SATURDAY 29 AUGUST 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM CHARLIE EASTWOOD (RESERVES CAPTAIN) ROUND 21 - CAIRNLEA FC V SUNBURY UNITED FC

The Reserves travelled to Cairnlea looking to make the most of their final away game of the season. With a depleted squad devoid of its top scorers, little solace could be taken from the result of the two sides’ previous encounter. The sight of the sub-par pitch being hastily repaired with buckets of sand served as an ominous foreshadowing of things to come. 

With the absence of natural leaders in Kyle Gradidge and Andrew Laversha, the foundation of the team looked shaky from the offing. After being pinned into their own half by good pressure, an unfavourable wind and some slick passing through the middle by Cairnlea, Sunbury inevitably found themselves one goal down following a turnover in a dangerous area. Whilst the midfield battle remained relatively even, little options were being created for lone striker Liam Miller who was forced to drop further and further back to be involved in play. 

Several promising runs by winger Jamie Bontorno proved fruitless with the Cairnlea defence holding tight. Pressure mounted on Sunbury down the wings, culminating in a second goal conceded after poor marking from the captain. Several chances befell Cairnlea as the Sunbury boys held out desperately for the half-time whistle. With the score at 0-2, the yellow and black needed a change in mentality.

 After an uncharacteristically subdued, yet logical and poignant team talk from the coach, the boys returned to the pitch knowing what they had to do. Nicholas Pecipajkovski was replaced by the dangerous Matthew Bontorno. With the wind at their backs, the ball was played forward from kick-off and the pressure on the Cairnlea back four was swiftly applied. The midfield battle tipped decisively in the favour of United and chances began to be created. 

Eventually the strain on the Cairnlea defence proved too great, with their keeper gifting the ball straight to Andy Koreonos from a kick-out. Koreonos played it across the face to Miller who showed great poise to round the keeper and bring the deficit back to one goal. Sunbury’s endeavour continued and mini-battles were being won by every United player on the park. The central defensive pairing of Raimen Solaka and Hisham Hajj showed their quality time after time and were unlucky to concede a third goal against the run of play, with a shot from outside the box looping over Ramy Mohammed’s head in goals.  

Sunbury were unfazed by the third goal and continuing to pummel the Cairnlea defence. A dangerous cross fell to Isaac Abela who had the presence of mind to tap the ball down for Jamie Bontorno, who had no trouble beating the keeper at his near post. The introduction of Ritchie Gardner (from the Thirds) caused additional problems for Cairnlea who were being well and truly outclassed. Countless through-balls were played for Charlie Eastwood who had pushed up to play at centre forward, but the decisive defence-splitting pass was orchestrated by Koreonos for Jamie Bontorno, who calmly stroked the ball past the keeper into the bottom corner of the net. 

Sunbury had chances to win the game following the equaliser, with Cairnlea pushing players forward in an effort to reclaim their lead, but to no avail. The match ended 3-3, a fantastic result away from home after going two goals down, typifying the character and determination of the Reserves boys. An encouraging fight-back sets the stage for an exciting final game of the season at home. 

Man of the Match: Jamie Bontorno

________________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 7 AUGUST 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM KYLE GRADIDGE (RESERVES CAPTAIN) ROUND 19 - SUNBURY UNITED FC V WESTGATE FC 

With both teams on 30 points and Sunbury sitting third only by goal difference, a win in this game would determine who contended for the prized second spot and who fell out of the race. With a depleted squad, Sunbury had to call on thirds keeper Michael Scully to fill in, plus a few other players to help fill the bench. Seemingly perfect conditions under the lights with light drizzle, a sharp warm up and team talk had the lads ready for a battle.

 The game started a little rocky for the boys in yellow with plenty of long balls being knocked forward by Westgate and their strikers and wingers finding plenty of time and space in our half. The home team managed to score twice on the break with Sunbury not quick enough to track back and close down, even though one of the goals came from a clear foul on Liam Miller in the middle of the park. The half continued with pieces of positive play from Sunbury which saw a goal being disallowed and a clear penalty not given to Christian Longhitano, after he was taken down in the box. Besides this, Westgate dominated the majority of possession in the first half after Sunbury gave the ball away far too cheaply on too many occasions. The half ended at 2-0. 

We came out in the second half with some positive forward play and a free-kick being won outside the box with 10 minutes into play. Kyle Gradidge stepped up to curl the ball with an incredible amount of pace over the wall and into the top left corner of the goal, not giving the keeper a chance. Even though the goal spurred a small period of pressure, ultimately Westgate dominated in possession, hunger and tackles. Substitute Charlie Eastwood was presented with an opportunity to equalise late in the game but couldn't convert and the game ended in a 2-1 loss. A very disappointing result and performance in terms of return on effort put in, but the boys will look to next week’s game to fight for a second chance to be in the top three. 

Man of the Match: Michael Scully

SATURDAY 1 AUGUST 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM LEE MOIS (SENIOR CAPTAIN) ROUND 18 - SUNBURY UNITED FC V CORIO SC

Sunbury returned to Langama Park for their Round 18 fixture against Corio. United were looking to make amends for their loss the previous week and carry their momentum from training into the game. The stakes were high as Sunbury knew anything less than 3 points would place them in relegation contention, while Corio had to win to begin their climb from the bottom of the table.

Sunbury welcomed back Harry Thompson and Lee Mois to the starting line-up, while injury ruled out Jake McIntyre, who potentially will be missing for the rest of the season – a massive loss considering he is United’s top goal scorer. The first 15 minutes of the game began in Corio’s favour as they maintained possession of the ball. United were able to force themselves into the game pressuring Corio high and causing them to turn over the ball. The midfield battle limited opportunities for both sides with United’s midfield quartet of Matt Hume, Mem Karakilic, Mois and Thompson trying to win the ball and create an opening.

United’s best chance came as a miskicked clearance by the Corio keeper was intercepted by Dom Marafioti just beyond the semi-circle of the half way line, who tried an audacious lob which narrowly missed. Corio were able to find space on a number of occasions, switching play with Sunbury’s midfield drifting to one side, but the away team were unable to make this extra space count. Another attempt fell to Marafioti who saw his shot saved with the slightest of touches by the Corio keeper. The referee ended proceedings with the half time score at nil all.

United kicked off the second half showing their intent by playing the ball to the corner flag. Mois was able to make some ground and challenge for a header, winning a throw-in as the Corio defender had little time on the ball. With Sunbury lacking movement and options, Corio were able to attack. The deadlock was broken when a cleared corner fell to Corio’s left-back. He was allowed too much time as his shot rocketed upwards to the right corner: Sunbury 0, Corio 1.

As Sunbury tried to find a way back, tensions ran high and a scuffle behind play resulted in a yellow card for Nathaniel Fox. His reaction explained it all as Sunbury will be without his services following his fifth booking of the season. Corio soon doubled their lead from a corner as their midfielder gained a couple yards beyond Mois and guided the incoming cross beyond the keepers reach at the near post: Sunbury 0, Corio 2.

To add to the woes, Rob Bacon was substituted when the Corio keeper unnecessary jumped with both knees into him causing significant distress to the Sunbury full-back. It was a disappointing finish to a disappointing result for the Sunbury faithful. News also filtered down that Westgate had put five past Cairnlea, now placing United second last and all to play for in their Friday night fixture against Westgate.

