The Sharks recorded yet another win at their picturesque Seymour Shaw home ground ? against Sydney Olympic – extending their lead over Manly United by a further two-points following United?s 3-3 draw away against Marconi Stallions.
The Sharks 2008 campaign to-date has been phenomenal to say the least, with Brian Brown assembling a confident group of players that have shown no sign of letting up.
Somewhat remarkably – between the Johnny Warren Cup, Tiger Turf Cup and TeleChoice Premier League ? Sutherland Sharks are unbeaten over 90? minutes in 21 matches. The only loss arriving in the Final of the Johnny Warren Cup against Sydney Olympic by virtue of a late goal in the dying minutes of extra-time.
On Saturday night, the Sharks avenged that Final loss in-front of their home supporters, defeating Sydney Olympic 3-0 and moving to a six-point lead over Manly United.
Despite a gallant Sydney Olympic performance, the Blues were unlucky not to get on-top of the Sharks on several occasions throughout the match, Sutherland demonstrated the characteristics of all great football sides ? the ability to absorb pressure and then capitalise on their own chances.
A double strike by the talented Brendan Gan ? one goal on either side of half-time ? was complimented by Sharks? top-scorer Brad Boardman who found the back of the net for goal number 13 in the Premier League, to round out the result.
Sydney Olympic?s position in the top-five is not under serious threat, with the Blues playing their catch-up match against Bankstown City from Round 6 on Wednesday evening.
At Jensen Park, Bankstown City’s hopes of finals football took another battering as Peter Tsekenis? men were held to a 1-1 draw against a young Penrith-Nepean United outfit.
Despite a dominant first-half display where Robert Mileski?s trickery put the Lions ahead, Penrith-Nepean switched the momentum into their favour in the second period as Jason Browne converted with a poacher?s finish to secure a point.
At Marconi Stadium, the Stallions extended their unbeaten run to ten-matches – between League and Cup ? with an exciting 3-3 draw against Manly United.
In a wonderful showcase of football for the neutral observer, neither coach was happy to leave with only a point after scoring three goals.
Christopher had the Stallions ahead after only 3? minutes, though Manly hit the lead by the 20? minute with a quick Craig Midgley-Robbie Cattanach double. Tolgay Ozbey drew the Stallions level prior to the break with a brave diving header, before Nathan Moulds had the heart-breaking task of watching his attempted clearance for the Stallions finish in his own net.
Marconi salvaged a point via the boot of Ante Deur who was on hand to convert from close-range following a venomous strike from Ozbey.
On Sunday afternoon, West Sydney Berries? monopoly of possession against Sydney United amounted for very little as Sydney United clinched the points with a late strike. Christopher Boyle was on hand to score from close-range in the 85? minute, cruelly delivering Berries boss Shamon Ramsin his first defeat since taking over the reigns as coach.
Blacktown City Demons were only minutes away from collecting their second win of the season at Gabbie Stadium against A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers. Matthew Lewis had the home-side ahead, though new A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt recruit Mark Byrnes drew the Tigers level inside the final 10? minutes ? the draw not helping either side with their respective objectives for the final part of the season.
At John Crehan Park, Wollongong FC jumped back to life with an emphatic 7-0 defeat of Macarthur Rams. Riding a wave of confidence following two consecutive wins, the Rams were brought back down to earth with the shellacking by the Wolves.
A hat-trick to Ilija Prenzoski, who made a tremendous return from injury, set John Turner?s men on their way, with Matthew Bailey, Steven Hayes and Chris Price all adding their names to the score-sheet.
-By Joseph Carlucci