Two first-half goals from Brad Boardman and Brendan Gan were just the start as the Sharks displayed a unique brand of football throughout the whole match.
Sutherland dominated the first-half and took control, the first chance of the night came two minutes into the game; when a stunning cross from midfielder Shane Lyons nearly paid off, only to see Boardman?s header just miss the left side of goal.
Leichhardt tried introducing the short passing game early on with midfielder Stephen Kayes leading the way, however a fired up Sharks defence was holding their line.
The early pressure from the Sharks paid off in the 11th minute when some great link up play involved Lyons charging down the left side to find David Huxly in the centre that played a great through ball inside the box to Boardman for him to slot the first goal past goalkeeper Zain Zerch?s near post.
The Sharks link up play set up the second goal of the game just moments after, when Huxley?s through ball to Lyons on the left wing found Gan in the middle to slot away a perfect header.
Sutherland controlled the game in the first- half, and Leichhardt?s frustration was beginning to take its toll. A vicious tackle from Daniel Clifford in the 17? minute earned him a yellow card.
Sutherland grew in confidence and nearly had a third when Lyons shot from 20 meters out just passed the left side post.
Before the half Leichhardt?s Peter Peralta showed great pace down the left side, only for his cross to find nobody in the centre. Leichhardt?s Franco Parisi also nearly saw the back of the net only for a wonder save from Sharks? goalkeeper Phil Zabaks to hold on to a 2-0 advantage going into halftime.
The second-half began brightly for Leichhardt with Substitute Robert Younis nearly pulling a goal back with a great shot from 25 metres out, only for inform keeper Zabaks to pull another wonder save.
Sutherland began to take control of the game and the atmosphere was heating up. Sharks defender Pedj Bojic was showing some of his best skills and pace, when in the 56? minute he stormed down the centre from defence, beating three players, only for his shot to be stopped by Leichhardt?s Zain Zerch.
Frustration was once again taking its toll in the last ten minutes of the game when Leichhardt?s Robert Younis picked up a yellow card for his aggressive shove on defender Bojic.
Sutherland was taking control of the game; some great controlled midfield movement towards the end of the game led by Reid crushed any hope for the defending champions, as the Sharks finished off the game with a well earned three points.
Sutherland Sharks Team Manager Alan McNair was very pleased with the result and with the way the team performed on the night.
?Tonight it was a good atmosphere for the boys; I think this group of players can really turn it around this season.
?As part of a great coaching staff I can honestly say that we have a great understanding of the team, and we know with hard work and performances like these we can really achieve some great success this year?.
– By Johnny Casni
Sutherland Sharks 2 (B. Boardman 11??, B. Gan 15?)
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers 0
Seymour Shaw Park, Wednesday 30th January, 2008
Sutherland Sharks: Phillip Zabaks, Michael Katz, George Souris, Pedj Bojic, Ben Spruce, David Huxley, James Lawrence, David Reid, Brendan Gan, Shane Lyons, Brad Boardman.
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: Zain Zerch, Buddy Farah, John Kelso, Daniel Clifford, Ian King, Peter Peralta, Stephen Kayes, Jimmy Nikas, William Thom, Franco Parisi, Anthony Mondello.
- 3 ? D. Reid (SS)
- 2 ? P. Zabaks (SS)
- 1 ? P. Bojic (SS)