__________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 1 August 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM IAN BURKE (RESERVES COACH) ROUND 18 - SUNBURY UNITED FC v corio sc

As the Reserves brought momentum into the clash with Corio at Langama Park, there was also an element of retribution too. The boys were disappointed with their efforts in the earlier fixture at Geelong, and this was the opportunity they had been waiting for. It was going to be a stern test against an experienced outfit who were on equal points with Sunbury prior to the kick off.  

The game started well and it was at a lightning pace, with both teams really struggling to keep possession for more than a few passes at a time. Sunbury had a couple of early scares brought on by nervous defending and individual mistakes, but during the middle part of the half started to gain some ascendency and were at least attempting to play football in the blustery conditions. The danger was always there though, with Corio resorting to direct football, utilising the size of their forward line. 

Most of Sunbury's attack was coming down the left side, with Liam Summerhill and Daniel Adamo making the full-back look silly at times. Liam Miller was also holding the ball up well at centre forward, seizing the opportunity presented by Christian Longhitano's call-up to the Senior squad. The home side was also looking dangerous from corners, but the delivery couldn't be matched with the required finishing. With Ramy Mohammed matching the efforts of the Corio goalkeeper, it seemed fair that both teams went to the break level. 

HALF TIME SCORE: Sunbury United 0 – 0 Corio 

The home team had the benefit of the breeze and the slope in the second half and Corio really struggled to put pressure any on. Hisham Hajj and Raimen Solaka were dominating in the air and looked far more comfortable after the half time chat. Still the chances were few and far between though, and it looked like being a game that would be decided by the single goal. On the hour mark, it was a defensive lapse that saw Sunbury take the lead. Some great defensive pressure from the two 'Liams' – Miller and Summerhill – saw Nick Pecipajkovski through on goal with what seemed like an eternity to finish. He calmly waited for the goalkeeper to make his move and then slotted the ball into the bottom corner. 

It was then a battle to hold on with a threadbare squad and no substitutes left, and the boys showing signs of fatigue. They demonstrated great character though to prove to the home supporters that they are the form side of the division and record their fifth win on the trot, and seventh in nine games. The song was heard with gusto after such a performance.

 FINAL SCORE: Sunbury United 1 – 0 Corio

 Man of the Match: Nick Pecipajkovski

_____________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 25 JULY 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM IAN BURKE (RESERVES COACH) ROUND 17 - SYDENHAM PARK SC VSUNBURY UNITED FC

Well it was with a threadbare squad that the Sunbury United Reserves made the short trip down the freeway to take on Sydenham Park on a dreadful pitch and with a howling wind. The boys looked up for it though, and the coach had faith in the players who were wearing the shirt with pride. Opportunity was spoken about before the game, and some of the younger players in the squad accepted it with both hands. 

The game started with Sunbury having the advantage of the strong breeze at their back, and immediately it was obvious that Sydenham were looking to play the long ball at every opportunity. The new-look Sunbury defence was standing strong though, with Hisham Hajj and Raimen Solaka looking like they had played together all season in the centre. The midfield was still strong, and the work-rate of Andy Koroneos was top notch, as usual. It was certainly a battle, and neither team was really able to create a proper chance on goal. It was the unlikely source of goalkeeper Ramy Mohammed who provided the assist for the opening goal. A booming clearance was ignored by the Sydenham defence, and Liam Summerhill used his pace to open the scoring and put the away side 1-0 up. 

For the remainder of the half it was a midfield battle. Neither goalkeeper was truly tested, although both team continued to look dangerous from set pieces. The closest either team came to scoring was when Daniel Adamo whipped in a free kick with the left foot, only for the chance to be headed over the bar. 

HALF TIME SCORE: Sydenham Park 0 – 1 Sunbury United 

The second half began with Sydenham looking to use the wind, and Sunbury using attacking midfielder and captain for the day Nicholas Pecipajkovski in a slightly deeper role. The home side found it hard to adjust though, and on a large number of occasions the long ball flew out of play for a goal kick. Sunbury were now looking to a combination of keeping the ball on the ground, or utilising the floated ball into the wind, for Liam Summerhill and Christian Longhitano to chase down. In the last fifteen minutes of the game Sydenham had a couple of dangerous balls into the box not dealt with, and Adamo came to the rescue on one of those occasions. Longhitano found himself through one-on-one and could have sewn up the win, but after rounding the keeper couldn't apply the finish. A fantastic win by the boys in tough conditions, and the success now being achieved is fully deserved. 

FULL TIME SCORE: Sydenham Park 0 – 1 Sunbury United 

Man of the Match: Liam Summerhill

______________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 18 JULY 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM LEE MOIS (SENIORS CAPTAIN) ROUND 16 - SUNBURY UNITED FC V DIAMOND VALLEY UNITED SC

After a 2-1 away victory to league leaders Western Suburbs, Sunbury looked to take their winning ways back to Langama Park. Round 16 saw Sunbury host Diamond Valley United who were looking to hit back from their 3 nil loss in the reverse fixture. Confidence was high and this was evident through the side as United looked to play some good football. Sunbury pressured high and tried to keep the ball in Diamond Valley’s defensive half. A few chances fell to Sunbury’s attackers who were unable to apply any scoreboard pressure.

United took the lead when a clever back-heel by Dom Marafioti was laid into the path of the onrushing Jake McIntyre whose instant reaction was to strike at goal. His attempt beat the surrounding Diamond Valley defenders and the keeper at the near post: Sunbury 1, Diamond Valley 0.

United kept up the pressure but were unable to add to the tally as half-time approached. It was a good display and fortunately for Diamond Valley, they were only a goal down at the break. The team talk echoed the effort of the first half and Sunbury were motivated to keep the pressure going.

The second half continued as it had left off with United giving Diamond Valley little time on the ball. However, a cleared corner by Valley resulted in a quick break on the right flank with their winger gaining space. A quick decision by the Sunbury captain saw him close down the space and commit to a tackle which produced a Valley free-kick just before the halfway line. The referee jogged across and awarded Mois his fifth yellow card of the season. Mois’ frustration could be seen as he knew it meant a suspension for the following fixture, but quickly turned his focus back to the game.

Sunbury had an opportunity to attack through Matt Hume which was abruptly ended when a horrendous late tackle by the Valley skipper caused a scuffle between the two sides. Attention quickly turned to Hume who was still on the ground. Sunbury physio Eric Martin made his assessment and Hume was replaced by Mem Karakilic. The referee called the Diamond Valley captain over and correctly gave him his marching orders.

With 10 players, Diamond Valley looked the better side and continued to attack at will, with Sunbury unable to control the game. United deservedly held on to claim the three points. For the first time this season, United had back-to-back wins and will look to continue its recent streak against Sydenham Park at Keilor Lodge.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 18 JULY 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM KYLE GRADIDGE (RESERVES CAPTAIN) ROUND 16 - SUNBURY UNITED FC V DIAMOND VALLEY UNITED SC

With a massive improvement of results and football compared to the first half of the season, the boys were on a very positive run over the last few weeks. With possibly the most important game of the season to date at hand, a win against Diamond Valley at home would mean moving up to equal points with them at the top section of the table.

