NSW Premier League Grade 20 Round 20 Review


The Premiership is still well and truly up for grabs though, with Manly United suddenly posing the biggest threat to Sutherland Sharks after both were victorious, whilst Blacktown City went down to South Coast Wolves. 
Sydney United 58 ended APIA Leichhardt’s hopes of finishing in the top five by defeating them 2-1 at Sydney United Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon. Goals from Marko Vukovic and Mark Cindric were enough for the home side to take all three points, despite Paul Galimi pulling one back for APIA. 
APIA started brightly but Nick Taneski blew a golden opportunity to put APIA in front as early as the third minute. The striker, in red hot form after scoring for Sydney FC against Macarthur Rams during the week, was one-on-one with the Sydney United goalkeeper Ian Johnson but as he tried to go around him, the shot stopper managed to claw the ball away from his feet.
Just a minute later, Taneski looked to have given the visitors the lead but his volley from the left edge of the penalty area flew narrowly wide. 
With the Edensor Park pitch in atrocious condition, neither side was able to successfully play the ball around on the ground with any sort of consistency. 
It was a delightful piece of play though, that saw Sydney United 58 take the lead in the tenth minute, as APIA were made to pay for their earlier wastefulness in front of goal. 
Sam Chapple’s ball found Ben Vidaic on the edge of the area and his delightful backheel nutmegged APIA defender Paul Galimi, setting Marko Vukovic free and he made no mistake one-on-one with Stefan Giglio, forcing the keeper to commit and then sliding the ball past him and into the back of the net. 
Sydney United should have doubled their lead in the 21st minute when Vidaic was set clear of the APIA defence, but Giglio, a former Sydney United goalkeeper, made a good save by narrowing the angle and reacting well to Vidaic. The United striker lacked composure at a critical moment and really should have put his side 2-0 up.
APIA went to sleep on the half hour mark when a throw in released Mark Cindric down the left, but Hayden Feller recovered well to tackle and conceded a corner.
From the resulting corner, Sydney United doubled their lead and it was the prolific Cindric who scored. A corner from the left was punched clear under pressure by Giglio, but it fell to Marko Vukovic who hit a first time volley from 30 yards that was deftly touched past Giglio by Cindric, showing all the instincts of a born goalscorer.
There was little the APIA keeper could do as the ball came through a crowded penalty area and it was a crushing blow for the visiting side who had looked threatening early in the match, but had failed to take their opportunities. 
Sydney United could and should have gone three up moments later when Kyle Stewart was released down the inside right channel, but with Giglio unsure of his positioning, Stewart’s delicate lobbed landed just wide. 
APIA were under pressure, knowing that a defeat would be critical to their top five ambitions and their usual composed style suffered at the hands of the Edensor Park playing surface. 
Taneski briefly threatened down the left in the 37th minute, but Brayden Sorge was solid under pressure, showing good composure to nick the ball from the feet of the APIA attacker.
Ante Zovko gave away a corner in the 38th minute and from it, APIA’s captain Paul Galimi headed over the bar, not threatening Ian Johnson in the Sydney United goal. 
Sydney United’s main ploy was to play into the body of Vidaic and the striker was very much at the heart of Sydney United’s most threatening moves. 
Alas, it was APIA who scored next, after Zovko gave away another corner in the 39th minute. Again it was the head of Galimi and this time the centre half’s header flew straight past Johnson who had no chance. 
Sydney United were losing their composure and it showed as their captain Mitchell Osmond, who was beaten by Galimi for the goal, was booked for dragging down In Yong Jang, though the free kick taken by Fabian Sosa came to nothing. 
Taneski was released by a first time ball from Hayden Feller in the 43rd minute, which needed Johnson to rush out of his area and head clear. With Johnson scrambling back to his line, Taneski picked up the loose ball and chipped the ball just over.
Taneski was hugely involved as the half drew to a close, the striker releasing Wiltar Jajaw, who saw his searing shot brilliantly tipped over by the flying Johnson.
In the last minute of the first half, Sydney United could have scored a third as Marko Vukovic was through on goal, but Stefan Giglio made a very important one on one save. Vidaic got his head to the resulting corner but could only direct his header well wide of the goal.
It was a fascinating first half of football at Edensor Park and with APIA Leichhardt’s season on the line, the second promised just as much. 
APIA coach Rod Williams showed that he wasn’t in the mood to shirk the big decisions, replacing goalkeeper Stefan Giglio with David Bradesevic at half time. Cameron Clifford also went on, replacing Hayden Feller.
A defensive error from Steven Jezercic gave Nick Taneski a sniff of goal as early as the 47th minute, but his first time volley flew high over the bar.
Vidaic remained central to Sydney United’s thinking, but he was being marshalled well by Galimi in defence as United failed to test the substitute keeper Bradesevic before the hour mark.
Pan Gotsis thought he should have had a penalty on the hour when he went down in the area, but no foul was forthcoming. Gotsis recovered to hook a shot at goal but Johnson smothered well. Immediately, Sydney United went up the other end and came within inches of scoring a third that would possibly put the game to bed.
