A Patrick Antelmi brace has helped Sydney United 58 keep their flawless start to the season alive with a 2-0 victory against Sutherland Sharks at Seymour Shaw Park on Saturday.
The visitors made it three wins from three starts in the 2021 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition with prolific marksman Antelmi’s goals on either side of the interval enforcing a first defeat of the season on Sutherland.
Despite trading blows with United 58 in the opening stages, the Sharks were unable to contain their opponents free-scoring attack.
United 58 started confidently and perhaps should have hit the lead early on when Chris Payne was unable to hit the target after a cross from Jordan Roberts.
Sutherland’s response was rapid when Gabriel Contagiani sent James Andrew on his way down the right however, Daniel Nizic was able to smother the ball to deny the goal.
Chris Lindsay had a brilliant effort for the home side but his header sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
Scoring chances edged in favour of the home side by the midway point of the half although none, to date, had been clear cut for either side.
United upped the pace and with it, their attacking threat as Patrick Antelmi was able to turn his marker in the box and flash a shot wide of the upright.
Cox tried his luck from distance but the shot deflected off Poscoliero and had Nizic at full stretch to palm around the upright as the Sharks came closest to opening the scoring.
However, it would be the visitors who find the back of the net first when Antelmi netted with a neat side-foot finish just inside the post.
Sutherland raced out of the blocks after the interval creating a handful of half-chances.
But with the Sharks pushing up the field desperate for an equaliser, it opened the door for Jackson Khoury to punish the home side’s defence and set up Antelmi for his second of the match. It was his second double in successive weeks after scoring a brace against Sydney FC in round 2 of the NPL NSW Men’s competition.
Late substitute from Sutherland failed to create a late comeback for the home team, while Sydney United 58 failed to extend their advantage in the closing stages when Payne and Antelmi were unable to make the most of two golden chances.
Sharks boss Nick Dimovski said his side struggled to chase the game and paid the price for conceding so close to half time.
“We were not at our best today and after conceding a sloppy goal were left chasing the game,” Dimovski said.
“We had to come out after the break and attack which obviously, with the defenders bombing on, it could leave us a little open at the back, which it did and led to their second goal.
“We knew were in for a tough match against the reigning Grand Final winners and it’s clear to see why they will be tough to beat this season but I don’t feel we were dominated today and created a few openings which, eventually, we will start taking.
“It’s just the silly mistakes at key moments that are hurting us right now.”
United 58’s rookie boss Tomi Vidovic praised his squad after another strong performance.
“It’s always a tough game coming here and we played well enough to win the game but the pitch is a little bumpy at times,” Vidovic said.
“They created a few chances against us, as you would expect at their ground, but we dealt with the pitch and conditions well and were able to take the points.
“To remain unbeaten and have kept two clean sheets so early in the season is welcomed of course, but we know there is a long way to go and some tough games ahead so we’ll just focus on each match and try to prepare as best we can for them.”
Sutherland Sharks 0
Sydney Utd 58: 2 (Antelmi 40’, 79’)
Seymour Shaw Park, Miranda
Saturday, 13th March 2021
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Ast. Refs: Hugh Fenton-White & Amber Morris
4th Official: Daniel Alter
Sutherland Sharks: 1.Anthony BOUZANIS, 3.Gabriel CONTIGIANI, 4.Brendan HOOPER, 5.Nic PETRILLO, 6.Patrick O’SHEA, 8.Oliver GREEN (25.Alex MACIOVECHIO 60’), 9.Jeremy COX (99.Jonathan GROZDANOVSKI 60’), 10.Lachlan EVERITT (22.Patrick SCIBILIO 70’), 14.Christopher LINDSAY, 17.James ANDREW, 88.Chris MCSTAY
Substitutes not used: 12.Harry SUTHERLAND, 13.Charlie JONES, 16.Gerrard ROEBUCK
Yellow Cards: Petrillo 44’, Contigiani 53’
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Utd 58: 1.Danijel NIZIC, 3.Jordan ROBERTS, 4.Adrian VLASTELICA, 5.Anthony TOMELIC, 6.Christopher PAYNE (15.Tariq MAIA 84’), 8.Matthew SIM (18.Glen TRIFIRO 62’), 9.Patrick ANTELMI, 10.Devante CLUT (7.Jackson KHOURY, 78’), 11.Yianni PERKATIS, 16.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 17.Matthew BILIC
Substitutes not used: 14.Andrea AGAMEMNONOS, 21.Josip ORLOVIC, 22.Yianni FRAGOGIANNIS
Yellow Cards: Poscoliero 26’, Antelmi 44’, Sim 58’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Antelmi (SU)
2 – McStay (SS)
1 – Roberts (SU)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW Reporter Micky Brock