Down by two goals with six minutes to go the side drew level in the final moments of the match.
For Sydney United it was a well-deserved point as they rattled the home side time and time again throughout the second-half without being able to put the final ball away. For Penrith-Nepean United it was another in lesson about football at the highest levels.
Sydney United had taken the upper hand early but shots from Ivo Bosnar and Petar Markovic sailed high over the bar, an indication of what was to come for the visitors. In the 14? minute Todd Brodie almost pulled off a remarkable goal as Daniel Schwarzer tapped his cross come shot around the far post to deny him.
Penrith-Nepean started gaining some ascendancy from that point and Greg Kondek made a good run in the area but his final shot was poor. Then in the 24? minute the ball fell to Tayfun Buyukkopru who shot wide, an opportunity that should have led to the opening goal to the locals.
Just before half time Nathan Ralph made a great run down the left but once he had free space he stepped away from goal rather than honing in on it and his cross was easily dealt with. Ralph created more opportunities early in the second-half before referee James Lewis pointed to the spot after Javier Mancino was felled by Ricky Perinich in the area. Chris Camilleri successfully converted for Penrith Nepean to take the lead.
Sydney United then took the upper hand in the game as they pressed forward, but again their final execution looked as if it would let them down. Penrith-Nepean caught them on the break at times with Devrim Huseyin, Angelo Martino and Camilleri all doing well at various stages but overall the pace and skill of the Sydney United side was very evident and the foundations of Penrith?s lead looked shaky.
When Camilleri played the ball to Huseyin in the 84? minute and he fired home a shot that went in off the post, it looked to be Penrith?s game, especially having seen Luka Glavas beat his opponents only for the ball to cannon off the underside of the bar and out for Sydney United just three minutes before. However before Penrith-Nepean had finished celebrating their opponents had clawed a goal back.
In the 84th minute Chris Boyle came down the left flank and put a ball over to the far post where Glavas lined up (with about three other Sydney United players) to head the ball home. Then right on full-time Sydney United got a deserved draw after a corner from Ivo Bosnar was deflected home by Damon Collina.
Sydney United coach Ivan Petkovic was pleased with his team?s overall effort. ?It was a nice game to watch. We have given all our players a chance to play tonight and it was an opportunity for the whole side to perform. We created chances but did not always complete them but that is the game. You need to take your chances but we have four weeks before the start of the season proper to improve a lot of things.?
Abbas Saad, faced with his fourth draw in five preseason matches, was philosophical about the result. ?We kept giving the ball up once we had taken the lead. Sydney United are a good team, they push the ball around and make you think and a lot of our players panicked.
?In the first-half we went at them and shaded them but the second-half was almost men versus boys. You should not concede two goals in the last five minutes.
?Credit to Sydney United and to us as we are both trying to get match fitness and we played football at a high level tonight. Nathan Ralph was fantastic for us tonight. The youngster has a lot more to offer and I am hoping to guide him along and get the most out of him this year.?
– Stuart Jones
Wednesday 30 01 08
Cook Park St Marys.
Referee: James Lewis
Assistants: Sarah Ho, Stephen Payne.
Penrith Nepean United: 41 Daniel Schwarzer, 20 Ben Wright, 5 Luke Boyd, 4 Ryan O?Shea, 16 Michael Cromer, 23 Devrim Huseyin, 7 Javier Mancino, 9 Carl McNaughton, 15 Angleo Martino, 14 Greg Kondek, 10 Tayfun Buyukkopru
Substitutes: 1 Chad Taylor, 2 William Stuart, 13 Nathan Ralph, 12 Chris Camilleri, 6 Jack Long
Sydney United: 1 Steve Mionvski, 5 Damon Collina, 3 Joe Moric, 38 Sash Trajecvski, 6 Joe Vrkic, 7 Todd Brodie, 12 Ivo Bosnar, 14 Peter Markovic, 15 Chris Boyle, 11 Luka Glavas, 10 Elsid Barkhousir
Substitutes: 1Vedran Janjatevic, 4 Milan Bosnar, 8 Steve Tresoectvic, 16 Dennis Icutura, 2 Ricky Perinich.
No Yellow or Red cards
Goals: Camilleri 56, Huseyin 84 (PNU) Glavas 85, Collina 90 (Syd Utd)
3 points: Todd Brodie
2 points: Nathan Ralph
1 point: Javier Mancino