Sharks beat Sydney United in Finals Series dress rehearsal


In arguably one of the best 90? minutes of football this season, both sides expressed themselves with some very neat passing across the park ? a fine reflection of the high level of football played in the NSW Premier League this season.
In the end, a rather fortuitous deflection from a Chris Price strike early in the second-half proved the difference for the Sharks.
A fairly even opening saw both sides exchange passages of play with a hold of possession in midfield as the Sharks pressed via the feet of Nick Stavroulakis and Panni Nikas with the Reds looking to Steve Hayes and Ufuk Talay to pull the strings out of the middle.
Sutherland Sharks forced the first real attack of the evening on 4? minutes as Yianni Fragogiannis got forward down the left flank and delivered a swirling cross into the penalty-area. The Reds defenders were well aware of the danger as Michael Cindric cleared any danger.
Chris Price dispossessed his marker in the 7? minute on the edge of the penalty-area, though his cut back attempt across goal was well defended by the visitors.
The home side kept the ball in the attacking third and went close via Panni Nikas? corner deliver 30?? seconds later. Hayden Morton got on the end of the playmaker?s delivery, though failed to head his looping attempt on target.
Sharks? striker Sam Awad then won his side a corner following a fine twist and turn on the left, as Stavroulakis showed composure and finesse to exceptionally turn on the edge of the penalty-area to create the space to deliver his attempt on goal ? denied by a fine Vedran Janjetovic save at full stretch.
Sydney United?s response arrived on 14? minutes via the feet of Petar Markovic down the right flank. The creative midfielder cleverly found the byline, though his delivery into the penalty-area was well dealt with the Sharks defenders.
1? minute later and Sharks goalkeeper Nathan Denham was forced into a fine save down to his left. Mitchell Thompson found a yard of space to line a shot from distance as he unleashed a fierce drive to force the shot-stopper into action.
On 18? minutes Sam Awad squandered a golden chance to open the scoring. Sent through on goal with an exceptional through ball from Michael Katz, Awad brought the ball down nicely before driving his diagonal effort across Janjetovic?s goal.
Awad went close again in the 22? minute following a swift Sharks? counterattack. Started by Nikas, Chris Price delivered a pinpoint cross from the left onto the head of the burly striker, though Awad?s header finished inches over Janjetovic?s crossbar.
Sydney United got forward in the 24? minute and reminded the Sharks of their attacking prowess as Thompson unleashed a venomous volley from outside of the penalty-area only inches wide of Denham?s left up-right.
Luka Glavas got involved for the Reds in the 25? minute as he lined up a good look-in on goal. The striker?s shot on the turn was well hit, though a heavy deflection killed the ball as Denham claimed comfortably to thwart any danger for the home side.
The Sharks supporters were on their feet in the 28? minute as Awad stole the ball in the Reds half to move clear on goal. From an acute angle, Awad sent his shot across goal though the ball remained in play on the right-flank. A square pass by Todd Halloran into the path of Nikas allowed the playmaker a chance to line up from distance though his effort finished well over the crossbar.
Sutherland?s poor execution in the final third continued in the 30? minute as Matt Bailey failed to deliver a cross from the left into the penalty-area. The Sharks deserved a little more from the counterattack following Fragogiannis? tantalising pass into the path of Bailey, though the latter?s delivery missed its target.
Young Sharks? defender Morton showed just why he has such a promising future ahead of him in the 39? minute as he expertly got ahead of Barkhousir to deny the Reds striker a look-in on goal with some strong defending.
Awad closed the half for the Sharks with a final attempt on goal in the 43? minute from the edge of the penalty-area. The striker?s shot on the turn packed some real power though was skied over the crossbar, much to the distress of the home supporters.
Sydney United created the first opening of the second-half as Markovic cut in on the right-flank onto his left foot before driving his effort directly at Denham.
Steve Hayes also tried his luck with a shot from distance 1? minute latter, though his shot finished wide of the target.
At the other end, Sutherland took the lead in via Chris Price. The midfielder cut in from the left-flank and unleashed a powerful drive on goal. A heavy deflection amidst a sea of legs made Janjetovic?s task impossible as the ball finished inside the right-hand post.
Sydney United went close to levelling in the 52? minute as Barkhousir and Hayes combined to send the latter on goal. With little space at his disposal, Hayes was thwarted by a brave Denham save down at the midfielder?s feet.
On the hour, Stavroulakis? energy out of midfield initiated a Sharks counterattack following a 5? minute spell of Reds possession. The midfielder combined with Price who played Nikas into space ? the attacking midfielder sent his effort from distance well over the crossbar.
On 68? minutes, Barkhousir nearly brought the travelling Sydney United supporters to full voice with an exceptional shot off his right peg from outside the penalty-area. Destined for the top right-hand corner, the ball rose late, finishing only inches over the crossbar.
