A third minute goal to Robert Younis was enough to separate the two teams on the scoreboard.
The home side started slowly and by the time they woke up around the quarter hour mark they were already behind.
The first free-kick of the match was awarded on the edge of the Sydney United area and Robert Younis lined up to take it. As the striker did last weekend against Manly United, he placed the ball past the wall and just on the inside of the post to give A.P.I.A. an early lead.
In the 15? minute Mark Robertson lost the ball to Marton Vass who laid it off to Robert Younis, but Younis fired his shot well over the bar.
Sydney United?s first effort on-target arrived two minutes later. It came through Milan Bosnar but it went straight into the hands of Matthew Nash in the A.P.I.A. goal. The game then turned into more of a battle for fifteen minutes where good football occasionally interrupted the tense atmosphere no the playing field.
Just after the half hour Jamie McMaster stepped up and almost gave his A.P.I.A. side an even stronger lead. Marton Vass set him up, but McMaster could not put his shot on target when he really should have doubled his side?s lead.
Then two minutes later Stephen Kayes played McMaster into the area and he turned the defence but his cut-back was intercepted by the United defence. A minute later McMaster shot the ball just off target, an effort that was very unlucky not to have been on target.
The Jamie McMaster show was then interrupted by Ivo Bosnar in the 42? minute when he looked set to put a shot on target. Unfortunately for United, his effort spun off his foot and went away from danger when he was so close to putting his team on level terms. Two minutes later things were back on for McMaster when Younis laid the ball off to him but his shot was deflected from its goal bound path by a United defender.
Just before the break, Chris Boyle capped off a good first-half, personally, as the United player delivered an exquisite pass to Ben Vidaic in a dangerous position but the striker could not get his shot on target thanks to strong work from John Kelso who cut down Vidaic?s space.
In the 52? minute it looked like Petar Markovic had United back on even terms after he curled a free-kick towards the back of the net ? or at lest it seemed ? as Matthew Nash pulled off a magnificent save, at full stretch, pushing the ball around the post.
From there the fight escalated more and the football came out in even less glimpses. Mark Robertson got a second yellow card and things looked bad for United but at this point they had nothing to lose and some of their best chances came when they were a man down.
Chris Boyle drove in towards the target in the 70? minute and then back heeled the ball across the face of goal only for it to be intercepted by the A.P.I.A. defence. Then in stoppage time Sydney United had a number of chances, one of which ended up in the back of the net.
Firstly a shot bounced just in-front of Nash but was well covered by the visiting custodian. Then Vidaic had the chance to draw level when he was free in the area but his shot tamely landed in Nash?s hands.
A claim of a visiting defender handling the ball in the area by the home side was then denied before the ball was put in the back of the net by Sydney United only for it to come back for an offside indiscretion from the original free kick.
After the match Ivan Petkovic was obviously disappointed with the result:
?I am very disappointed with the result. We did not turn up at the start today and they scored during that period. We played well enough to get a draw but we were denied by the robust play of our opponents.?
John Romeo was praiseworthy of both sides:
?We knew we were in for a fight today and so it turned out. We were dominant in the first-half but in the second they came out and threw everything at us. They played good pressing football so I am pleased to come away with the three points.?
The win leaves A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt still with a good chance of making the finals, something that seemed ?out of reach? just a few rounds back, whilst Sydney United look nervously over their shoulders, although they do have a game in hand on most of their opponents in the top half of the table.
Sydney United 0
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers 1 (Robert Younis 3?)
Venue: Sydney United Sports Centre
Referee: Ryan Shepheard
Sydney United: 1. Vedran JANJETOVIC; 5. Damon COLLINA, 4. Milan BOSNAR, (6. Joe VRKIC 59?), 15. Chris BOYLE, 18. Andrija PETKOVIC (37. Dennis CUTURA 46?), 10. Mark ROBERTSON, 14. Peter MARKOVIC (3. Joe MORIC 59?), 23. Ivo BOSNAR, 21. Saso TRAJCEVSKI (7. Todd Brodie 76?), 13. Ben VIDAIC
Substitutes Not Used: 24. Phillip EASTWOOD, 9. Chris DE SOARES
Yellow Cards: Robertson 8?, M. Bosnar 21?, Vrkic 63?, Vidaic 65?, Robertson 66?
Red Cards: Robertson 66?
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: 1. Matthew NASH; 3. John KELSO, 4. Daniel CLIFFORD, 5. Michael GALLUZZO, 6. Paul KOHLER, 9. Robert YOUNIS, 8. Iain KING, 7. Stephen KAYES, 11. Jamie MCMASTER, 12. Marton VASS, (23. Christian CARE 91?), 13. David DAPUZZO (14. Joe BRUNI 88?)
Substitutes Not Used: 15. Simon RYAN, 20. Matthew KASBARIAN, 24. William THOM
Yellow Cards: D?Apuzzo 57?, Galluzzo 58?, King 60?, Vass 72?
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Jamie McMaster (ALT)
2 – John Kelso (ALT)
1 – Chris Boyle (SU)
-By Stuart Jones