 The team was suffering from a loss in personnel due to injury and other reasons, but the addition of Mark Lewis starting in goals, dropping down form the Senior squad, and Sean OC and Perri Delany-Miller from the Thirds were welcome additions to the bench. With a fairly familiar team being put out by the Gaffer, we lined up with Mark in goals, Daniel at left-back, Kyle and Andrew as centre backs, Isaac at right-back, Scotty and Summers on the wings, Charlie, Andy and Peci in the midfield and an in-form Christian up front. 

The conditions were perfect for football, as the boys went through an intense warm-up and they continued to stay good the whole day. As we stepped out onto the park, each individual in a yellow jersey knew the job they had ahead of them and the self-belief to get the job done. Straight from the kick-off, the pressure applied onto Diamond Valley was outstanding, causing plenty of turn-overs and most of the football being playing in the midfield and the opposition’s half. They came at us a few times, but the defence held strong and didn’t give away any real clear opportunities. 

With some more pressing in the Diamond Valley half, Peci managed to force a poor back-pass to the keeper into a turnover who was stranded off his line. The ball fell to Summers and he slotted it comfortably from 20 yards out to make it 1-0. This opened the gate for a barrage of attacks on their goal with great opportunities coming for Christian, Charlie, Andy and Peci, but none were converted. With a one-on-one collision between the opposing keeper and Charlie midway through the first half, the Sunbury midfielder had to come off injured with Jamie coming in for him, Scotty moving to the middle and Jamie out wide. 

Any attacks Diamond Valley had were cut out fairly quickly in the midfield with the defensive work-rate still immense. Anything that came over the midfield was again sorted out by the centre backs and Mark, with the defence being marshalled quite comfortably and the away team’s forwards not looking too threatening. Not long before half-time we finally managed to score another goal through some nice build-up play with a shot from Peci being parried by the keeper straight to Jamie who slotted it comfortably in the net from only a couple yards out. With the first half ending 2-0 to Sunbury, it was a bittersweet position because the game could have already been put to bed with so many chances gone begging, but the football and team defensive efforts being great. 

The second half began with our kick-off being turned over immediately and Diamond Valley pushing for an early goal. It came from their goal kick early in the half with their centre forward winning the ball in the air unchallenged then turning and lobbing Mark who was off his line – the goal coming as a result of poor marking and lax defending. We managed to create more chances from wide play with Summers, Scotty and Daniel all looking dangerous on the wings and delivering good balls in. One run made by Daniel from left-back down the line with a superb ball whipped into the box came to Christian and he just managed to half-volley it beyond the keeper, finally giving him a goal and making it 3-1 to Sunbury.  

Not long after, centre-back Kyle was substituted to sit on the bench for the Seniors with Shaun OC coming on alongside Andrew. The game was being played mostly in the midfield with any loose balls being collected by Andrew and OC as we tried to hold on until the game ended. Daniel managed to injure himself, coming off for Perri, but with Diamond Valley not looking too dangerous we held out to the final whistle. 

An overall good result, the boys deserved the win and looked like the better team for the majority of the game. With good training nights on the park and a very positive team chemistry being established, Sunbury are looking like a dangerous side. The result against Diamond Valley could have been much more in our favour if we’d capitalised on our chances, but that's football and on the day the ball just didn't want to go in the net, from poor finishing to good goalkeeping. Another battle won, and the boys will look to take 3 points from Sydenham next game to chase that second position spot we all want. 

Man of the Match: Scotty Millardship

______________________________________________________________________________________ 

SUNDAY 12 JULY 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM LEE MOIS (SENIOR CAPTAIN) ROUND 15 - WESTERN SUBURBS SC VSUNBURY UNITED FC

Round 15 took place at Ralph Reserve where Sunbury United faced league leaders Western Suburbs. The absence of Aaron Turner through a terrible injury the week before and the absence of the gaffer due to work commitments provided extra motivation to take 3 points. Wet conditions would ensure a battle between the two sides with United ready for the challenge.

From the kick-off, United showed their intent to take the game to Western Suburbs, playing forward and giving Suburbs little time on the ball. This immediate pressure was rewarded when a defensive clearance from Sunbury resulted in a counter-attack on the right wing and followed with a corner. Dom Marafioti whipped the ball to the onrushing Robert Bacon at the back post who found his first shot blocked, only for the rebound to land back at his feet. Bacon made no mistake on his second attempt, prodding the ball into the back of the net: Suburbs 0, United 1.

United kept the momentum and pressure up giving Suburbs little time and opportunity to play. It was evident where their outlet was, playing the long ball to the Brazilian striker who was not shy of throwing an elbow or too.

Midway through the half, Suburbs began applying pressure and was able to win a corner. The resulting corner found their Brazilian front-man whose pinpoint header arrowed towards the top right corner. This excellent attempt was matched by Guillermo Olea and Anthony Carden who between them were able to keep the ball out of the goal.

United used this to spur them on and an opportunity to extend the lead fell to Jake McIntyre who duly delivered. The Suburbs keeper was off his line and McIntyre, some 40 yards out, heard the call from Marafioti to ‘shoot’ and swiftly hit the ball which bounced beyond the keeper and into the net: Suburbs 0, United 2. United rallied for the rest of the half and entered the change rooms with a 2-nil lead.

The incentive to cement top spot provided the motivation for Suburbs to attack in the second half. A determined United side were focussed on the challenge and would ensure a matched, if not better, second half performance. Suburbs were chasing the game and pushed some players forward which almost paid off with their midfielders moving the ball across the field and eventually releasing a shot which was well dealt with by Carden.

Continued pressure by Suburbs led to a dubious penalty decision when an uncleared ball bounced free in the 18 yard box, with Carden able to reach out and clear the ball before the Suburbs attacker could react. The referee had a different view and awarded the penalty for an infringement on the attacker. Suburbs made no mistake from the spot leaving the United keeper stuck in his tracks: Suburbs 1, United 2.

Further attacking by the home team opened up the game to more opportunities. The Western Suburbs keeper found himself in no-man’s land when he failed to deal with a Sunbury defensive cleared corner. As the ball came back to him on the half-way line, he handled the ball which was the only possible action he could take to stop the lethal McIntyre from adding to his tally. The referee had no other option but to dismiss him from the game.

Sunbury held on for the remainder of the game and ensured an overdue victory. United will look to carry this form into the next week as it looks to climb out of the relegation zone.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

SUNDAY 12 JULY 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM IAN BURKE (RESERVES COACH) ROUND 15 - WESTERN SUBURBS SC VSUNBURY UNITED FC

The boys from Sunbury made the short trip down to another former Premier League ground this week, playing against Western Suburbs in freezing, wet conditions. The pitch held up very well considering all of the rain pre-game and during, and it proved to be a test for the boys. 

From the earlier game this season, the boys were well aware that they could compete against a competitive team from Western Suburbs, but knew that it would be tough and weren't taking anything for granted. The game started well for the away team and they had Western Suburbs looking nervous at the back very early on. Christian Longhitano was looking to continue his excellent mid-season form and was terrorising the defence with his pace. It was no surprise then that it was Longhitano who was able to win the penalty that opened the scoring. After breaking into the box and getting his shot away, the referee mysteriously blew the whistle just as his shot was hitting the bottom corner. Nicholas Pecipajkovski stepped up, and was able to convert the spot kick, even with the goalkeeper getting a touch.

