Five star White Eagles dispose of Sharks


Bonnyrigg White Eagles gained some revenge for the recent 4-0 defeat against Sutherland Sharks at Seymour Shaw, handing the side a 5-2 hiding at the same venue on Saturday night to setup a showdown with Sydney United 58 FC next weekend.
Bonnyrigg were simply ruthless with a direct attacking approach that suffocated the Sutherland Sharks’ passing game from the outset.
The brilliant Robert Younis secured his hat-trick inside of the opening 25’ minutes before the Sharks were reduced to ten-men after Nick Stavroulakis was shown a straight red card.
It was a rather youthful Sharks outfit that took on a more experienced side as many as three Grade 20s players made their debuts in NSW’s top tier competition.
Further goals to Howard Fondyke and Jordan Crighton rounded out the result with the Sharks netting twice in the second-half via Nathan Elasi and Jordan Hughes.
The opening exchanges were fast paced as Mitch Long pushed his body around in the front third, pressuring Nicholas Littler into a fabulous swivel of the hips that saw the Sharks defender slalom his way past two opponents, before Panni Nikas’ phenomenal through ball down the left, only just, failed to find Nathan Elasi.
A Sharks’ lapse in concentration at the other end saw the White Eagles take advantage of its first real forward foray. Aleksander Canak’s square ball into the middle of the penalty-area picked out an unmarked Robert Younis who had no problem in drilling the ball into the roof of the net, from point-blank range.
It was a horror moment for the Sharks as a series deflections played into the White Eagles hands for the opening.
Bonnyrigg maintained the pressure on Sutherland as Tynan Diaz stretched his legs with a speedy dash down the right before delivering a dangerous cross that was marvellously dealt with by Nathan Denham.
On 8’ minutes, Younis had Denham stretching down to his left, though the striker’s powerful effort from the edge of the penalty-area drifted inches wide of the target.
The encounter took a further turn for the worse for Sutherland on 9’ minutes as Younis was ‘double-teamed’ by Perry Moustakas and Michael Stuart inside the penalty-area; the referee pointed to the spot, allowing Younis the chance to coolly slot home, a chance he took with complete ease.
The Sharks looked to slow Bonnyrigg’s immense start though the coverage of both Adrian Ucchino and Howard Fondyke in the middle of the park was constantly a thorn in the Sharks’ side.
Long and Canak too looked up for a big night with the former almost always on the ball when his side was in the front-third.
On 16’ minutes, Younis and Canak very nearly carved out another chance for Bonnyrigg however some desperate defending saw Canak’s return ball into the centre of the penalty-area cleared away to safety.
Sutherland’s first real look-in on goal arrived in the 19’ minute when Stuart’s centre from the right picked out Nikas inside the penalty-area. With the playmaker bringing the ball down off his chest, the referee blew his whistle after spotting an infringement by the Sharks number 23.
Bonnyrigg continued to pepper the Sharks rearguard, not allowing Robbie Stanton’s men to play the ball out from the back comfortably as Ucchino blasted a long-range effort only inches over the crossbar with Denham appeared to be beaten on 20’ minutes.
The phenomenal start by Bonnyrigg reaped further reward in the 24’ minute when Younis completed his hat-trick. Once again, the White Eagles strangled the Sharks trying to play the ball out from the back as Younis dispossessed Lukas Stergiou before drilling another left-foot special into the top left-hand corner.
The task at hand for the Sharks was made almost impossible in the 27’ minute when Sharks captain Nick Stavroulakis was shown a straight red card for a high foot on Long in the middle of the park.
To the Sharks credit, the side continued to play its passing game and very nearly pegged a goal back in the 32’ minutes via a set-piece. Nikas’ delivery from deep picked out the head of Reo Morinaga who rose highest only to divert his attempt wide of goal.
The Sharks should have fallen further behind when Littler uncharacteristically coughed up possession on the edge of his own penalty-area giving Canak a look-in, though the White Eagles striker was caught somewhat unawares as his attempted pass into the path of Younis was thwarted by Denham.
In the 43’ minute it was Littler to produce a timely intervention to deny a Canak-Younis one-two, the latter only just failing to squeeze the ball back to his teammate who would have been one-on-one with Denham.
Bo Hyun Chun too chimed in with a thunderbolt drive on 45’ minutes, the midfielder’s technique was magnificent on the half-volley, as the ball skimmed the top of the crossbar as the referee’s half-time whistle arrived much to the relief of the Sharks players and supporters.
Following the re-start, and despite the Sharks best intentions to move the ball around the pitch, it was Bonnyrigg who carved out the first opening. Long was played in behind the defence before sending his lunging effort, from an acute angle, well-over the crossbar.
Sutherland did find a goal to re-open the contest on 58’ minutes on the counterattack. Nathan Elasi was played through on goal and the speedy winger showed some finesse, and fancy feet, to weave his way past the oncoming Matthew Nash before driving the ball home.
The goal did seem to spur the Sharks back into action, though the numerical disadvantage was telling as Bonnyrigg were super quick to regain possession and move it around, making the Sharks chase the game.
Chun enjoyed some freedom down the left for the White Eagles, getting forward on a number of occasions during the second-half though not quite capable of delivering a pinpoint cross to add further damage on the scoreboard.
It was Diaz who next tested Denham with a violent diagonal effort on 73’ minutes, forcing the Sharks shot-stopper into a fingertip save.
Bonnyrigg did find its fourth goal of the night, and it carried the name of Fondyke. The energetic midfielder did exceptionally well to follow up another piece of brilliant play by Younis. The striker’s neat turn and shot forced Denham into a fine save, though he could only parry into the path of Fondyke who neatly tucked the ball away to make it 4-1. 
Substitute Jordan Crighton then added a fifth for Bonnyrigg in the 87’ minute, cleverly using his body to create some space inside the penalty-area before drilling into the back of the net, assisted slightly by a deflection that took the ball completely out of Denham’s reach.
Despite the deficit on the scoreboard, the Sharks supporters remained until the very end of the encounter, and they were treated to something special as Nikas took matters into his own hands, weaving his magic with a fine pass in behind the White Eagles defence and into the path of youngster Jordan Hughes who rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home.

