Sharks reach Johnny Warren Cup Final


Macarthur scorer David Gardiner latched on to a free kick by Jason Lewis to open the scoring.

However on the brink of half-time Shane Lyons leveled proceedings.
A penalty in the 69? minute by Predrag Bojic proved to be the difference on the night.
The wet conditions played a part in the game, with both sides finding it difficult to gain control of the match early on. Sharks in-form striker Brad Boardman was showing signs of great strength and speed in the opening minutes trying to pressure the Macarthur defence.
The Sharks held possession early on with playmakers David Reid and Brendan Gan controlling the middle of the park.
A 13t?minute chance went begging after Ben Spruce?s shot from 30 metres out just missed the right side of goal.
Sutherland?s Jim Bakis was involving himself in the middle of the park early on creating a passing game right to left linking up with striker Brad Boardman and David Reid, however the Macarthur defence held out the early threats.
Macarthur failed to create any solid chances until the 21? minute, a well taken free-kick from Jason Lewis latched on to David Gardiner?s header slotting past Phillip Zabaks’ bottom left corner.
The momentum switched in Macarthur?s favor, Jason Lewis and Daniel McCann began to take control. A chance for a 2-0 lead when begging after Jason Lewis?s thunderbolt free kick from just outside the 18 yard box was well kept out by inform keeper Phillip Zabaks.     
Towards the latter stages of the half, Sutherland began finding the rhythm of football that has seen them in tremendous form in the tournament. In the 35? minute Boardman worked the ball perfectly to set up David Reid on the right only for the shot to just miss to the left of Brody Crane.
Reid and Gan were producing some great possession in the later stages of the half and it rattled the Rams defense after a shot from James Lawrence from outside the box forced Brody Crane to pull off a tremendous stop.
Macarthur Rams pushed the Sharks defence against the run of play with Hugo Cornwell?s shot just missing to the left. Substitute Sam Mort also came close in the 44th minute with his shot just missing right of goal.
The game took a major turn on the stroke of half time when Sutherland?s early pressure was awarded with an equalizer. David Reid?s great sharp cross from the right side, latched on to a leaping header from Shane Lyons to take the game level at the interval. 
The second half began in a more aggressive manner; Sutherland?s Jim Bakis pulled a sensational strike in the 52nd minute only to see it saved by Brady Crane.
In the 55th minute Macarthur could have taken the lead after a cross from substitute Matt Toogood caught Sharks Keeper Phillip Zabaks napping after the ball came out his hands, causing a scramble in the box.
The conditions were worsening in the second-half however it didn?t stop Sutherland pushing forward in numbers. Predrag Bojic showed great speed with his intense movement in the centre of the park and some solid defence.
The Rams were feeling the pressure and frustration kicked in after A great run down the right side by James Lawrence ended with Rams defender Adam Wither pulling him down inside the box for a penalty.
Jim Bakis shot to the left of goal only for Brody Crane to pull off a wonder save to keep the scores tied up in the last 20 minutes.
The Sharks continued to pile on the pressure, with Jim Bakis trying to make up for his earlier penalty miss. A 65? minute shot by the number five just missed to the right of goal.
Sutherland took control of the game in the later stages and Macarthur felt the pressure. In the 68? minute Sutherland was awarded a controversial penalty by referee Adam Weir after Macarthur?s Adam Wither allegedly brought down James Lawrence in the box.
Sharks defender Predrag Bojic stood up and slotted in a fine shot beating Brady Crane to his right side which sealed the three points for the Sutherland Sharks and putting them in contention for top spot.
Sutherland?s head coach Brian Brown commented afterwards saying it was a hard fought three points:
?I feel that we weren?t playing the way we know how to in the opening minutes, but once we got our passes together and set up back we began to play some good football?.
Brown emphasised that his squad is still awaiting the come back of more players and that these results should be taken seriously, but at the same time the team needs to keep a level head.
 ?I feel that we are progressing well in the competition, and I?m happy with the way the team is moving but there is still much work to be done?.
-By Johnny Casni
Match Stats
Sutherland Sharks 2 (S. Lyons 45′, P. Bojic  69′ )
Macarthur Rams  1 ( D. Gardiner, 21?)
Lynwood Park, Sunday 3rd February, 2008
Sutherland Sharks: Zabaks,  Katz,  Souris,  Bojic,  Spruce,  Lawrence,  Reid, Gan, Lyons,  Bakis,  Boardman. 

Macarthur Rams: Crane, Cooley, Lewis, Brown, Gardiner, Jelen, McCann, Baveas, Wither, Coronel, Crisp.

  • 3 ? B. Gan (SS)
  • 2 ? J. Bakis (SS)
  • 1 ? D. McCann (MR)