In the side?s Leichhardt Oval debut, the Tigers survived a second-half onslaught from the Lions to secure a 1-0 win; Franco Parisi?s exceptional goal in the first-half enough for three very much needed points for the Leichhardt side.
In what has been a difficult start to the season for Sydney Tigers, new boss McGuire had to sweat on the fitness of playmaker Franco Parisi after the Tigers number 10 was constrained away from the training grounds with an infection to a wound below his left knee. Parisi took to the field and was exemplary in his approach as it was his goal that sealed the win.
A timid opening by both sides was brought to life as Parisi carved out some space for the Tigers in the attacking third before releasing Stephen Kayes on right-flank. Kayes? cross into the penalty-area failed to pick out a team-mate though, and the chance went begging.
Bankstown City?s reply arrived in the 13? minute when a loose clearance by the Tigers defence fell into the path of Robbie Mileski. The Lions? playmaker blasted his effort goalwards, though the ball was diverted for a corner.
The resulting corner allowed Iain King to tee-up an effort from similar distance; the former Tigers? midfielder hit his effort with authority though his effort finished wide.
The home-side took the lead courtesy of an exquisite Franco Parisi effort on 19? minutes. A low-driven in-swinging free-kick from the right-flank by Shane Lyons was delicately flicked on by Parisi with the outside of his boot, beating Lions? goalkeeper Andrew Bazi at the near post.
Bankstown City had two immense chances via dead-ball situations on the half-hour mark, though the Tigers? defence stood tall to thwart both attempts.
Tigers striker Robbie Younis was presented with two-chances in quick succession to find his first goals of the season. A free-kick from ?Younis territory? on the edge of the penalty-area was cleared to safety by the Lions wall, meanwhile a surging Shane Lyons counter-attack provided the striker with a clear sight of goal on his preferred left foot; his effort was a routine save for Bazi.
The Lions? Shane Webb, playing in a central midfield role these days due to a long list of injuries, took matters into his own hands as he surged into the Tigers penalty-area after a slalom run forward. Webb provided the cross and Robbie Mileski was on hand at the back post to pick up the scraps; his shot on the turn though finished wide of goal.
The Lions players, and supporters alike, were left mystified on 38? minutes as Tallan Martin scuffed a glorious chance to draw his side level. Another forward foray by Webb tested the goalkeeper with a venomous long-range effort, though Phillip Zabaks could not hold the shot. The rebound fell to the feet of Martin ? accompanied by Mileski – and with only the goalkeeper to beat, shot wide of the mark much to the dismay of the travelling supporters.
Following the break, the visitors came closest to a goal following a neat one-two between Tallan Martin and Salameh Hussein. The latter ventured into the penalty-area though was thwarted by some strong Tigers defence to deny the Lions.
Hussein was in the thick of the action again only moments later as his silky skills, and confidence on the ball, allowed him to beat his marker on the left-flank. The Tigers defence was quick to get numbers back and Mark Byrnes ensured the Lions import would not find a way through on goal.
Bankstown City substitute Chris Godoy-Bascurt made an immediate impact as he picked up the ball and dribbled past three Tigers defenders before running out of room as he failed to cut the ball back in from the by-line.
Sydney Tigers awoke on the hour, following a shaky opening to the second-half, via the quick feet of Michael Hawrysiuk. The midfielder intercepted a wayward pass in the Lions midfield and quickly released Younis on the left-flank. The Tigers number 9 beat his marker before laying a short pass into the path of Shane Lyons on the edge of the penalty-area; Lyons drew an exceptional save from Andrew Bazi who was at full stretch to divert the ball over the crossbar.
At the other end, Peter Tsekenis drew a reflex save from Zabaks. The former Socceroo latched on to a floated free-kick at the back post from deep in the half; his first time effort failed to bring about an equaliser.
The hearts of all Tigers? supporters were in their mouths on 66? minutes as an Iain King in-swinger was almost diverted into his own goal by Daniel Clifford. The defender?s miscued clearance had Zabaks beaten, though the ball finished over the crossbar.
