Manly United FC have kept alive their hopes of playing finals’ football after downing hosts Hakoah Sydney City East at Hensley Athletic Field by 2-1.
A goal in each half by Paul Dee’s side did the trick against a gallant Hakoah as the hosts put an end to a four game losing to move only one point outside the top five.
It was another frustrating result for Hakoah who gifted Manly a 1-0 lead courtesy of a Steve Katsionis own goal before Dejan Pandurevic doubled the lead for the visitors midway through the second half.
Amaury Gauthier netted in the dying stages for the home side but it wasn’t enough to stop Manly from taking home all three points.
The first real salvo of the game didn’t arrive until the 13th minute when Dejan Pandurevic broke free in a gallop towards goal, but Ryan Norval beautifully came off his line and closed down the space to deny the visitors an opening goal with a clinical save.
A few minutes later Nathan Roberts overcame some rigid Manly defence only to reach the by-line and have his direct shot cleared by an attentive defender standing on his own goal line.
Adam Parkhouse seemed rather shocked in the 20th minute to receive the ball from a Kieren Paull cross close to the Hakoah goal and, in the end, he knocked it wide when perhaps a better touch would have broken the deadlock.
However, four minutes later he did come good and indeed broke the stalemate when his shot was deflected in by Steve Katsionis. A cross from the left by the former Wellington Phoenix player seemed to cause some hesitation in the Hakoah defence with Harry McCarthy lurking with intent and the ball ricocheted off Katsionis to finish in the back of the net.
The end-to-end continued with both teams alternating chances. In the 28th minute Jordan Koton flashed a volley over the crossbar after receiving a ball from Roberts on the left as Hakoah tried to equalise.
Kieren Paull then virtually laid the ball on a plate for Brendan Cholakian in front of goal but his delicate flick didn’t have the right strength and the chance went begging. And with that chance the first stanza of play ended.
The second half of play was much anticipated given the exceptional first 45 minutes. And it didn’t disappoint either.
An early rifle of an attempt by Roberts from some distance really tested the reflexes of Dylan Mitchell as Hakoah made their intentions very clear.
Koton then tried a minute later with a similar shot that was fortuitously deflected just wide of the goal for Paul Dee’s side by a defender as the home side went close to equalising.
In the 63rd minute Hakoah should really have scored when Oliver Green unleashed a rocket from outside the box that hit the crossbar and rebounded off the underside straight onto the goal line without actually crossing it.
Cholakian responded immediately for Manly United with a penetrating run that ended with a shot that was well saved by Norval down to his left.
In the 73rd minute Manly United did indeed make it two when substitute Charles Mendy found Pandurevic in the box and he clinically fired home from close range giving Norval no chance. It was the goal that broke the hearts of the Hakoah fans as their side, up until that point, looked like it might equalise.
Late in the game a corner by Joshua Swadling reached an unmarked Amauri Gauthier at the back post who headed in an almost a slow-motion goal, but a goal nevertheless that Hakoah deserved.
Right at the death Mendy bolted free and with only Norval to beat somehow found himself denied by the home side’s ‘keeper who got down low to his left to prevent what looked to be a certain goal.
Manly coach Paul Dee was a relived man after full time.
“There are only a couple of weeks left and we need to concentrate on winning to have any chance of playing in the finals. As long as we win our games the other results will take care of themselves,” he said.
“Hakoah is always a tough away game but I thought that we created enough chances to win that game today. We were excellent a creating chances but not as good in front of goal.
“We have been working on creating chances and we now need to get into the area where we finish these.”
For Hakoah boss Gavin Rae it was another game which got away.
“Today in some ways sums up our season,” he said.
“We have been competitive in nearly every game this season but we just seem to be losing by that odd goal.
“It is very frustrating. If we were losing every week by a long way, we would accept that we are not at the level of the league, but that’s definitely not the case at all.
“To be so close is very frustrating because we have a very honest and good group of boys who deserve better.”
HAKOAH SYDNEY CITY EAST: 1 (Gauthier 87’)
MANLY UNITED FC: 2 (Katsionis o.g. 24’, Pandurevic 73’)
Sunday, 21st July 2019
Hensley Athletic Field
Referee: Tim Danaskos
Assistant Referees: Joon Park, Matt Staples
Fourth Official: Kyle Fenton-White
HAKOAH SYDNEY CITY EAST: 1.Ryan Norval, 2.Connor Shaddock, 4.Brad Walker, 5.Steve Katsionis, 8.Oliver Green, 10.Nathan Roberts (23.Adrian Vranic 76’), 11.Jack Green (24.Amauri Gauthier 76’), 12.Joshua Swadling, 13.Robert Ezekiel, 14.Jordan Koton, 17.Harry Jones.
Substitutes not used: 6.Dominic Cox, 15.Pedrag Bojic, 25.Max Ephraim.
Yellow Cards: O.Green 34’, Walker 82’
Red Card: Nil
MANLY UNITED FC: 1.Dylan Mitchell, 2.Kieren Paull, 4.Travis Oughtred, 5.Sam Gallagher, 8.Dominic Ferguson (6.Joseph Fox 76’), 9.Harry McCarthy (12.Charles Mendy 64’), 10.Brendan Cholakian, 11.Adam Parkhouse (7.Sam Wilson 70’), 14.Dejan Pandurevic, 17.Lewis Miccio, 23.Bradley McDonald.
Substitutes not used: 3.James Georgaklis, 32.Mackenzie Syron.
Yellow Cards: Miccio 82’, Mendy 88’
Red Card: Nil
Player Ratings have now been hidden due to the second half of the season commencing.
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo