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The Rock-itt : July 2011
Cup the following Wednesday (8Th ). Manly United Manager Craig Midgley has such a small squad this season that he has to look to his youngsters when injuries come. His first choice team is already fairly young and inexperienced but it was almost schoolboys on the park against Fraser. On a freezing cold night some brave souls did turn up to support the team, including a welcome contingent from the 18’s and 20’s including 20’s hard man Mick Willis in shorts!! The game was a cracker; heaps of missed chances (again) but Manly were dominant throughout. Scot Balderson got Manly ahead just before half time and a brace from Robbie Cattenach on 67 and 75 minutes saw us home. Craig Midgley was pleased with the manner of the win and said “"We were a different class, our young boys were fantastic against a decent team." He continued; "Some of 'older' heads like Scott Balderson, Michael Daly and Joey Gibbs are still only 20 or 21, so that shows what we are working with. I said to the guys it was a chance to push for a spot for league games in the coming weeks and they didn't let me or them- selves down." It was probably helpful though none the less frustrating to lose yet another game to the weather but our scheduled game at home to Sydney United the following Sun- day June 12 th succumbed and will be played at a later date. Still without David Dodd but with Adam Foti back up front Sutherland Sharks were our next opponents on their pitch at Sey- mour Shaw in Sutherland. Another chilly Saturday night saw Manly boss the first half with some élan though chances came regu- larly we still weren’t converting. Unfortu- nately Sharks came out more determined in the second half and took an early lead through Matt Bailey. A lack of concentra- tion in midfield cost us a second on 57” from Bailey and Tsattalios gave Sutherland a breather on 64”. Some excellent work from Justin Hayward on the left saw him cross for Scotty Balderson to pull one back on 70” and though we fought hard we could not get back on terms. Sharks trainer Robbie Stanton was reasonably honest in his thoughts on the match, he said; “We probably had the better of the opening 15- 20 minutes of the match, got in behind them but the final ball in and the execution was poor however we created the better chances. Give Manly their due credit - they came back at us and finished the stronger. Was it a 3-1 game? Probably not, but we executed better and attained the lead by taking our chances. We let them back in with a silly goal when overplaying our hand, that invited them back into the game. To be honest, the last 15 minutes or so of the game became a bit nervy because they had nothing to lose and pushed on and had they got a second goal it could have got a bit ugly for us”. He closed with these comments; “make no mistake Craig (Midgley) has a fantastic crop of young players, they are similar to Sutherland Shire in producing quality youngsters, and if they continue to grow and battle like this they will produce results soon and give the com- petition a good shake”. Back to Cromer Park the following Wednes- day (21st ) and Hills Brumbies were our op- ponents in the quarter final of the Waratah Cup. They had beaten Sydney United 1-0 in the last round and though near the bottom of the Super league they had hammered Spirit FC 5-0 only days before. The last thing we really needed was a game that went in to extra time but we got it. Scotty Balderson put Manly ahead after a cultured through ball from Michael Daley on 88 minutes only to see Hill’s Eros Bergamin equalize on 90 minutes with a sweet shot from outside the area. Into extra time then and it looked like we were heading for pen- alties until with four minutes to go Robbie Cattenach took control and put us into the Semi Finals with a sharp shot into the cor- ner of the net. Surprise exits the following night in the Cup for Sydney Olympic and APIA Leichardt leaves the final four as us, South Coast Wolves, Blacktown Spartans and Mounties Wanderers. The semis will be played on 29th June with the final on Sunday July 10th . As I write the Leagues standings have Syd- ney Olympic clear at the top by four points from Sutherland Sharks who have 25 points. Bottom is Parramatta with five points whilst we are three places above them with 14 points and a game in hand. @manlyunited on Facebook and Twitter or www.manlyunitedfc.com.au on the web. Super sub Justin Hayward battling it out with Blacktown’s number five David Gardi- No.25 Jordon Edwards gets into some aerial ballet against Fraser Park.