Tigers and Suns fight out thrilling draw


The Tigers were desperate for a win after suffering a luckless, narrow loss to Marconi Stallions in the previous round, while the Suns were hoping to show that they are competitive in the higher level of competition after notching up just one win in their first four outings.
Luke McGuire, the resilient coach of the Tigers, was hoping for some better fortune this week after a shaky beginning to the season that originally had the Tigers on the back foot with a high injury toll.
In the end, the sides shared the spoils and A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt?s habit of missing chance after chance continued especially in the second-half.
?I thought our first-half was poor but in the second-half we certainly clicked into gear,? McGuire said.
?We had many, many chances but you cannot miss seven, eight or nine chances in a game and expect to come away with the three points.?
In many ways that was the story of the second-half as A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt squandered a plethora of opportunities.
Rockdale City Suns though were never out of the game and, with a bit of luck, could have stolen the full quota of points from Leichhardt Oval.
Peter Apolevski, the likeable captain of the Rockdale City Suns, was realistic about his side when discussing their fate after the game.
?The game could have gone either way,? he said. ?We were up at one stage, then we were down and then we came back.
?It was a tough game but it has been like that all season for us. To come away tonight with a point we should be happy.
?We showed character as a team and as a unit to come back and next week we have a tough game against Sydney Olympic where, obviously, it would be nice to get all three points, but if we get a point like tonight I?m sure we?ll be happy too.?
The first real chance of the game fell to the visitors when George Lagoudakis beautifully sent a free-kick into the box in the 8? minute only for Marino Musumeci, against his former club, to be denied a wonderful goal by a superb diving save from Matthew Nash from Musumeci?s spectacular diving header.
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt?s first chance didn?t arrive until the 22? minute when Bishara Stephan sent the ball across for Robert Younis, but unfortunately for the Tigers his shot went just over the crossbar just like they have in recent games for the once prolific marksman.
Shortly afterwards Lagoudakis thought that he would try his luck from outside the box and nearly succeeded when the ball sailed across the entire face of goal, only to end up just wide of Nash?s post.
There wasn?t much more to add to the dreary first-half except for two late free-kicks from the Rockdale City Suns from reasonably close range that somehow the A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt defence managed to scramble away.
As the second stanza of play got underway, the reasonable crowd in attendance was certainly hoping for a change in fortune from an entertainment point of view and they were not to be disappointed.
In the 53? minute Rockdale took the lead when a Lagoudakis corner was poorly cleared by the Tigers defence and Askin Oygur, bandaged like a mummy from a previous cut, fired the ball into the net.
It wasn?t Younis? night because a few minutes later he should have equalised for the home-side but, even with two bites of the cherry, he fired wide.
However, in the 58? minute A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt did equalise when Younis went down in the box under an Oygur challenge and the referee awarded the penalty.
Younis, from the 11-metres spot, didn?t miss the back of the net to bring both sides level.
Younis then fired a header at Ben McNamara in goal for Rockdale City Suns, but the young goalkeeper brilliantly turned the ball over for a corner.
Nevertheless, from the ensuing corner kick by Pablo Cardozo, Danial Cummins turned the ball back to Michael West who powerfully volleyed the ball home to give A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt the advantage for the first time.
Another golden chance fell A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt?s way in the 69? minute when Anthony Hartshorn set Younis free but he fired just wide.
In the 74? minute Franco Parisi showed why, on his day, he can be simply brilliant as he waltzed his way towards goal and set up Younis, but McNamara was too alert and turned the ball away for a corner.
Parisi then had his own golden moment in-front of goal shortly afterwards but McNamara, one again, with another great save denied him too what appeared to be a certain goal.
Rockdale City Suns then equalised against the run of play in what can only be described as vaudevillian circumstances: Nash went from hero to zero in a minute.
The Tigers goalkeeper brilliantly came out to block a shot from Baturay Akin when he was the last player standing between the attacker and the goal, but was penalised for encroaching with the ball in his hands outside his box as he saved at Akin?s feet.
From the free-kick, Adem Kir bent the ball over the wall and Nash fumbled the straight-forward grab and the ball only marginally crept over the goal line, but that was enough for assistant referee Daniel Dewhurst to signal that the ball had indeed crossed into the goal area.
There were late chances to both sides: Younis and Cardozo for the Tigers and Apolevski and Zaikovski for the Suns and, even though some of these last four movements were extremely close, there were to be no further changes to the score line.
Meanwhile, in the Grade 20s A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt defeated Rockdale City Suns 3-1.
Match Stats

A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers 2 (Younis 58? (pen), West 63?)
Rockdale City Suns 2 (Oygur 53?, Kir 79?)
Sunday, 28th March, 2010
Leichhardt Oval, Leichhardt
Referee: Andrew Best
Assistant Referees: Daniel Dewhurst and Paul Faithfull
Fourth Official: Thomas Klein
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: 1.Matthew Nash; 2.Mark Byrnes, 13.John Kelso (4.Joseph Cartisano 79?), 5.Michael West, 7.Stephen Kayes, 18.Bishara Stephan (8.Anthony Hartshorn 38?), 19.Danial Cummins, 11.Nick Rizzo, 9.Robert Younis, 10.Franco Parisi, 12.Pablo Cardozo.
Substitutes Not Used: 40.Michael Rutherford, 20.Mark Pinto, 18.David Dascal
Yellow Cards: Byrnes 13?, Stephan 28?, Younis 34?, Parisi 65?
Red Cards: Nil
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Ben McNamara; 2.Paul Dee, 3.Mark Bariamis, 7.Peter Apolevski, 8.Dominic Hudap (20.Andrija Petkovic 77?), 11.Adem Kir, 17.George Lagoudakis, 16.Steven Bozinovski (9.Pece Zaikovski 66?), 18.Robert Di Meglio (13.Baturay Akin 64?), 19.Marino Musumeci, 23.Askin Oygur.
Substitutes Not Used: 6.Ian King, 22.Chad Taylor
Yellow Cards: Bozinovski 30?, Oygur 34?, Lagoudakis 83?
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 – Michael West (ALT)
2 – Ben McNamara (RCS)
1 – Peter Apolevski (RCS)
-By Joe Russo