The Tigers appeared flat and lacked composure as Bankstown City continued to maintain possession in the Tigers half. Ibrahim Haydar very nearly found his side an equaliser on 75? minutes as he latched onto a cross from Hussein on the left. Haydar?s looping header appeared to have Zabaks beaten, though the slightest of touches ensured the ball would ricochet off the upright before the Tigers cleared the ball to safety.
Despite the visitors in full control of possession, the Tigers hit their opponent on a swift counter-attack down the right-flank. Shane Lyons was picked out on the edge of the penalty-area and his low-driven effort was expertly saved by Bazi.
Lions? substitute Hussein Akil received a gift from the Tigers on 80? minutes as a failed clearance fell to his feet inside the penalty-area. Akil?s first intention was to shoot, though the midfielder scuffed his shot over the crossbar.
Marino Musumeci should have sealed the result for the Tigers on 88? minutes following Younis? counter-attacking move down the left. Musumeci received a square-ball from Hawrysiuk though hit his effort directly at Andrew Bazi in goal.
Bankstown City?s lack of luck was illustrated in injury-time following an incredible goalmouth scramble. Efforts from point-blank range by Akil, Salameh and finally James Monie were somehow kept out by a scrambling Tigers defence; their perseverance prevailed as the Tigers held on for the 1-0 lead.
Following the match, the victorious coach Luke McGuire spoke praise of his chargers after the spirited display:
?I am very happy with the effort and courage shown by all of my players today, they really gave it their all and got reward in the end,? McGuire stated.
?This will certainly help the confidence of the team; considering we were on the back foot for almost the entire second-half.
?They (Bankstown City) have a really experienced backline and it was always going to be hard for us, though we got the goal and fought as hard as we could.?
McGuire took over as first grade coach following the Tigers loss at Blacktown City last weekend, and the new boss is aware that there is still much work to be done:
?I didn?t really get a chance to work too much with the players this week, so today?s efforts come down to the courage of the boys on show.?
Bankstown City boss Peter Tsekenis was extremely disappointed with his the outcome:
?In a few words, you can have all the possession and chances you want in a match though if you can?t score goals you won?t win matches. We cannot have all the chances we had today and not score.?
In the Grade 20 division, the home-side grounded out a 1-1 draw despite Bankstown City peppering the Tigers? goalmouth in the final stages of the encounter.
Bishara Stephan?s ?go-ahead? goal for the Tigers in the first-half was cancelled out by Stefce Soleski early in the second period. Despite the final onslaught, Sydney Tigers claimed a point following their disastrous defeat at the hands of Blacktown City Demons in Round 5.
Sydney Tigers 1 (Franco Parisi 19?)
Bankstown City Lions 0
Sunday, 5th April, 2009
Leichhardt Oval, Leichhardt
Referee: Matt Gillett
Assistant Referees: Gareth Askham and Dale Fuda
Fourth Official: Mark Mitchell
Crowd: 500 Approx.
Sydney Tigers: 99.Phillip Zabaks; 2.Mark Byrnes, 3.John Kelso, 4.Daniel Clifford, 6.Shane Lyons, 12.Michael West, 15.Danial Cummins (C), 16.Michael Hawrysiuk, 7.Stephen Kayes (8.Marino Musumeci 81?), 10.Franco Parisi (13.Stefan Donevski 71?), 9.Robert Younis (17.Simon Ryan 90?+3?)
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Giancarlo Papapaini, 14.Adam Foti, 18.Bishara Stephan
Yellow Cards: Robert Younis 22?, Michael West 43?, Danial Cummins 63?, Daniel Clifford 90?
Red Cards: Nil
Bankstown City Lions: 20.Andrew Bazi; 2.Ibrahim Haydar, 3.Shane Webb, 4.Brett Studman, 5.Richard Luksic (C), 6.Peter Tsekenis, 23.Tallan Martin (99.Chris Godoy-Bascurt 56?), 15.Hussein Salameh, 18.Ian King, 10.Robert Mileski (9.James Monie 67?), 32.Shannon Burgan (29.Hussein Akil 73?)
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Zlatko Joseski, 13.Matt Pressello, 14.Suad Ameti,
Yellow Cards: Brett Studman 46?
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Shane Webb (BC)
2 ? Franco Parisi (ST)
1 ? Michael Hawrysiuk (ST)
-By Joseph Carlucci