Sunbury continued to pressure the home team and further chances were being created. Liam Summerhill was looking to join the attacks from left midfield, and was providing useful options, and with the centre being bossed by Charlie Eastwood and Andy Koroneos, Suburbs couldn't find any answers. It was now Pecipajkovski's turn to lay one on for Longhitano, as he played a nice through ball. The striker showing plenty of confidence and found the net for the second time in the game. This effort was allowed to stand by the referee. Pecijpakovski then was crudely brought down on the edge of the box minutes later, but with rain now becoming heavier, the referee was unable to see the foul. 

Once again, the Sunbury boys stepped up another level, and the third goal came just before half time. A great little passing move, involving Isaac Abela and Danny Moore on the right, then got played through to Eastwood who was pushing forward. He made no mistake and the away team now had a handy lead to take into the break.  

HALF TIME SCORE: Western Suburbs 0 – 3 Sunbury United

The second half saw more rain falling and Sunbury were looking to withstand a much improved Western Suburbs in the early stages. The away team was also forced into a change with Scott Millardship replacing the injured Danny Moore, who had broken his hand in a tackle. A predictably scrappy second half, with neither team really creating much was turned on its head, with the referee bizarrely awarding a penalty to Western Suburbs at a corner kick, with the home team not even appealing for it. Goalkeeper Ramy Mohammed dived the right way, but was unable to save the resulting spot kick. 

Suburbs now had a lifeline and at times the Sunbury defence looked a little nervy. Mohammed pulled off a good close-range block as the pressure mounted. With the game being tighter, Sunbury substitute Liam Miller was found perfectly by a Longhitano square ball, but from 10 yards out could only put the chance just over the bar. The Sunbury defence held strong and recorded another win on the road, as their recent form continues to impress. 

FULL TIME SCORE: Western Suburbs 1 – 3 Sunbury United

MAN of the MATCH: Nicholas Pecipajkovski

 

SUNDAY 5 JULY 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM IAN BURKE (RESERVES COACH) CATCH UP ROUND - PRESTON LIONS FC VSUNBURY UNITED

So, on a blank fixture weekend it was a catch-up game for Sunbury United away at Preston Lions. The boys were greeted by a massive pitch at the former Victorian Premier League ground, and with a stiff breeze running straight down the middle, different tactics would be needed for each half. 

With the introduction of three fresh senior faces, competition for spots was hot again and pressure was on the starting eleven to perform and hold their places. After a nervy opening ten minutes where neither team was able to control possession, it was the away team who started to push forward more.  

With Mem Karakilic patrolling the centre of midfield it was allowing the likes of Nicholas Pecipajkovski and Charlie Eastwood the opportunity to push forward and support lone forward Christian Longhitano. There was also a constant threat coming from wide areas, with Liam Summerhill and Josh Bauer providing more attacking options. 

The opening goal came after some good work on the left with Daniel Adamo knocking a sweeping cross-field ball from full back. As Liam Summerhill battled for possession the ball fell to Longhitano who moved it out of his feet and then provided an excellent bottom corner finish from just outside the box.

Sunbury continued to push forward at will, with plenty of balls into the box. Full backs Adamo and Robert Bacon were now adding to Preston's woes, as they were kept firmly on the back foot. The pressure was mounting and the goalkeeper gifted a ball to Josh Bauer, who unselfishly played in Longhitano for a simple tap in. 

Other chances fell to Bauer, who shot over the bar, and Pecipajkovski, but Sunbury couldn't find the crucial killer third goal. Just before half time, Preston's portly forward found himself with a chance to get them back in the game, but with goalkeeper Ramy Mohammed closing the angle fast, he chipped over the bar. It was a huge sigh of relief with Sunbury having controlled all of the play. 

HALF TIME: Preston Lions 0 – 2 Sunbury United

Sunbury began the second half positively and although against the wind, were still looking to push forward. Possession was being given away too easily though, and the back four was being made to work hard to keep their clean sheet intact. Central defence was being marshalled well by captain Kyle Gradidge and Andrew Laversha who continued to deal with the lively Preston forward effectively.  

Changes were made from the bench with a few players struggling to maintain the intensity, such was the demand of playing on a huge pitch. Halfway through the second half, Bauer won a free-kick near the edge of the Preston penalty area. Karakilic saw a poorly assembled wall in front and took full advantage with a superbly struck set piece that hit the top corner of the goal without the keeper even moving. This was the goal Sunbury deserved, but also needed as Preston heads now dropped. 

Sunbury continued to attack and with Longhitano looking for his hat-trick he struck a shot from the edge of the box that looked in, only for the shot to smash back off the crossbar. Danny Moore had been introduced in his favoured right midfield spot and was tearing Preston apart, combining well with Bacon. With only minutes to go in the game he was fed in down the channel and slotted home a lovely bottom corner effort to put the result beyond doubt. It was a near-perfect performance from Sunbury, who are now getting the full reward for their efforts of the past few weeks. 

FULL TIME: Preston Lions 0 – 4 Sunbury United

Man of the Match – Robert Bacon

 The result of the game was quickly over-shadowed with the shocking injury suffered by Aaron Turner in the first few minutes of the senior game. All in the reserves wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back soon.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 27 JUNE 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM LEE MOIS (SENIORS CAPTAIN) ROUND 12SUNBURY UNITED FC V ALTONA EAST PHOENIX SC

Round 14 saw Sunbury United take on Altona East Phoenix at Langama Park. The previous encounter with East finished 2-2 and United were looking to build on the momentum of the previous week where North Sunshine was kept at bay (0-0) until the game was abandoned at around the 55 minute mark as a result of an injury to a North Sunshine player. The departure of Chaz Talboys meant a shuffle for the starting line-up with Lee Mois replacing Talboys on the right and Matt Hume returning to the middle of the park.

Altona kicked off and it was evident that their outlet was through their big man up front, targeting him with long balls. Sunbury looked switched on from the warm up and this carried into the opening minutes of the game, showing their determination to win the ball and applying pressure all over the park.

United looked determined to get a result and was able to put attacking pressure in their front third. A chance fell to Adem Alicevic who was unable to convert on his right side with his shot not causing any trouble for the East keeper. United continued to press in the opening half but was unable to capitalise, with Phoenix slowly taking control of the game towards the end of the half.

With the opening 45 minutes gone United looked the better team, with Phoenix only looking like creating something in the last 10 minutes of the half. Sunbury had the confidence that 3 points was there for the taking and took this into the second half, immediately attacking down the right. United looked dangerous at times through the pace of Alicevic and Dom Marafioti catching East on the break. However, an attack by Phoenix resulted in a corner which was cleanly struck directly into the back of the net without any United or East players getting a touch: United 0, Phoenix 1.

With confidence dropping, United dug deep and found a reply through a swiftly taken free-kick by Marafioti. The ball evaded all and found Alicevic at the back post who saw his effort parried by the East keeper only for Jake McIntyre to hit the rebound first time: United 1, Phoenix 1.

This response provided little relief as United fell victim to another defensive mistake from a set piece. The in-swinging corner fell to the East centre back who peeled off the United player to place his header in the top right: United 1, Phoenix 2.

United tried desperately to get an equaliser as James Conversano caused the East players difficulty with his pace on the ball. However, they fell short in being unable to create any clear cut chances. Sunbury will once again regroup as they prepare to take on Preston Lions who have seen a change in form of late.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 27 JUNE 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM IAN BURKE (RESERVES COACH) ROUND 12SUNBURY UNITED FC V ALTONA EAST PHOENIX SC

Well after a really good spell of high pressure football from the Reserves in recent weeks, it was back to Langama Park for a home match against Altona East. The boys had a little bit of revenge in mind after being held to a draw in the away fixture earlier in the season, thanks to a dubious goal. 