Sutherland got back onto the front foot from the re-start as Halloran got to the right byline. The right-sided midfielder cut his effort back across goal, though no Sharks player was on hand to finish as the Reds cleared their lines swiftly.
The Sharks should have doubled their lead in the 74? minute when Awad played a delightful square ball into the path of Bailey. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Bailey forced Janjetovic into a tremendous reflex save, denying the Sharks midfielder from point-blank range.
Sydney United had claims for a penalty waved away moments later before Markovic blasted his attempt from distance well over the crossbar.
5? minutes from time, Nikas won the Sharks a penalty following Ivo Bosnar?s mistimed challenge inside the penalty-area. The Sutherland playmaker took upon himself the penalty taking responsibilities though saw his effort denied by a fine save by Janjetovic down to his left. The shot-stopper got a strong enough palm behind the ball to guide it onto the up-right, ensuring the deficit would remain at one.
Despite Sydney United?s best efforts to get forward to find an equaliser, Sutherland carved out another opening, this time via the feet of Stavroulakis. The holding midfielder had time on the ball and drove a long-range effort inches over Janjetovic?s crossbar.
Sydney United?s Anthony Golec produced a world class tackle deep into injury-time to deny Bailey a certain goal. With only the goalkeeper ahead of him, Bailey had the ball taken at the last moment as Golec cleanly diverted the ball behind for a corner.
At the other end, the Reds had a final chance in the last minute of injury-time to salvage a point as Daniel Rezo?s free-kick delivery from the right was headed wide by Cindric. The tall defender not assisted by the bright flood lights that affected his final attempt.
Following the referee?s final whistle, Sutherland Sharks coach Robbie Stanton was all smiles:
?Sydney United are such a good team and we really had to work for the win tonight, and I am extremely proud of all the boys for their efforts tonight.
?We got the goal, and I have to admit that I didn?t think one goal was going to be enough tonight, though in the end it got us the three points.
?I thought we created a number of chances, we missed the penalty and had a number of other positive chances which we will need to take in the future to try and give ourselves a bit of a buffer in matches.
?Sydney United played some good football, even though their midweek match against Manly United FC would have taken a bit out of them.
?I think the result tonight has hurt them in their bid to close on Sydney Olympic, though the two teams will meet next week which will make for an interesting match.
?Tonight, in defence we were strong with our two central defenders calling the shots, and we really managed to slow them down and didn?t let them play to their strengths.
?In all, it is a really positive result for us and we will look to continue to build on what we have achieved to-date. To beat a quality team built by a quality coach is great, though we won?t get carried away, we?ll continue to work hard and try to get as high up the leader as possible,? Stanton ended.
Sydney United?s Ivo Bosnar expressed his side?s disappointment at the result:
?We thought that we played a positive match tonight, with some good passing and dominant passages of play, so we are disappointment to come home with nothing from the match.
?We did create some good chances against a good side, though we couldn?t find a breakthrough. The midweek match certainly did take something out of us, though we were still up for this match tonight.
?Late on we thought that we could take a point with a couple of chances, though some decisions went against us at crucial moments and we fell short.
?Sydney Olympic plays tomorrow and they have a chance to extend their lead. It would have been nice to have been level going into the match against them next week, though we will have to now look to get a good week in training and bounce back next weekend,? concluded Bosnar.
In the Grade-20 division, Sutherland Sharks secured the points with a very convincing 2-0 defeat of Sydney United.
Sutherland Sharks 1 (Chris Price 47?)
Sydney United 0
Saturday 30th July, 2011
Seymour Shaw, Miranda
Referee: Ryan Shepheard
Sutherland Sharks: 1.Nathan Denham; 2.George Souris (C), 4.Yianni Fragogiannis, 6.Sam Awad (20.Paul Kohler 79?), 8.Chris Price, 10.Matt Bailey, 11.Todd Halloran (7.Jim Bakis 74?), 12.Hayden Morton, 14.Nick Stavroulakis, 15.Michael Katz, 23.Panni Nikas
Substitutes Not Used: 5.Lachlan Cahill, 19.Huseyin Jasli, 22.Alex Augusto
Yellow Cards: Todd Halloran 54?
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney United: 1.Vedran Janjetovic; 3.Mitchell Spear, 4.Michael Cindric, 5.Anthony Golec, 8.Shane Lyons (38.Tom Mijic 46?), 10.Steve Hayes, 19.Mitchell Thompson (18.Daniel Rezo 66?), 14.Petar Markovic, 15.Ufuk Talay (C) (23.Ivo Bosnar 66?), 9.Elsid Barkhousir, 11.Luka Glavas
Substitutes Not Used: 25.Arron Peterson, 20.Ryan Norval
Yellow Cards: Anthony Golec 45?, Steve Hayes 55?, Ivo Bosnar 76?, Mitchell Spear 85?
Red Cards: Nil
-By Joseph Carlucci