MANLY United showed tremendous fighting spirit to beat APIA Leichhardt 3-2 on Sunday at Cromer Park.
In what was a see sawing PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s encounter, the home side took the lead after just two minutes.
Adam Parkhouse whipped in a ball to the far post from the left which Brendan Cholakian let bounce.
Eventually the ball was fed into Luke Giverin’s path, and the Manchester United youth player side footed home with aplomb.
United were up for the task and on 12′ minutes Cholakian almost doubled their lead, but his effort flashed just wide.
APIA eventually woke from their slumber thanks to a lung busting run from Sean Symons on the 16th minute mark.
It didn’t result in a goal, but after 19 minutes the Tigers did find the back of the net.
Evergreen APIA playmaker Franco Parisi started the move and it was finished by Brad Bartels.
Parisi, the Tigers long term number 10, fed Japanese import Tasuku Sekiya.
He in turn released Bartels, who produced a stunning finish from an acute angle which United gloveman Dylan Mitchell was never going to stop.
With 32 minutes played Mitchell had the home supporters feeling frantic after he air swung a back pass.
Luckily teammate Rhys Williams was on hand to bail him out, as it could have been one of the bloopers of the season.
Givern then almost grabbed his second with 37 minutes on the clock, but his left foot drive sailed wide of the target.
On 62 minutes the visitors went up 2-1, against the run of play.
A corner saw Adrian Vlastelica unmarked at the far post and he didn’t need a second invitation, heading home from six yards.
Previous Manly teams would have rolled over, but Paul Dee’s men never know when they are beaten in 2016.
After Giverin lashed another drive wide on 74′ minutes, seconds later United squared proceedings at 2-2.
Giverin hit a pinpoint corner to the near post and Sam Gallagher reacted first, with the defender’s header at the near post missile-esque.
United then won the game thanks to a late penalty.
Half time substitute Corey Biczo fouled right back Kieren Paull inside the box, and the striker was then sent off for his second yellow ticket.
With plenty on the line, Cholakian showed nerves of steel, composing himself to send Ryan Norval the wrong way and secure another three points for the hosts.
"The result shows the determination we have among the playing group,” the United skipper and penalty hero said post game.
"I thought it was thoroughly deserved, we knew APIA would be physical, they tend to try and foul teams out of games.
"We knew if we stuck to the task we would be in a position to outplay them and our fitness would also be a factor.
"This should be a big turning point, it gives us a nice buffer from the chasing pack mid-table."
Parisi was a frustrated figure at the final whistle.
"We can take plenty out of the game, despite the end result,” he said.
"Being up 2-1 we should have closed it out, but we weren’t good enough.
"We didn’t absorb pressure well, but credit to Manly, they are fit, organised and kept coming at us."
Manly United 3 (Luke Giverin 2′, Sam Gallagher 75′, Brendan Cholakian 84′)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 2 (Brad Bartels 19′, Adrian Vlastelica 62′)
Sunday May 8, 2016
Assistant referees: D.Horstead, J.Adabjou
Fourth official: J.McFarlane
Manly United: 1.MITCHELL Dylan, 2.PAULL Kieren, 3.LOBB Jamie, 4.OUGHTRED Travis, 5.WILLIAMS Rhys, 6.GALLAGHER Sam, 8.FERGUSON Dom, (18.BRAGG Daniel 72′) 10.CHOLAKIAN Brendan, (16.BERTI Sipan 87′) 11.PARKHOUSE Adam, 14.PANDUREVIC Dejan, (7.COOPER Travis 72′) 22.GIVERIN Luke
Substitutes not used: 20.SYRON Mackenzie
Yellow cards: Ferguson 41′, Lobb 74′, Cholakian 81′
Red cards: Nil
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 92.NORVAL Luke, 6.AUSTIN Luke, 4.BARTELS Brad, 13.D’APUZZO David, (8.OLSEN Nick 81′) 2.MILLGATE Nathan, 15.MUATA-MARLOW Themba, 11.MURRAY Jordan, (8.BICZO Corey 46′) 10.PARISI Franco, 20.SEKIYA Tasuku, 16.SYMONS Sean, (3.FSADNI Matthew 90′) 17.VLASTELICA Adrian
Substitutes not used: 5.HOOPER Brendan, 50.TUXFORD Blake
Yellow cards: D’Apuzzo 22′, Symons 70′, Biczo 74′, Fasdni 90′
Red cards: Biczo 84′
3 – Kieren Paull (MU)
2 – Luke Giverin (MU)
1 – Dom Ferguson (MU)