The game started at a decent pace with both teams attempting to play football from the back. With Altona East pushing high though, it was a high risk strategy from the home side and at the fifteen minute mark they found themselves a goal down after a poor square ball across the back provided a gift for the Altona striker. 

In an attempt to change things up and gain some advantage in the centre of the park, Charlie Eastwood moved out to the left and Raimond Spiller, returning from injury, came into a more attacking position. Within minutes the home side had a couple of decent chances, however some indifferent finishing, plus some excellent goalkeeping, saw the opportunities go begging. With the game now very open, Altona East found themselves with another chance after the Sunbury defence was caught square. It was now 2-0 and the home side had some work to do. They continued to push though, and a wonderful free-kick delivered into the box from Rai Spiller found an unmarked Andrew Laversha who powered home the header to get Sunbury back into the game. 

HALF TIME SCORE: Sunbury United 1 - 2 Altona East

The half time break allowed some slight tactical changes from the coach, and within minutes of the restart it was obvious to see the home side now putting a lot more pressure on the Altona back four, who looked frazzled. United were creating plenty of chances, with the visiting goalkeeper again producing some fine saves. A neat through ball from "assist-king" Charlie Eastwood found Rai Spiller, and the Senior player showed great composure to get the equaliser. 

Changes started to be made from the bench too with Sunbury looking to maintain the pressure on the opposition. Chances came and went and it was all one-way traffic. Sunbury then took the lead, after some neat passing on the left found Andy Koroneos just inside the box. His first time effort was scuffed a little, but it somehow looped over the goalkeeper and found its way over the line, just before Richie Ferguson could add the vital touch. The home side were playing some wonderful football, and the pressure was mounting on Altona East, who were then reduced to ten men. 

The home side failed to find the killer goal though, and with just minutes left disaster struck. Altona forced a corner kick, which the defence failed to clear. The ball fell to a former Sunbury player on the edge of the box, who struck his shot beautifully into the top corner to seal a draw for the away side. It was heartbreak for Sunbury after the mammoth effort to get back from two early goals down, and the result was a harsh one considering the balance of play in the second half. 

FULL TIME SCORE: Sunbury United 3 – 3 Altona East 

Man of the Match: Raimond Spiller

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 20 JUNE 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM GREG CZAPNIK (SENIORS COACH) ROUND 13NORTH SUNSHINE EAGLES SC v SUNBURY UNITED FC

After a very disappointing display against Keilor, we travelled to top of the table North Sunshine Eagles. Eagles have won 9, drawn 2 and only lost the 1 game, so expectations were all on them.

The Keilor loss affected me more than any other game during the time I have coached Sunbury United. I spoke to the team for approximately 20 minutes straight after the loss and we all did some soul searching during the week leading up to this game. Training during the week was sound with a very solid hit out on Thursday. I was buoyant leading into the game, but still wary as I was unsure which Sunbury outfit would show up. In short, the real Sunbury United turned up.

We were physical, switched on and the intensity was there right from the first minute – North Sunshine didn’t know what hit them. In saying that, they are the top side and responded like we all knew they would and together we battled for the ascendancy in what was a very entertaining game. Chances fell to our new boys up front Adem and Dom after great play out wide, but both failed to hit the target. A wicked free kick taken by Dom had the keeper scrambling by his right post just keeping it out and we were unlucky not to tap it home as the Eagles defence cleared their lines.

Eagles also had a couple of chances and probably the easiest one of the first half when ex-Sunbury player Adrian failed to side-foot the ball home from a couple of metres. Perhaps being an ex-player let us off the hook. A corner hit to the front post was hit first time by an Eagles midfielder and luckily flew just wide. All in all, Sunbury had the better of the first half in what was probably our best display of the season. North Sunshine 0 – Sunbury 0.

We got the boys in at half time, re-iterated a few points and we were set to take it to the leaders in the second half. The game was pretty much in the balance when one of their central defenders fell awkwardly in front of the coaches’ boxes and stayed down. Play was stopped and we saw he had either dislocated or broken his arm/elbow and an ambulance was called as he couldn’t be safely moved.

The referee advised both sides that the ambulance had 15 minutes to arrive and a further 15 minutes to treat the player before play could continue. Unfortunately, the ambulance arrived some 45 minutes after being called, hence the games was abandoned after 55 minutes. We now wait for the Federation to determine the course of action, but I believe we will have to replay the fixture.

In closing, I was very proud of the team and the way they responded, and hope we can replicate the way we played against the leaders. If we can, there won’t be a team we should fear.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 13 JUNE 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM IAN BURKE (RESERVES COACH) ROUND 12SUNBURY UNITED FC V KEILOR PARK SC

Well it was with much anticipation that the Sunbury boys took to their home ground seeking revenge against local rivals Keilor Park on Saturday June 13th. After a week off over the long weekend there was a mass of players to choose from and with additions from the senior squad, some boys were unlucky to be missing out. 

The game started at a high tempo, with both teams trying desperately to assert some authority on the game. Keilor had a couple of half chances from set pieces, with some good deliveries into the box, however keeper Ramy Mohammed looked assured at the back. Sunbury were pressing well as a group, although were guilty of giving away possession too easily, especially in the attacking third. 

Some good defensive pressure from Christian Longhitano forced a mistake in the Keilor defence and James Conversano was on hand to nip in and win the ball. With the Keilor goalkeeper closing him down, he showed great presence of mind to feed in Liam Summerhill for a well-deserved opener. Keilor responded but couldn't force the equaliser, with the defence being well-marshalled by Danny Moore, playing against his former club. For the remainder of the first half it was fairly even, with neither team managing to create any real clear cut openings. 

HALF TIME SCORE: Sunbury United 1 - 0 Keilor Park

Sunbury came out for the second half a little on the back foot, and the away team was now looking to force an equaliser with some early pressure. It came a little too easily five minutes into the second half with the defence opened from a simple one-two. Keilor had got level and were starting to gain some momentum. The Sunbury boys battled hard in the midfield and the work rate of Charlie Eastwood and Andy Koroneos couldn't be faulted. 

Just ten minutes into the half and controversy arose as the referee made a game-changing decision. With the Keilor Park striker through on goal, Danny Moore made up good ground on his much younger opponent and put in what looked like a goal-saving tackle. The referee saw it differently and not only awarded Keilor a spot kick, but also sent off Moore much to the disgust of the Sunbury bench. So now, with over half an hour to play, Sunbury were down 2-1, and also playing with 10 men. This was a massive setback, as Moore was holding the defence together and providing some great cover at times. 

The response from the kick off was immense, as Sunbury went immediately about getting back into the game, pushing forward and forcing a corner kick. From the resultant set piece, the ball fell to Koroneos inside the six-yard box, and when it looked easier to score, he blazed it high over the crossbar. This proved to be a massive setback as Keilor pushed forward immediately and made it 3-1. With half an hour to play, the Sunbury boys had somewhat of a mountain to climb now. 

As Sunbury continued to tire, substitutions were made and there was a change in formation, as the game was being chased. Going to a three-man defence was always going to be a risk though against a potent Keilor Park, and before long it was 4-1. Sunbury, to their credit, failed to throw in the towel and James Conversano managed to win a penalty, which he duly converted to pull the deficit back to two goals.

