Sharks use ‘get out of jail card’ to maintain unbeaten streak

a person holding a football ball on a field

A spirited final flurry saw the team from the Shire overturn a 0-2 deficit to snatch injury-time equaliser via the boot of the club?s top-scorer Brad Boardman to deny Sydney United three-points on home soil.
The Reds played with much more intensity throughout the night as coach Ivan Petkovic fielded a compact midfield comprising Ivo Bosnar and Andrija Petkovic in the centre, with the presence of newest recruit Mark Robertson just behind them.
The regular wing pairing of Petar Markovic and Chris Boyle were again immense throughout the encounter, in support of the lone-man upfront Luka Glavas ? who would score a quick-fire double on the night.
On 5? minutes Glavas opened the scoring with a perfectly finished effort past Sharks? goalkeeper Phillip Zabaks. Christopher Boyle?s perfectly timed pass released the Reds? striker one-on-one with Zabaks, and the former Sydney FC and Perth Glory man would not fail to convert.
Andrija Petkovic was another bright spark for the Reds throughout the encounter, the young midfielder won a penalty for his side on 11? minutes as he perfectly timed his run into the penalty-area to meet Markovic?s cross from the right.
Petkovic was fouled and the referee had no hesitation to point to the penalty-spot where Glavas stepped up to double the Reds? lead.
Sutherland?s first effort on goal arrived in the 15? minute when a Shane Lyons free-kick from the left-flank met the head of Jim Nikas. The new Sharks recruit failed to get any real power behind his effort and Vedran Janjetovic had no problem in claiming the ball.
Sydney United?s dominance of possession continued shortly after as Markovic and Andrija Petkovic displayed some exquisite one-touch football – the latter?s pass releasing Glavas towards goal, though from a decentralised position, Zabaks made a confident save down to his right.
Damon Collina got in on the attack in the 27? minute, latching onto another delightful Markovic initiative. The Reds? defender took the ball to the byeline before his cut-back across goal failed to pick out a team-mate.
Service for the Sharks target-man Brad Boardman was non existent for much of the first-half, though Lyons managed to pick-out the striker on 29? minutes. The striker?s glancing header was powerful though failed to hit the target.
The final chance of the half fell to the visitors, and once again it was initiated by the boot of Shane Lyons.
The Sharks? number 6 delivered another cross from the left that picked out Pedj Bojic on the penalty-spot ? his headed effort though was well saved by Janjetovic.
Sutherland Sharks started the second-half with more purpose, though struggled early to find a way back into the match.
The introduction of Matthew Hall and Nick Stavroulakis would turn the flow of possession into the Sharks favour as the midfield managed to move the ball from out to the flanks ? a feature that was missing from Sutherland?s first-half showing.
Luka Glavas almost found his third for the evening in the 56? minute when he chased down an ambitious clearance by Petar Markovic.
Glavas rounded his marker, though was met by the challenge of Zabaks on the edge of the penalty-area. Despite losing the ball at first, Zabaks recovered to pinch the ball from Glavas? feet at the second attempt.
Andrija Petkovic?s positive match was almost capped off with a goal on 79? minutes as he picked up a loose ball on the edge of the penalty-area. The youngster?s venomous effort though was deflected away from danger by the defence.
Reds midfield duo Boyle and Petkovic combined well with Milan Bosnar moments later as Andrija Petkovic delivered an exquisite ball over the Sharks defence and into the path of Glavas. The Reds striker struggled to bring the ball under-control though managed an effort goalwards ? Zabaks did well to divert for a corner.
Nick Stavroulakis? presence in the middle of the park started to reap reward for the Sharks as his quick passing and ability to switch the play from one flank to another saw the Sharks up the tempo.
Stavroulakis picked out Michael Katz on the right-flank with space ? Katz whipped in an effort to the far post though failed to pick-out a team-mate.
Katz whipped in another effort via a free-kick moments later as Neil Jablonski nodded the ball over his head and onto the head of Boardman ? who from point-blank range ? headed on-target, though Janjetovic was on hand to produce a tremendous one-handed save before bravely putting his body on the line to pick up the loose ball at the feet of Boardman.
Sutherland Sharks did re-open the encounter on 82? minutes as substitute Matthew Hall?s cross picked out an unmarked Michael Katz at the back post ? the Sharks? player had no problem in volleying the ball into the back of the net.
Just as it had seemed that the Sharks? unbeaten run for 2008 was coming to an end ? with four minutes of injury-time played ? the League leader capitalised on a somewhat fortuitous effort to take a point.
Nick Stavroulakis? pin-point cross picked out the head of one of his team-mates, though a sea of legs crowded the Sydney United goal-mouth. With desperation setting into both sets of players, the ball fell into the path of Boardman who from close-range potently struck the ball into the roof of the net, sparking scenes of jubilation amongst the players and small contingent of Sharks? supporters that made the trip to Sydney United.
The despair and disappointment was obvious for the Sydney United players, though coach Ivan Petkovic looked to point out the positives following the match:
 ?Of course I am very disappointed that we let a 2-0 lead slip. To concede the second goal so late is very disappointing and all of the players in the dressing rooms are very upset about this.
?The team tonight play some excellent football. I think that the formation we had worked very well and we dominated the match for a lot of the time.
?Sutherland played a lot of long balls from the back, and unfortunately for us we let the lead slip. I am still happy with a lot of the things that my team did tonight.?
Sutherland Sharks? boss Brian Brown was visibly happy with his side?s last ditch effort to salvage the result:
?It was a great fight-back from my players. I am very happy with the fighting spirit that each of the players displayed tonight, and we managed to get something from this match ? coming back from two goals down.
?I knew coming here was going to be tough, though I wanted to get something from the match, and the boys did it.
?I thought we were a bit slow early, and conceded two early goals which is not something that we do.
?We fought back though, and we managed to get the point in the end. I am very happy with that result.?
Sydney United 2 (Luka Glavas 5?, 12? penalty)
Sutherland Sharks 2 (Michael Katz 82?, Brad Boardman 90?+4?)
Venue: Sydney United Sports Centre
Referee: Jonathon Streater
Assistant Referees: Sarah Ho and Steven Nguyen
Fourth Official: Jason Blackwood
Crowd: Approx. 300.
Sydney United: 30. Vedran Janjetovic; 6. Joe Vrkic, 5. Damon Collina, 21. Sash Trajcevski, 23. Ivo Bosnar, 4. Milan Bosnar, 18. Andrija Petkovic, 10. Mark Robertson, 14. Petar Markovic (7. Todd Brodie 75?), 15. Christopher Boyle (13. Ben Vidaic 86?), 11. Luka Glavas (16. Elsid Barkhousir 71?)
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Steve Minovski, 3. Joe Moric
Yellow Cards: Ivo Bosnar 20?
Red Cards: Nil
Sutherland Sharks: 99. Phillip Zabaks; 2. George Souris, 4. Pedj Bojic, 15. Michael Katz, 3. Brendan Gan, 6. Shane Lyons, 8. David Huxley (38. Michael Robinson 80?), 22. David Reid (10. Matthew Hall 55?), 39. Neil Jablonski, 9. Brad Boardman, 37. Jim Nikas (14. Nick Stavroulakis 55?)
Substitutes Not Used: 21. Michael Brandalise
Yellow Cards: George Souris 32?, David Huxley 71?, Neil Jablonski 90?
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 ? Luka Glavas (SU)
2 ? Petar Markovic (SU)
1 ? Brad Boardman (SS)
-By Joseph Carlucci