APIA Leichhardt fought their way back into their battle with Sydney United 58, settling with a 2-2 draw at Sydney United Sports Centre on Sunday evening.
United 58 managed two goals in the first half through Patrick Antelmi and Chris Payne, leaving APIA stunned as they made their way to the sheds for the half-time break, but the visitors worked their way back into the match with Jack Armson scoring their first in the 60th minute and Sean Symons equalising at the death.
The hosts wanted to kick off its winning run once more after they defeated local Blacktown District FA side Quakers Hill 7-0 on Thursday evening in their round 4 Australia Cup Preliminary fixture which set them up with a juicy round 5 clash against Rockdale Ilinden.
Sydney United 58 didn’t wait long to start the action, creating a shot on target in the first minute of the match.
Some combination play saw Payne with a chance to shoot from range, but APIA Leichhardt shot-stopper Ivan Necevski collected.
A few early chances to APIA in the opening stages showed that they were hungry for a win after a 4-1 loss to Marconi in Round 10.
One of APIA Leichhardt’s strongest goal scorers in 2022, Jason Romero, came close in the 12th minute, but his effort travelled across the goalmouth.
APIA were inches away from opening the scoring in the 28th minute as Romero drove forward and let off a shot that came off an incoming Danijel Nizic and fell to Walter Scott.
Scott passed back to Armson, whose shot hit the crossbar before hitting the ground around the line and bouncing away.
APIA earned a free kick in the 29th minute and Romero swung it into the area to Themba Muata-Marlow who got on the end of it but couldn’t send it into the netting.
While there were plenty of chances for both sides, United 58 were the next to convert their chances, scoring through Antelmi in the 38th minute.
Payne played the ball off Tariq Maia and to Antlemi, who weaved past Muata-Marlow and sent his shot into the goal.
Sean Symons sent a ball up the park to Romero in the area, who weaved through United 58’s defence and sent a strike towards goal, but Nizic was well prepared to parry it away.
As the first half tipped into extra time, Maia had his chance to extend the lead, but Necevski tipped it over the bar.
Glen Trifiro sent in the resultant corner, which came off the head of a APIA defender and fell to the edge of the box.
Devante Clut sent the ball towards Payne in front of goal, who neatly sent it into the netting, giving the home side a two-goal advantage at the break.
The visitors made their way onto the scoreboard in the 60th minute through Armson, whose low drive was out of reach of Nizic as it slid over the line.
United 58 were quick to retaliate, with Devante Clut sending a strike blazing towards the target in the 61st minute, but Necevski made a sensational save to tip it over the bar.
Sean Symons had a chance for APIA in the 63rd minute, but this shot had a bit too much on it and it skimmed high and wide of the goal.
APIA continued to mount pressure and create chances as they tried to claw something from the match, and their perseverance paid off in the fifth minute of additional time.
Romero swung the ball into the area and substitute Nathanael Blair collected, sending it across to Armson in a central position.
Armson directed it into the area and Symons quickly got on the end of it and cleanly finished to equalise in sensational fashion, stealing a point from the match that drowned the home fan noise as Danial Cummins’ troops secured a draw.
Sydney United 58 2 (Antelmi 39′, Payne 47′)
APIA Leichhardt FC 2 (Armson 61′, S. Symons 96′)
Sunday, 15th May, 2022
Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
Referee: Michael Weiner
Assistant Referees: Emma Kocbek and Patrick Teleki
Fourth Official: Mujtaba Ebrahimi
Sydney United 58 FC 1. Danijel Nizic, 3. Jordan Roberts (16. Jacob Poscoliero 63’), 4. Adrian Vlastelica, 6. Chris Payne, 9. Patrick Antelmi ( 8. Kyle Cimenti 77’), 10. Devante Clut (5. Anthony Tomelic 77’), 11. Yianni Perkatis, 15. Tariq Maia (14. Andreas Agamemnonos 67’), 17. Matthew Bilic, 18. Glen Trifiro, 22. Yianni Fragogiannis
Substitutes Not Used: 13. Jordan Ivancic, 55. Goran Palecek
Yellow Cards: Bilic 30’, Payne 36’
Red Cards: Nil
Northbridge Bulls: 1. Ivan Necevski, 4. Joshua Symons, 5. Nicholas Azzone (20. Nathanael Blair 73’), 8. Deigo Celis, 9. Jason Romero, 14. Jack Armson, 15. Themba Muata-Marlow (21. Michael Kouta 79’), 16. Sean Symons, 18. Adrian Ucchino, 23. Walter Scott, 38. Yianni Nicolaou
Substitutes Not Used: 3. Paul Galimi, 10. Franco Parisi, 19. Fabian Monge, 22. Luke Turnbull
Yellow Cards: Romero 36’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Jack Armson (AL)
2 – Chris Payne (SU)
1 – Ivan Necevski (AL)