Disappointing draw at Lambert

PS4 NPL NSW Mens 1 R10 Appia V Bonnyrigg Images By CiMAGE By Chris Nesci

AS SO often happens when two high quality teams meet, stalemate was the result.

APIA Leichhardt and Bonnyrigg White Eagles played out a nil-all draw at Lambert Park, in a game of few genuine chances.

Both sides had one superb chance to score each, but Nathan Elasi and Ray Miller fluffed their lines when presented with an opportunity to make a difference.
Midfield reigned supreme and the battle between Miller and Adrian Ucchino was absorbing. As with the rest of the match, honours were even in that contest.

Blake Powell, who has 13 goals to his name this season, failed to score for the first time this season, bringing to an end his remarkable run of scoring in nine matches in a row to start the season.

Tactical fouls were the order of the day, and neither side truly got going in a 90 minutes characterised by free kicks and stoppages and a draw was certainly a fair result. Only in the final five minutes did space begin to appear, but neither side was able to take advantage.
For APIA, the lucky dip between the sticks continued as Ryan Norval was preferred to Andrew Bazi. Norval justified his selection early on, making a strong one-on-one save to deny Tynan Diaz, who showed searing pace to get in behind Michael West and Daniel Petkovski. 
Robbie Younis fired a warning shot over the bar shortly after, but Diaz was looking their main threat and his pace meant West and Petkovski were on red alert. 
The clearest cut chance of the first half fell to Elasi. Nice interplay by Franco Parisi and Blake Powell saw the ball come to Elasi at the back post, but the winger shot straight at James Chronopoulos. He really should have scored.
David D’Apuzzo lined a shot up from distance ten minutes before half time, only for it to fizz wide, before Ray Miller clipped the top of the crossbar. 
Petkovski let a ball bounce over his head, which allowed Miller to race clear. With only Norval to beat though, his delicate attempt at a finish grazed the woodwork.
Norval had to be at his best when, ten minutes after half time, Younis’ eyes lit up. He lashed a 35 yard shot at goal that was heading for the top corner until Norval’s intervention. 
The match needed something and both coaches turned to their benches for inspiration. Corey Biczo replaced Elasi for APIA, and Aaron Peterson took Adam Jenner’s place for Bonnyrigg.
The game was still mostly mired in midfield, with Miller and Ucchino going at it like two prize fighters in search of the knockout blow, though none was forthcoming. 
Chances were few and far between in the second stanza though, and Chronopoulos would have been forgiven for wondering why he was there at all, save for the odd clearance. 

Adam Griffiths returned from injury with a late cameo, but it was spoiled when he curiously received two yellow cards within the space of a few minutes, and was marched. Nobody seemed quite sure what had happened.
The match was summed up neatly when, in the final minute, Brian Brown replaced Diaz with centre back Ben Spruce to safeguard a share of the points.
It was only fair.
Match Stats
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 0
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 0

Saturday May 16, 2015
Lambert Park, Leichhardt

Referee: Benjamin Abraham
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields and Kearney Robinson
Fourth Official: Adam Vainauskas
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: Norval; Millgate, Petkovski, West (C), Symons; D’Apuzzo, Ucchino (Griffiths 85′); Olsen, Parisi, Elasi (Biczo 69′); Powell
Substitutes not used: Bazi, Rhodes, Kayes
Yellow cards: Millgate 44′, D’Apuzzo 78′, Griffiths 90+2
Red cards: Griffiths 90+2′
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: Chronopoulos; Mansueto, Zonjic, Fox, Tadrosse (C); Jenner (Peterson 72′), Gil, Miller, Diaz (Spruce 89′); Canak, Younis
Substitutes not used: Savicic, Kokado, McDonald
Yellow cards: Gil 7′, Miller 68′
Player ratings:
3- Adrian Ucchino (APIA)
2- Ray Miller (BWE)
1- Ryan Norval (APIA)
– by Matthew Lopez, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Editor, at Lambert Park