|A somewhat disappointing crowd of eight thousand witnessed a somewhat disappointing game at Members Equity Stadium on Sunday afternoon. |
A much-depleted Sydney FC dominated the first half, before fading in the second and conceding an almost trivial goal; nevertheless, but for an over-hasty linesman, they would have gone away from Members’ Equity with all three points, yet again.
Terry Butcher, forced into a number of changes, chose to start the recently reacquired Matt Bingley in central defence, leaving the more mobile Mark Milligan (that’s enough with the alliteration, mikey) free to resume his midfield role. Saso Petrovski and David Zdrilic started up front together, for the first time in quite a while.
Ron Smith chose to promote Leo Bertos, who terrorized the Central Coast Mariners last week, to a striking role. It proved an unwise move, as Perth’s vacant right flank allowed Alvin Ceccoli to advance along the Sydney left almost without hindrance for the entirety of the first half.
Makeshift team and all, Sydney FC took control of the game from the start. A pass from Iain Fyfe, often to be found in the opposition half early on, was swept wide by Zdrilic on seven minutes, and almost immediately afterwards, a dangerous ball from Ceccoli, bound for Petrovski, required a desperate clearance.
At the other end, a poor touch from Bingley allowed Naum Sekulovski a shot on goal, but Bolton covered well.
A sweeping move down the Sydney right ended with a thunderous shot at goal from Ceccoli, who had surged down the left flank and into the penalty area. Somehow, Aleks Vrteski managed to block it.
The game became somewhat tepid around the twenty-minute mark, with Sydney not making their midfield dominance count, and Perth’s long balls causing the Sydney defence little trouble. Nikolai Topor-Stanley was imperious in the air.
Stan Lazaridis and Stuart Young both had half-chances for Perth before Petrovski, mysteriously unmarked, headed a corner from Talay onto the bar on 33 minutes. Only four minutes later, Petrovski again had a header on goal…and this time, he hit paydirt.
Milligan played the ball forward for Zdrilic on the edge of the box; Steve Corica collected it without ado, found space on the right, and delivered a superb cross into Petrovski, who was unmarked once again. He made no mistake.
1-0 to Sydney at half-time, and richly deserved.
During the interval, the Campsie Cove, in buoyant mood, made a heartfelt presentation to our generous Pompeian Publican whose premises have been such a congenial home-away-from-home for the Sydney FC addicts. Cheers, Dean.
Much of the life went out of Sydney FC in the second half. Ceccoli’s left-wing excursions became less frequent, and our midfield play less sure-footed. Perth, however, hardly looked threatening until Lazaridis came belatedly to life.
On the hour, he swept past a languid Fyfe and fired in a cross for Jamie Coyne, who headed over. Another attack down the left ended with a Sekulovski shot being blocked by Milligan; from the subsequent corner, Perth equalized.
The corner was taken short, and quickly heaved into the area. Bolton came to claim, slipped, and this time Coyne was able to head the ball into an empty net.
Sydney FC then lost concentration. Fyfe, who had been looking far less comfortable against Lazaridis than he had in the first half, fouled the Socceroo winger clumsily on 72 minutes, and was shown a yellow card. Two minutes later, Mark Milligan was guilty of a dreadful challenge, and another Sydney FC player went in the book…and collected a vicious shove from Simon Colosimo for his troubles.
Ruben Zadkovich, back in the fold, replaced Fyfe on 77 minutes, to generous cheers from the Campsie. A weary Lazaridis also made his exit, to be replaced by Luka Glavas.
The recent signing from Sydney United had a run on goal on 80 minutes after the Sydney defence fell embarrassingly asleep, but fortunately for the team in blue, the lanky youngster slipped at the crucial moment. Then, the great controversy.
One of Sydney’s few good moves in the second half reached Zdrilic, on the edge of the box. Mark Milligan had made a smart overlapping run on the right, and Zdrilic pushed the ball into his path. Milligan’s blazing shot was pushed aside by Vrteski, only for Steve Corica to tap the ball in at the far post. Sadly, Bimbi had been – wrongly, as it turned out – adjudged offside.
The final ten minutes were frantic, with half-chances abounding at both ends. Stuart Young shot wide on 85 minutes, but it was Sydney FC who finished the stronger, threatening Aleks Vrteski’s goal twice in injury time.
A draw is surely a welcome result for Sydney FC in many ways, but the denial of Corica’s goal on 82 minutes cannot help but grate.
Still, a home game next week, with Brosque and Rudan back, against a team coming off a 5-1 loss…the future doesn’t look too bad after all.
Sydney FC: Bolton; Fyfe (Zadkovich), Bingley, Topor-Stanley, Ceccoli; McFlynn; Milligan, Corica, Talay; Petrovski (Brockie), Zdrilic.
mikey @ syndeyfc-unofficial.com