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The Rock-itt : May 2011
The new Football New South Wales Premier League season is now a month in, this is the most important League in the State, second only to the A League. For Manly United this season is shaping up to be a challenging one. Current leaders of the league are Sutherland Sharks, fol- lowed by Sydney United with Sydney games we have played all three of the leading teams and com e away undefeat- draws and apart from the top three we also got a creditable draw away at Marco- ni who are one of the more fancied teams in the League. SYDNEY UNITED AWAY First game up was away to Sydney Unit- sor Park in the far W est of Sydney, even for the spectator! The first 10 minutes of the gam e looked like men against boys with Sydney running all over Manly. Around 10 minutes in Adam Foti squeezed in a goal for Manly and the crowd fell silent. A magical moment for the few Manly fans there and from then on the game was much more equal. Sydney Unit- ed equalised through the excellent Elsid Barkhousir and then took the lead after a lovely strike from ex Perth Glory and Sydney FC striker Luka Glavas. Luka nev- er seem ed to set the A League on fire in his spells at Perth and Sydney FC but danger. The crowd fell silent again right at the end of the game when Robbie Cat- tenach converted a penalty for Manly to earn a rightful share of the spoils. Manly manager Craig Midgley had confided with m e before the game that a draw would see him happy so I knew his thoughts before he started talking to the Press! SUTHERLAND SHARKS HOME Second game up was a home tie against current League leaders Sutherland Sharks. Things looked positive for Manly when half an hour in Sharks had Paul Kohler sent off for a last man tackle on Robbie Cattenach when through on goal. Adam Foti convert- ed the resulting penalty. A goal up at half tim e and the opposition down to ten men it looked very hopeful for Manly but defend- er Jimmy Oates fouled Sharks Matt Bailey in the box. Panni Nikas stepped up convert the spot kick for the leveller. Sharks goal- keeper Nathan Denham did a heroic job keeping Manly at bay, so much so that he was included as goalkeeper in the Football NSW Team of the W eek. 10 man Sharks went in front with 10 minutes to go but Ad- am Foti finally found a way past Denham for the well-deserved equaliser. The game was not over though and with almost the last kick of the game Manly had the ball in the net via captain Marc Richards. In the attempt at scoring Richards was caught with a high boot from a Sharks defender which resulted in him having to have twen- ty stiches put in his chin! The referee right- ly disallowed the goal as Richards had fallen into the keeper reeling from the as- sault. Unfortunately the referee completely missed the high boot and the obvious pen- alty award. Not much recompense to re- ceive an official note from Football NSW during the week after agreeing that a pen- alty should indeed have been awarded. MARCONI STALLIONS AWAY The tough start to the season carried on bours Marconi Stallions in their impressive complex at Bossley Park. After a tricky opening the first half was dominated by brightly, but after the 15-20 minute mark Andrew Mailer and Keith Shevlin both started the game for Marconi. Manly , wearing their new eye catching orange away kit for the first time continued to dom- inate in the second half but Marconi were awarded a corner on the 57th minute from what should have clearly been a goal kick. Mathew Gordon took it and with a superb glancing header past Kang Ho Lee in the Manly goal Matthew Mayora put Marconi ahead. Mayora made it 2-0 in the 67th mi- nute, Manly again unfortunate as Mayora had come back from an off side position to give in easily and Justin Hayward cam e on as substitute for Seung Soo Lee and im- mediately got on the end of a perfect Jim- my Oates cross to head Manly back into contention. On the 82nd minute Adam Foti played a clever through ball to Hayward and he put Manly level with deft shot into the bottom corner. Justin was denied a third and what would have been the winner after a block by Chronopoulis and the game ended in another 2-2 draw. SYDNEY OLYMPIC HOME Back to Cromer Park a week later and a visit from Sydney Olympic who had looked in great form so far. As at Marconi, Manly dominated the first half but were denied by ex-Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Paul Henderson who also Look out,