 The game didn't finish well, with a young Keilor player scoring a top corner rocket, to leave Keilor with a very flattering score-line, and in the aftermath of the goal, Sunbury had another player sent off after some poor discipline. Although the result didn't look great, the effort and desire shown by the boys couldn't be faulted, and the Sunbury coaching team could only be left to wonder what might have been in the second half. 

FINAL SCORE: Sunbury United 2 - 5 Keilor Park

Man of the Match: Danny Moore

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 13 JUNE 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM LEE MOIS (SENIORS CAPTAIN) ROUND 12SUNBURY UNITED FC V KEILOR PARK SC

Due to Preston Lions FFV Cup match, Sunbury United had the previous week off which coincided with the long weekend. The week off allowed United to recharge their batteries and saw them return to Langama Park for the Round 12 clash against local rivals, Keilor Park. Like many before, this local derby would ensure a fiercely contested battle. With Sunbury needing a win, the line-up was changed with Mehmet Karakilic starting for the first time since signing and Raimond Spiller returning to the first eleven.

United won the toss and elected to shoot downhill against the glare. The opening half created little chances for both sides with Keilor having more possession and United trying to get in the game. A number of chances fell to Keilor with United’s defence giving away needless free-kicks around the box, but Keilor were unable to capitalise on this. The remainder of the half created little chances for either side with both Sunbury and Keilor battling in the midfield for possession. The deadlock was finally broken when an intercepted Sunbury pass was played through to the Keilor striker, Mohammed Mohammed. Confusion between the United keeper and fullback left the ball uncleared inside the box and the Keilor player was able slide it across the 6 year box with a fellow team-mate reacting first to get a toe-in: Sunbury 0, Keilor 1.

After a dismal first half performance, United were looking to make amends to prove to the Sunbury faithful they were capable of better. The opening 15 minutes saw a different United who pressured Keilor in their own half and gave them little time on the ball. High pressure and an interception from recent signing Dom Marafioti resulted in the equaliser with Marafioti feeding the ball to Jake McIntyre who expertly placed the ball around the keeper: Sunbury 1, Keilor 1.

United kept up the pressure but were caught on the break when a long ball was played down the right-hand flank. The Sunbury skipper came across to challenge, only for his clearance to find the Keilor fullback. The ball was played quickly to the back post giving Mohammed time to line up his header. With the United keeper off his line, the ball struck the post and bounced into open play where once again Keilor were first to react, placing the ball in the back of the net: Sunbury 1, Keilor 2.

Sunbury looked to respond with the introduction of Robert Bacon, Will Olea and Josh Bauer but were unable to create anything meaningful with a number of long balls easily dealt with by the Keilor defence and the United midfield unable to maintain possession of the ball. After 90 minutes, the final score: Sunbury 1, Keilor 2. Sunbury will look to regroup for its Round 13 clash against league leaders North Sunshine with the expectation of a much improved performance.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 30 MAY 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM Ian burke (reserves Coach) ROUND 10SUNBURY UNITED FC v cairnlea fc

So, after a good week on the track and looking to atone for some disappointing displays over the past month, the Reserve boys took to the pitch at Langama Park hoping for some good fortune on a blustery day. Kicking off into the breeze, and with the introduction of Emir Ameti and Ritchie Ferguson from the Senior squad, the boys strung together some impressive touches before taking an early lead after just 41 seconds through Christian Longhitano. It was the perfect start and the boys grew in confidence immediately, having Cairnlea with their backs up against the wall. 

Even with the breeze and slope to their advantage, Cairnlea could not muster a chance on goal until after half an hour. The work-rate was first rate and there wasn't a single player not doing their bit. Ferguson was menacing down the right-hand side, likewise the consistent Liam Summerhill on the left. Ameti continued to use his experience to break up the play, and with NicholasPecipajkovski and Charlie Eastwood providing plenty of attacking dash, the midfield looked at its best so far this season. 

After a couple of half chances to Cairnlea, the defence looked solid and well balanced with Ian Anderson moving out to left back and Danny Moore coming into the centre. On about the half hour mark it was Summerhill's chance to get the second goal. After a delightful ball through, he showed great composure to provide an excellent volley with his unfavoured left boot. Approaching half time, there was another chance, this time with Summerhill becoming provider to gift Longhitano a chance for his second, but with the ex-Sunbury keeper rooted to his line, he sprayed his chance wide. 

HALF-TIME: Sunbury United 2-0 Cairnlea

As Cairnlea started the second half, the Sunbury attacking players again applied immediate pressure and forced a turnover from the kick off. It was a statement of intention and showed the away team that there was not going to be an easy way back into this game for them. After soaking up a little pressure, and with the forced substitution of Scott Millardship for Ferguson (due to Senior duties), the home side looked to consolidate on its lead, but without the same time on the ball that they enjoyed in the first half. A massive wind-assisted clearance from goalkeeper Ramy Mohammed saw confusion in the Cairnlea defence, and with no further invitation needed, Summerhill attacked the ball at pace and left the defender wanting. After drawing the other centre-half, Summerhill then provided a neat back-heel into the path of Longhitano, who smashed his drive into the roof of the net to leave the opposition keeper with no chance. 

With a number of substitutions now being made, and with some players in need of a deserved break, possession again became a little lax in areas. Although, at the same time, the defensive effort was massive and Cairnlea's only opportunities looked like coming from set pieces. With Andrew Laversha defending like a warrior in the centre, and being assisted by Anderson and Matthew Bontorno, goalkeeper Mohammed was rarely called upon. The boys put in a superb shift today and showed exactly what they can be capable of with a high energy performance. With a week off over the long weekend, they will be looking to prove a point in the next game against local rivals Keilor Park in two weeks’ time. 

FINAL SCORE: Sunbury United 3-0 Cairnlea

MAN of the MATCH: Emir Ameti

SATURDAY 23 MAY 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM LEE MOIS (SENIORS CAPTAIN) ROUND 9ALTONA MAGIC SC V SUNBURY UNITED FC

Sunbury United travelled to high-flying Altona Magic for the twilight encounter following the success over Westgate the week prior. With confidence aplenty and hoping for some momentum to push further up the table, the away team were not daunted by their big-spending counterparts. So it proved as the game unfolded, and for the outsider looking in it would've appeared much less obvious as to which team were the ladder front-runners.  

Endeavour and energy aside, the game did not begin quite as intended for United as an early error saw them go behind within the opening minutes. Mistiming a cross from a Magic forward, goalkeeper Mark Lewis saw the ball evade him and subsequently allow fullback Rob Bacon little reaction time to prevent himself from deflecting the ball into his own net. 1-0 in unfortunate circumstances and under 10 minutes, but if anything the deficit strengthened United's resolve. 

Sunbury looked increasingly dangerous, in particular down the left flank where makeshift winger Nem Govedarica was giving his opposing number a torrid time. Showing the confidence to attack at will, the same positive approach soon ran through the team with a number of crosses finding their way into dangerous areas. With more decisive finishing, Sunbury could well have taken a commanding lead. The best chance fell to midfielder Harry Thompson who, working some space in the opposition penalty area, expertly weaved his way between two players only to see his shot blocked following some desperate defending. The score remained 1-0 at the interval. 

