Manly United take three-points from 8-man Sydney United


In the end, three red cards brandished to the Reds spoiled their chances of securing a Top-Five spot, a hope that still exists though lies in the hands of others to realise.
For the visiting Manly United, a 71? minute penalty converted by Craig Midgley sealed their spot in the Top-Five; Manly United taking over third-spot for at least twenty-four hours, with Sydney Olympic to play on Sunday afternoon.
Not having won at Edensor Park in recent visits, Phil Moss? men took to the field in-search of the early season confidence that saw the side go ?pound-for pound? with Sutherland Sharks.
Sydney United too has had an inconsistent run of form following a strong start to the season, a problem not helped by the absence of attacking midfielder Petar Markovic who has been ruled out for the season with a spinal injury.
Manly United had the first chance of the evening when a swerved-in free-kick by Joey Schrippa managed to avoid everyone in the penalty-area bar Roberto Hamad at the back post ? the defenders heavy first touch saw the chance amount to nothing.
Sydney United immediately replied with a swift counter-attack via the feet of midfielder Mark Robertson. Elsid Barkhousir was played through on goal though his left-footed effort from a decentralised position finished well-over the crossbar.
On 9? minutes, a tremendous one-two between Barkhousir and Chris Boyle for the Reds ? again initiated by Robertson with a long-ball ? provided Boyle with a shooting chance, though the defence was quick to close down the effort.
Manly United goalkeeper Bradley Swancott was called into action moments shy of the 15? minute when a Todd Brodie cut-back from the byline fell into the path of Ivo Bosnar who shot powerfully, though too centrally. Swancott thwarted the Reds? opportunity.
Mark Robertson was involved again moments later when Swancott was caught off his line. The Manly shot-stopper found himself on the left touch-line attempting to clear a ball before scurrying back to comfortably ?take? Robertson?s floated effort from 35-metres.
On 21? minutes, some poor defending by Sydney United in their defensive third saw a loose ball played to the edge of the penalty-area from the left. Bradley Groves controlled the pass perfectly before unleashing a venomous drive just over the crossbar.
Grove was at it again in the 35? minutes with another volleyed attempted ? once more, his effort failed to challenge Vedran Janjetovic in the Reds? goal.
Janjetovic was called upon 2? minutes later as a Joey Schrippa free-kick stung the palms of the Sydney United shot-stopper. Janjetovic deflected the effort onto his crossbar before claiming the rebound much to the relief of the home fans.
The visitors were having their best spell of the half and on 39? minutes did find the back of the net via Midgley. The attacking midfielder latched onto a delightful short-ball from Robbie Cattanach before slotting past Janjetovic; the linesman correctly ruling the goal out for offside.
The half closed with a mazy run from Barkhousir for the Reds. His final effort from the edge of the area though was timid and Swancott had no trouble parrying the effort.
Manly United started the second-half positively, running at the Sydney United defence. A-League bound Beau Busch was in good touch for Manly in his last match for the club before joining Newcastle Jets in the A-League.
Robbie Cattanach, who has gone through a lean-spell in recent weeks in-front of goal, almost put his side ahead with a long-range snap-shot. An exceptional ?chest-down? by Midgley set Cattanach with space to move; Manly?s top-scorer hit a marvellous effort that was matched by an equally marvellous save by Janjetovic.
The match would take a ?turn for the worse? for the home-side when in the space of 5? minutes, defender Josip Moric picked up two yellow-cards and was sent from the field.
Even before Sydney United boss could re-organise his players, Todd Brodie was given a straight red card for an off the ball incident.
With the Reds? now on the back-foot, Janjetovic produced another fine save from a Cattanach effort to spur his team-mates on, though on 69? minutes, exactly 9? minutes after Moric?s red card, the referee awarded Manly United a penalty for a foul committed by Damon Collina. The Reds defender picked up his second yellow card and joined Moric and Brodie in the dressing rooms, leaving the crowd absolutely ?gob smacked?.