At the referee’s final whistle, Bonnyrigg White Eagles coach Brian Brown was delighted with his side’s showing:
“Very happy with the boys tonight, we were really up for this tonight and it showed,” commented Brown.
“Training has been intense this week and the boys have really looked the goods.
“We looked to make things difficult for them by attacking from the opening whistle and tonight it worked. We did the same thing last time we played here and we ended up losing 4-0, so we are obviously happy with tonight’s show.”
The win for the White Eagles sees the side now line-up against Sydney United 58 FC, an encounter Brown is looking forward to:
“It is another match like the others, we will need to be at our best and I am sure that it will be a fantastic match,” Brown ended.
Sutherland Sharks playmaker Panni Nikas was certainly a dejected figure at the conclusion of the match, though he remained optimistic about the Sharks chances in the finals series:
“It was a tough night tonight, things didn’t go our way and Bonnyrigg really took their chances to make our job difficult.
“We did concede the three goals early and then lost a man, though our second-half was quite promising. We did finish 2-2 in that second-half, even though we played with a man down.
“In saying all this, we all need to return to the training field and really lift the intensity. Perhaps we have gone off the boil a little, myself included, so we really need to re-find the intensity we have had throughout the season,” Nikas concluded.
Match Stats
Sutherland Sharks 2 (Nathan Elasi 58’, Jordan Hughes 90’+3’)

Bonnyrigg White Eagles 5 (Robert Younis 4’, 9’ (pen), 24’, Howard Fondyke 74’, Jordan Crighton 87’)

Saturday 24th of August, 2013

Seymour Shaw
Referee: Christopher Young
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling and Lance Greenshields
Fourth Official: Khodr Yaghi
Sutherland Sharks FC: 1.Nathan Denham; 2.Nicholas Littler, 3.Michael Stuart (30.Jordan Roberts 72’), 4.James McKenzie, 7.Nathan Elasi, 10.Jamie McMaster (8.Jordan Hughes 52’), 13.Reo Morinaga, 14.Nick Stavroulakis (C), 15.Perry Moustakas (18.Jayden Koulizakis 76’), 23.Panni Nikas, 32.Lukas Stergiou        
Substitutes Not Used: 22.Andrew Depta; 9.Brad Boardman
Yellow Cards: Nicholas Littler 11’, Jamie McMaster 29’, Reo Morinaga 84’
Red Cards: Nick Stavroulakis 27’
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1.Matthew Nash; 4.Vuko Tomasevic, 5.Chris Tadrosse (C), 6.Nikola Zonjic, 8.Aleksander Canak (19.Aaron Peterson, 76’), 7.Tynan Diaz, 16.Howard Fondyke, 9.Robert Younis, 10.Mitch Long (2.Alexander Mansueto 79’), 18.Adrian Ucchino, 21.Bo Hyun Chun (14.Jordan Crighton 79’)  
Substitutes Not Used: 15.Steven Hesketh, 25.Liam Gobbo
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil 
-By Joseph Carlucci