Entertainment plus as Reds hold dominant Sharks to a draw


Sutherland Sharks and Sydney United 58 FC played out a 1-1 draw in a very entertaining contest on Saturday evening’s match of the round.
Seemingly intent on taking the game to the Sharks, Sydney United 58 FC dominated the opening 15’ minutes, with a goal to Yuichi Yamauchi, though from that point onwards, the night belong to Sutherland who finally took advantage of one of many goal scoring chances when Reds’ defender Ben Jurman directed the ball into his own net.
A fabulous turnout greeted both sets of players as they took to the pitch with perfect playing conditions at the picturesque venue for football.
Prior to kick-off, all those present observed 1’ min of silence for the passing of Sharks’ committee member, Don Truman who passed away following a battle with cancer.
The Sharks, still buzzing from the amazing come-from-behind victory at Blacktown City FC in midweek fielded Brad Boardman up-front, with man of the moment Nicholas Olsen securing himself a starting spot for this match just off the burly striker – Olsen, in fact, was absolutely brilliant on the night, covering a lot of the field with his lightning pace and exceptional composure on the ball.
Sydney United 58 FC, fresh from the weekend off seven-days ago after its match against Central Coast Mariners Academy was washed out, had Luka Glavas leading the line up-front, with the very influential Mirjan Pavlovic playing off the Reds’ captain,
It was the visitors who created the first chance of note in only the 2’ minute Robert Mileski swiveled his way past two markers on the left byline before driving his effort into the side netting.
The Reds’ blistering start continued with some great field possession in the front-third, leading to the opening goal on 7’ minutes.
Yuchi Yamauchi drove home from close-range following some tremendous build-up play down the right. The new signing for the Reds was lighting fast to get to the ball, blasting home past a helpless Nathan Denham for the opener.
The Sharks response arrived via the feet of Boardman 2’ minutes later. The number 9 used his body well to shield the ball on the edge of the penalty-area before releasing Nathan Elasi out on the right. The chance amounted to nothing as Olsen tried his luck, denied by a sea of legs inside the penalty-area.
Sutherland goalkeeper Nathan Denham showed off some fancy footwork in the 19’ minute when he confidently skipped past the oncoming Pavlovic inside the penalty-area – definitely worth a mention on the highlights reel this weekend.
The home side did find the back of the net 1’ minute later when Nik Tsattalios drove the ball home into an empty net following some fabulous flowing play down the right.  Despite the cheers of delight from the home crowd, the referee pulled up play after his assistant had his flag raised for offside.
Sutherland captain Nick Stavroulakis very nearly drew the sides level on 22’ minutes when we threw his body towards a loose ball inside the area. With the ball not coming down quickly enough, Stavroulakis unleashed a powerful snap-shot effort over the crossbar.
The Sharks continued to mount the pressure in search of an equaliser, and perhaps the side deserved to be on level terms when Olsen saw his 25’ minute pile-driver ricochet off the crossbar. It was a swift move, brilliant to watch, from the Sharks as Tsattalios’ delivery from the left was headed back into the path of Olsen by Elasi before the thunderous strike.
On the left side, Sutherland continued to enjoy some positive possession with Tsattalios taking commend of the left wing. On 29’ minutes, it was the Sharks’ number 33 again who played another tantalising cross into the penalty-area, picking out Boardman who saw his first-time shot perfectly parried by American goalkeeper Jordan Jennings.
At the other end, the Reds had the Sharks on the back foot as Ben Jurman got forward down the left. The left-sided defender’s ball into the middle of the box caused a massive scramble for the home side as captain Stavroulakis showed all his composure to take a first touch before releasing the ball out to the left.
Sutherland again teased the Reds with some tantalising play on the counterattack in the 35’ minute, again going close to an equaliser. Boardman and Perry Moustakas combined with the latter playing a marvellous pass over the Reds defence into the path of Tsattalios down the left. The Sharks left-sided winger then played an audacious chip over the exposed Jennings, denied only by the crossbar as the Reds defenders retreated to thwart Tsattalios’ follow-up.
The momentum remained with the home side as Olsen made a tremendous run down the middle of the park, showcasing some blistering pace to reach the edge of the penalty-area. Some desperate defending by the visitors however saw another Sutherland chance go begging.
The home side’s fortunes didn’t change in the 41’ minute Boardman was played free on the left. The striker played a first-time cross, low and hard, across goal, though saw his attempt thwarted by the Sydney United 58 FC defence.
The Reds, who had taken some of Sutherland’s best shots in the final 20’ minutes of the half perhaps created the best chance to double its lead 2’ minutes from the interval. Pavlovic received a fine through ball over the Sharks defence though saw his powerful drive on goal well saved by Denham who stood tall to keep the deficit at one going into the break.
Following the interval, Olsen had the Sharks faithful on its feet with another amazing strike with his left-peg. Free on the edge of the penalty-area, Olsen picked up a loose ball following a corner from the left, blasting first-time only inches over Jennings’ crossbar.
Sydney United’s response arrived via Mitchell Speer down the right. The right-sided defender weaved his magic with a fine run before the Sharks diverted the ball for a corner.
Speer then forced Denham into a fine save to his right, from the resulting corner, stinging the palms of the shot-stopper with a powerful drive.
On the hour, the Sharks finally had the equaliser they so richly deserved. Once again, Nikas orchestrated the move with a subtle through ball in between two defenders and into the path of Tsattalios. The left-sided winger anticipated Jennings with a square ball into the path of the unfortunate Ben Jurman who ran the ball into his own goal.
Sydney United, under a constant barrage of Sharks’ attacks, carved out a positive opening via the head of Mileski. The attacking midfielder made a fabulous run at the back post though his glancing header lacked the direction required to hurt the Sharks.
Sutherland continued its forward forays as Stavroulakis again went close to finding the back of the net. The Sharks’ number 14 hit a powerful effort, first-time, with a trailing leg denying Sutherland a goal.
The fast-paced encounter saw both sides quickly exchange blows from one end to another, leaving for some big spaces to open up in the middle of the park.
Sutherland’s influential playmaker Nikas was replaced 15’ minutes from the end. Nikas, along with Olsen, was again the orchestrator of all things in the front-third for the Sharks, though a heavy blow to his hip in the first-half took its toll.
Sydney United 58 FC had a set-piece opportunity via the right boot of Glen Trifiro in the 77’ minute, though unfortunately for the talented midfielder, Denham was at his best, getting down to his right to make the save.
Denham’s opposite number, Jennings, made a fabulous save down to his left in the 81’ minute to deny Chris Naumoff. The second-half substitute – on for Boardman – rose highest to head Tsattalios’ centre, though Jennings was unyielding with a phenomenal save. 
Stavroulakis had the Sharks supporters on their feet 5’ minutes from time when he went on a mazy run and create the space to shoot. The midfielder’s left foot drive had the goalkeeper beaten, though Callum O’Connell made a last-ditch save on the goal line, much to the disappointment of the home crowd.
The Sharks’ pressure continued as Moustakas carved out an opening after picking up a loose ball. From a very promising position inside the Reds’ penalty-area, the central defender blasted his effort over the crossbar, as the referee brought an end to proceedings after 90’ minutes of very entertaining football.
Following the match, Sharks coach Robbie Stanton was full of praise for his players, even though the side didn’t seal maximum points from the encounter:
“A lot of people are saying that we should have scored four or five tonight, yes maybe it is true, though we did risk on two or three occasions against a great side.
“I am very happy with the boys, with the way we reacted after going a goal behind and with the football we played.
“The chances were there tonight, maybe the most chances we have ever had in a single match, though even though we didn’t get the winner, the performance was very positive.
“The Blacktown City match took a lot out of us, as we didn’t get to prepare the match due to the heavy traffic and a lot of players getting there just before kick-off. We went three goals behind, though we managed to come back which is testament to the players we have.
“Our job now is to get on with it, it would have been good to close the gap a little more with a win, though we will take the point and look to keep progressing positively from next weekend,” ended Stanton.
Sydney United 58 FC midfielder Glen Trifiro acknowledged the fine performance of the Sharks, though was happy his side managed to keep its unbeaten record intact:
“It was a really difficult match tonight, we were under pressure for large spells, though we also had a few chances ourselves.
“Sutherland is a difficult side to beat, especially away from home, and they proved it tonight.
“Our aim was to hit them early, just to see how they would approach the match following the midweek match they played (against Blacktown City FC) and we did really well scoring early.
“In the end, we will take the point, we are happy that our unbeaten record has remained intact, and we will look to get on with the job next weekend,” concluded Trifiro.
Match Stats
Sutherland Sharks 1 (Ben Jurman (og) 60’ )

