Blacktown Spartans stunned Bonnyrigg White Eagles on Saturday night to claim their first NPLNSW win of the season. In an encounter largely dominated by the White Eagles, the Spartans made the most of their minimal chances to steal three points at Bonnyrigg Sportsground.
The opening stanza of the match provided little insight into how the game would unfold. Both sides traded the ball with no opportunities presenting themselves.
It was Bonnyrigg, though, who fired the first shot on goal. The White Eagles were rewarded with a free kick outside the Blacktown 18-yard box. Robbie Younis stepped up to take the free kick but his shot flew comfortably over the cross bar.
Bonnyrigg’s Grand Final hero Yuta Kokado broke the deadlock 15 minutes into the game. His powerful shot proved to be too much for Spartans goalkeeper Carlos Saliadarre, allowing Bonnyrigg to take a 1:0 lead.
The goal sparked the White Eagles into action.
The White Eagles midfield began to exert their dominance over the opponents. Their midfield trio of Ken Chun, ex-Spartan Greg Kondek and Ray Miller controlled the middle, creating opportunities for home side’s wide men and Younis to try and double their advantage.
Bonnyrigg’s dominance came to screeching halt, however, when Yianni Perkatis unleashed an unstoppable shot in the 27th minute. Perkatis’ shot evaded James Chronopoulos, who seemed to give up on making the same.
Perkatis’ stunning goal swung the momentum in Blacktown’s favour.
The Spartans moved to control the game and in truth missed a little luck in scoring again before half time. Jacob Ott had two chances to increase the Spartans’ lead but he failed in even forcing Chronopoulos to save his attempts.
Half time could not come soon enough for the home side, while the Spartans were going into half time with the upper hand.
But it was Bonnyrigg who returned from the break fired up and determined to reinstate themselves on the game.
The home side started the second half much brighter than they ended the first, with Kokado continuing to cause Saliadarre problems with his stinging shots.
Bonnyrigg continued to press for a go-ahead goal but their shooting was letting them down. This, coupled with the pressure of winning at home, gave Spartans the advantage.
The White Eagles coughed up possession, allowing Anthony Proia to attack Chronopoulos’ goal. Proia dinked the ball over the goalkeeper to give Blacktown the 2:1 lead.
Despite Bonnyrigg continuing to dominate possession, the Spartans held on for the win.
Blacktown coach Ben de Haan was happy with the performance.
“The players definitely showed a lot of fight today. It was something we lacked last weekend and it took two special goals. You can’t ask for more,” he said. “No one has hit their straps yet this season so to bank three points against a good Bonnyrigg side is always a good thing.”
De Haan’s Bonnyrigg counterpart Brian Brown was less thrilled.
“The score tonight reflected our performance. It was one of the poorest performances I have seen in my time at Bonnyrigg,” he said. “We lacked intensity which is not how we play and it showed in the two goals we conceded. Credit to the Spartans. They outplayed us across the park and deserved the victory.”
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Kokada ’15)
Blacktown Spartans 2 (Perkatis ’32, Proia ’76)
at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
Referee: M. Weiner
Assistant Referees: N. Backo and J. Park
4th Official: P. Liaros
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: Chronopoulos, Vrankovic, Robinson, Kondek, Younis, Kokado, Miller, Galloway, Gil, Peterson (Jenner ’75) and Chun.
Substitutes not used: Mansueto, McKenzie, McDonald, Savicic
Yellow cards: Vrankovic, Gill, Kondek
Blacktown Spartans: Saliadarre, Vazquez, Dukic, Perkatis, Sasaki, Ott, Proia (Mutch ’93), Nakamura, Whiteside, Tomohiro and Gauthier (Tosi ’84)
Subsitutes not used: Nascimben (gk), Dullak, Mooy.
Yellow cards: Nakamura
Quotes and Title Photo via Football NSW