The second half panned out much like the first, with Sunbury pressing all over the park and searching for a way back into the game. Thompson and fellow midfielder Matt Hume were increasingly tenacious in central areas, and as time ticked on, a real sense of urgency from the away team became apparent. But despite the possession and the desire to win the ball back quickly when it was lost, the all important killer blow remained elusive. 

Magic occasionally probed and threatened with a number of diagonal passes, but each time the Sunbury defence were well equipped to cope with any danger. With full time approaching, United's approach was still defined by their positivity and reluctance to give in. But the early goal proved to be critical, and despite Sunbury's dominance for long periods, Altona Magic ran out the game 1-0 victors.

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

SATURDAY 16 MAY 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM KYLE GRADIDGE (RESERVES CAPTAIN) ROUND 8WESTGATE FC v SUNBURY UNITED FC

Coming off a few weeks of poor results, the boys knew how much this game meant. Especially after the two weeks of intense training, we all wanted to get something out of this game. All showing up early and focused, we looked sharp in the warm-up and were setting up in a new look lineup with players shuffling positions to give a bit more experience in the back line with Danny and Andrew slotting in as centre-backs and Ian moving to left-back. Liam Miller played the target man supported by Peci and Summers on the wings, with Scotty, Andy and Kyle in the midfield triangle. The conditions were some of the best we have had the whole season with minimal wind, the sun shining and a beautiful home pitch advantage. The big focus on the first half was our structure defensively, closing down and an emphasis on our physicality. 

Westgate kicked off the first half with bits of possession, trying to play the early long ball to their big target man. With possession being slightly in our favour, we managed to get plenty of crosses in from Peci and Summers, but all going unmet in the box. Westgate managed to get a break with a long ball on the counter over the defence and with a bit of fortune a Westgate player took a shot just outside the box which hit the post and was then tapped in, with the efforts of Ramy and the defenders unable to stop the goal.  

After having more good spells of possession but ultimately getting no result from it with a lack of presence up front and in the box, Westgate managed to score again through a poor clearance, with centre-back Danny gifting the ball to their striker who coolly finished, making it 2-0 against us. At half time the Burkey assured the boys that the game was still ours for the taking. After plenty of effort and hard work shown, despite the two goals, we still looked the better team.  

We came out for the second half with Scotty replaced by Charlie and Miller replaced by Christian, with the latter making an immediate impact, coming close twice after some good play from the midfield and wingers. He was then gifted a back pass from a Westgate player who capitalised by calmly slotting the ball past the keeper to make it 2-1. We had a game on our hands at this point.  

Both teams looking for the next goal, Westgate pressed high and we struggled to play the ball out from the back. Further substitutes were made with Matt Bontorno on for Isaac and Jamie on for Summers, hoping the fresh legs and creativity would help. With an unlucky back-pass, Matt presented the ball to the Westgate striker with their player scoring we went down 3-1 with not much time left in the game. Raimen came on for injured centre-back Danny, Ian moved central, Kyle dropped from the midfield to play alongside him and Andrew went up front to try and salvage another goal as a target man. In the dying minutes of the game after a scramble in the box from a corner, Ian Anderson managed to get the last touch, giving us a late goal to make it 3-2. Not long after, the final whistle blew and that's how the scoring stayed. 

It was a tough battle in the midfield in both halves, with the boys putting in a great effort, but up front we struggled with the final pass and our finishing. For most of the game, the backline had their work cut out with constant long balls and counter attacks, and at times were unlucky to be beaten. An overall disappointing result, but the performance was commendable with high intensity and a hunger to win the ball – something that was lacking in recent games. Giving goals away with mistakes and not putting our chances away is what lost the game, but our heart kept us in it. Playing Altona Magic away next game will be a real test and hopefully we can take our effort and attitude into the next game and get the 3 points away from home. 

Man of the match: Andy Mitrevski

______________________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 9 MAY 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM GREG CZAPNIK (SENIOR COACH) ROUND 7- CORIO V SUNBURY UNITED FC

Sunbury travelled to Hume Reserve Corio on what was a cold wet and windy Saturday afternoon. Corio’s pitch looked a treat but there was no doubt the weather conditions would play havoc on the day. The Sunbury dressing room was eerily quiet before the game and I was hoping it was because the guys were focused on the task at hand against the league cellar dweller. My fears were quelled immediately as we took the ascendancy and dominated the first half creating many chances but unable to hit the back of the net.

The first chance fell to Rai Spillar, heading from approximately 3 yards out but unable to beat the Corio keeper. Great work down the right side saw Jake McIntyre put a great ball to the far post but with the goal gaping, Rai headed too close to the keeper. The next chance fell to Jake McIntyre who broke through and with the keeper to beat, hit a powerful shot straight at the Corio keeper at a comfortable height. Anywhere along the deck and we would have broken the deadlock. Simon Yates was put through on goal shortly after but with the keeper quickly off his line, the chance went begging.

Sunbury went into the break high on confidence knowing if we could produce the same effort, the result would come. At this point of time, it was 0-0 and we had nothing to show for the domination.

The second half started exactly where we left off. Some great interchange play on the right wing saw Greg Berry cut back to Simon Yates who was unmarked approximately 12 yards out. He had time to stop it and place his shot but not realizing the time he had, hit his shot first time. He scuffed his shot and the keeper was able to get down and save. I thought this was not going to be our day. Shortly after, the breakthrough finally came. Chaz Tallboys won the ball and played to Jake whose effort was well saved by the keeper but the rebound fell to Simon who put it away for our first goal, and his first for the club. The joy on boy’s faces said it all. Corio had to change things up and started to push players forward. Some interchange play on their attacking left side concluded with a cross being sent in. The guy mishit his cross and with the aid of the strong breeze, Mark Lewis was unable to judge the flight. Unbelievably it went it at the far post to everyone’s amazement. Scores 1-1.

Corio started to take the ascendancy and quickly made it 2-1. Sunbury’s structure and shape for the first time was in tatters and the Corio striker found himself in the box with only the Mark Lewis to beat. From a very tight angle, Mark was beaten on his near post, something I am sure he’d be disappointed with. The pressure didn’t let up with Corio now going forward at will and should have made it 3-1, but luckily for us the ball came off the post. Mark pulled off a great save and the pressure kept mounting. Against the run of play and probably the only time we were able to string a few passes together in this 20 minute spell, Chaz was put through on goal. The keeper (as he did all day) came screaming out of his box and only half cleared the ball as it fell to Jake who calmly slotted the ball home into an empty net from 25 yards. Scores at 2-2 with only about 5 minutes to go. The game then petered out with no further chances to talk of.

Walking off the park I couldn’t believe we should have been 4 up before they even had a chance yet in the end we were lucky to get a draw. All in all, very proud of the first 60 minutes and our fighting spirit at the end. Robbie Noggler the Corio coach also lamented on another one that got away but did offer praise that we should have put the game to bed in that first 60 minutes. Draw a fair result.

________________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 9 MAY 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM DANNY MOORE (RESERVE CAPTAIN) ROUND 7- CORIO v SUNBURY UNITED FC

The longest journey of the season took Sunbury United down to Hume Reserve on the outskirts of Geelong for their Round 7 clash against Corio. After a disappointing home draw the previous week, an improved performance was needed, along with the points to make the extended trip worthwhile. With a few players succumbing to illness during the week, coach Ian Burke shuffled the lineup to allow for new personnel, but the key instruction was unchanged – ‘press early’.

