Defending champions Bonnyrigg White Eagles have snuck into the finals with a 2-0 victory against the Wollongong Wolves in their PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at WIN Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Goals either side of half-time from rising young gun Asmir Kadric and Greg Kondek ensured the visiting side would have the chance to defend their title and continue their rich run of form.
With the visiting side having so much to play for it was a tense opening to the game.
Both sides gave away free kicks but the first real chance of the game fell to Brendan Griffin in the 3rd minute.
Griffin found himself in space but could only aim his shot from outside the box straight at the goal keeper.
A defensive error from the Wolves inside their own half allowed the White Eagles to break on the counter, but the home side recovered to clear for a corner before striker Robert Younis could pounce.
Younis was on corner taking duties and in the 11th minute whipped in a ball from the left that found the head of Nikola Zonjic, but he could only put it wide of the goal for a goal kick.
The first goal of the game came in the 15th minute when another defensive error from the Wollongong defence allowed Asmir Kadric to pounce and round the goal keeper before finishing on an angle for the 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later the visitors should have extended their lead when Aaron Peterson found himself one-on-one with Daniel Collison but could only put his shot over the bar from 12 yards out.
In the 22nd minute a mistimed back pass allowed the ball to be intercepted which eventually fell to Younis, but he too was only able to put it over the bar.
The home side finally were able to mount some serious attacking threat in the 25th minute when a floating free kick was not cleared by the travelling side. The ball made its way to Darcy Madden but he could not pull the trigger before Kota Kawase put it wide of the right post on the follow through.
Robert Younis was doing everything but score early on and in the 28th minute, the ball found its way to his head but a good block from the Wolves defender prevented the deficit pushing out to two goals.
After a late challenge outside the box and subsequent yellow card to Steven Hristovski in the 29th minute, Younis stepped up to take the free kick and forced Daniel Collison into a smart save.
It was an onslaught from the visitors in the opening half and they should have had their second yet again in the 33rd minute when Peterson found some space but as him and his team mates had done already in the game, put the ball over for a goal kick.
In the 41st minute the home side should have had an unlikely equaliser. Nicholas Bernal found space outside the six-yard box but there was enough pressure from a Bonnyrigg defender to make him shoot just wide.
The away side had one last chance in stoppage time in the first period but could not capitalise as they took a 1-0 lead into the break.
The first real chance of the second half fell in the 51st minute when goal scorer Kadric hit a thundering shot that forced Collison into an outstanding reflex save.
Two minutes later the Wolves were awarded a free kick outside the box but David Stojic stepped up and skied the ball over the goal posts
The next real chance did not fall until the 64th minute when a counter attack led to Bernal feeding Ben Zucco, but his shot on the half-volley went well over the cross bar for a goal kick.
In the 70th minute Bonnyrigg were awarded a free kick on the right side of the field but Younis’ cross found nobody and the ball trickled away for a goal kick.
It was Wolves goal keeper, Daniel Collison, that was keeping the home side in the game and in the 79th minute he was made to work again when a defensive error just outside the area led to a shot from Ken Chun from outside the box.
The goal would come a minute later though when a cross found Greg Kondek who headed home his sides’ second goal of the game.
With the win almost certainly sealed, the visitors were still pushing for more goals and another free kick in the 87th minute was left to the boot of Robert Younis but he could only swing the ball over the bar for another free kick.
One final chance fell to the Wolves and James Baldacchino but what seemed like the story of the afternoon put the ball well over the crossbar.
There would be no more time for the home side to get a consolation goal as the White Eagles cemented their position to play finals football with the 2-0 victory.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles head coach, Brian Brown, was ecstatic with the team’s performance and was looking forward to the final series and the upcoming FFA Cup fixture against Blacktown City.
“It was an outstanding performance. We probably had a chance to make it a few more, but I’m really proud of the boys’ efforts,” he said.
“It’s cup football from now on, so we have to be ready for each game going forward.”
Wollongong Wolves head coach, Jacob Timpano, was proud of his team’s effort in what has been a testing season.
“It’s been a long, tough season for us,” he said.
“Today was always going to be difficult after the week we’ve had beating Parramatta last week and the Sydney FC game and with very minimal players at our disposal.”
“Reflecting on the season, results wise it hasn’t been great but there was a lot of positives to come out of it, we’ve had many youth grade players play first grade.”
For the two teams it’s very different for the remaining weeks of the competition. Wollongong Wolves finish their season and look to regroup for a big season next year while Bonnyrigg White Eagles march into the finals series finishing in fifth position and will take on the Rockdale City Suns next weekend.
Wollongong Wolves 0
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2 (KADRIC 15’, KONDEK 80’)
Sunday 14th August 2016.
WIN Stadium, Wollongong.
Referee: A Susz
Assistant Referees: N Wotton & J Bell
Fourth Official: T Harris
Wollongong Wolves: 12. COLLISON Daniel 19. ALLPORT Boden 5. BALDACCHINO James 18. BERNAL Nicolas 6. HRISTOVSKI Steven (4. TEW Jake 46’) 2. KAWASE Kota 15. LAZAREVSKI Danny (13. IVANOVIC Justin 46’) 7. PRICE Chris 10. STOJIC David 3. MADDEN Darcy 16. ZUCCO Ben
Substitutes Not Used: 1. ARCABA Daniel 8. KAMBISIOS Ethan 11. DIMOSKI Stefan
Yellow Cards: BALDACCHINO 17’, HRISTOVSKI 29’, LAZAREVSKI 45+1’, PRICE 62’, IVANOVIC 68’
Red Cards: Nil
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1. CHRONOPOULOS James 17. GIL Mun-Soo (10. KOKADO Yuta 82’)18. KADRIC Asmir 7. KONDEK Greg 31. LO Martin 2. MANSUETO Alexander (3. VRANKOVIC David 77’) 13. MCKENZIE James 19. PETERSON Aaron (21. CHUN Ken 48’) 9. YOUNIS Robert 6. ZONJIC Nikola 4. ROBINSON Michael
Substitutes Not Used: 20. SAVICIC Stefan, 14. JENNER Adam
Yellow Cards: MANSUETO 73’, KADRIC 78’
Red Cards: Nil
-By Jake Bull, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.