Craig Midgley coolly converted the spot-kick down to Janjetovic?s left, though was ordered to re-take the penalty after an unidentified Manly United player entered the penalty-area before the spot-kick had been taken.
Midgley?s second attempt was a carbon-copy of the first, and this time the goal stood.
Despite the brave efforts of the 8-man Sydney United ? chances of note falling to substitute Dennis Cutura and captain Joe Vrkic ? the Reds ran out of legs in-search of an equaliser.
A spirited performance none the less, led by captain Joe Vrkic who played a huge role for his side in defence.
Manly United should have added a second goal late in the encounter, though some panicking on the ball prevented Cattanach & Co. to double their advantage. In the end, the one goal was enough to secure Phil Moss? men a spot in the finals-series, testament to the fine work this side has produced over the past two seasons.
Following the match, Moss was extremely proud of his players? efforts:
?This is the first time we have won here, so I am really happy to have come away with the points.
?We have been struggling lately, our results show this. We needed to build our confidence and with this win, we will take confidence in improving in-time for the finals.
?I thought we were a little bit too over eager tonight when they (Sydney United) had three send-offs. We didn?t look comfortable on the ball and tried to rush our passes too much.
?We got the goal we needed though, and we?ll obviously look to improve in the coming weeks.?
Manly United lose Beau Busch following this match, a perfect send-off for the A-League bound player:
?We all spoke about sending Beau (Busch) off on a winning note ? and the boys are really happy that we managed to do this for him tonight. He?ll be playing in the A-League, and this is a great achievement for him and another important step in his football career,? concluded Moss.
Sydney United coach Ivan Petkovic was less impressed with the final outcome:
?The situation is now complicated for us, because to make the Top-Five we need to rely on other results.
?We started well tonight and I thought played quite positively.
?With three red cards though, I am very disappointed. I don?t know whether they were all deserved, I can?t comment on that, though it is very frustrating because we lost the chance to fight for the win.
?Our season has been very positive, though I am disappointed that with the final weeks of the season we have lost matches that could end our season ? a season that was looking very promising for us,? concluded Petkovic.
Match Stats
Sydney United 0
Manly United FC 0 (Craig Midgley 71?)
Venue: Sydney United Sports Centre
Referee: Matt Gillett
Crowd: Approx. 300.
Sydney United: 30. Vedran Janjetovic; 3. Josip Moric, 4. Milan Bosnar, 5. Damon Collina, 6. Joe Vrkic (C), 7. Todd Brodie, 15. Chris Boyle, 10. Mark Robertson, 23. Ivo Bosnar, 11. Luka Glavas (37. Dennis Cutura 74?), 16. Elsid Barkhousir (19. Mitchell Thompson 64?)
Substitutes Not Used: 1. Steve Minovski, 18. Andrija Petkovic, 21. Saso Trajcevski
Yellow Cards: Ivo Bosnar 22?, Milan Bosnar 43?, Damon Collina 45? and 69?, Josip Moric 56? and 60?
Red Cards: Josip Moric 60?, Todd Brodie 65?, Damon Collina 69?
Manly United FC: 1. Bradley Swancott (C); 3. Andrew Mailer, 4. Roberto Hamad (8. Michael Williams 90?), 5. Pascal Julliard (10. Dusan Mihajlovic 68?), 6. Bradley Groves, 7. Ashley Ryan, 9. Robbie Cattanach, 11. Craig Midgley (33. Chris Payne 76?), 12. Michael Lloyd-Green, 16. Joey Schrippa, 18. Beau Busch
Substitutes Not Used: 21. Luke Femia, 14. Caetano Lima
Yellow Cards: Pascal Julliard 58?, Bradley Swancott 65?
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 ? Craig Midgley (MU)
2 ? Vedran Janjetovic (SU)
1 ? Joe Vrkic (SU)
-By Joseph Carlucci