APIA Leichhardt Tigers has taken top spot of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s after a comprehensive 5-0 win against Manly United FC at Lambert Park on Saturday.
A red card to Manly attacker Brendan Cholakian after only ten minutes set the tone for the match and APIA didn’t hold back in turning the screws on their opposition.
The Tigers went on a rampage in the first half with three unanswered goals in 12 minutes courtesy of Sean Symons, Nathan Millgate and Tasuku Sekiya to set up a 3-0 half time lead.
Sekiya struck again in the second half to claim a brace while Dominic Cox also found the back of the net to round out the 5-0 thrashing.
It is the first time APIA has been above Blacktown City on the table in two months and sets up an exciting final race for the Premiership.
In 5th minute Sean Symons received the ball from Sekiya but he blasted his diagonal shot onto the inside of the post. It was so close for the home side and the ball came back out at a cracking pace much to their frustration.
The match would take a major turn in the 14th minute when Cholakian was given his marching orders after a rash challenge on Sean O’Connell.
Manly United, down to ten players, were always going to have chase the Tigers who clearly were intent on taking full advantage of the extra player they had.
In the 27th minute a shot by Sekiya from outside the box went over the crossbar as APIA pressed for an opening goal.
However, they didn’t have to wait too long because as Sean Symons received an Adrian Ucchino cross and then scored after taking a nice touch
Manly shot stopper Dylan Mitchell did well to stop Jordan Murray from doubling the homeside’s lead after 32 minutes when he dived in low to make a save.
APIA was firing on all cylinders and weren’t going to be denied. Nathan Millgate made it 2-0 in the 35th minute with a towering headed effort.
In the 41st minute it became 3-0 to the home side when Sekiya tapped home a Corey Bizco cross to ensure they went into the break with complete control of the match.
Early in the second half APIA should have scored again. A sweeping move forward ended with a back heel by Sekiya in the box to Biczo, but his shot was just a matter of centimetres wide.
In 68th minute APIA scored their fourth goal thanks to substitute Dominic Cox.
A free-kick by Ucchino was met by a glancing header from Joshua Symons; goalkeeper Mitchell parried but only as far as Cox who headed in from close range.
APIA made it five in 77th minute. A wonderful through ball found Sekiya and his silky skills did the rest for another great goal and his second of the evening.
The last roll of the dice was right at the end when, from just outside the box, Franco Parisi put the ball a mere fraction wide.
After the game APIA Leichhardt coach Danial Cummins was justifiably delighted with the one sided victory.
“I am happy that we kept a clean sheet and executed very well because we knew that Manly were a dangerous side,” he said.
“Our team’s attitude is fantastic. They are following instructions well and they believe. I have quality players on the bench and that’s quality players missing out, but it’s hard to get into this team and they are all professional and taking it very well.
“It’s now all in our hands for the remaining games. We’ll go to Blacktown next week and then we have Rockdale here [at home] but they are going to be two very tough games.”
Despite the result, Manly United coach Warren Grieve was also very proud of his side and fully aware that the early send-off may have skewed the result of the encounter.
“It’s always tough to take but the 5-0 result was not a true reflection of reality,” he said.
“We had to make a decision: do we go reactive or do we bunker in, but that’s not the way that we play or what we are about. We always want to be proactive in our approach but, it is what it is, and we have to move forward.
“There are no easy games for any side and it’s a tough run-in for everyone to make that top six. Everyone is still fighting for a position and everyone is still in with a chance.
“I am ever so proud of the boys tonight because they kept working and they stuck together but unfortunately it wasn’t our night.”
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 5 (Symons 28’, Millgate 35’, Sekiya 41’ & 77’, Cox 68’)
Manly United FC: 0
Saturday 29th July 2017
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (UK)
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields, Matthew McOrist
Fourth Official: Chris Wright
APIA LEICHHARDT TIGERS: 1. Ivan Necevski, 2. Nathan Millgate, 4. Joshua Symons, 7. Sean O’Connell, 8. Corey Biczo, 11. Jordan Murray (12. Dominic Cox 62’), 15. Themba Muata-Marlow, 16. Sean Symons (17. Adrian Vlastelica 80’), 18. Adrian Ucchino (10. Franco Parisi 69’), 19. Brandon Lundy, 20. Tasuku Sekiya.
Substitutes not used: 3. Paul Galimi, 22. Luke Turnbull.
Yellow Cards: Muata-Marlow 7’, S. Symons 51’, O’Connell 58’, Biczo 70’
Red Cards: Nil
MANLY UNITED FC: 1. Dylan Mitchell, 2. Kieren Paull, 3. Jaime Lobb, 4. Travis Oughtred, 6. Dominic Ferguson (21. Joe Fox 69’), 8. Sasa Macura, 9. Dylan Macallister (15. Marco Sama 55’), 10. Brendan Cholokian, 12. Leigh Egger, 14. Dejan Pandurevic, 17. Sam Wilson (11. Nikola Taneski 55’).
Substitutes not used: 13. Scott Balderson, 20. Shaun Catlin.
Yellow Cards: Ferguson 34’, Egger 52’, Oughtred 67’
Red Card: Cholokian 14’
-by Joe Russo, PlayStation®National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Reporter, at Lambert Park, Leichhardt