APIA Leichhardt Tigers have returned to winning ways in emphatic style with a comprehensive 5-1 domination of Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Bonnyrigg Sports ground on Saturday night.
Jordan Murray was the star of the evening, picking up a hat-trick bring his goal scoring tally to 9 for the year while winger Corey Bizco scored a brace.
Murray struck twice in two minutes mid-way through the first half before Bonnyrigg’s Korean import Jewook Woo fired for Bonnyrigg to ensure the home side trailed 2-1 at the interval.
However, Woo’s goal turned out to be nothing more than a consolation as APIA raced away in the second stanza with Bizco netting twice before Murray claimed his third.
The match was a tale of two teams, a magnificent and free-flowing Tigers and a disappointing White Eagles.
It was the perfect response from APIA after last week’s shock 1-0 loss to Sydney United 58 as they fight to regain top spot on the National Premier Leagues NSW ladder.
The first chance of the game went the way of the home side after Dean Bereveskos played in Jewook Woo three minutes in.
Woo moved in on Ivan Necevski but hit his shot over the grandstand and onto Simpson Road.
Bereveskos had a chance of his own after some neat work by Shervin Adeli but couldn’t get his volley on target.
Despite Bonnyrigg’s impressive start, it was the away side who found the lead after 19 minutes.
Adrian Ucchino found space on the left before dinking a ball to the far post where Murray waited to volley home.
Only a minute later and Corey Bizco was controversially felled in the box by Nikola Krljar.
Referee Adrian Arndt pointed to the spot as Murray stepped up and beat David Bradasevic, despite the White Eagles keeper going the right way.
Bereveskos went close again shortly after but couldn’t test Necevski.
Bizco almost made it three on 31 minutes, receiving the ball on the right and rifling a shot toward goal, but Bradasevic made a fine save.
From the resulting corner, Joshua Symons had his volley cleared off the line by Ben Tosi.
Seven minutes before the break, Woo halved the deficit.
A Shervin Adeli strike was too hot to handle for the experienced Necevski as Woo was first on seen to tuck the ball home.
It was the perfect start to the second half for the Tigers as they found a third only four minutes after the restart.
Another ball to the far post had Bizco running onto it at the far post and tapping it into the back of the net.
On 63 minutes, Murray almost had his hat-trick.
A fine curling effort from the Tigers striker went inches wide of the post.
Three minutes later though and APIA had another.
Sean Symons had too much time on the left, crossing across goal as again Bizco popped up at the far post to finish and pick up his second of the night.
It was 5-1 in the 72nd minute.
Murray got on the end of a one-two before slamming the ball passed Bradasevic.
Takuya Sekiya had a chance to rub more salt on the White Eagles wound but he couldn’t find the target.
Murray could’ve had a fourth in the final minute of stoppage time but his shot was saved by Bradasevic.
A disappointed Brian Brown found it tough to find words to describe his team’s collapse.
“I hate coming back to it but the penalty changed the game,” he said.
“We felt reasonably comfortable at half time having got ourselves back in the game. Then we just capitulated.
“The goals we conceded are just basic stuff.”
APIA assistant coach John Calleja was pleased with how his side bounced back from last week’s defeat to United 58.
“We knew it’d be difficult coming to Bonnyrigg playing on a difficult surface and on a cold night, but we were confident and the boys played well,” he said.
“We trained pretty well this week and we were looking forward to a big performance.”
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Woo 38’)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 5 (Murray 19’, 21’ 72’, Bizco 49’, 66’)
Bonnyrigg Sports Ground, Bonnyrigg
Saturday, 12th of May, 2018
Referee: A. Arndt,
Assistant Referees: A. Giev, D. Stack
Fourth official: T. Griffith
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 21. Bradasevic, 2 Smith, 3. Vrankovic, 4. Krljar, 13. Mackenzie, 18. Gil, 20. Tosi, 15. Miller (11. Kadric), 12. Bereveskos, 10. Adeli, 22. Woo.
Substitutes not used: 1. Chronopolous, 17. O’Rourke, 8. Cupac, 2. Avery.
Yellow Cards: Krljar, Bereveskos
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1. Necevski, 2. Millgate, 3. Galimi (15. Muata-Marlow), 4. J. Symons, 7. Fondyke, 8. Bizco (10. Parisi 75’), 11. Murray, 16. S. Symons, 18. Ucchino, 19. Lundy, 20. Sekiya.
Substitutes not used: 22. Tuxford, 10. Parisi,17. Gulisano, 18. Kyra.
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
3 – Jordan Murray (APIA)
2 – Adrian Ucchino (APIA)
1 – Corey Bizco (APIA)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Nikola Pozder