Late Tigers surge earns them point against White Eagles

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Under the watchful eye of Sydney FC mentor Vitezslav Lavicka, perched high in the wooden grandstand behind the goal, both teams put on an excellent display of football.
In the end, the draw was probably the fairest result but both teams could rightly claim to have let two points slip through their fingers.
Tony Raciti, A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt?s experienced football manager who is affectionately known for his post match quotes, saw the game as such: ?This was again another inspiring collective team performance, but unfortunately we were a little unbalanced when Michael West, half an hour before the game, pulled out with a quad injury,? he said.
?I thought that today the better team was A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt ? I know that I might sound a little bias ? but I was shocked that Bonnyrigg were leading 2-0 because they didn?t put enough effort or commitment into the game to be leading 2-0.
?I thought, at the end, we should have won which would have been our just rewards.?
On the other side of the fence Bonnyrigg White Eagles? affable mentor Brian ?Bomber? Brown also thought that his own side was a little unlucky not to have secured the full quota of points.
Brown said: ?I thought that we, for a long part of the game, looked very comfortable and played some good football.
 ?In fairness though to A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt, they got back into the game late in the second-half after we scored our second goal and had looked really comfortable,? he said.
?However, unfortunately, with a couple of players out injured we had to make some changes which had a little bit of an impact and we got caught out.
?Today?s game is similar to how we have played this year: we have worked so hard to create goals and play well, but then sometimes we give away bad goals.?
The opening chance of the game fell to Bonnyrigg White Eagles when Boardman, arguably the best player on the park, fired just wide of the mark.
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt replied when a Hirofumi Moriyasu corner reached Nick Rizzo in the box but he could only watch as the visiting goalkeeper pulled off a great save.
Moriyasu then went for galloping run through the heart of the Bonnyrigg defence in the 25? minute only to see his final shot finish just wide.
In the 31? minute Bonnyrigg opened the scoring thanks to a beautifully rehearsed piece.
David Gullo, who just turned 18-years old the previous day, fired in an accurate cross for Boardman who glided the ball magnificently with a glancing header into the corner of the net.
?Our first goal was an outstanding football goal from Brad Boardman,? coach Brown said.
Just prior to the half-time break Stephen Kayes, possibly the best player for the home-side, had a double chance and was twice thwarted – by a good save from Nenad Vekic and then by a visiting defender.
His first shot was well turned away for a corner by the ?keeper and when the subsequent corner fell again to the diminutive player, his despair was amplified when a defender cleared his shot off the line.
?Stephen Kayes performed well, Hirofumi [Moriyasu] was in the thick of all the action and Marton Vass did well,? said Tony Raciti.
?I could go on and on and on because we didn?t have a poor player on the park which has been the case for us in the last six or seven weeks.?
Early in the second-half, when a lovely ball from Vass reached Kayes who turned it inside beautifully for Robert Younis, A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt should really have equalised but at the last moment on the wet surface Younis lost his footing and fired wide.
In the 55? minute David D?Apuzzo missed arguably the golden chance of the season. Alone, unmarked and in front of an open goal, he shot wide from a metre out.
Sometimes football can be a cruel and embarrassing game and, for young D?Apuzzo, it was one of those moments where the only solution to the blushes is to find a hole and hide.
Any hole actually, such was the calamity of the miss after Kayes had gift-wrapped the ball to him when perhaps he should have had a shot himself.
In the 65? minute Bonnyrigg punished the home side even further when Daniel Severino?s long free-kick into the area was met by Boardman who headed home.
Nathan Elasi could have made it three in the 78? minute with a great double chance that was twice saved by an alert Matthew Nash: his first shot was pushed back in a great reflex save and then his follow up header was majestically turned over the crossbar.
Time was running out and A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt needed something. That something duly arrived in the 82? minute when an innocuous free-kick seemed to cause too much difficulty for the Bonnyrigg defence and Mark Byrnes, jogging on the spot and not usually a player who scores, fired a nice shot into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt charged back to the halfway line with purpose ? it appeared that they knew an equaliser was imminent such is their confidence in recent weeks.
And, when a long ball forward saw Hartshorn charge towards goal, it was definitely on.
Graeme Forbes brought him down in the box and referee Kris Griffith Jones, in an excellent position, not only awarded a penalty but brandished the red card to the Bonnyrigg player.
Rizzo took the penalty, Vekic saved but only as far as Stephan who blasted the ball into the net from the rebound.
?A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt?s second goal was a bad one for us to give away,? said Brian Brown. ?A long ball beats four of us and it shouldn?t really do that to a team that is focused.?
Late in the game, Rizzo had a header that forced Vekic into a brilliant diving save to deny the former Crystal Palace player a goal that looked certain from the moment the ball left his head after a long throw-in from Kayes.
Right at the death Rizzo put in another shot that was deflected wide and it was to be the last real event of an absolutely enthralling encounter.
Meanwhile, the Grade 20s and the Grade 18s divisions were postponed due to the inclement weather.
Match Stats
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers 2 (Mark Byrnes 82?, Bishara Stephan 88?)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2 (Bradley Boardman 31?, 65?)
Sunday 23rd, May, 2010
Leichhardt Oval, Leichhardt
Referee: Kris Griffith-Jones
Assistant Referees: Samuel Grasso and Paul Faithfull
Fourth Official: Leigh Pigram
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: 1.Matthew Nash; 2.Mark Byrnes, 3.John Kelso, 13.David D?Apuzzo (8.Anthony Hartshorn 66?), 19.Danial Cummins, 6.Marton Vass, 7.Stephen Kayes, 19.Danial Cummins, 16.Hirofuni Moriyasu, 17.Matthew Fsadni, 11.Nick Rizzo, 9.Robert Younis (18.Bishara Stephan 80?).
Substitutes Not Used: 40.Michael Rutherford, 20.Liam McConaghy,
Yellow Cards: Younis 32?
Red Cards: Nil
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 90.Nenad Vekic; 2.Paul Cotte, 20.Wade Oostendorp, 5.Milan Zoric (4.Michael Brown 76?), 7.Nikola Zonjic (3.Graeme Forbes 59?), 8.Milorad Simonovic, 9.Brad Boardman, 10.Daniel Severino, 11.Shane Webb, 17.David Gullo (15.Nathan Elasi 70?), 19.Jamie McMaster
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Ali Akbal, 13.Julio Cesar Chavez
Yellow Cards: Cotte 56?, Gullo 58?
Red Cards: Forbes 88?
*Note – Player Ratings will now be hidden until the end of the NSW Premier League season with the overall standings to select the 2010 NSW Premier League All-Stars line-up
-By Joe Russo