A late equalizer has helped Sutherland Sharks snatch a 2-2 draw in dramatic fashion against Northbridge Bulls at Sydney United Sports Centre on Saturday night.
Oliver Green’s header deep in added time secured the boys from the shire a point only moments after the Bulls scored an injury-time goal of their own through Rory Jordan’s spectacular overhead kick.
It was a solid first outing for a talented Northbridge Bulls outfit.
The young side showed tremendous fight to equalise through Charles William then looked to have the winner with Jordan’s sublime finish.
Goals from James Andrew and Green showed there is plenty to admire for the Sharks in 2021.
The season for both sides got underway on a brisk night at Sydney United Sports Centre.
The opening exchanges were cagey as both teams felt their way into the contest.
The first major chance fell to Sutherland Sharks. New signing and former Marconi Stallions high flyer Andrew combined well down the left with former Northbridge skipper Chris Lindsay to see the latter’s effort saved.
Sutherland Sharks continued to find their groove. Christopher McStay pinched the ball off the Bulls defence and tried a cheeky lob over Northbridge Bulls keeper Ryan Wood which flew over.
It seemed like the best chances were from the set-piece. Brendan Hooper had a pair of headers denied for Sutherland, both at the near post.
For Northbridge Bulls, their best work came through Yianni Nicolaou. He played in Charles William for a tame effort than in the final minute of the half, Nicolaou put a peach of a cross onto the head of Walter Scott who nodded over.
In the length of a tik tok, the contest opened up after the second-half whistle. Andrew latched onto a lofted ball, held off his defender and finished calmly to make it 1-nil Sutherland Sharks.
The Bulls weren’t as quick out of the gate but found an equaliser in the 53rd minute. Some slick interplay between Lachlan Sepping and Stephan De Robillard opened the space for William to slot home for 1-1.
Northbridge Bulls looked prime to make their first game under the new name a winning one as Seeping played a nice combination with substitute Bul Jauch whose glanced his header wide.
It was another substitute for the Bulls which laid on the next chance. Luke Caspers slipped in a fantastic ball for Moudi Najjar to fizz wide of the post.
The Sharks were a threat on the break and almost created the second goal in the 86th minute. McStay led the counter and strode into the box but flashed his effort inches wide of the left-hand post.
There was a late bite left in the Sharks. Once again, the chance fell to Andrew. He tried to place the effort which was blocked then the follow up flew wide as the sides shared the points to open the season.
The chances came thick and fast in the final minutes of the contest. Northbridge Bulls looked to have taken all three points after Rory Jordan’s overhead kick in the 94th minute to make it 2-1.
There was one final chance though, Sharks pushed forward and it came from the set-piece. The header from substitute Green made sure the points were shared in a frantic 2-2 draw.
Speaking post-match, Northbridge Bulls coach and former Socceroo Mile Sterjovski was measured about his side’s performance despite the late equaliser and confirmed there were positive signs.
“We had some great chances in the game. The boys did well to fight back to make it 2-1 and feel a bit hard done by with the six added minutes. This is a young side though which is gelling and there were positive signs headed into the Marconi game.” Said Sterjovski.
Sutherland Sharks coach Nick Dimovski was more bullish about the result and had a positive outlook for the rest of the season.
“That is probably one that got away. We controlled most of the contest and limited their chances. It was two schoolboy errors which cost us the win.” said Dimovski.
“One if the pleasing things was the never-say-die attitude from the side. They could have packed up after conceding but showed resilience tonight. Now we go back and look to fix up our errors.”
Dimovski had a final word for those pundits who had tipped the Sharks to finish bottom of the NPL NSW Men’s ladder this season
“I guarantee we won’t be wooden spooners. Those predictions aren’t something we are listening to but we are using as motivation.”
Northbridge Bulls FC 2 (William ‘53, Jordan 90+4)
Sutherland Sharks FC 2 (Andrew ‘46, Green 90+6)
Saturday 27th February 2021
Sydney United Sports Center, Edensor Park
Referee: H. Jomaa
Assistant Referees: C. Wright & S. Quinn
Fourth Official: L. Jones
Northbridge Bulls FC: 1. WOOD Ryan, 3. THEPH Theph, 6. SEPPING Lachlan, 10. JORDAN Rory, 11. DE ROBILLARD Stephan, 12. CLARKSON Brodie, 13. SCOTT Walter (2. MCLOUGHLIN ‘64), 17. NICOLAOU Yianni, 19. WILLIAM Charles (9. JAUCH ‘64), 21. ROSE Liam (15. CASPERS ‘33), 24. NAJJAR Moudi
Unused substitutes: 14. PANUCCIO Giovanni, 20. CUKAR Luke
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
Sutherland Sharks FC: 1. BOUZANIS Anthony, 3. CONTIGIANI Gabriel, 4. HOOPER Brendan, 5. PETRILLO Nic, 6. O’SHEA Patrick, 9. COX Jeremy, 10. EVERETT Lachlan (11. VERSI Mason ‘80), 14. LINDSAY Chris (25. MASCIOVECCHIO ‘80), 17. ANDREW James, 88. MCSTAY Christopher, 99. GROZDANOVSKI Jonathan (8. GREEN Oliver ‘45)
Unused substitutes: 16. ROEBUCK Gerard, 22. SCIBILIO Patrick, 23. WILEY Jarrad
Yellow cards: O’Shea, Everett
Red cards: nil
3: James Andrew (SS)
2: Lachlan Sepping (NB)
1: Christopher McStay (SS)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Reporter Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)