Manly United to Strong for Berries


Jacobs found the net with ease after a magnificent through ball sent the Berries onto the attack sending Josh Sama away down the left. His sublime cross into the box, beyond the despairing attempt of United ?keeper Angelo Petratos, left the net gaping and a gift the youngster was never going to miss.

The Berries, a team chiefly constructed by player coach Scott Baillie, went straight at Manly from the first whistle and should have taken the lead in the fourth minute when Sash Tirovski had a good opportunity in front of the sticks only to tamely hit his shot at Luke Femia, later to be substituted by Petratos.

Manly?s Dusan Mihajlovic countered almost immediately when sixty seconds later he fired in a long-range bomb only to see it sail harmlessly wide of the post. 

But he was not to be denied in the 18th minute when the home side pounced on inexperienced defending and curled a beautiful right foot shot around Hamish McLean in the Berries goal to bulge the net for his first of the campaign.

The visitors made most of the running until this point and had one effort cleared off the line, and not for Joey Schirripa beautifully timing a last ditch tackle inside the box, would certainly have been leading the game.

Manly?s young team grew in confidence as the half wore on and began playing some pleasing passing football, though the final ball option must have given Coach Phil Moss some cause for concern at times.

West Sydney again took control toward the latter part of the half, and certainly were the stronger finishers, although over exuberance did cost Kosta Lagoudakis a caution when helping Michael Lloyd-Green to the floor with the use of a heavy shoulder in a tough but fair game. 

The Berries still created chances but Josh Sama and Michael Cunico spurned opportunities when firing past the ?keeper and beyond the far post and then flicking the ball into the side netting, keeping the Berries behind on the scoreboard despite their dominance.

The second-half began much as the first with plenty of effort but no clear-cut chances until the hour mark when a desperate lunging last-ditch tackle by the veteran central-defender Baillie denied Keith Shelvin.

Lackluster defending lead to Manly?s second and third goals when Robbie Cattanach was able to avoid the sliding tackles of two Berries defenders before sliding the ball home with some aplomb in the 68? minute, followed sixty seconds later when the home team regained control almost directly from the kickoff.

A long raking through ball for Craig Midgley on the right saw him calmly collect and dispatch the ball into the net for United to take a three-nil lead.

The inexperience of the visitors was in much evidence by the conceding on two goals in a minute but coach Baillie was quick to take positives from the game:

?It?s our first loss in five games and I must say I was surprised that we were able to penetrate Manly?s defence so often, considering we are a new team and perhaps some of our defending would suggest.

?We have given three goals away tonight, although all three were superbly taken, and that is down to inexperience and a couple of heads dropping after the second goal but that will improve as we play together more often,? he added.

?When I came to the club there really wasn?t much here and we have had to build a team from scratch and the signs are promising but we?ll look at the video and make a few points on Monday after analysing the footage and learn from those mistakes.

?I?m pleased with our progress so far but we can improve,? Baillie concluded.

Manly United boss, Phil Moss was delighted with the three-points: ?I?m happy it was a hard game for us and also for the Berries in providing it. We have not played any warm-up matches so with the workout we were given it shows our fitness levels are on target and this was an ideal first test for us. It shows that the Berries will upset a few teams this season and I wish Scott the best for the coming season.

?There was an element of poor defending tonight, for both teams, but our three goals were all taken well and if I was to be picky this early on I would say it has to be in conceding a late goal but that we can sort out on the training pitch,? he ended.

For those who feel the West Sydney Berries will be a pushover this season, think again whilst keeping an eye on Manly United. This match contained everything you could want as a spectator and there?s much more to come.

Match Stats

Manly United 3   D Mihaljovic 18, R Cattanach  68, C Midgley 69
Western Sydney Berries 1             C Jacobs 90
Saturday, 26th January 2008
Cromer Park
Referee: Domagos Filipovic
Crowd: 260 approx

Manly United: 21 Luke Femia g/k, 5 Pascal Julliard, 8 Michael Williams, 9 Robbie Cattanach, 10 Dusan Mihaljovic, 11 Craig Midgley, 12 Michael Lloyd-Green, 3 Andrew Mailer, 16 Joey Schirripa (Captain), 18 Beau Busch, 7 Ashley Ryan.
Substitutes: 20 Rhys Keane g/k, 14 Keith Shelvin, 17 Shaun Bowden, 13 Jamie Garside, 6 Bradley Groves

West Sydney Berries: 1 Hamish McLean g/k, 21 Josh Ferguson, 4 Scott Baillie ? player/coach, 5 Michael Cunico (Captain), 16 Kosta Lagoudakis, 13 Sargon Georges, 15 Ryan Jones, 7 Danny Wilson, 17 Sash Tirovski, 18 Josh Sama, 6 Jack Sobczyk.
Substitutes: 14 Craig Jacobs, 2 Con Paradisis, 41 Ben Macnamara, 12 Neil Phillippou, 20 Angelo Petratos

Yellow Cards: Lagoudakis 30 (WSB), Femia 71 (MU), Bowden 74 (MU)
Red Cards: Nil

Player ratings:
3 ? Joey Schirripa (MU)
2 ? Dusan Mihajlovic (MU)
1-  Scott Baillie (WSB)