Manly United keep pace with top-spot following Penrith-Nepean defeat


The boys from the foot of the mountains have been the surprise packet of the competition and took the game to their more fancied opponents from the outset.
The away side was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after just 3? minutes.
Diminutive Penrith-Nepean playmaker Steven Baveas was brought down in what appeared to be a foul inside the penalty-area, though the referee signalled for a free-kick just outside the area; the effort was blasted into the wall.
A scrappy 30? minutes then followed with both teams struggling to gain control.
In the 37? minute a cynical foul from Penrith-Nepean?s Ben Gough resulted in a free-kick which Joey Schirripa whipped in with pace.
The Manly skipper delivered a ball to the near post which Irish import Keith Shevlin smashed home from inside the six-yard box.
On the hour mark the visitors should have squared proceedings courtesy of marksman Mitchell Long after he swooped on some casual defending on the edge of the area from Matt Bingley.
Brad Swancott came to Bingley?s rescue when he denied Long with a brilliant reflex ave after the speedy striker had the whole goal to aim at.
As the game wore on Penrith-Nepean looked the more likely to score and they jagged a deserved equaliser on 74? minutes.
A hopeful ball from the left via the boot of David Gardiner wasn?t cleared and Greg Kondek was on hand to force the ball home from four-yards.
Brad Groves then won the match for Manly in the 83? minute following a brilliant first time finish after being fed a great ball from fellow substitute Josh Sama.
The agile striker glided past Ante Juric and crossed the ball into the path of Groves who gave Penrith-Nepean goalkeeper Daniel Schwarzer no chance with his first time effort.
Penrith-Nepean coach Ian Gillan felt the end result was harsh:
?I think we were the better team but at the end of the day they took their chances,? he said.  
?I felt we should have been given a penalty inside the first five minutes and if that goes our way the complexity of the game changes.  
?I was happy with how we took the game to them, we are not a technically gifted side, we just work hard for one another and I can?t fault the effort.?
His opposite Phil Moss spoke about winning ugly:
?We have had two-and-a-half weeks off and it showed,? he said.
?I saw plenty of cobwebs and to concede how we did was disappointing, it was schoolboy defending. 
?Luckily for us Brad (Groves) and Josh (Sama) came off the bench and had the impact I was hoping they would.
?On the balance of power they (Penrith) were the better side but in the end things went our way which I won?t complain about.?
In the Grade-20 match a double from Penrith-Nepean striker Michael Dowling engineered a 3-0 win against an out of sorts Manly United.
Match Stats
Manly United 2 (Keith Shevlin 38? Brad Groves 83?)
Penrith-Nepean United 1 (Greg Kondek 74?)
Saturday 18th of April, 2009
Cromer Park, Dee Why
Referee: Sandro Perticarini
Assistant Referees: David Goldsmith and Lance Greenshields
Fourth Official: Michael Seaborn
Crowd: 300 Approx.
Manly United: 1.Brad SWANCOTT, 3.Andrew MAILER, 4.Spencer PRIOR, 6.Scott THOMAS, 8.Michael LLOYD-GREEN, (24.Brad GROVES 67?) 11.Craig MIDGLEY, 15.Keith SHEVLIN, (13.Mitch MACEDO 82?) 16.Joey SCHIRRIPA, 17.Scott WRIGHT, 20.Matt BINGLEY, 35.Joe GIBBS (10.Josh SAMA 79?) 
Substitutes Not Used: 40.Rhyss KEANE, (rgk) 5.Joel GRENELL
Yellow Cards: Spencer Prior 3?, Scott Wright 81?
Penrith-Nepean United: 1.Daniel SCHWARZER, 2.Mark BARIAMIS, 4.Evangelos PETRATOS, 5.David GARDINER, 6.Steven BAVEAS, 9.Mitchell LONG, 10.Ben GOUGH, (11.Dimitrios PETRATOS 59?) 8.Paul CRISP, (23.Devrim HUSEYIN 85?) 12.Nic McINERNEY, 17.Ante JURIC, 26. Tayfun BUYUKKOPRU (14.Greg KONDEK 64?)  
Substitutes Not Used: 21.Nik JELIC, (rgk) 3.David COMITO  
Yellow Cards: Ben Gough 37?, Ante Juric 54?, Steve Baveas 84?
Player Ratings:
3 – Andrew Mailer (MUFC)
2 – Steven Baveas (PNU)
1 – Spencer Prior (MUFC)
-By Andrew Prentice