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The Rock-itt : April 2010
Manly United started the season with a lively encounter away at Bankstown. We came away with a 2-2 draw with all the goals scored in the second half. In fact all the goals came after Manly United were reduced to 10 men. Joel Grenell got himself sent off for what was a fairly innocuous challenge on ex Manly player Scotty Thomas. Roberto Hammad (in blue) mixes it with Bankstown's Scotty Thomas Bankstown scored two fantastic goals but each time we came back to equalize, first with a header from Justin Hayward then from a Keith Shevlin penalty after Justin was send crashing in the penalty area. Both Justin Hayward and his brother Andrew seem to have Woody as their nickname. Maybe that added some confusion when Andrew came on as a late substitute and both of them played up front together! Mitch Macedo hugs No12 Justin Hayward as he equalizes at Bankstown The second round game was home to Blacktown City. Blacktown missed a penalty at the end of the first half after Pascal Julliard brought down Tolgay Ozbey with a deft backwards leg kick. Thankfully Ozbay aimed his penalty at the school opposite Cromer Park and was greeted with hoots of derision as it rocketed over the bar. Tolgay Ozbay patrolled by Pascal Julliard, no penalty this time! In the 63rd minute we had defender Luke Walker sent off for a foul which resulted in another penalty for Blacktown, Ozbay was not trusted with this one, Blacktown nominating Jordan Simpson to take it. Thankfully he looked more like Homer Simpson as Manly keeper Brad Swancott made a superb diving save to deny him. Sadly our luck didn't hold out and Tolgay Ozbay scored two fine goals in the last 12 minutes to leave us in the lower reaches of the table with just one point from two games. In Round 3 we were again away, this time to APIA Tigers at the excellent Leichardt Oval. It's a great ground and seems under used, hosting only a couple of West Tigers Rugby League games during the season. APIA have also had an average start to the season and like us was depleted because of injuries to key players. However their line up did include five players who have all featured in the A League namely; Robbie Younis, Nick Rizzo, Matthew Nash, Paul O'Grady and Franco Parisi. They had lost on the opening day of the season to a single goal at Blacktown and felt the wrath of Bonnyrigg in the second round going down 4-1. It took only six minutes for Manly to make life even worse for them. Adam Foti scoring his first goal for Manly from a fabulous lobbed pass from Brad Groves. The goal was a little against the run of play but it shocked APIA and whilst making a good contribution to the game it always looked like Manly would prevail from then on. The enigma that is Brad Groves, he's started the season in awesome form Brad Groves scored with a terrific half volley to put Manly two up by half time. By the time Robbie Cattenach came off the bench to make a welcome return after a long injury period we were three up, courtesy of a deflection from a Keith Shevlin shot from the edge of the box. For the first time this season we finished the game with eleven men. The icing wasn't quite put on the cake, Keith Shevlin having a penalty brilliantly saved by Mathew Nash in the last couple of minutes of the game. Mathew Nash has apparently signed a three year contract with Central Coast Mariners after spells at Sydney and Newcastle Jets. In Round Four Manly's journey to Rockdale City Suns ended with spoils equal, Adam Foti putting Manly ahead just before half time but Rockdale equalizing mid way through the second half. At the time this article went to print Manly were in 6th place in the League on 5 points too far behind leaders Blacktown on 10 points.