Manly win in epic eight-goal thriller
MANLY United is flying high in the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition, this time beating Bonnyrigg 5-3 on Sunday afternoon at Cromer Park.
In what was a pulsating encounter on the northern beaches, Warren Grieve's men had to come from behind early in the second half to secure back to back victories in a great start to their 2017 campaign.
With just 12 minutes played, the hosts should have taken the lead.
Scott Balderson sent in a teasing cross from the left which Nikola Taneski met with purpose.
The key off season recruit from Sydney United 58 FC couldn't keep his shot on target, blazing over from six yards.
On 19 minutes the White Eagles took the lead.
Manly keeper Dylan Mitchell did brilliantly to keep out Ray Miller's free kick, only to see Greg Kondek find the back of the net after he won the race to the loose ball at the far post.
Leading into halftime the match developed an increased level of intensity, with referee Kurt Ams issuing three cautions across a frantic five minutes.
United skipper Jamie Lobb then squared proceedings with 37 minutes on the clock.
The defender couldn't believe his luck when his left foot corner ended up untouched in the back of the net, and from that moment it was most certainly game on.
After the break Brian Brown's men started better, and on 51 minutes teenage sensation Luke Ivanovic was thwarted by Mitchell.
The 16-year-old attempted to place his effort into the bottom corner, but the United shot stopper denied him with a brilliant reaction save.
Seconds later United took the lead.
Evergreen striker Dylan Macallister marked his home debut with a well taken effort, lashing home after teammate Sasa Macura had an effort hit the post in a frantic build up.
Referee Ams then felt Manly defender Hamish Galbraith handled inside the area with 56 minutes played, and Bonnyrigg's Troy Danaskos held his nerve from 12 yards.
With an hour gone, the White Eagles took the lead.
Defender Sam Gallaway got the final touch after a corner wasn't scrambled to safety by Manly, with the crowd in the Lucas Neill Grandstand getting plenty of entertainment.
United didn't panic and on 66 minutes Brendan Cholakian made it 3-3 following another penalty decision from Ams.
Moments later it was 4-3 to the hosts, with Cholakian incredibly again beating Stevan Savicic from the spot after substitute Sipan Berti was fouled in the area.
Both coaches were on edge ahead of the frantic final 20 minutes, and it was Manly who finally sealed the result when Taneski slotted home from close range in the 90th minute.
Speaking after the final whistle, Lobb conceded Manly's defence needs to be better, but he loved the attacking intent from his team.
"We are leaking a few goals, especially from set pieces, but we can fix that at training this week,'' he said.
"I thought we were great going forward, Choc (Cholakian), Dyl (Macallister) and our wide boys Scotty Balderson and Nik (Taneski) ran riot.
"Two wins to start the season is great, we just have to keep building."
White Eagles skipper Ray Miller doesn't feel his squad are far away from their best.
"Cromer Park on a Sunday afternoon against a good Manly team, it doesn't get much harder than that,'' he said.
"We dug deep but unfortunately didn't get the result.
"Now we just have to go back to the drawing board, I am sure we will turn things around once we have a few more fit players to call on."
Manly United 5 (Lobb 37', Macallister 51', Cholakian 66', 69', Taneski 90')
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3 (Kondek 19', Danaskos 56', Gallaway 61')
Cromer Park, Sunday March 19, 2017
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant referees: J.Park, R.Osborne
Fourth official: J.McFarlane
Manly United: 1.Dylan MITCHELL, 2.Kieren PAULL, 3.Jamie LOBB, 4.Travis OUGHTRED, 8.Sasa MACURA, 9.Dylan MACALLISTER, (23.Matt FLETCHER 63') (Mitchell ROOKE 75') 10.Brendan CHOLAKIAN, 11.Nikola TANESKI, 13.Scott BALDERSON, (16.Sipan BERTI 45') 15. Hamish GALBRAITH, 21.Joe FOX
Substitutes not used: 18.Todd BALNEAVES
Yellow cards: Macura 33', Taneski 90'
Red cards: Nil
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 20.Stevan SAVICIC, 8.Troy DANASKOS, 16.Sam GALLAWAY, 12.Mun-Soo GIL, 27.Luke IVANOVIC, (21.Hassan JALLOH 52') 15.Ray MILLER, 5.Adam JENNER, 7.Greg KONDEK, (14.Taylor McDONALD 61'), 6.Zac MACKENZIE, 10.Martin LO, (19.Thomas SHAW 77') 3.David VRANKOVIC
Substitutes not used: 13.James McKENZIE
Yellow cards: Vrankovic 28', Kondek 29',
Red cards: Nil
3 - Dylan Macallister (MU)
2 - Dylan Mitchell (MU)
1 - Ray Miller (BWE)
-By Football NSW reporter, Andrew Prentice.