Cindric was released on the left as United found themselves four on three, and although his shot beat Bradesevic, it hit the far post and went out for a goal kick. It turned out to be his last contribution as he was replaced by Isaac Savor. 
The match had gone quiet and Rod Williams decided to make a substitution of his own, replacing Wiltar Jajaw with Adam Raciti. Jajaw had been quiet on APIA’s left, save for when he was denied by Johnson in the first half. 
Neither Bradesevic nor Johnson had been tested in a second half that hadn’t quite yet lived up to the first, but APIA knew they needed a goal or two as the match entered the final quarter of an hour.
That changed when Marko Vukovic lined up a free kick 25 yards from goal and although he curled it up and over the wall, Bradesevic showed good awareness in getting across to make a good save. 
Brayden Sorge thought he’d sealed the victory in the 83rd minute when a corner from the right found him unmarked, but his glancing header was cleared off the line by Cameron Clifford standing on the back post. 
Brian Griffith-Colls went into the book in the 86th minute for scything down Isaac Savor after the Sydney United player had broken with serious pace down the left hand side, as APIA grew increasingly desperate to force the issue in the final few minutes.
A beautiful touch from Marko Vukovic released Savor again down the left, but his cut back couldn’t find the feet of Vidaic. The Sydney United striker was substituted straight afterwards, with Michael Jonjic making his way onto the field for the final few moments. 
The match petered out as the three minutes of stoppage were played with little threat to either goal as Sydney United were able to close out an excellent victory and one that deals a fatal blow to APIA Leichhardt’s top five hopes for the season. 
Sydney United coach Antony Zmire was pleased with the win.
“It was a good, tough win. It was scrappy at times, though,” he said.
Zmire continued, “I was happy we went 1-0 up, because if they scored first they could have shut up shop and it would have been a completely different game.”
APIA coach Rod Williams lamented his sides profligacy in front of goal.
“We should have scored at the start of the game when we were on top,” he said.
“We were excellent again for the first twenty minutes of the second half, but then we let it slip,” he added ruefully. 
Match Stats
Sydney United 58 2 (Marko Vukovic 10′, Mark Cindric 32′)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 1 (Paul Galimi 40′) 
Sunday 19th August, 2012
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Referee: James Meechan
Assistant Referees: Craig Fisher and Lee Corey
Sydney United 58: 20.Ian Johnson, 33.Steven Jezercic, 32.Ante Zovko (24.Spiro Agathos 73′), 5.Mitchell Osmond (C), 15.Sam Chapple, 40.Kyle Stewart, 27.Mitchell Thompson, 4.Ben Vidaic (35.Michael Jonjic 89′), 29.Brayden Sorge, 17.Mark Cindric (25.Isaac Savor 60′), 39.Marko Vukovic
Substitutes Not Used: 31.Jack Radas
Yellow Cards: Mitchell Osmond 41′, Sam Chapple 70′
Red Cards: Nil
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1.Stefan Giglio (40.David Bradesevic 46′), 25.Ali Nasreddine, 28.Brian Griffin-Colls, 29.Gyu Re-Lee, 30.Fabian Sosa (34.Robert Bacic 78′), 31.In Yong Jang, 33.Pan Gotsis, 38.Paul Galimi (C), 39.Nick Taneski, 36.Hayden Feller (27.Cameron Clifford 46′), 41.Wiltar Jajaw (32.Adam Raciti 69′)
Substitutes Not Used: 26.Anthony Dah-Dah
Yellow Cards: Paul Galimi 32′, Cameron Clifford 79′, Brian Griffith-Colls 86′
Red Cards: Nil
Manly United climbed up to second place with a win on Saturday evening.
Their 1-0 victory over Marconi Stallions means that they are just two points behind top of the table Sutherland Sharks with two rounds to play.
Blacktown Spartans leapfrogged Rockdale City with a hard fought 3-1 victory on Saturday evening.
Spartans took the lead through Calum Hedge in the 29th minute, before Rockdale pegged one back shortly after half time. 
Steven Ugarkovic and the in-form Shiyar Cakel netted in the 60th and 81st minutes respectively to give Spartans an important win, though Rockdale City didn’t help their cause by missing two penalties in the match thanks to two fantastic saves by Spartans custodian Jesse Shewan.
Sutherland Sharks made a welcome return to the winners circle on Sunday afternoon.
Their 1-0 win over Sydney Olympic sends them two points clear at the top of the table, with a tricky fixture against Blacktown City next weekend. 
South Coast Wolves pulled off an upset, defeating Blacktown City 2-0 on Sunday afternoon.
Blacktown City created plenty of chances but couldn’t find the back of the net in what was a great match at Lily Homes Stadium.
Daniel Munilla and a Fabian Iacovelli penalty after Blacktown keeper Luke Turnbull recieved his marching orders were enough for Richard Lloyd’s young side to secure all three points.
Parramatta FC’s strong finish to the season continued at Melita Stadium as they don’t Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
Both goals were scored in the first half by Dylan Holz, who was playing up from the 18s squad. 
-By Matthew Connellan