Manly United cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over a disjointed Sydney United 58 outfit at Cromer Park on Sunday afternoon.
First-half strikes from flying wingers Charles Mendy and Adam Parkhouse gave the hosts some breathing space at the interval, before Brendan Cholakian sealed the deal with ten minutes to play.
A stubborn defensive effort from Paul Dee’s men saw the formidable firepower in United 58’s lineup restricted to half-chances for the majority of the ninety.
The result, Manly’s first victory in three and United 58’s first defeat in five, leaves both sides positioned narrowly inside the all-important top five at the mid-way point of the 2019 National Premier League NSW Men’s season.
Arriving in the off-season, Charles Mendy’s maiden goal for Manly United on his first home start for the club separated the sides after 26 minutes.
A miscued clearance from Thomas Manos fell to the feet of the wide-man, who seemed to only have eyes for the net as he brought the ball under control. With the assistance of a fortuitous deflection, Mendy weaved his way inside and left a handful of United 58 defenders in his wake to find himself one-on-one with Manos, before calmly stroking the ball home into the bottom right corner.
Former Manly attacker Matthew Sim and Patrick Antelmi forged the visitors’ best opportunities of the period, however neither could steer their efforts anywhere but straight at Dylan Mitchell.
Their misery was compounded in the latter stages of the half, as Adam Parkhouse polished off a deadly counter-attack to double the hosts’ advantage in the 42nd minute.
Following a threatening United 58 set piece, a long clearance from Sam Gallagher was gathered expertly by Dejan Pandurevic on the halfway line. Manly’s striker held up the ball for precisely long enough to release an accelerating Parkhouse into acres of space, allowing for him to shake his marker and dink the ball over an outstretched Manos.
The second half recommenced just how the first had concluded, with the hosts in the ascendancy.
Travis Oughtred squandered a free header from close range on 53 minutes, and dangerman Charles Mendy continued to cause headaches for the United 58 backline.
The former Blacktown and Marconi attacker was denied by a sharp Manos stop down to his left after 57 minutes, before utilising some stunning trickery to cut inside and send a thunderous strike whistling over the bar in the 64th.
Not to be outdone, his fellow winger Parkhouse had a 70th minute free kick tipped over the bar by Manos, before registering an impressive assist to cap off a commanding performance.
With 78 minutes played, the former Wellington Phoenix man worked his way inside and found the feet of Brendan Cholakian on the edge of the area.
Manly’s top scorer for the campaign made no mistake in burying the ball into the bottom right corner, ensuring the majority of a healthy Northern Beaches crowd would go home satisfied.
Sydney United 58 managed a couple of chances of their own, through a Sebastian Gallegos set piece which settled on the roof of the net and a venomous strike from Matthew Bilic which rattled the crossbar in the closing stages, however Miro Vlastelica’s men ultimately suffered a day to forget.
Speaking post-game, Vlasetlica was understandably disappointed.
“It’s never good to lose,” Vlastelica said.
“We conceded two soft goals early in the first half and were never really in the game after that.
“On the day anyone can beat anyone in this competition.
“You have to show up and play and today we didn’t show up, that’s all it was.”
In contrast, Paul Dee was elated with his team’s execution of their game plan.
“I’m proud of the boys’ efforts,” he said.
“They did everything that we asked of them to earn the lead.
“Then we concentrated well to retain possession, keep the lead and kill the game off.
“They (United 58) are a really good ball-playing side.
“Our defence did a great job to stay compact and not allow them to penetrate, and then our attacking movement was good in causing them a few headaches.
“It was pleasing game.”
Manly, now fifth on the ladder, hold high hopes heading into the business end of the season.
“Our goal is to play finals football,” Dee said.
“Every week is a really challenging game because the competition is so close, so if we apply ourselves and execute our game plan like we did today we will have a good chance.”
Manly United return to Cromer Park next Sunday for what is sure to be a tough contest against ladder leaders Wollongong Wolves. United 58 will look to turn around their fortunes in a mouth-watering clash with Rockdale City Suns at Illinden Sports Centre.
Manly United FC 3 (Charles Mendy 25′, Adam Parkhouse 42′, Brendan Cholakian 79′)
Sydney United 58 0
Sunday 19th May, 2019
Cromer Park, Dee Why
Referee: M. Weiner
Assistant Referees: J. Park, J. Bell
Fourth Official: K. Hockings
Manly United: 1. Dylan Mitchell, 2. Kieran Paull, 4. Travis Oughtred. 5. Sam Gallagher, 6. Joseph Fox, 7. Sam Wilson, 10. Brendan Cholakian, 11. Adam Parkhouse (22. Jamie Glover 90’), 12. Charles Mendy (8. Dominic Ferguson 77’), 14. Dejan Pandurevic (9. Nikola Taneski 83’), 23. Bradley McDonald
Substitutes not used: 17. Lewis Miccio, 20. Samuel Benton
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney United 58: 21. Thomas Manos, 3. Jordan Roberts (20. Cristain Gonzalez 66’), 5. Anthony Tomelic, 6. Petar Markovic, 7. Peter Simonoski, 8. Matthew Sim, 9. Patrick Antelmi, 10. Sebastian Gallegos (14. Nick Stavroulakis 87’), 12. Liam Rose, 11. Yianni Perkatis (18. Glen Trifiro 45’), 17. Matthew Bilic
Substitutes Not Used: 1. Daniel Sadaka, 23. Luke Vlastellica
Yellow Cards: Matthew Bilic 62’
Red Cards: Nil
3-Adam Parkhouse (MU)
2-Charles Mendy (MU)
1-Bradley Macdonald (MU)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Reporter Chris Curulli (Twitter handle @ChrisCurulli)