Sharks ruin Nikas’ final match

17.06.2017

Sutherland Sharks recorded their fourth win of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s season with a tightly contested but impressive 3-2 victory at Seymour Shaw.

The other big news coming on the night was that of Panni Nikas playing his final game for Sydney United 58.

A brace for Tomohiro Kajiyama put the Sharks on course for the victory and Nathan Elasi's 84th minute strike helped cap off a strong performance from the home side as they spoiled Nikas’ final game for United 58.

It was an off-night for Sydney United 58 who were below their usual standard.

Although Chris Payne scored his second goal in as many appearances and Anthony Vrlic hit the back of the net, the Red’s lacked the clinical edge to secure the three competition points.

With a move to Thai side Police Tero FC confirmed, Nikas was determined to give the fans a show in his last match in the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues. The mercurial midfielder didn't disappoint and threatened early with a curving free-kick that just whistled wide of Nathan Denham's left post.

The first fifteen minutes were a rugged affair as both teams traded fouls with the best chances coming from the set piece. Kajiyama put one right on the head of Jeremy Cox to nod over the bar.

Sutherland Sharks started to warm into their rhythm as Kajiyama combined well with Cox before the latter hammered one into the side netting.

Their positive play was rewarded with the opener. Some swift feet from Joshua Da Silva created the chance down the wing before he squared it to Kajiyama to smash home his tenth goal of the season and a 1-0 lead for the Sharks.

The usually fluid Sydney United 58 side found it hard to break down the Sharks defence. Their best chances came from the set piece – Nikas curled another past the right post this time.

Both sides livened up in the second half as Kajiyama once again stood over a free-kick but he could only angle it wide.

Christopher Payne had the best chance for Sydney United 58 as he tried to wrap his foot around the ball but a determined Rob Watson block denied him.

Sutherland Sharks made the visitors pay for their wastefulness in front of goal as a loose pass from Yianni Perkatis fell to Kajiyama to slot home for 2-nil.

Just as they fell behind – Sydney United 58 found a lifeline back into the contest from the spot. Payne was fouled by Sharks keeper Nathan Denham in the box. He dusted himself off to make it 2-1 and an interesting final 20 minutes.

It seemed that Sutherland Sharks refused to lose tonight – Jeremy Cox was energetic all night and created the third goal as he crossed it for Elasi to tap home for 3-1.

The Sharks almost piled on the misery just before full-time when Elasi knocked one down smartly in the box for Kajiyama who rattled the ball against the crossbar.

The visitors pulled one back late as substitute Anthony Vrlic's shot was deflected into the net for a 3-2 final score in a match which Sutherland Sharks dominated.

A jubilant Grant Lee praised the effort of his side against a good Sydney United 58 side.

“Tonight was good but we still caused ourselves problems like the penalty tonight.” Lee said.

“A brief when I took over was to solidify the back four and I think tonight we did that. We never allowed Sydney United 58 much of a chance.”

Departing the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s competition, Nikas praised the competition and his side.

“It has been a good time and the standard is improving each year. I walk out with my head high and onto the next challenge”, he said.

“I don’t think we deserved the win tonight as we were below our usual standard. I have full faith that the boys can turn it around next week.”

Match Stats

Sutherland Sharks 3 (Kajiyama '33, '74, Elasi '84)

Sydney United 58 2 (Payne '78 and Vrlic '94)

Saturday 17th June 2017

Seymour Shaw

Referee: T. Danaskos

Assistant Referees: L. Greenshields & A. Beecham

4th Official: N. McOrist

Sutherland Sharks: 1. DENHAM Nathan, 3. MURAYAMA Takuya, 5. LITTLER Nicholas (GORDON '57), 9. KAJIYAMA Tomohiro, 10. DA SILVA Joshua (EVERETT '84), 11. ELASI Nathan, 12. BROWN Blair, 13. COX Jeremy (DA SILVA SANTOS '86), 14. O'SHEA Patrick, 19. FITZPATRICK Callum, 31. WATSON Rob

Subs not used: 15. LOPES Kevin, 21. LOE Nikolas and 23. PAPPA Tom

Yellow cards: nil

Red cards: nil

Sydney United 58: 3. BERTOLISSIO Nathan, 5. TOMELIC Anthony, 6. USKOK Tomislav, 7. SHIN Yutaro (PARIC '72), 11. PERKATIS Yianni, 14. STAVROULAKIS Nicholas (VRLIC '60), 20. MARKOVIC Peter, 21. MANOS Thomas, 23. NIKAS Panni, 32. OLSEN Nicholas and 66. PAYNE Christopher

Subs not used: 9. VRANIC Adrian and 17. BILIC Matthew

Yellow cards: Uskok, Perkatis, Markovic, Nikas and Bertolisso

Red cards: nil

-By PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Justin Davies