Manly United left it late to clinch their first three points of the National Premier Leagues NSW men’s season with a tight 2-0 triumph over Sydney United 58 at Cromer Park on Saturday night.
The hosts struck with two goals in the last five minutes as a bullet header from substitute Marley Peterson and Yianni Perkatis own goal shocked a United 58 side who were unable to push on following their 5-0 rout of Mt Druitt last weekend.
The first opportunity of the evening presented itself after 16 minutes as Brendan Cholakian failed to gather enough of a connection on his back-post header.
Two minutes later Jack Fulton almost left an immediate impact on his first start of the season, however his low strike was smartly rebounded to safety by Thomas Manos.
Manly continued to knock on the door and in the 28th minute Sam Gallagher’s front post header soared marginally wide of the mark.
Yianni Fragogiannis created the visitors’ only clear-cut chance of the period with an effort from distance that was comfortably gathered by Dylan Mitchell.
Manly forged a pair of opportunities of their own late in the half however Jack Fulton’s diving header and Scott Balderson’s strike both sailed over the bar.
Sydney United started the second half on the offensive as former Manly winger Matthew Sim saw a deflected effort dip wide of the mark and another into the arms of Mitchell.
Just shy of the hour mark Patrick Antelmi came within inches of breaking the deadlock.
The in-form striker’s close-range header thundered off the crossbar after he appeared destined to score.
The match then settled into a tight arm-wrestle before both Paul Dee and Zeljko Kalac turned to their benches for inspiration.
It was ultimately Dee who struck gold in the 85th minute as fullback Kieren Paull found a pocket of space in the final third before releasing a precise ball that was emphatically nodded home by the substitute Peterson.
Manly continued to push on and just four minutes later a touch of fortune saw them seal their first taste of victory in 2020.
Some clever work from Jamie Glover out wide saw him whip in another threatening ball that United 58 defender Yianni Perkatis inadvertently turned into the back of his own net.
Cromer Park breathed a collective sigh of relief at the final whistle which confirmed Manly’s first competition points of the season, drawing them level with Sydney United on one win out of three to kick off the campaign.
Manly United boss Paul Dee was pleased to see that his side’s hard work had paid off.
“The boys deserved the win after a really hard game against a strong team,” he said.
“We’ve been working hard, trying to stay positive and just concentrating on the things that we know well.
“I think the boys who came in did a great job. It’s always a good thing when you have a squad where people are fighting for positions.
“The boys have tried really hard in the last couple of weeks to make it count in the final third, and after a couple of good deliveries from out wide today we scored the goals, so I’m pleased overall.”
United 58 skipper Adrian Vlastelica remained confident his side will bounce back in the near future.
“I think we played well for most of the game but just lost our concentration at the end and we got punished,” he said.
“The intensity and the effort were there but we just didn’t take our chances in the end.
“We have Rockdale next week and will be back training on Tuesday ready to build for a good result at home then.”
Manly United 2 (Marley Peterson 85’, Yianni Perkatis OG 89’)
Sydney United 58 0
Saturday 14th March, 2020
Cromer Park, Dee Why
Referee: Michael Weiner
Assistant Referees: L. Greenshields, J. Bell
Fourth Official: I. Libri
Manly United: 1.Dylan Mitchell, 2.Kieren Paull, 5.Sam Gallagher, 7.Jack Fulton (9.Richard Cardozo 69’), 8.Dominic Ferguson, 10.Brendan Cholakian, 13.Scott Balderson (4.Sasa Macura 62’), 15.Patrick Weir, 16.Dean Bereveskos, 23.Bradley Mcdonald (17. Marley Peterson 79’), 24.Jamie Glover, 22.Paul Katsetis
Substitutes Not Used 20.Mackenzie Syron (GK), 6.Joseph Fox
Yellow Cards: Scott Balderson 33’, Dominic Ferguson 50’, Jamie Glover 75’
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney United 58: 21.Thomas Manos, 2.Cristian Gonzalez, 3.Jordan Roberts, 4.Adrian Vlastelica, 8.Matthew Sim, 9.Patrick Antelmi, 11.Yianni Perkatis, 12.Liam Rose, 15.Tariq Maia, (10.Devante Clut 62’), 22.Yianni Fragogiannis (18.Glen Trifiro 71’), 27.Jacob Esposito (99.Joshua McDonald 57’)
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Daniel Nizic, 20.Adrian Vranic
Yellow Cards: Jacob Esposito 44’, Adrian Vlastelica 72’, Liam Rose 78’, Josh McDonald 82’
Red Cards: Nil
3- Patrick Weir (MU)
2- Kieren Paull (MU)
1- Scott Balderson (MU)
– By Chris Curulli (Twitter handle @ChrisCurulli)