striker who pulled his shot wide of Norval’s goal.
The home side came close in the 60th minute, this time through Nikola Zonjic whose header from the corner went inches wide.
Matthew Bilic whipped in a delightful ball for Payne in the 66th minute and his header looked goal bound only for it to rebound off the crossbar – it was easily the visitor’s best moment of the match.
Substitute Greg Kondek really should’ve put the home side in front in the 70th minute.
A free kick from the left found David Vrankovic at the far post as he headed across goal to Kondek who couldn’t place his header in a largely empty net.
Nikas, who was kept quiet for most of the match, then almost stole the show 10 minutes before the end.
The nippy attacking midfielder was afforded too much space by the Bonnyrigg defence, but blasted his shot wide of the near post.
The White Eagles had one last chance in the final seconds but couldn’t bundle the ball home from a corner.
Bonnyrigg captain Ray Miller was pleased with the point but thought his side could’ve taken all three points.
“It was a tight local derby as expected.
“We had the chances to take all three points but it wasn’t to be.”
Miller is happy with the improvements the squad has made over the last few weeks and is positive about the remainder of the season.
“We’ve finally got a full squad now and the boys that we’ve brought in have strengthened the side.
“We want to win all our games till the end of the season.”
While for Sydney United 58, a returning Nikas, who recently came back from Thailand, echoed Miller’s thoughts on the derby.
“It was a cagey match for everyone, there weren’t many clear-cut chances but the game could have gone either way.
“It was a typical derby I have to say where the ball was challenged more in the air than it was on the ground
“We will now regroup and be ready for what will be a busy schedule coming up for the boys taking on Hakoah Sydney City East in the Waratah Cup on Wednesday at home then playing away to the Wolves on Sunday at WIN Stadium.”
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 0
Sydney United 58 FC 0
Bonnyrigg Sports Ground
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC: 40. Norval, 3. Vrankovic, 8. Fondyke, 11. Spruce (6. Mackenzie 56’), 14. Mcdonald, 15. Miller, 16. Gallaway, 19. Ott (7. Kondek 62’), 21. Jalloh, 36. Zonjic, 37. Adeli (10. Lo 82’).
Substitutes: 20. Savicic, 10. Lo, 18. Kadric.
Yellow Card: Ott
Red Card: N/A
Sydney United 58 FC: 21. Manos, 3. Neil, 5. Tomelic, 6. Uskok, 7. Shin (32. Olsen), 8. Sim (18. Perre), 11. Perkatis (28. Vrlic), 17. Bilic, 20. Markovic, 23. Nikas, 66. Payne.
Substitutes: 22. Fragogiannis.
Yellow Card: Payne, Tomelic, Vrlic, Uskok
Red Card: N/A
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referee: L. Greenshields & J. Bell
4th Official: B. Wright