The match began with the away side seemingly heeding the prescribed game-plan, applying pressure in forward areas across the impressive playing surface and being rewarded soon after. A quick release from the back set wide midfielder Nick Pecipajkovski scrambling clear, still with nearly half a pitch to traverse. But with his foot-speed carrying him clear beyond his marker and dispatching a low effort beneath the keeper, Pecipajkovski gave Sunbury the perfect start.

Having lowered their playing performance a week prior against a sub-standard Sydenham side, the opportunity now presented itself for Sunbury to lift their game and avoid a repeat of that below-par display. But if anything, the goal appeared to have an opposite effect with the early pressure fading – passes were unnecessarily rushed and responsibility soon shifted between the players without finding someone to take on the onus.

Defensively through the whole team, Sunbury were slow to react and poor with their decision-making, with Corio soon taking advantage. Two goals in relatively quick succession resulted from a combination of poor marking and an inability on the travelling team's part to clear their lines when danger arose. Going 2-1 down, Sunbury were now forced to respond.

While Pecipajkovski remained a threat down the left, United failed to utilise the speed and incisiveness of Christian Longhitano on the opposite flank. Striker Mohamed Ibrahim dropped deeper and deeper to involve himself in play with support from attacking midfielder Liam Miller, but collectively the team remained wasteful with the ball and could not take advantage of the space afforded to them by the home side. Down two avoidable goals to one at the break, a deserved verbal battering awaited at the interval.

The second half saw a noticeable improvement from Sunbury with central midfielder Andy Koroneos covering a lot of the ground to help retrieve possession, but a knee injury to fullback Daniel Adamo meant both a setback and a re-jig to the outfield. United were still finding it difficult to find any fluency against their less active opponents, and a third Corio goal made the comeback operation all the more difficult. Direct from a corner, the flight of the ball evaded the Sunbury rear-guard and found the home team’s centre-half stooping at the back post, losing his marker Danny Moore to quite obviously handle the ball over the line, but not picked up by the hapless official.

 

With substitutes Liam Summerhill, Raimen Solaka, Charlie Eastwood and Scott Millardship all entering the fray in an effort to add some spark and energy to Sunbury’s faltering performance, plus the addition of new recruit Andrew Laversha as a target man upfront, Sunbury still struggled to make in-roads. It took a late reply from Ian Anderson – pushed on as an advancing fullback – to finally rouse the yellow and blacks, but with time running out the delayed sense of endeavour urgency was all too late.

Losing 3-2 against a very beatable side, coupled with the home draw versus Sydenham, made for a disappointing run of results and an even longer drive home from rain-soaked Geelong.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 2 MAY 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM Lee mois (senior captain) ROUND 6- SUNBURY UNITED FC V SYDENHAM SC

Sunbury United returned to Langama Park after claiming their first three points of the season and were looking to carry this new-found confidence into the game against Sydenham Park. United made one change from the previous line-up that beat Diamond Valley 3-0 with Simon Yates returning for his first league start replacing the injured James Conversano.

United won the toss and elected to shoot up-field against the breeze and with the sun glaring down. This was a change from usual proceedings and one that would hopefully change the fortunes of United’s home results. Sydenham took the initiative from the whistle playing a long ball to the flank only for the Sunbury defence to deal with it. Early exchanges set the scene as the midfield battle ensued.

United found themselves in their defensive half comfortably dealing with Sydenham’s long ball and deft set pieces. One ball over the top caught out United’s Lee Mois as he was unable to account for the glaring sun. Luckily for him, was well covered by Rob Bacon, Chaz Talboys and Nem Govedarica. A number of quick breaks from United resulted in possession in their attacking half but lacked that decisive final ball.

Just before half time, Sunbury conceded another throw-in and knew what to expect. However, the United defence were unable to deal with the incoming throw which landed in the six yard box. The home side failed to clear their lines with the ball making its way to the back post and a Sydenham pass across the box found the unmarked striker for an easy tap in. The half time whistle blew; Sunbury 0, Sydenham 1

The second half began with United looking to make amends for conceding late in the half. The majority of play was with Sunbury and again found it difficult to execute the final pass. United were caught occasionally on the back foot with Sydenham playing some long balls however, the defence held firm to deny any goal scoring chances. Mark Lewis was also called into action when a poor pass from Mois allowed the Sydenham attacker to pick up the pass and power through only for Lewis to make an excellent block. With neither side threatening the goals, another Sydenham set piece was Sunbury’s downfall. The corner found the Sydenham attacker who found a yard in front of Mois to plant his header in the net. Sunbury 0, Sydenham 2.

The introduction of Josh Bauer, Rai Spiller and Will Olea during the half did little to change the fortunes of the home team. Similarly to Sydenham’s first goal, a long throw made its way into the box only for the onrushing Talboys to misdirect the header into the back of the net. Sunbury 0, Sydenham 3. United will look to regroup during the week for a must-win match against Corio.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY 2 May 2015 - MATCH REPORT FROM IAN BURKE (RESERVES COACH) ROUND 6- SUNBURY UNITED FC V SYDENHAM SC

Well after a week off due to the postponement at Diamond Valley, you'd have thought the boys would be champing at the bit for a match. Once again, though, a slow start and lack of focus is proving a real frustration for the coach. Sydenham, although solid and well organised, didn't look like having much creativity in attack, and the Sunbury boys enjoyed some decent spells of possession, although it was mainly in defensive areas. Likewise, the away team had plenty of possession at the back, but once it went into midfield, both teams seemed to lose their composure and gave the ball away cheaply. Not for the first time this season, it took a very good strike to open the scoring for the opposition. A cheap free kick was given away on the edge of our own box, and we were duly punished by a decent finish, with the Sydenham player making good use of a swirling breeze.

This seemed to stun the home team into life, and the response came just five minutes later. Some positive play down the left flank from Nicholas Pecipajkovski followed by a bit of a scramble in the box, and Mohammed Sayed Ibrahim tapped in the equaliser. Not much else to talk about in the first half, as both teams continued to find it hard to put life into a dull affair.

HALF TIME SCORE : Sunbury Utd 1 - 1 Sydenham Park

After an unhappy half time talk, Sunbury came out as the aggressors in the 2nd half, and took the game right up to Sydenham, who were now playing with the aid of the breeze. There was much huffing and puffing from the home side, but most of the chances created were far from clear cut, as it looked like Sydenham were happy with a draw. Changes were being made by the coach too, with all five substitutes used fairly early on as the home side tried in vain to get the 3 points. Danny Moore came off the bench to have a free kick from just outside the box, but that chance went begging. NicholasPecipajkovski played in a number of positions during the re-structuring, and put in a massive amount of work for the team. At the back, Kyle Gradidge was having his best game of the season, whilst Andy Koroneos keeps improving each week too. One final chance came for Ian Anderson late on, with a teasing cross delivered by Danny Moore, but the defender couldn't convert from just five yards out. Then in the final minute, Sydenham played a ball through to what looked like an offside player, whilst the Sunbury defence stopped and watched. It took a great save from Ramy Mohammed, and the follow up clearance from Kyle Gradidge to see off the danger. Overall, a much improved second half display, but still an overall disappointing day.

FINAL SCORE : Sunbury United 1 - 1 Sydenham Park     

Man of the Match - NicholasPecipajkovski

_________________________________________________________________________________________________