Manly grab top spot in the TeleChoice Premier League


The visitors took up coach Phil Moss? challenge to seize the opportunity other results had presented them in great style.
Both teams sounded each other out for the first fifteen minutes but Manly dominated the possession.
In the 4? minute a run from Michael Lloyd-Green down the right hand side was completed with a piercing ball into Andrew Mailer on the edge of the area and his shot landed straight at the feet of Ashley Ryan, only for the ball to deflect off them straight to Daniel Schwarzer in the Penrith-Nepean goal.
In the 19? minute Manly, already without Cattanach and Mihajlovic up-front, suffered another blow to their striking ranks when Keith Shelvin was injured and had to be replaced.
However, for the second time in two weeks, a replacement would be a key factor in Manly?s victory.
On came 17-year old Chris Payne and his presence had a very positive impact on his team-mates throughout the match. Within ten minutes he had put Schwarzer to the test, a test the Penrith custodian was able to pass.
In the 26? minute Ante Juric stole the ball from Manly, played it to Javier Mancino who floated a cross in from the right, only for Manly goalkeeper Brad Swancott to jump in-front of Eric Anabalon and cut out the danger.
On the half-hour the locals had injury trouble of their own with both Carl McNaughton and Michael Cromar being replaced – Cromar having been injured in a tackle that seemed to warrant more serious action than just a free kick, one of a few refereeing decisions that left both coaches scratching their heads at various stages of the match.
In the 36? minute Manly reasserted itself after a period of good work from the locals with a shot from Joey Schirripa that looked to have Schwarzer stranded and the ball going to settle in the back of the net.
However the ball cannoned off the legs of Willie Stuart ten-metres from goal and out of danger.
Stuart had combined well with Luke Boyd throughout the first-half, with Boyd not only doing much of the defensive work in the middle of the park but also being the start of Penrith?s major attacking raids.
In the closing stages of the half there was a chance at either end and the combination of those results would change the game.
Firstly Tayfun Buyukkopru saw his free-kick deflect off the wall towards the bottom corner of the net only for Brad Swancott to save magnificently at his far post.
The ball headed up field where Schirripa put in a top class floating cross from the left, placing it past Schwarzer and onto the head of Craig Midgley who headed home to give Manly the lead at the break.
It was almost more than that though as Manly just missed out on two chances in time added on before the interval.
Penrith came out strong in the second-half with Ante Juric and William Stuart moving forward and Boyd locking up things behind them.
Roberto Hamad cut out a good attacking raid from Nathan Ralph and Tayfun Buyukkopru in the 53? minute. Hamad?s defensive work would not be the only aspect of his game through this match.
In the 63? minute Payne stole the ball off Penrith, laid it across to Michael Lloyd-Green who directed the ball goalwards only to be denied by Schwarzer at full stretch.
Shannon Burgin, who made his debut coming off the bench for Penrith, set up his former Under-20 team-mate Panny Nikas with his first touch of the game but Nikas sent the ball wide of the far post.
In the 70? minute the game was broken open as Manly doubled their lead.
With a Penrith player injured on the other side of the field the referee allowed play to continue and Manly made the most of the opportunity.
Joey Schirripa played it into Hamad from the left and he converted it with ease. 
From there Manly took the game by the throat.
Four minutes later Michael Lloyd Green capitalised on fantastic lead-up work and put the ball in from the right for Ashley Ryan to squeeze it home from a tough angle at the near post with defence all over him.
Payne then put a great cross in from the left to an unmarked Ryan but the ball was headed over the bar.
However Ryan would double his personal tally in the 91? minute when Beau Busch?s shot was parried by the keeper into the path of Ryan who chipped the ball over Schwarzer and into the back of the net.
Penrith?s best opportunity of the match came after that point.
Shannon Burgin fell over the ball after great lead up work from Ralph down the right and could not shoot when Swancott was already beaten.
The Manly defence was able to shut down Javier Mancino who had pounced on the rebound.
After the match Abbas Saad was very disappointed to see the bad old days repeated (although the equivalent game last year only finished 3-0 to Manly):
?Tonight it was men versus boys, it was back to the bad old days for us, back to survival mode.?
Phil Moss was delighted how the team had responded to his challenge:
?Our starts have aligned this week with the results going the way they did, but I put the pressure on the boys. I spoke of the opportunity they had been presented and asked them if they were going to embrace it.
“They did so emphatically. What is most pleasing is the style of football we have been playing was on show tonight, demonstrating the quality football we can play as a team.?
Overall it was a very well deserved win for the new league leaders Manly United FC.
Whilst there are no real superstars in the team the outfit is a unified one and demonstrates what five years of playing together can do in turning out a magnificent combination.
For Penrith-Nepean United they will know that last season?s efforts are not acceptable this year and they have to play at the standard they have set themselves in previous matches this season.   
Match Stats
Penrith Nepean United 0
Manly United FC 4 (Craig Midgley 43?, Roberto Hamad 71?, Ashley Ryan 75? 91?)
Venue: CUA Stadium Penrith
Referee: Peter Chapman
Crowd: 600
Penrith-Nepean United: 1. Daniel SCHWARZER; 9. Carl MCNAUGHTON (13. Nathan RALPH 34?), 11. Erick ANABALON, 7. Javier MANCINO, 5. Luke BOYD, 16. Michael CROMAR (37? 29 Panny NIKAS), 3. Nick TSATTALIOS, 4. Ryan O?SHEA, 2. William STUART, 28. Ante JURIC, 10. Tayfun BUYUKKOPRU (63? 18 Shannon BURGIN)
Substitutes not used: 1. Chad TAYLOR, 23. Devrim HUSEYIN
Yellow Cards: William STUART 47?, Luke BOYD 61?, Ante JURIC 89?
Red Cards: Nil
Manly United: 1. Brad SWANCOTT; 3. Andrew MAILER, 4. Roberto HAMAD, 5. Pascal JULLIARD, 7. Ashley RYAN, 11. Craig MIDGLEY, 12. Michael Lloyd-Green (8. Michael Williams 75?), 14. Keith SHELVIN (33. Chris PAYNE 19?), 16. Joey SCHIRRIPA, 18. Beau BUSCH, 19. Richard WILLIAMS
Substitutes not used: 21. Luke FEMIA,2. Adam ISRAEL, 15. Cameron JONES
Yellow Cards: Craig MIDGLEY 2?
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 – Ashley Ryan (MU)
2 – Chris Payne (MU)
1 – Luke Boyd (PNU)
-By Stuart Jones