Following the unfortunate death of Sydney United youngster ? 23-year-old Mark Tresoglavic ? the Sydney United Football Club, supporters and players paid their respects for the death of a young local talent with a minute of silence prior to kick-off.
Mark Tresoglavic lost his battle to cancer last Thursday.
Full details on his funeral service are given in the vale written by Football NSW in the news section.
Onto the playing field and it was all one-way traffic from the kick-off.
Sydney United, the clear favourites heading into this encounter on a very warm Sunday evening, were on the receiving end from the word go.
Sash Tirovski had the Reds on the back foot inside the first minute, as his pace on the left-flank won his side an early free-kick.
Despite the poor free-kick by Kosta Lagoudakis, a scramble inside the penalty-area ensued, with some desperate defending keeping the Reds on level terms.
One minute later and West Sydney Berries again piled the pressure, this time with Johnny Fotiadis? cross-turn-shot from the right-wing testing Vedran Janjetovic in goal.
The Reds? defence was called on again sixty-seconds later as Josip Moric coughed up possession inside his own-half, presenting Tirovski with a goal-scoring opportunity.
The attacking midfielder?s quick feet enabled him to make some room for a shot, though his final effort was thwarted by the defence.
The home-side struggled to get going, and the ever-reliable passing of their central midfielders failed to ignite.
Ivo Bosnar and Todd Brodie failed to find their rhythm in the middle of the park, meanwhile Elsid Barkhousir and Luka Glavas were often returning inside their own half to get a touch of the ball.
Todd Brodie did have Sydney United?s first chance in the 8? minute, albeit a half-chance at that.
Fine build-up play between Ivo Bosnar and Barkhousir presented Brodie with a long-range snap-shot effort, though the final effort finished way-wide of goal.
Tirovski answered back for the Berries moments later, though he too saw his long-range shot fail to force a save from the goalkeeper.
The Berries continued to dominate proceedings with the creativity of Tirovski and Lagoudakis out of midfield, though they nearly conceded a goal in the 30? minute.
Luka Glavas? fine dribbling skills presented him with some space on the left; his pass across the face of goal failed to pick-out a Sydney United player to touch the ball into the back of the net.
Petar Markovic, arguably one of Sydney United?s better players in a dismal display all-round, kept the Berries left rear-guard on their toes.
Despite the Berries dominance of possession, Sydney United took the lead against the run of play.
A precisely headed through ball from Glavas presented Barkhousir with a one-on-one situation, the former Mt Druitt Town striker?s first effort smashed against the up-right, before his second-effort bobbled over the goal-line ? avoiding Hamish McLean?s scramble to stop the ball from crossing the line.
A perfect half of football for the Berries had come undone, and one-minute later it seemed all their hopes of challenging for the win disappeared when referee Strebre Delovski showed John Tsironis a straight red card for an off the ball incident with Moric.
The loss of Tsironis did not seem to deter Scott Baillie?s side as the Berries produced an energy-packed second-half performance.
The TeleChoice Premier League ?new boys? peppered the Sydney United goal, though could not muster up a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Ivan Petkovic made three changes between the 51? and 59? minutes, hoping to add some further fire-power up-front with Ben Vidaic, and more of a hold of possession through Milan Bosnar.
The Reds though failed to ?take-off? and play the free-flowing football they had already shown throughout the early part of the season.
In the 63? minute, total confusion inside the Sydney United penalty-area presented the Berries with a great chance of drawing level.
An initial scramble was partially cleared by the Reds defence, though Tirovski?s chipped effort from an acute angle rebounded off the crossbar, with Janetovic in the Sydney United goal well beaten.
Luka Glavas? best chance of the evening arrived at the other end 4? minutes later as he received the ball on the edge of the area. The former A-League striker beat his marker and unleashed a venomous drive that flashed past the post.
On 77? minutes, West Sydney Berries? players were disgusted with the off-side ruling of a goal scored by Sama.
The Berries? player exquisitely lobbed the ball over the advancing Janjetovic into the back of the net, though the linesman flagged for offside in a touch-and-go situation.
Despite the spirited finale by the Berries, whereby the team with 10-men continued to outrun their opponents, Sydney United ground out the result with some desperate defending in the final minutes of the match.
Coach Ivan Petkovic was far from impressed with Sydney United?s performance, despite the win which sends the side equal in top-spot with Sutherland Sharks:
?We were lucky to get away with a win tonight. West Sydney Berries played a very good match and they gave us a very hard time.
?They are a team not to be underestimated.
?I was disappointment with a lot of our play. Our players were not very precise and we did not take advantage of the match as we had an extra player on the field.
?The Berries were very unlucky, though I am happy that the defence, especially towards the end of the match as we held on for the result.?
Sydney United will have a friendly match organised against Granville this week.
?We will train hard this week and we will have a friendly match to come also, though the players will have next weekend off,? concluded Petkovic.
West Sydney Berries? Assistant coach Ramsin Shamon too was disappointed with the final outcome, though could only applaud the improvements made by his side:
?The boys played their hearts out and I couldn?t have asked anything more from them.
?Football is a funny game ? the ball is round, and anything can really happen.
?I thought we certainly did enough to get something out of the match tonight ? it is hard to accept this result.
?I think that our team has really stepped up, considering that we are a new group. We haven?t had as much time together in building the squad, though we are constantly improving, and our opponents are aware of this.?
The Berries will be looking at a bus week of training in anticipation of the Easter Break:
?We won?t be playing a match next weekend. The Boys will train this week, though will have the weekend off.?
Sydney United 1 (Elsid Barkhousir 43′)
West Sydney Berries 0
Venue: Sydney United Sports Centre.
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Assistant Referees: Wayne Lenardon, Gareth Askham
Fourth Official: Adam Weir
Sydney United: 30. Vedran Janjetovic; 3. Josip Moric (19. Mitchell Thompson 57?), 5. Damon Collina, 6. Joe Vrkic (C), 21. Sash Trajcevski, 7. Todd Brodie, 14. Petar Markovic (13. Ben Vidaic 51?), 23. Ivo Bosnar, 18. Andrija Petkovic, 16. Elsid Barkhousir (4. Milan Bosnar 55?), 11. Luka Glavas
Subs not used:, 15. Chris Boyle, 1. Michael Turnbull
Yellow Cards: Josip Moric 23?
West Sydney Berries: 1. Hamish McLean; 6. Jack Sobczyk, 5. Michael Cunico, 8. Johnny Fotiadis, 10. John Tsironis, 11. Aheleas Kotsopoulos, 16. Kosta Lagoudakis, 20. Angelo Petratos, 7. Scott Thomas, 17. Sash Tirovski, 18.Giosue Sama
Subs not used: 4. Scott Baillie, 19. Nick Sama, 29 Ellie Squillacioti, 69. John Frangeskou
Yellow Cards: Nil.
Red Cards: John Tsironis 43?
3 ? Kosta Lagoudakis (WSB)
2 ? Sash Tirovski (WSB)
1 ? Petar Markovic (SU)
-By Joseph Carlucci