NSW Premier League Round 1 Review

Sydney Olympic, Marconi Stallions and Sutherland Sharks lead the way on maximum points following the opening weekend of the 2011 NSW Premier League, meanwhile defending Champions Blacktown City FC were dealt a blow with a first up loss.


Sydney Olympic, Marconi Stallions and Sutherland Sharks lead the way on maximum points following the opening weekend of the 2011 NSW Premier League, meanwhile defending Champions Blacktown City FC were dealt a blow with a first up loss.

Last season-s Premiers Bonnyrigg White Eagles salvaged a point, and their blushes, with a very late equaliser against newly promoted Parramatta FC, whilst A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers and Rockdale City Suns shared the spoils in a tight contest in Rockdale.

On Saturday evening at Seymour Shaw, Sutherland Sharks sent 2010 Championship winners Blacktown City FC packing with a very hard fought 2-1 victory.

Matt Bailey scored the opening goal of the season on 30- minutes as he drove home a parried effort by Justin Biega following a Panni Nikas long-range attempt.

Blacktown City FC were back in the contest when Travis Major converted a 69- minute penalty following a foul on Luke Roodenburg.

Their hopes of taking a point from Seymour Shaw went up in smoke in the 76- minute as Todd Halloran headed past Biega to secure a 2-1 win for the Sharks, and three very important points to open the season on the right foot.

At Melita Stadium, new boys Parramatta FC were under 60-- seconds away from sealing a mammoth upset against Bonnyrigg White Eagles before Nathan Elasi was on hand to snatch a dramatic equaliser for the defending Premiers. Played on a wet surface, the White Eagles called the shots with a plethora of possession throughout the 90- minutes, only to be frustrated time-and-time again by a very well organised Parramatta FC defence.

The home-side, led by midfield duo Ben Delicata and Chris Camilleri, took a shock lead against the run of play in the 18- minute courtesy of Fabien Iacovelli. The Parramatta FC midfielder was on hand to latch onto Bryan Soane-s cross at the back post before blasting his effort past Phil Zabaks.

Bonnyrigg drew level courtesy of Brad Boardman-s pile-driver following Nathan Elasi-s fine buildup play on the half-hour mark, though Parramatta FC reinstated their lead with Iacovelli-s well-taken second goal in the 35- minute.

Despite playing the second-half on the back foot, Parramatta FC should have put the game beyond Bonnyrigg in the 76- minute when Iacovelli squandered a golden chance with the goal at his mercy. The miss proved costly as Nathan Elasi made the most of a poorly dealt with cross in the 93- minute from the left-flank, to be on hand to stab the ball into the back of the net to secure Bonnyrigg a point.

Rockdale City Suns and A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers shared the spoils at Bicentennial Park, Rockdale in a match that failed to reach the great heights that may have been anticipated.

The action heated up early in the second-half as Adem Kir scored with an absolute stunning long-range effort to put the Suns ahead. The midfielder-s effort from 30-metres packed a real punch, and left Tigers- goalkeeper Jose Bello-Amigo helpless.

The Suns should have doubled their lead moments later via Steven Veleski though, some pressure by Bello-Amigo forced the Suns player to drive his effort wide of the target.

The missed chance proved costly as the Tigers found their equaliser via Franco Parisi. The Tigers number 10 picked up a loose ball inside the penalty-area and made no mistake driving the ball past Rockdale City goalkeeper Dion Shaw for a share of the spoils.

Sydney Olympic kick-started their season in style with a very impressive 3-0 defeat of South Coast Wolves in some very wet conditions. An Alex Smith hat-trick for the Blues was enough to seal the win - Smith-s third goal an exceptional free-kick curled past the outstretched arms of Wolves goalkeeper Brody Crane.

Both sides were reduced to ten-men with Samet Kaynak given his marching orders midway through the first-half. David Gullo was shown his second yellow card for the afternoon 20- minutes from time, with the Blues leading 1-0.

Positive signs for the Wolves do surround the performance of Sash Petrovski who was lively and did pepper Paul Henderson-s goal.

Sydney United conceded a late penalty - converted by Manly United-s Robbie Cattanach - to be denied an opening day win in front of their home crowd. Leading 2-1 courtesy of goals by Elsid Barkhousir and Luka Glavas after Adam Foti had put the visitors ahead earlier, the Reds let their guard down in injury time to be denied maximum points.

In an entertaining match with passion exemplified by both sets of players, the 2-2 result was possibly a fair one for the chances created by both teams. Credit must go to Manly United FC for their fighting spirit as Craig Midgley-s men played the final 15- minutes with 10-men following Graham Forbes- red card.

In the late Sunday evening clash, Bankstown City squandered a one goal lead at home to go down 3-1 to Marconi Stallions. Ahead on 38- minutes courtesy of Nathan Ristevski, the Stallions hit back before the break via Christopher Nunes to go in level at half-time.

Veteran Nahuel Arrarte showed his class with a perfect long-range effort to send the Stallions into the lead before Bankstown City-s evening got worse as Ristevski was shown a red card with 14- minutes to play. Despite the numerical disadvantage, Bankstown City very nearly snatched a point as Steven Bozinovski combined with Hussein Salameh, though the latter failed to slot the ball past James Chronopoulos for the equaliser.

Instead, the Stallions new signings, brother Nic and Giosue Sama combined with Nic setting Giosue up for the easiest of finishes in the 1- minute of injury time.