Manly United conquer Leichhardt Oval with convincing win


After a scintillating beginning for the A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers it was Manly United that dominated the first-half of play while both teams had their fair share of chances in the second stanza.
Nick Rizzo could have so easily scored after just 30?? seconds when Robert Younis played the ball into him. However, the former Crystal Palace player was twice thwarted by some brilliant saves from Brad Swancott, against his former club, from close-range.
Manly United though opened the scoring in the 7? minute when Bradley Groves beautifully set up Adam Foti, a former Tigers player, who fired the ball into the bottom of the net past an outstretched Matthew Nash.
A few minutes later it could have been two for the visitors when Nash very poorly cleared the ball and, as such, it was gift wrapped for Keith Shevlin who attempted to chip the ?keeper off his line but, with the goal wide open, it narrowly sailed past the post and wide of the mark.
After sustained pressure Manly United doubled the score in the 25? minute after nearly hitting the target twice in the 2? minutes before the goal.
Foti shot just wide of the target and Mailer forced a brilliant save from Nash who dived superbly to his left to turn a goal-bound rocket away for a corner.
Fans were eventually, after those two earlier attempts, treated to a superb goal by Groves who surely has staked his claim in the goal-of-the-season department.
Paul O?Grady got down low to block the original shot by Foti but when the ball made its way to Groves he unleashed a bomb that never intended to miss the top left-hand corner of the net despite Nash?s best efforts.
It could be argued that this goal sealed the game for the visitors even though there was still over an hour of play to go.
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt were dishevelled and, at times, incoherent after Groves? wonder strike, much to the frustration of their hard-working coach Luke McGuire who after the game simply said: ?We were not good enough tonight.?
A few minutes shy of the interval Younis should have really done a lot better with his finish after Franco Parisi did all the hard work and cut the ball back beautifully for his twin striker who simply aimed straight at an onrushing Swancott.
Immediately after the resumption of play it appeared that A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt were about to turn the corner when Parisi ? once again doing the hard work ? set up Mark Pinto but he fired his shot into the goalkeeper.
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt needed something but that something only appeared at the other end of the pitch in the form of a runaway train called Manly.
Mitchell Macedo was rather unlucky that his powerful shot sailed over the crossbar and Keith Shevlin tested Nash after receiving a lovely ball from Foti.
It became a case of when – not if – the third goal for the visitors would arrive. It duly did when Shevlin?s shot was deflected into the A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt net after some nice lead up work by Jimmy Oates and Andrew Mailer to get the ball up the field.
If it was game over a 2-0, then at 3-0 it was definitely lights out. Robbie Cattanach, on the comeback trail, should have made it four from close-range but A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt can thank Nash?s alertness that thwarted the effort.
Pinto hit the side netting for the home side and Liam McGonaghy shaved the crossbar from out wide in what was a last show of resistance. However, it was a case of too little, too late.
Right at the death the referee awarded a penalty to the visitors when Mark Byrnes appeared to bring down an opponent. Shevlin struck the ball well from the spot but Nash, diving to his left, pulled off a remarkable save to turn it away for a corner and spare more blushes for the home side.
After the game Manly United?s mentor Phil Moss could hardly hide his delight given his side?s heavy injury toll:
?That?s a massive win for us in a massive performance today,? he said.
?We had a lot of players unavailable in the grandstand tonight and there were a lot of kids out there for us tonight who were led around by some outstanding, experienced players.
?We lost Luke Casserly on Thursday night with a hamstring so we changed the system on game day to suit the personnel that we had, and I thought that the boys followed the game plan to the letter of the law.
?It was a great unit for us today but I would have to make special mention of Brad Groves? goal because anywhere in the world that?s a world class goal.?
Luke McGuire on the other hand had to put on a brave face to mask the disappointment that was felt by all inside his camp:
?I thought that our backline worked very hard today and so too did our goalkeeper,? he said.
?Next week will be tough against our archrivals Marconi but we?ll have to re-group which we can do within a week.
?The boys are very disappointed because they haven?t put their best foot forward today but morale is still high in the camp and we still believe that we are a good enough side.?
Meanwhile, in the Grade-20s A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers defeated Manly United FC 3-1.
Match Stats
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers 0
Manly United FC 3 (Adam Foti 7?, Bradley Groves 25?, Keith Shevlin 75?)
Sunday, 14th March, 2010
Leichhardt Oval, Leichhardt
Referee: Kris Griffith Jones
Assistant Referees: Nick Backo and Murray Wilson
Fourth Official: Miles Allen Scott
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: 1.Matthew Nash; 2.Mark Byrnes, 19.Paul O?Grady, 5.Michael West, 7.Stephen Kayes (17.Liam McGonaghy 69?), 8.Anthony Hartshorn (15.David Dascal 85?), 11.Nick Rizzo, 16.Scott Madden, 20.Mark Pinto, 9.Robert Younis, 10.Franco Parisi 
Substitutes Not Used: 40.Michael Rutherford, 14.Joseph Cartisano, 18.Thomas Taylor
Yellow Cards: Younis 53?
Red Cards: Nil
Manly United FC: 1.Brad Swancott; 2.Sean Bowden, 5.Pascal Julliard, 7.Andrew Mailer, 8.Keith Shevlin, 11.Adam Foti (9.Robbie Cattanach 69?), 13.Mitchell Macedo, 17.Jimmy Oates (26.John Hall 81?), 18.Alex Hunt, 19.Bradley Groves, 21.Chris Gallo (33.Josh Prater 90?)
Substitutes Not Used: 20.Rhyss Keane, 14.Louis Edwards,
Yellow Cards: 64? Shevlin
Red Cards: Nil
 Player Ratings:
3 – Brad Groves (MUFC)
2 – Keith Shevlin (MUFC)
1 – Andrew Mailer (MUFC)
-By Joe Russo