Sydney United 58 FC 1 (Yuichi Yamauchi 7’ )

Saturday 27th April, 2013

Seymour Shaw, Miranda
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: James Tesoriero and Mitch Clark
Fourth Official: Ben Abraham
Sutherland Sharks FC: 1.Nathan Denham; 2.Nicholas Littler, 6.Matthew Gordon, 7.Nathan Elasi, 8.Nicholas Olsen, 9.Brad Boardman (19.Christopher Naumoff 74’), 13.Reo Morinaga, 14.Nick Stavroulakis (C), 15.Perry Moustakas, 23.Panni Nikas (3.Michael Stuart 74’), 33.Nikolas Tsattalios (17.Klim Gjorseski 84’)
Substitutes Not Used: 22.Andrew Depta, 4.James McKenzie
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney United 58 FC: 41.Jordan Jennings; 2.Mitchell Speer, 3.Ben Jurman (5.Calum O’Connell 68’), 4.Nathan Sherlock, 6.Mitchell Stamatellis, 7.Mirjan Pavlovic (10.Chris Triantis 74’), 8.Yuchi Yamauchi, 9.Robert Mileski, 11.Luka Glavas (C), 15.Anthony Tomelic, 18.Glen Trifiro
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Marko Bozic, 22.Daniel Barac, 23.Ante Tomic
Yellow Cards: Calum O’Connell 72’, Mitchell Stamatellis 90’+2’
Red Cards: Nil

Player Ratings:

3 – Nicholas Olsen (SS)

2 – Nick Stavroulakis (SS)

1 – Jordan Jennings (SU)

-By Joseph Carlucci