Berries enjoy a sweet victory in the West


A delighted coach Scott Baillie said that people were wrong to dismiss their chances this season based on pre-season form when a newly formed team is working on their combinations and teamwork in preparation for a new season.
The teamwork was certainly there for all to see as the Berries proved themselves too fit, too fast and better organised than the Rams.
The first-half was an even encounter with both teams having periods of domination, but it was West Sydney Berries who came closest to opening the scoring when Giosve Sama?s header set up Sash Tirovski who volleyed just over the bar.
Soon after the Rams replied when Hugo Coronel?s shot skimmed the top of the bar and went over.
The Berries Ryan Jones long range shot was well saved by Brody Crane and the Rams skipper David Gardiner?s downward header led to a goalmouth scramble before keeper Hamish Mclean gathered the ball.
The Berries opened the scoring in the 31? minute when Kosta Lagoudakis fed the ball to Ryan Jones whose 25-metre shot was parried by the diving Brody Crane only for centre half Angelo Petratos to determinedly seize on the ball to smash home from close-range.
The Rams missed a good chance to level immediately after when Sam Mort outpaced the defender on the right, slid the ball across the goalmouth but Michael Brown skewed his shot wide from 7-metres in his efforts to reach the cross.
Daniel McCann was working hard upfront and dropping deep to provide the link play for the Rams midfield to join the attack and Jason Lewis worked hard to get things going, but to no avail as the Berries went in at the break leading 1-0.
In the second-half, coach Paul Carter brought on Shannon Hankin to provide speed upfront and moved Daniel McCann in to bolster his midfield.
But it was the Berries who scored again when Tirovski fed the ball to Lagoudakis, whose pin-point cross found Tsironis, who rose above the defence to score in the 54? minute.
By now the Berries midfield trio of Lagoudakis, Tirovski and Ryan Jones were controlling the game and Michael Cunico in the midfield anchor role was frustrating most of the Rams attempts to release their forwards, thus gradually squeezing the Rams playmakers for space.
Plus the mobility and height of the two strikers upfront Sama and Tsironis were causing the Rams problems particularly at set plays.
The Rams came close twice when Hankin broke free of the defence and crossed the ball for Matt Toogood who so nearly reached the ball at the far post, then keeper Hamish Mclean dived full length to parry a goal bound shot away for a corner. 
The Berries nearly got their third when a mis-directed back pass from a Rams defender went straight to Tsironis who was coming back from an offside position, a surprised Tsironis turned around and ran at the goal with the Rams defence in pursuit, but keeper Brody Crane deflected his shot away for a corner.
The Rams heads were beginning to drop as they tried in vain to carve out some clear goal chances and break the shackles their opponents were imposing on them.
But instead it was West Sydney who put the game beyond doubt when Giosve Sama broke free down the left and bore down on goal, his effort was blocked by Brody Crane but the shot was only half cleared by the defence and Ryan Jones grabbed a deserved goal when his follow up shot snuck in at the far post in the 87th minute and seal victory.
Berries coach Scott Baillie said he knew coming to Campbelltown was going to be tough and the only way to play the game was to go for three points in order to secure as many points as possible early in the season.
Baillie was happy with the decision to go for a 4-1-3-2 formation with Michael Cunico sitting in front of the defence.
Baillie also believes that the emphasis they applied to their fitness is paying off well.  It would be hard to disagree as the Berries looked a bit too sharp for the Rams on the night.
In the transfer market the Berries also unleashed former Sydney Olympic and Marconi Stallions high flyer Scott Thomas who came on as a substitute in the second half.
Match Stats
Macarthur Rams      0               
West Sydney Berries  3 (Angelo Petratos 31?, John Tsironis 54?, Ryan Jones 87?)
Ground: Campbelltown Sports Stadium  
Crowd: 1,500
Referee: Peter Vrtkovski
Assistant Referees: Steve Lucas & Nick Backo
Macarthur Rams: 1. Brody Crane; 4. Jason Lewis, 5. Michael Brown (12. Shannon Hankin 46′), 6.David Gardiner, 7. Matt Toogood, 11. Sam Mort, 14. Daniel McCann, 16.Steven Baveas (2. Craig Cooley 52′), 17. Adam Wither (21. Renato Jelen 70′), 18. Hugo Coronel, 19. Paul Crisp
Subs Not Used: 8. David Lagudi  20.Matt Kasbarian
West Sydney Berries: 1. Hamish McLean, 5. Michael Cunico, 6. Jack Sobcyck, 8. Johnny Fotiadis, 10. John Tsironis (4. Scott Baillie), Aheleas Kotsopoulos, 15. Ryan Jones, 16. Kosta Lagoudakis (7. Scott Thomas), 17. Sash Tirovski (2. Con Paradisis), 18. Giosue Sama, 20. Angelo Petratos
Subs Not Used: 69.John Frangeskou
Match Ratings:
3 – Sash Tirovski (WSB)
2 – John Tsironis (WSB)
1 – Ryan Jones (WSB)
-By Peter Davies