Already during the pre-season campaign, Bankstown City has played some great football ? arguably the most attractive in the competition ? though had only two defeats to show for.
On Saturday evening, the team that Assistant coach Peter Papoythis labelled as only a 60-minute side at this stage of the season, kept to their boss? word ? in playing at a high tempo for 60? minutes – though, this time, heavily subdued their opponent.
West Sydney Berries entered the match with morale high following a strong finish against Wollongong in mid-week, despite going down 2-3.
Scott Baillie had his players primed for a big match, with Michael Cunico to call the shots in the middle of the park.
Unfortunately for Baillie & Co. Bankstown City was eager to impress in their first match at their home ground this season, and they started the contest extremely well.
Steve Liavas? early flurry down the flank was a sign of things to come for the home side ? and certainly the opening goal arrived moments later.
Robert Mileski?s silky touches in midfield provided Shane Webb with some space on the left-flank, the pacey overlapping full-back crossed the ball across the face of goal and into the path of James Monie who capitalised on Jack Sobczyk?s failed clearance.
West Sydney Berries replied with a long-range effort from Johnny Fotiadis, though the poor finish typified the Berries? first-half.
Bankstown City doubled their lead in an almost carbon-copy of the first goal. Another through-ball behind the Berries defence, this time on the right-flank, was met by Liavas, who cut the ball across the face of goal and Stefce Soleski slipped the ball away.
The Berries frustration could be felt when player/coach Scott Baillie picked up a yellow card for a tough challenge on Tyfun Devrimol.
Bankstown City made it three after 24? minutes in arguably the goal of the match.
Shane Webb started the move on the left with a through-ball to James Monie. The striker played a one-two with Soleski who forced the ball out to the right towards Mileski.
The BankstownCity number 10 feigned the movement to his right, before cutting the ball back onto his left foot, and he curled the ball inside the far post.
The home supporters were ecstatic, and Mileski continued his positive moment of form in this early part of the season.
Despite some timid efforts from the Berries, most of their forward forays went through Sash Tirovski, the side lacked precision and hunger.
Bankstown capitalised on this when Mileski stole the ball from Michael Cunico in the defensive third, leaving the Bankstown City attacker one-on-one with goalkeeper Hamish McLean ? Mileski kept his composure and slotted the ball past McLean.
In midfield Bankstown City continued to dominate, and George Nohra played another solid match with some precise passing.
Ivo De Jesus replaced Mileski in the 40? minute, following a collision with an opponent, and the former Sydney Olympic player immediately made an impact.
A cross from the right-flank was not cleared by the experienced Baillie, and James Monie was at the back-post to make it 5-0.
The Berries disastrous first-half was certainly discussed at the break, and the visitors did take to the field with more purpose in the second-half.
Sash Tirovski got more involved, as did Josh Ferguson on the flank.
In the 50? minute, the Berries had their goal courtesy of John Tsironis.
The Berries striker made the most of a scramble inside the penalty-area and blasted the ball, from close-range, past Zlatko Joseski in the Bankstown goal.
The goal spurred the Berries to life, with the home side not as coherent as in the first-half.
The Berries got their second goal from a corner-kick, Josh Ferguson collected the ball from a corner on the right-flank.
Ferguson?s well-angled drive left Joseski helpless.
Five-minutes from time, and the Berries almost nearly re-opened the encounter following a wonderful run by Ryan Jones.
His shot-turn-pass fell to Dimitri Zakilis, who saw his scrambled effort ricochet off the post and Bankstown City cleared away to safety.
The gallant second-half effort by the Berries was undone in the final minute of the match, when a scramble inside the penalty-area saw Richard Luksic pop-up and score the home side?s sixth.
Bankstown City?s performance again suggested the side will be one of the teams to beat this season, despite the previous two results in this pre-season.
Assistant coach Peter Papoythis was happy with the performance:
?Again we aren?t at full fitness and we went off the boil in the second-half.
?I was very happy with the play, especially in the first-half and we did well to get the goals on the board too.?
Pacey winger Shane Webb echoed his boss? words:
?We played a great match. We have a good group of guys to work with this season and tonight?s result was great for the confidence of all of the boys.?
West Sydney Berries? player/coach Scott Baillie though was far from impressed with his side?s performance:
?Our team is a relatively inexperienced side and we haven?t worked as long together, though the performance in the first-half was very disappointing,
?We defended poorly and Bankstown City outplayed us. Our boys were just not up to the match.
?At half-time I did not scream and shout, though we knew we needed to lift and we did in the second-half, though we have to learn that we cannot give away leads all the time. ?We need to become mentally stronger, though there is potential to improve.?
-By Joseph Carlucci
FOOTBALL NSW JOHNNY WARREN CUP ROUND 4
Bankstown City v West Sydney Berries
Jenson Park 7:45 pm kick-off.
Bankstown City 6 (James Monie 3?, Stefce Soleski 7?, Robert Mileski 24?, Robert Mileski 33?, James Monie 43?, Richard Luksic 90?+1)
West Sydney Berries 2 (John Tsironis, Josh Ferguson 79?)
Saturday, 2nd February, 2008
Referee: Matthew Gillett
Assistant Referees: Dale Fuda and Steven Alexander
Crowd: 500 approx.
Bankstown City: Zlatko Joseski, Ibrahim Haydar, Shane Webb, Richard Luksic, Peter Tsekenis, Stefanos Liavas, George Nohra (C), Robert Mileski, James Monie, Stefce Soleski, Tyfun Devrimol
Substitutions: Omar Saadi, Daniel Slaveski, Richard Tuntevski, Jonathon Jackson, Ivo De Jesus
Yellow Cards: Jonathon Jackson 82?, Omar Saadi 83?.
Red Cards: Nil
West Sydney Berries: Hamish McLean, Scott Baillie, Jack Sobczyk, Shaun Piggot, Josh Ferguson, Dimitri Zakilis, Johnny Fotiadis, Michael Cunico (C), Sargon Georges, John Tsironis, Sash Tirovski
Substitutes: James Webb, Danny Wilson, Craig Jacobs, Ryan Jones, Neill Philippou
Yellow Cards: Scott Baillie 16?, Danny Wilson 30?
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? James Monie (BC)
2 ? George Nohra (BC)
1 ? Robert Mileski (BC)