Manly United have moved into round two of the finals series in the PlayStation4 National Premier Leagues NSW Mens competition after beating Sydney Olympic FC 2-1 on Saturday night in the Elimination Final at Cromer Park.
The hosts were the better side across the 90 minutes, but the boys from Belmore kept asking questions.
Manly showed their intent in the first 2′ minutes when striker Dylan Macallister headed just wide after Dejan Pandurevic was fouled.
Warren Grieve’s men then suffered a setback when defensive midfielder Dom Ferguson was forced off injured after just 5′ minutes.
On 21′ minutes Olympic carved out their first decent chance, with Dylan Mitchell denying Yu Kuboki from the edge of the area with a smart save.
Seconds later the away side had a penalty claim waved away, much to the frustration of the travelling fans in the Lucas Neill Grandstand.
With 24′ minutes played, Pandurevic somehow failed to open the scoring.
Slick build up play from Scott Balderson saw him tee up his teammate, who inexplicably missed a tap in from six yards when he was unmarked at the far post.
Pandurevic went close to making amends a few minutes later, but his cross cum shot was tipped over the crossbar by Paul Henderson.
Macallister was next to threaten the Olympic goal after showing good feet on 29′ minutes.
He turned his defender inside out and was fouled.
Pandurevic whipped in a great free kick, but the always alert Henderson flicked it over the bar.
Thirty-nine minutes in it was Balderson’s turn to miss a sitter.
An inch perfect ball from Brendan Cholakian saw Balderson one on one with Henderson, but the ex Olympic man shot wide of the target.
Seconds from the break that man Henderson denied Macallister before he was finally beaten on 49′ minutes.
A great free kick from Jamie Lobb to the far post was forced home by Leigh Egger, who didn’t hide his delight after scoring against his old team.
On the hour mark Olympic equalised.
Lazy Manly defending saw a loose ball fired into the box, and skipper Yianni Spyrakis pounced to square proceedings.
United didn’t panic and on 76′ minutes took the lead again.
Pandurevic released Kieren Paull, who incredibly found himself with only Henderson to beat from the edge of the area.
Manly’s right back was in foreign territory, but he showed he can also finish, taking a touch before finding the back of the net.
The final ten minutes belonged to United gloveman Dylan Mitchell.
He simply refused to be beaten, denying Jason Madonis on 86′ minutes and then substitute Radovan Pavicevic on 89′ minutes.
The latter was a brilliant reaction save from a corner, with the home faithful applauding Manly’s passionate shot stopper.
Speaking at the final whistle, Sydney Olympic FC’s Spanish coach Gorka Etxeberria lamented what could have been.
“I’m so proud of the boys, we gave our all,” he said.
“Cromer Park isn’t an easy place to play, they (Manly) are a good team.
“We would have liked to keep winning, but we will have a break for a few weeks then start planning for next year.
“I would like to think we will keep most of the players, they all work hard and want to succeed.”
His opposite Warren Grieve was grinning from ear to ear when reflecting on the game.
“We will just take things week by week,” the Manly boss said.
“I would love to sing our team song a few more times this year, hopefully we can over the next few games.
“Overall we controlled the game and eventually took our chances.”
Elimination Semi Final
Manly United 2 (Leigh Egger 49’, Kieran Paull 76’)
Sydney Olympic 1 (Yianni Spyrakis 60’)
Saturday August 19, Cromer Park
Assistant referees: J.Adabjou, N.Wotton
Fourth official: M.Weiner
Manly United: 1.Dylan MITCHELL, 13.Scott BALDERSON, (11.Nikola TANESKI 56′) 10.Brendan CHOLAKIAN, 12.Leigh EGGER, 6.Dom FERGUSON, (28.Mitchell ROOKE 5′) 3.Jamie LOBB, 9.Dylan MACALLISTER, (15.Marco SAMA 66′) 8.Sash MACURA, 4.Travis OUGHTRED, 14.Dejan PANDUREVIC, 2.Kieren PAULL
Substitutes not used: 20.Shaun CATLIN, 7.Travis COOPER
Yellow cards: Cholakian 30′, Taneski 67′, Egger 86′
Red cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic FC: 1.Paul HENDERSON, 7.Jinya AN, 7.Will ANGEL, (99.Paul KATSETIS 45′) 12.Yu KUBOKI, (9.Radovan PAVICEVIC 56′) 8.Jason MADONIS, 5.Yianni SPYRAKIS, 16.George TIMOTHEOU, 33.Nik TSATTALIOS, 24.Christopher GLIGOR, 4.Thomas WHITESIDE, 19.Darcy BURGESS (14.Mohammad RAHIMI 77′)
Substitutes not used: 20.Ezequiel CONSONI, 21.Stephen ATHANASERIS
Yellow cards: Tsattalios 80′, Rahimi 90′
Red cards: Nil