Thriller played out at Bonnyrigg
Neither side would give an inch as Blacktown City and Bonnyrigg White Eagles played out tough 2-2 draw at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre on Saturday.
The PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Round 16 clash was a battle of attrition as last year’s grand final combatants went head to head once again.
An Early Travis Major goal set the tone for the match but it was cancelled out in the 27th minute when Bonnyriggs Aaron Peterson hit the back of the net.
Mitchell Mallia gave the visitors the advantage not long after the half time interval but Yuta Kokado’s 68th minute strike ensured both teams went home with a point.
It was Match of the Round and for good reason as both teams play like it’s a real derby on every occasion.
In the seventh minute a nice attacking move from Bonnyrigg White Eagles finished up with Robbie Younis firing the ball diagonally across the face of goal.
It was the first salvo of the game but it was Blacktown City FC that took the lead in the 10th minute. An accurate cross from the right by Mitchell Mallia found Travis Major lurking with intent and his header was beautifully placed to beat the diving James Chronopoulos in goal.
In the 17th minute a nice counter-attacking move from Blacktown City ended with Major firing into the side netting. There was an almost immediate reply up the other end when Yuta Kokado created some nice space but dragged his shot across the face of goal and over the crossbar.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles evened the score in the 27th minute when Aaron Peterson made the most of a half-chance and put the ball in the back of the net. It was scrappy and fortuitous but in the end they all count no matter how they go in.
Right at the end of the first half Blacktown City could have taken the lead again when Mitchell Mallia sprinted dangerously unchallenged towards goal, but he was denied by a lovely diving save from his ex-Marconi Stallions teammate Chronopoulos.
In the second half, in the 47th minute, Kokado placed the ball beautifully into the centre from the left but Giorgio Speranza was on hand with a well-timed clearance for the visitors. It was clear that the home side were intent on taking the game to the visitors.
In the 52nd minute Bonnyrigg White Eagles should really have taken the lead when Mun-Soo Gil charged dangerously into the box but was denied by brilliant save from Nenad Vekic who turned the ball around the post for a corner with one hand.
However, Blacktown City scored in the 57th minute when a cross from the left by Major was met powerfully by a Mallia drive that ended up in the bottom corner of the net.
In the 64th minute Mun Soo Gil pulled the trigger but fired just wide of the goal for the home side much to the frustration of the Bonnyrigg supporters.
The home side did even the scores again in the 68th minute when a throw in eventually made it was across field to Yuta Kokado.
Kokado fired home from the edge of the box and into the bottom corner of the net past Vekic at full stretch.
It was Kokado again who tested the reflexes of Vekic with a powerful shot a few minutes later but the ‘keeper was able to hold it at his second attempt.
In the 77th minute a wonderful free-kick from just outside the box by Mallia was only a fraction over the crossbar. It was a very close call indeed.
Right at the death as both teams were desperate to score Riku Sasaki gave the ball to Mallia who flicked it over the crossbar. It was to be the last action of the entertaining clash.
After the game Blacktown City FC’s coach Mark Crittenden was very pleased to get the draw and with the effort of his side.
“I was very pleased with the effort of my players and to come here to Bonnyrigg and get a point is always tough,” he said.
“I was delighted given that we played a midweek cup match that went for 120 minutes, so that puts it into even more perspective. And in the end we had chances and could well have taken the full three points.”
Over in the Bonnyrigg White Eagles dressing room one the mood was a little more sombre and Nikola Zonjic spoke on behalf of the playing group.
“All of our games to Blacktown are tough and we did lose two games to them already this year,” he said.
“We did play well and had our chances, so to get a draw is a bit disappointing and it’s also a bit disappointing to concede the goals the way we did.”
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 2 (Peterson 27’, Kokado 68’)
Blacktown City FC: 2 (Major 10’, Mallia 57’)
Saturday 25th June 2016
Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
Referee: Chris Young
Assistant Referees: Joon Park, Avrol Beecham
Fourth Official: Michael Herro
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1. CHRONOPOULOS James, 3. VRANKOVIC David, 4. ROBINSON Michael, 6. ZONJIC Nikola, 7. KONDEK Gregory (18. KADRIC Asmir 75’), 9. YOUNIS Robbie (5. JENNER Adam 62’), 10. KOKADO Yuta, 16. GALLAWAY Samuel, 17. GIL Mun-Soo, 19. PETERSON Aaron, 21. CHUN Bo-Hyun.
Substitutes not used: 2. MANSUETO Alexander, 13. McKENZIE James, 20. SAVICIC Stevan,
Yellow Cards: Peterson 81’, Zonjic 85’
Red Cards: Nil
Blacktown City FC: 1. VEKIC Nenad, 3. SPERANZA Giorgio, 6. LEWIS Matthew, 7. MAJOR Travis, 8. MACURA Sasa, 9. GIBBS Joey (21. SASAKI Riku 82’), 10. EVANS Connor, 11. CHOI Danny, 14. MALLIA Mitchell, 15. D’CUNHA Shayne (16. ANTELMI Patrick 75’), 19. CAIRNCROSS Zachary.
Substitutes not used: 12. GROZDANOVSKI Jonathan, 17. BEUMIE Lewis, 20. GALLO Luca.
Yellow Cards: D’Cunha 55’
Red Cards: Nil
-by Joe Russo, PlayStation®National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
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