Bankstown and Manly battle hard for draw


Zlatko Joseski was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the opening exchanges, and in as early as the 2? minute, he needed to rise at full stretch bravely to negate the aerial threat imposed by Manly?s Justin Hayward.
It was a sign of things to come as Hayward, moments later, went shoulder to shoulder with Lions skipper Richard Luksic that left the latter sprawling on the floor as the tackles came in thick, fast and heavy on a greasy pitch dampened by a pre-game thunder storm.
Indeed, Hayward was in the thick of things in the early stages as he laid the ball back to Keith Shevlin only to see the shot continue high over the crossbar, before Lions player/coach Peter Tsekenis managed a timely last ditch tackle on Hayward inside the box to deny another opportunity a minute later.
Bankstown started to show their pedigree when Shannon Burgin finished off a sweeping move when curling a shot wide of the far upright from just outside the penalty-area. The chance was followed up by Stefanos Liavas who sent a shot-turn-cross under Brad Swancott and across the face of goal with no Lions player able to get the finishing touch after merely 15? minutes of the game gone.
As the half wore on it was Manly who mastered the conditions better and put together  a catalogue of half-chances that resulted in Joseski truly earning his money, under trying circumstances at times, and pulling off some fine moments of mastery. The Lions also had both Luksic and Tsekenis throwing themselves at the ball to deny a double attempt from Mitchell Macedo as Manly United continued to pile on the pressure.
Scott Thomas managed to receive a caution against his former club for a foul on Macedo as nether team took a backward step, and how the teams went into the break goal-less is one of football?s many mysteries.
Manly United was straight out of the blocks at the start of the second period when Shevlin laid the ball back for Macedo, though his shot went agonisingly wide of the mark.
Hayward then called upon Joseski to produce another fingertip save from close-range, denying the Cromer Park side the opening goal.
Joseski?s brilliance stung Bankstown into life as Burgin thought he had opened the scoring at the other end when sliding the ball home, only for the linesman to raise his flag for offside.
Mileski then managed to slip the ball to Liavas who crossed for Almir Dizdaric to scissor-kick inches wide of the post as the home side battled their way back into the game.
On the hour, the talking point of the match arrived as Joel Grenell hit Scott Thomas with a scything tackle that resulted in a melee with almost every player getting involved in some capacity. Grenell was given his marching orders and Roberto Hamad being booked for dissent as Manly went a man down and the match took a different direction as Bankstown began to exploit the space and drag the visitors around the park.
The numerical superiority didn?t take long to pay off as the home-side took the lead through Mileski who netted a quality goal from the edge of the box after Dizdaric chested down a long through ball from Burgin.
Manly could have fallen apart but fought their way back into the encounter when substitute Bradley Groves sent over a teasing free-kick to be met by the head of the impressive Hayward to level the match with 17? minutes remaining.
Bankstown City upped the gears and just 3? minutes later produced the goal of the game when Liavas crossed for Hussein Salameh to volley home in impressive style.
The home-side?s joy was short-lived, as with 2? minutes remaining, Justin Hayward was brought down by Luksic inside the penalty-area, allowing Shevlin to level proceedings again from the penalty-spot.
It wasn?t a classic match by any stretch of the imagination but it was a truly gritty performance by both teams in a typical opening round encounter, although neither coach was impressed following the referee?s final whistle.
Bankstown City? Peter Tsekenis commented the match:
?Our goalkeeper got no protection at all tonight and got hammered every time he went up for the ball,? said Tsekenis.
?When you are playing a team that is using route one football that makes it very hard to accept and if you ask if I am happy with the point I would have to say no.
?When we got the ball down we played some good football but of course it is only the first game of the season so not everything worked out as intended. We will play better this season and lose but we will also play worse and win and that is something you have to accept is football, Tsekenis added. 
?I?m sad the players didn?t get the result they deserved tonight but if they keep giving that effort and play that style of game we will do OK.?
Manly United FC boss Phil Moss was not happy at all when saying:
?I am proud of the way we came back twice after going down to ten men with more than half-an-hour to play but I thought we should have been one if not two ahead at the break but that?s football I suppose.
?It is early season and we had a lot of youngsters out there so when they got tired they did make some mistakes but they?ll learn from that and obviously get stronger with each game passing,? ended Moss.
In the earlier match (Grade-20) Robbie Cattanach found the net in his comeback game from a broken leg as Manly United FC defeated Bankstown City 2-1.
Bankstown City 2 (Robbie Mileski 68?, Hussein Salameh 80?)
Manly United 2 (Justin Hayward 74?, Keith Shevlin 89? (penalty) )
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Jensen Park, Sefton
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Adam Coombes and Paul Faithful
Fourth Official: Matthew Samson
Crowd: 400 Approx.
Bankstown City Lions: 1.Zlatko Joseski; 7.Stefanos Liavas (99.Chris Godoy Bascur 92?), 8.George Nohra, 2.Scott Thomas (14.Suad Ameti 79?), 10.Robbie Mileski, 5.Richard Luksic, 6.Peter Tsekenis, 3.Shannon Burgin, 11.Almir Dizdaric, 20.Hussein Salameh, 4.Brett Studman
Substitutes Not Used: 22.Robert Napoleone, 21.George Issa, 23.Tallan Martin
Yellow Cards: Thomas 35?, Luksic 87?
Red Cards: Nil
Manly United FC: 1.Brad Swancott; 2.Sean Bowden, 3.Roberto Hamad (14.Andrew Hayward 73?), 4.Joel Grenell, 5.Pascal Julliard, 6.Luke Casserly (15.Luke Walker 79?), 7.Andrew Mailer, 8.Keith Shevlin, 12.Justin Hayward, 13.Mitchell Macedo, 17.Jimmy Oates (19.Bradley Groves 70)
Substitutes Not Used: 20.Rhyss Keane, 21.Chris Gallo
Yellow Cards: Hamad 61?, J.Hayward 75?
Red Cards: Grenell 61?
Player Ratings:
3 ? Robbie Mileski (BCL)
2 ? Justin Hayward (MU)
1 ? Stefanos Liavas (BCL)
-By Micky Brock