White Eagles claim top spot with victory over Stallions
Bonnyrigg White Eagles' Daniel Severino scored from the spot-kick as his side went on to win 2-0 against the Marconi Stallions to claim top spot on the NSW Premier League ladder.
It may have rained all day in Sydney but this didn’t stop the magnificent fixture between Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Marconi Stallions at the Bonnyrigg Sports Centre from going ahead because the field had held up magnificently despite the weather.
Not only was this encounter a local derby, it was a battle royal for the prime position on the NSW Premier League ladder.
In the end Bonnyrigg White Eagles secured all three points to overtake Marconi and gain first place in a faultless display of football.
Bonnyrigg’s coach and former Stallions manager Brian ‘Bomber’ Brown certainly couldn’t hide his delight after the game.
“I am very happy because it was a top-of-the-table clash and getting the victory puts us at the top of the table,” he said.
“It was a great game as you would expect, but I was a little bit surprised by Marconi really because they just tried to hit long balls, whereas we tried to play a bit of football.
“At times we fell into the trap of over-playing it and they [Marconi] were just trying to hit us on the counter-attack.”
The first real chance of the game didn’t arrive until the 26’ minute when Laurence Braude beautifully rounded the defence on the right of the park and then served up a nice ball for Alex Canak, but somehow the latter failed to score thanks to a wonderful intervention by Paul Cotte against his former club as he courageously placed his body between the ball and the goal line.
Marconi’s passionate coach Lee Sterrey ironically saw this first real chance as the turning point of the game because had Marconi scored it would have been a totally different ball game.
“The game changed because of this,” he said. “We had two against the goalkeeper, we cruised through at low speed and the ball to Canak was a bad one because it should have really had more weight on it.
“A few minutes later they [Bonnyrigg] go down the other end and I had a defender [Christopher Nunes] who committed a ‘holocaust’ and gave away a penalty.
“At the end of the day every defender on the park should be goal side of the opposition player and that was just bad gift,” Sterrey said.
“We should have led 1-0 instead they go 1-0 up thanks to our gift in the form of a penalty. If we had have scored, Bonnyrigg would have been chasing the game and that makes a big difference.”
In the 30’ minute Bonnyrigg White Eagles opened the scoring when Daniel Severino neatly placed a penalty into the bottom left hand corner of the net just past an outstretched James Chronopoulos.
The penalty was awarded to the home side after Nunes brought down David Gullo in the penalty box in a very clumsy challenge.
In fact the Marconi player can thank the generosity of referee Kurt Ams that he didn’t at least receive a yellow card.
Just prior to the break Marconi were forced to use the hero of their midweek McDonald’s Cup game, Matthew Hall, who entered the arena after Erick Anabalon picked up an injury.
And, right on the 45’ minute mark, Hall should have scored when Canak gave him a magical ball but thanks to the excellent defending from Nikola Zonjic, who forced him to run wide, Bonnyrigg were spared an equaliser.
However, Hall perhaps should have taken a shot himself first time rather than looking to advance his position when he only had the goalkeeper to beat.
“Overall, our first half was good except for that little bit of execution, but we had the game set up for a win and didn’t through our poor execution,” Sterrey said
Early in the second half a trademark powerful free kick from ex-Stallion Severino from just outside the box narrowly sailed wide of the mark.
Marconi replied in 58’ minute when Canak blasted a shot from outside the box that was neatly turned away for a corner by the home side’s ‘keeper.
Severino then received a lovely ball from Milorad Simonovic on the right but somehow his flat cross was lightly deflected and finished just wide of the mark.
In the 73’ minute Bonnyrigg scored their second of the evening when Jamie McMaster found himself on the end of a beautiful move that was superbly built up from the midfield, with the ball shifting from left to right, before Nathan Elasi finally found the former Leeds United player at the far post. McMaster tucked home the second and final goal of the match which sent the vocal home fans into raptures.
The goal was absolutely magnificent because of the myriad of passes that led to it and coach Brian Brown certainly didn’t miss it in his post-match evaluation.
“The highlight of the game was this second goal,” he said. “It was as good as it gets because there was great football, a great build-up and a good finish.”
Late in the game Canak couldn’t quite create enough space between himself, Cotte and White Eagles goalkeeper Ali Akbal because his shot from close range was almost in except for Cotte’s intervention who forced it away for a corner.
