Two early goals for A.P.I.A. put them in the ascendency for the rest of the game, despite Macarthur?s gallant attempts to get themselves back into the contest.
The first goal came as early as the first minute when A.P.I.A. was awarded a free-kick on the right hand side. The Rams defence was guilty of ball watching as Christian Care?s cross went straight to Younis who arched back and superbly guided the ball into the far corner.
A.P.I.A. scored their second goal in the 12? minute when a poor pass in the Rams defence was seized upon and immediately threaded to Robert Younis. Despite claims for offside, the flag stayed down, and Younis sped toward goal and clinically slammed the ball past Roy Bell to make it 2-0.
The early goals left A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt holding all the aces and their aim was to maintain their lead knowing that the Rams would come back at them.
In the 27? minute Shannon Hankin?s shot was turned away by the Tigers? keeper Matthew Nash, then from the resulting corner Dave Gardiner went close with a header at the far post.
In a great counter-attacking move Rams keeper Roy Bell swiftly delivered the ball to the midfield where Steve Baveas put Shannon Hankin through, only to see his shot crash against the underside of the bar and away to safety.
The Rams spent most of the half forcing the play and looking for ways to get back into the game, all to no avail as the A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt defence and midfield kept their shape and took a 2-0 lead into the break.
The Rams started the second-half the same as the first, trying to prise an opening on goal. Hugo Coronel fired the ball over and Craig Cooley also went close.
But the Rams best chance came in the 56? minute when Jason Lewis? delicate chip sent Daniel McCann through, who lobbed the keeper only to see his effort land agonisingly off the top of the crossbar and out of play.
Two minutes later A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers scored their third when a fine cross from the left-flank saw Robert Younis rise unchallenged to head home, capping off a superbly taken hat-trick.
The goal was hard on the Rams who seemed to be striving to maintain some confidence in their own performance, as well as battling against their opposition. To their credit they played some nice football at times and never gave up despite being behind from the very outset of the game in-front of their home crowd.
Late in the game keeper Matthew Nash made a great save after the ball fell invitingly for Hugo Coronel ten-metres out.
The Tigers played well as a team unit and were marshalled exceptionally well at the back by Galluzzo, Clifford and Kelso ? along with the midfield who stepped up.
The Tigers always looked dangerous whenever going forward with Franco Parisi playing well in the link role between midfield and attack.
One blemish for A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt came when David D?Apuzzo prevented an attack by deliberately handling the ball and was sent from the field for a second yellow card.
A.P.I.A. coach John Romeo said that football is often a cruel game and graciously conceded that things did not go for the Rams on the day.
He was delighted his side worked well as a unit the whole game and thought that despite his side defending much of the match they always looked dangerous when attacking.
But the day belonged to Robert Younis who was perhaps the difference between the two teams. Younis was a handful for the Rams defence all game and took the chances that came his way with clinical precision.
Macarthur Rams 0
APIA Leichhardt 3 (Robert Younis 1?, 12? and 59?)
Venue: Campbelltown Sports Ground
Referee: Atila Stibinger
Assistant Referees: Murray Wilson and Daniel Dewhurst
Fourth Official: Khodr Yaghi
Crowd: Approx. 600
Macarthur Rams: 40. Roy Bell; 4. Jason Lewis (c), 5. Michael Brown (2. Craig Cooley 31?), 6. David Gardiner, 7. Matt Toogood, 12. Shannon Hankin, 14. Daniel McCann, 16. Steven Baveas (19. Paul Crisp 66?), 17. Adam Wither, 18. Hugo Coronel, 23. Josh Ford (21. Renato Jelen 59?)
Substitutes Not Used: 11. Sam Mort, 20. Matt Kasbarian
Yellow cards: Nil
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: 1. Matthew Nash; 3. John Kelso, 4. Daniel Clifford, 5. Michael Galluzzo, 8. Ian King, 7. Stephen Kayes, 9. Robert Younis (30. Sebastian Petralito 86?), 10. Franco Parisi (19. Jason Garrido 84?), 12. Marton Vass, 13. David D?Apuzzo, 23. Christian Care (14. Joseph Bruni 6?),
Substitutes Not Used: 15. Joshua Lawson, 40. Milan Udvaracz
Yellow Cards: Michael Galluzzo, Marton Vass, David D?Apuzzo (x 2)
Red Card: David D?Apuzzo
3 – Robert Younis (ALT)
2 – Shannon Hankin (MR)
1 – Hugo Coronel (MR)
-By Peter Davies