Leading at the break 1-0 ? courtesy of a sublime finish by Robert Mileski ? the home-side seemed in full control of proceedings though, as has been a regular occurrence this season, the Lions took their foot off the accelerator and were made to punish.
A poacher?s goal in the 56? minute by James Browne ensured the visitors left Jensen Park with a point, and left the demons of their seven-goal hidings against both A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers and Sutherland Sharks well-and-truly behind them.
Following the ?big wet? across Sydney during the week, a big ?thumbs up? must go to the ground staff at Jensen Park ? the surface seemed to be in close to perfect conditions, allowing both sides the chance to entertain the 400 spectators that braved the cold weather.
Close to perfect was also the start made by the home-side who made their intentions felt from the opening whistle.
New-signing Andre Gumprecht was in exceptional touch from the word go, and he linked up nicely with Peter Tsekenis in the first-minute of play failing, only just, to convert a floating cross from the right-flank after a great burst of speed to latch onto the pass.
Despite some timid Penrith-Nepean flurries going forward, Bankstown City was in total control of possession. George Nohra and Tayfun Devrimol marshalled the middle of the park to perfection, and it was the latter who initiated Bankstown City’s next meaningful attack.
Devrimol?s clever pass toward the right-flank picked up Gumprecht who created space further down the flank for Robert Mileski. The creative attacking midfielder played an exquisite ?back-heel? pass back into the path of Gumprecht though the former Central Coast Mariners? midfielder failed to deliver a penetrating cross.
Bankstown City should have gone ahead on 14? minutes following another well-organised forward foray. Mileski?s precise through ball to Paul Harries on the right-flank saw the former Sutherland Sharks striker drive his way to the by-line before cutting the ball back to an unmarked James Monie on the penalty-spot ? the Lions? number 9 failed to hit the ball with any real conviction, and for goalkeeper Chad Taylor it was a routine save.
Bankstown City?s great short-game continued with another impressive build-up involving Mileski, Gumprecht and Harries. Harries this time failed to deliver a precise cross, instead picking out Penrith-Nepean?s Chad Taylor.
The visitors got behind the Bankstown City defence for the first time in the 21? minute, though Panagiotis Nikas? through ball to James Browne was ruled off-side.
Andre Gumprecht was again the provider for Bankstown City in the 22? minute, delivering a pin-point cross from the right-flank to the near post where Harries? header finished wide of the mark.
Bankstown City did take the lead in the 28? minute when Robert Mileski danced his way past three defenders before drilling a left-footed effort – hard and low ? past a helpless Chad Taylor.
George Nohra started the attack with a penetrating ball into the path of Gumprecht. Gumprecht picked out Mileski just ahead of him, and the Lions? number 10 did the rest with a classy finish.
Despite having a monopoly on possession, with chances falling to Monie, Mileski and Gumprecht late in the half, Bankstown City failed to find the second goal to give Peter Tsekenis? men a comfortable lead.
In a total role-reversal to the opening 45? minutes, Penrith-Nepean got out of the blocks quickly in the second-half.
Devrim Huseyin and Christopher Gomez led the inspirational charge, with the ever-present experience of defender Ante Juric a tower of strength for the side.
Despite the visitor?s positive forays into the Lions? half, Bankstown City created the first chance of the half. Richard Luksic?s searching ball for Shane Webb on the left-flank was met with a perfect first-time cross to the near post ? Harries? diving effort was diverted for a corner.
Moments later, and Webb again was the provider another precise cross from the left. James Monie?s attempted diving header though, failed to connect cleanly and the chance went begging.
Penrith managed to get the ball more frequently to Nikas in the middle of the park, and the midfielder, with the assistance of Devrim Huseyin, pressured Bankstown City.
On 56? minutes, a free-kick awarded to Penrith-Nepean brought about the visitor?s equaliser. A poorly hit Ante Juric free-kick ? that bypassed the Bankstown City wall ? fell stationary inside the penalty-area. Jason Browne was the quickest to re-act, sliding in with an outstretched right-boot to slot the ball past, an up to then, untroubled Zlatko Joseski.
With Penrith-Nepean back in the contest, and Bankstown City?s top-five hopes slowly slipping away, frustration started to set-in for the home-side.
The reliable first-half pairing of Mileski and Gumprecht was no-longer on-song, as were the precise forward raids of Nohra and Devrimol.
On 67? minutes, Gomez almost caught Joseski out from a dead-ball situation on the right-flank. The Penrith-Nepean debutant swerved a left-footed effort that had the Bankstown shot-stopper back-pedaling, with the ball only just missing the up-right.
On 74? minutes, the visitors should have created a match-winning opportunity following another counter-attack. Goal-scorer Jason Browne picked up the ball on the half-way line before showing some great pace as he closed in towards the penalty-area with the numerical advantage favouring his side. Browne?s ?square ball? into the middle though, failed to pick out a team-mate and the chance for what would have been a spectacular winner, went begging.
Following the match, Penrith-Nepean United coach Abbas Saad spoke praise of his young side?s effort:
?I am extremely pleased with my players for their efforts tonight.
?Coming to face a team like Bankstown City at this venue is very difficult for any side, and for my team to pick up a point here is fantastic.
?Bankstown City is technically a great side ? I think even the best in the League. They are going through a difficult time at the moment, though they showed what they are capable of.
?For my side, with so many regulars like Erick Anabalon, Angelo Martino and Michael Cromar (only to name a few) out of action, the young boys that came in were great.?
A special mention had also to be made about Christopher Gomez who made an impressive debut:
?Yes definitely, Chris was great. He has not even had a chance to train much with the team and he was thrown in there tonight. He did really well.
?On the whole, we needed to lift ourselves up after the dip in form this season ? especially following the heavy defeats against A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers and Sutherland Sharks ? so I am very happy with the progress we?ve made over the past two weeks?.
Bankstown City 1 (Robert Mileski 28?)
Penrith-Nepean United 1 (Jason Browne 56?)
Venue: Jensen Park
Referee: Atila Stibinger
Assistant Referees: Nick Backo and S. Nguyen
Fourth Official: Cameron Bruce
Crowd: Approx. 400.
Bankstown City Lions: 1. Zlatko Joseski (C); 3. Shane Webb, 4. Brett Studman, 5. Richard Luksic, 6. Peter Tsekenis, 8. George Nohra, 9. James Monie (99. Chris Godoy Bascurt 77?), 19. Paul Harries, 10. Robert Mileski, 16. Tayfun Devrimol, 13. Andre Gumprecht
Substitutes Not Used: 2. Ibrahim Haydar, 17. Danny Grozdanovski, 20. Andrew Bazi, 21. Hussein Akil,
Yellow Cards: Zlatko Joseski 58?
Red Cards: Nil
Penrith-Nepean United: 1. Chad Taylor; 23. Devrim Huseyin, 9. Carl McNaughton, 5. Luke Boyd, 13. Nathan Ralph, 17. Ozgur Kanyilmaz, 2. William Stuart (C), 28. Ante Juric, 29. Panagiotis Nikas (6. Jack Long 89?), 19. Jason Browne (4. Ryan O?Shea 77?), 3. Christopher Gomez
Substitutes Not Used: 42, Daniel Schwarzer, 10. Tayfun Buyukkopru, 18. Yianni Fragogiannis
Yellow Cards: Carl McNaughton 35?, Jack Long 90?+4?, Panagiotis Nikas 88?
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Andre Gumprecht (BC)
2 ? Christopher Gomez (PNU)
1 ? James Browne (PNU)
-By Joseph Carlucci