Right at the death Bonnyrigg should really have made it three when Elasi somehow found himself charging away with ample space and time, but in the end his shot was blocked by Chronopoulos’ diving legs and then he headed the rebound over the woodwork.
It was a classic double chance and one that really should have been put away by the former Melbourne Victory player but it didn’t matter.
Bonnyrigg were victors and nobody could take any credit away from a truly magnificent home performance.
“Our boys worked really hard and we are carrying a few injuries at the moment, so it is great to get through these games,” coach Brian Brown concluded.
Meanwhile, in the Grade 20s Bonnyrigg White Eagles defeated Marconi Stallions 1-0.
BONNYRIGG WHITE EAGLES: 1. Ali Akbal, 2. Paul Cotte, 20. Wade Oostendorp, 8. Milorad Simonovic, 11. Shane Webb, 5. Milan Zoric, 7. Nikola Zonjic, 19. Jamie McMaster, 10. Daniel Severino 17. David Gullo (4. Michael Brown 84’), 9. Brad Boardman (15. Nathan Elasi 60’).
Subs not used: 16. Stephan Heleta, 13. D. Laiman, 80. S. Maric
YELLOW CARDS: Gullo 37’
RED CARDS: Nil
MARCONI STALLIONS: 22. James Chronopoulos, 2. Brenton Rhodes, 5. Adel El Jamal, 8. Alex Canak, 9. Erick Anabalon (15. Matthew Hall 41’), 10. Graziano Trimboli (7. Tim McGowan 65’), 11. Matthew Gordon (18. Jarod Lum 71’), 17. Laurence Braude, 23. Christopher Nunes, 26. Nahuel Arrarte, 42. Giorgio Speranza.
Subs not used: 21. Jose Bello-Amigo, 4. Umut Tokdogan
Bonnyrigg half way to grand prize after Premiership victory
Bonnyrigg White Eagles skipper Paul Cotte hoists the 2010 NSW Premier League Premiership trophy
Since returning to the NSW Premier League last season, the Bonnyrigg White Eagles have dared to dream.
But on Sunday that dream became a reality.
The club celebrated its first premiership in 10 years with an inspiring 5-1 win against West Sydney in front of a vocal crowd at Bonnyrigg Sports Club.
When Brian Brown was appointed as coach mid way through 2009, the club demanded one thing – results.
“There were three things we had in mind when we got here,” Brown said.
“One was to get players who were hungry and the second part was to get them fit.
“The third part was to go and win something, and we’re half way there.”
A huge off-season in the player market saw the likes of Shane Webb, Daniel Severino, Brad Boardman and Jamie McMaster join a club that wasn’t prepared to settle for anything short of a championship.
The star-studded team failed to live up to expectation in the preseason and as a result the knockers and doubters came out in force.
“There was a little bit of panic going on around the club in the preseason because we didn’t win games,” Brown said.
“But I could see things were developing.”
And develop they did, as the White Eagles went on to win 13 of their next 22 games to claim the premiership by five points ahead of Blacktown City.
The club lost the likes of Vuko Tomasevic along the way, but they developed young superstars like David Gullo and welcomed A-League players Nathan Elasi and Chris Tadrosse to the club.
Like those who joined the White Eagles in the off-season, they too took very little time to settle into Brown’s plans.
“The type of players we got gelled together pretty quickly,” Brown said.
“I think we brought in the right players at the right time.”
Captain Paul Cotte was instrumental at the back and was one of the reasons why Bonnyrigg ended the regular season as the best defensive team in the competition, conceding just 20 goals.
At the other end, Brad Boardman and Severino did their part to ensure the White Eagles would be crowned the best attacking team, playing a large role in the side’s 45 goals.
Despite leading the Premier League for the most part of the season, it took until round 18 for Brown to realise his team was the real deal.
“We played Marconi, Blacktown, Sydney United and Sutherland in the space of five weeks,” he said.
“To come through that and win every game, I knew we were going to be hard to stop.”
The White Eagles lost just three games during the season and will come up against some quality opposition in the coming weeks, but Brown believes the biggest obstacle is a mental battle.
“I really think our biggest threat is ourselves,” he said
“If we turn up on the day I think we’re a big chance.
“But it’s about turning up with the right mindset.”