Sutherland Sharks have put space between themselves and the bottom of the table pack with a 2-1 victory against Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Seymour Shaw.
Nicholas Olsen marked his return to the Sharks starting line-up with a well taken second goal for the home side after captain Jacob Tratt thumped home a 19th minute header.
The Sharks held off a late flurry in a tense second half to record their first victory in a month.
For Bonnyrigg White Eagles, besides David Vrankovic’s header that sparked a revival in the second half, they were unable to create much pressure on the Sharks goal. Experienced midfielder Raymond Miller was a standout as the White Eagles face a tough task to stave off relegation.
Both sides came off last start losses, so they looked to assert themselves early in the contest. For Sutherland they looked to damage the visitors from the set piece as a fourth minute effort almost rolled in.
Much of Bonnyrigg’s best work in the first half came from Raymond Miller. The experienced midfielder linked up well with Shervin Adeli, as the latter strode into the box and feathered a shot right at Sharks keeper Ryan Norval.
The Sharks would find the opener in the 19th minute. From another set piece, Lachlan Everett lofted it into the box for Jacob Tratt to rise highest to thump the ball home and make it 1-0.
That goal gave the Sharks the ascendency in the contest, as they dominated possession and the chances. Returning Nicholas Olsen featured heavily in their build-up as Nicholas Litter sliced high.
Bonnyrigg had their biggest spell of possession as the clock ticked past 25 minutes, but an errant pass allowed Olsen to stream forward, stave off a defender before the attacker slotted home in his return. 2-0 to the home side.
Olsen had a chance to double his delight five minutes later. Again he broke into the box but this time his effort fell comfortably into the hands of White Eagles keeper, James Chronopoulos, as the Sharks were firmly in control.
Once again the Sharks threatened on the set piece. Litter tried to connect with a header but it fell safely then the promoted Hristijan Tanoski sliced an effort in the one-way first half.
Miller created a pair of chances for the White Eagles. Firstly he found Bradie Smith in space for the former’s effort to be smothered then the midfielder himself fizzed an effort wide to get a goal back before the half.
Fresh from a half-time talk from Brian Brown, Bonnyrigg created the first chance of the second stanza. Jeewok Woo released in the box but thrashed the volley wide.
They continued to show greater threat going forward. Tynan Diaz volleyed wide in the 57th minute as the White Eagles pushed forward in a vital clash for the Club Championship.
Their lifeline arrived right on the hour mark. Miller roamed down the left, teased in a wicked cross for David Vrankovic, the defender nodded home, making it 2-1 with plenty of time to go.
Brown rung the changes, sending on Asmir Kadric and Aaron Peterson searching for an equaliser. They racked up the corner count but couldn’t force Ryan Norval into meaningful saves.
The Sharks edged the chances again, as Olsen had a volley crash against the post then another easily gathered by Chronopoulos. Next Tanovski forced the keeper into a diving push as the home side looked more likely.
In the end, the Sharks held firm against the White Eagles and secured a vital three points in their quest to get themselves away from the bottom of the ladder.
Afterwards Sutherland Sharks coach Grant Lee praised his side’s first half display although he marked their second half for improvement.
“Three losses on the trot is never nice. That mentality can creep In, although we conspired to hurt ourselves. So tonight was good,”
“I am pleased with the first half, the second half less so. Mostly disappointed with the goal we conceded and some our play in the second half,”
On Nicholas Olsen in his return tonight. ”[he was] unbelievable. Could’ve had a hat-trick tonight, and we’re not a club that has a lot of reserves so we’ve missed him in the last few weeks. So with him and a few other boys returning we’re on track.” finished Lee.
For White Eagles coach Brian Brown, the first half performance was a concern in a tough period for the side.
“I think our first half wasn’t the best. We played better in the second half, creating a few more chances. We knew tonight would be a tough battle, and I think they showed a bit more desire,”
“Blacktown and Bonnyrigg regardless of where they are in the league is always a tough game, so we’re looking forward to that now.” finished Brown.
Sutherland Sharks 2 (Tratt ‘19, Olsen ‘26)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Vrankovic ‘60)
Saturday 30 June 2018
Seymour Shaw, Miranda
Referee: Kris Griffith Jones
Assistant Referees: L. Greenshields & P. Teleki
Fourth Official: M. Howarth
Sutherland Sharks: 1. NORVAL Ryan, 2. TRATT Jacob, 5. BARTELS Bradley, 6. EVERETT Lachlan, 10. DA SILVA Joshua (16. SUYAMA ‘79), 11. TANOVSKI Hristian (VRANIC ‘82), 12. BROWN Blair, 15. LITTLER Nicholas, 17. JENNINGS Leroy (7. HAYES ‘90), 20. HAYASHI Keisuke, 22. OLSEN Nicholas
Substitutes not used: 7. KAYES Stephen, 21. LOE Nikolas, 27. QUIRK Harry
Yellow cards: Olsen
Red cards: nil
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1. CHRONOPOULOS James, 3. VRANKOVIC David, 7.DIAZ Tynan, 10. ADELI Shervin (11. KADRIC ‘59), 13. MCKENZIE James, 14. SMITH Bradie, 15. MILLER Raymond, 16. GALLAWAY Samuel, 17. O’ROURKE James, 18. GIL Mun-Soo (9. PETERSON ‘67), 22. WOO Jewook
Substitutes not used: 2. AVERY Aaron, 20. TOSI Benjamin, 21. BRADASEVIC David
Yellow cards: O’Rourke, Gallaway
Red cards: O’Rourke
-By National Premier Leagues reporter Justin Davies