White Eagles and Sydney United share the spoils


Played in-front of only the home-side?s members, both sides gave a good account of themselves in a match where each of the twenty-seven players that took to the field ? substitutes included ? proved that this sport is far greater that the divisions that have hampered previous encounters between the two sides.
Both sides commenced the match rather tentatively with a claim for a monopoly of possession the order of the day in the early exchanges.
The opening chance of the match fell to Bonnyrigg?s Milorad Simonovic from distance. The former Sydney Olympic player picked up a loose ball on the edge of the penalty-area and unleashed a venomous drive inches over the crossbar.
Despite squandering a free-kick moments later, the White Eagles made the most of their next venture forward on 11? minutes as Simonovic struck the opening goal of the match again via a free-kick. Hit from a central position, the midfielder?s fierce drive found its way through the Sydney United wall to finish in the back of the net.
The home-side nearly doubled their lead on 13? minutes when a searching long-ball from captain Tayfun Devrimol found its way behind a scrambling Sydney United defence. Antonio Faria latched onto the ball, though his effort on goal was thwarted by some desperate defending.
Sydney United replied via player/coach Ante Milicic with a shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty-area; White Eagles goalkeeper Ali Akbal was not called upon to make a save.
Bonnyrigg continued to create the clearer chances of the half and a partially cleared corner by the Sydney United defence provided Nikola Zonjic with a snapshot effort; the ball only just skimming Vedran Janjetovic?s crossbar.
At the other end, Ali Akbal pulled off a fine save down to his right following a goalmouth scramble. Efforts from David Zdrilic and Luka Glavas were kept out by the White Eagles rearguard; the visitors protests for a hand ball in the scramble were waived away by the referee.
Glen Trifiro?s set-pieces created Bonnyrigg some concern in the defensive third and on 35? minutes the talented midfielder picked out Damon Collina with a looping effort; the tall defender?s headed attempt was easy pickings for Akbal.
On 40? minutes, Milicic used his experience on the right-flank to get to the byline and deliver a cross into the penalty-area; Luka Glavas? lunging effort though was not enough to outmuscle the challenge of two Bonnyrigg defenders and the chance went begging.
Sydney United?s equaliser arrived via a set-piece. Elsid Barkhousir was unmarked inside the 18-yard box to head home Mitchell Thompson?s in-swinging corner and send the sides into the break at 1-1.
Following the break Bonnyrigg White Eagles carved out the opening chance of the half with a swift counter-attacking move down the right-flank. Ilkay Gurbuz weaved his way past two markers before cutting a short pass into the path of Simonovic. The midfielder?s drive was on-target, though Sydney United?s scrambling defenders managed to divert the effort from danger.
The home-side continued to dominate possession in the attacking third, though Sydney United proved extremely dangerous on the counter-attack. A searching ball from the right-flank picked out Thompson at the back post; the left-sided midfielder?s spectacular volleyed effort failed to hit the intended target.
The hearts of the Sydney United bench would certainly have been in their throats as inspirational captain Joe Vrkic?s clearance skipped past his own upright. The captain was storming back to his goal-line to thwart a White Eagles? counter-attack down the left-flank, though his lunging effort, which anticipated goalkeeper Janjetovic, trickled inches wide of the post.
Sydney United continued to create their best chances via the left-wing occupied by Thompson. His pin-point delivery from the byline picked out Barkhousir in the penalty-area. A poor first touch by the goal scorer saw the effort go begging as Ali Akbal made a routine save.
Sydney United midfielder Glen Trifiro kept the White Eagles out on 80? minutes when Simonovic?s venomous drive on goal was cleared off the goal line. With goalkeeper Janjetovic beaten, Trifiro remained composed to clear the danger and keep the scores level.
Sydney United substitute Todd Brodie made an immediate impact following an exceptional exchange of short passes between Trifiro and Zdrilic. The Sydney United number 7 created a yard of space to hit a powerful long-range effort, though the ball failed to hit the target.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles had one final chance, again at the feet of Simonovic, in the final moments of the match. A poor Sydney United clearance allowed the White Eagles midfielder the space required to hit an effort towards goal; Simonovic failed to keep his shot down as the ball finished over the crossbar.
Following the match, Bonnyrigg White Eagles coach Brian Brown was content with his players? efforts:
?I am really pleased with the effort each of my players put in there today,? Brown commented.
?From the start of the match we stuck to out plan and I really believe that we even deserved something more than a point from the match today.
?I thought the intensity was high, though the only disappointing note would be the goal we conceded. We left one of their players free in the area and have dropped the points; It was a goal that we should have definitely avoided.?
Sydney United player/manager Ante Milicic played a huge role in keeping his side?s unbeaten run intact, though falling a goal behind did make his side?s task all the more difficult:
?We played a really strong match today, I couldn?t question any players effort out there. I thought we had the better of the ?clear? chances, though going a goal behind ? via a free-kick that took a deflection ? was going to make our job that much harder.
?We played with an attacking approach as I always want my team to go out and look for goals. We have also had a number of players out injured ? key players particularly in the midfield ? so it isn?t easy when you don?t have all your players on board, though in the end it was a good match by both sides who both played to win.?
In the Grade 20 division, Sydney United scored a late winner to seal the three-points after dominating the White Eagles for a large part of the match. Mario Simic hit Sydney United ahead after tapping-in from close-range following Lisandro Berbis? powerful shot ricocheting off the upright. Despite dominating the entire first-half, Sydney United conceded a late first-half effort scored by Vlado Kurtuma. After a heavy loss against Bankstown City last weekend, Bonnyrigg White Eagles seemed set to pick up a point from this tie, until the 90? minute. Michael Surcevic coolly slotted past the White Eagles goalkeeper to seal the win for Sydney United.
Match Stats
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Milorad Simonovic 10?)
Sydney United 1 (Elsid Barkhousir 43?)
Sunday, 26th April, 2009
Bonnyrigg Sports Club, Bonnyrigg
Referee: Peter Vrtovski
Assistant Referees: Michael Collins and Christian Mehl
Fourth Official: Kevin Peddie
Crowd: 250
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 23.Ali Akbal; 2.Paul Cotte, 5.Mark D?Alessandro (13.Nathan Rivera 65?), 6.Ilkay Gurbuz , 7.Nikola Zonjic (4.David Petrovic 83?), 10.Fredrick Graham (8.Daniel Willoughby 55?), 11.Almir Dizdaric, 19.Antonio Faria, 17.Milorad Simonovic, 18.Tayfun Devrimol (C), 20.Milan Zoric
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Nenad Vekic; 14.Drazen Janjic,
Yellow Cards: Milorad Simonovic 29?, Tayfun Devrimol 34?, Milan Zoric 89?
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney United: 1.Vedran Janjetovic; 5.Damon Collina, 19.Mitchell Thompson, 6.Joe Vrkic, 36.Mitchell Spears, 9.David Zdrilic, 4.Milan Bosnar, 18.Glen Trifiro, 10.Ante Milicic (25.Dennis Cutura 77?)16.Elsid Barkhousir (7.Todd Brodie 70?), 11.Luka Glavas.
Substitutes Not Used: 2.Ricky Perinich, 20.Michael Frost.
Yellow Cards: Damon Collina 58?
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 ? Milorad Simonovic (BWE)
2 ? Glen Trifiro (SU)
1 ? Paul Cotte (BWE)
 -By Joseph Carlucci