It was a match devoid of creativity in midfield areas, with both sides preferring a more combative approach, and as a result struggled to create many clear goal-scoring opportunities.
The commitment from both Peter Tsekenis? Bankstown outfit and Ian Gillan?s visiting Penrith-Nepean was unquestionable, and it was perhaps cruel that two lapses in concentration cost the latter at least a point in Sydney?s west.
Instead, Penrith-Nepean missed a penalty on their way to defeat as the Lions moved onto equal points with their opponents and failed to break down a resilient Bankstown defence.
For their part, the home-side similarly struggled to breach a back-line marshalled by NSL veteran and former Socceroo Ante Juric, as Angelo Petratos started for the first time this season alongside son Dimitrios.
Bankstown?s goals would instead come from two goalkeeping errors by Penrith ?keeper Daniel Schwarzer ? the brother of Socceroo Mark ? who endured a torrid afternoon.
He first allowed Hussain Salameh to finish into an empty net on 31? minutes, the midfielder ghosting in at the far post after Schwarzer failed to collect a corner from the right side.
It was one of few highlights during a disjointed first-half of football that was nonetheless high on drama, as referee Khodr Yaghi incensed home fans with his decision to award a penalty to Penrith a few minutes later.
The first official had an excellent view of the incident and ruled that Shane Webb had handled the ball in his own penalty-area after a low cross was curled in. The full-back protesting fiercely and claiming that it had only hit his thigh.
Up stepped Ben Gough with a wonderful chance to restore parity for his side, though his penalty was rather weak and saved by Zlatko Joseski ? back in the Lions starting eleven for the first time this season ? low to his right.
Things got worse for an embattled Penrith-Nepean outfit just seven minutes into the second-half, as again Schwarzer failed to collect a high ball from a corner after being outmuscled in the box, the ball dropping to Robert Mileski to finish into an empty net.
In attack, the visitors touch eluded them as Gough found himself unmarked in the penalty-area after a superb early centre by Paul Crisp ? only for his poor first touch to pop the ball up and into the arms of a grateful Joseski.
With Steven Liavas his characteristically energetic self on the right wing for the Lions, complimented by Salameh Hussein?s aggressive approach down the left, Bankstown continued to threaten on the counter-attack but were often let down by rash decision making outside of their opponents? penalty-area.
With the younger of the Petratos clan curling over a free-kick from a promising position with barely a quarter of the match remaining, it became increasingly apparent that a flat attacking display by Gillan?s men would cost them a point.
There was still time for a couple of half-chances for the visitors, who saw Ante Juric half-volley on the turn only for the ball to roll just wide of the left upright of Joseski?s goal before substitute Michael Dowling came similarly close.
Schwarzer was then called upon to deny Hussein Akil a third goal for the Lions, saving the substitute?s effort with one hand to keep the score at 2-0, handing Tsekenis? side a much needed victory.
Speaking after the game, the Lions manager said he was delighted that his side had broken their goal-scoring duck:
?I thought it was quite solid to be honest and we restricted them from having too many chances,? Tsekenis said.
?For me that was a good performance.
?A clean sheet, we scored two goals that we?ve been struggling to score; I thought the penalty was a bit dubious and that could have changed the game.
?But the ?keeper stood up, saved it, the boys battled well and it was a well-deserved win.
?Teams like Penrith aren?t easy ? they are going to keep coming at you.
?We took our chances when we had to.
?Don?t forget we had a lot of players out, had some young boys who stood up and have a really good future ahead of them.?
Penrith-Nepean boss Ian Gillan meanwhile declared that he will back his goalkeeper entirely, despite him having made two mistakes that ultimately cost Nepean the match:
?Of course we?ll back him!? Gillan said. ?You?ve got to show some people some faith.
?I don?t blame him totally ? could the ball have been stopped before it got to him? Should we have avoided the corner? It?s a case of everybody having to take responsibility.
?We missed a penalty and if you score a penalty you get a little bit of confidence back and these things happen I suppose.
?I don?t think they (Bankstown) were particularly good at all; I just don?t think we?ve played as well as we?re capable of.
?I wouldn?t have been saying that was a game for the purists; it was fairly dull.
?But I don?t think there was too much of a difference between them and us.
?Apart from the two goals that they scored, we probably created more chances than them but without an end product with regards to a shot at goal.?
Bankstown City Lions 2 (Salameh Hussein 31?, Robbie Mileski 52?)
Penrith-Nepean United 0
Sunday 3rd March, 2009
Jensen Park, Sefton
Referee: Khodr Yaghi
Assistant Referees: Michael Collins and Paul Faithfull
Fourth Official: Matthew Samson
Bankstown City Lions: 1.Zlatko JOSEVSKI; 5.Richard LUKSIC, 7.Steve LIAVAS, 3.Shane WEBB, 4.Brett STUDMAN, 10.Robert MILESKI (29.Hussein AKIL 74?), 13.Matthew PRESSELLO, 15.Salameh Hussein (23.Tallan MARTIN 89?), 32.Shannon BURGIN, 14.Suad AMETI, 2.Ibby HAYDAR (99.Christopher GODOY BASCUR 82?)
Substitutes Not Used: 20.Andrew BAZI, 18.Iain KING
Yellow Cards: Liavas 50?, Lukic 68?, Martin 90?
Penrith-Nepean United: 1.Daniel SCHWARZER; 2.Mark BARIAMIS, 4.Evangelos PETRATOS, 5.David GARDINER, 6.Steven BAVEAS, 8.Paul CRISP (19.Michael DOWLING 72?), 9.Mtichell LONG. 10.Ben GOUGH (14.Greg KONDEK 67?), 11.Dimitrios PETRATOS, 12.Nic McInerney, 17.Ante JURIC
Substitutes Not Used: 21.Nic JELIC (GK), 3.David COMITO, 23.Devrim HUSEYIN
Yellow Cards: Bariamis 63?, Juric 90?+1?
3 – Steven Liavas (BC)
2 – Zlatko Joseski (BC)
1 – Robert Mileski (BC)
-By Chris Paraskevas