APIA’s winning run continues


APIA Leichhardt Tigers have continued their stellar season with a solid 2-0 win against Sutherland Sharks during their PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition clash at Lambert Park.

A first half penalty to Jordan Murray and a fantastic late strike to Brendan Lundy were enough to get the full three points for the Tigers.

It was a tough night for Sutherland who struggled to break down APIA’s dominance at both ends of the pitch.

The victory was APIA’s fifth straight as they extended their lead at the top of the table.

The first chance of the game favoured the Sutherland Sharks in the 12th minute when Nathan Elasi fed the ball to Joshua Da Silva charging down the left, but his powerful shot ended up just wide of the goal.

It was APIA Leichhardt that opened the scoring a few minutes later. A corner produced some pushing and shoving in the box and, in the end, it was Nathan Millgate who went down. The home side was duly awarded the penalty which Jordan Murray took with textbook precision.

Sutherland Sharks could have struck back in the 20th minute when a corner reached Da Silva at the far post, but his volley was well saved by the APIA custodian Luke Turnbull.

The reply from the Tigers was in the 23rd minute when a Lundy shot from distance forced a great low save from Nathan Denham.

It was Lundy again with a shot from outside the box in the 32nd minute, but even though it was almighty close, the ball still needs to hit the back of the net to make them count on the scoreboard.

Five minutes before the end of the first stanza a shot by Corey Biczo was just wide of the mark as APIA Leichhardt once again came close to hitting the target.

In the second half the first chance fell to the visitors when Elasi fired against the outside of the netting in the 56th minute but it was in the 70th minute that the best chance of the game arrived.

A long, speculating ball from the right by Adrian Ucchino reached Matthew West on the right who struck the ball so sweetly in the teaming rain that it rattled the crossbar before Denham had realised what had happened. It would have been a classic goal on the grand old ground of football.

In the 80th minute Sean Symons charged down towards goal in the pouring rain but his close range attempt was well saved by Denham.

APIA Leichhardt did score again in the 85th minute and it was great goal indeed. Tasuku Sekiya fed Lundy who unleashed a shot with such venom that gave no one any chance.

After the game Danial Cummins coach of APIA Leichhardt Tigers finally admitted that his team is possibly the scalp that all the others now want.

“We have a target on our back now,” he said.

“For the first ten rounds or so we went under the radar because there may have been a thought that this won’t last, but now things are different. It’s a good thing which creates a different kind of pressure and the team is responding well.

“Today was really important to have secured the three points. We knew that Grant [Lee] has got them working quite well down there at Sutherland and they’re a resilient teram, so we knew that we had to turn up and play.”

Over in the Sutherland Sharks dressing room their coach Grant Lee was frustrated somewhat by the fact that his team had been in the game the whole way but in the end came away with nothing to show for their efforts.

“We don’t just get the rub of the green,” he said. “We compound ourselves sometimes by conceding silly goals like the second one and then the game gets away from you.

“In the first half we were not as composed and played into their hands by treating the ball like a hot potato, but in the second half we were more patient in our build ups and we did quite well.

“We had some great opportunities and, playing a bit smarter, we’ll be able to get a bit more out of it but you just can’t afford to give away much against good opponents like APIA”.

Match Stats

APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 2 (Murray 17’ pen, Lundy 86’)

Sutherland Sharks: 0

Saturday 10th June 2017

Lambert Park, Leichhardt

Referee: Chris Young

Assistant Referees: Kearney Robinson, Roy Osborne

Fourth Official: Nick Farmer

APIA LEICHHARDT TIGERS: 22. Luke Turnbull, 2. Nathan Millgate, 3. Paul Galimi, 7. Sean O’Connell (13. David D’Apuzzo 84’), 8. Corey Biczo (16. Sean Symons 52’), 11. Jordan Murray (9. Matthew West 55’), 15. Themba Muata-Marlow, 17. Adrian Vlastelica, 18. Adrian Ucchino, 19. Brandon Lundy, 20. Tasuku Sekiya.

Substitutes not used: 1. Ivan Necevski, 10. Franco Parisi.

Yellow Cards: O’Connell 39’, Galimi 51’, Ucchino 77’

Red Cards: Nil

SUTHERLAND SHARKS: 1. Nathan Denham, 3. Takuya Murayama, 5. Nicholas Littler, 6. Matthew Gordon (19. Callum Fitzpatrick 86’), 9. Tomohiro Kajiyama, 10. Joshua Da Silva, 11. Nathan Elasi, 12. Blair Brown, 13. Jeremy Cox, 14. Patrick O’Shea, 31. Robert Watson

Substitutes not used: 15. Kevin Lopes, 18. Matias Da Silva Santos, 21. Nikolas Loe, 33. Tom Pappa

Yellow Cards: Elasi 81’

Red Card:

-by Joe Russo, PlayStation4® National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Reporter, at Lambert Park, Leichhardt