Zebras hold Sunshine to draw
Sunshine George Cross surrendered a lead on two occasions to play out a 2-2 draw with Moreland Zebras at Chaplin Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
Lewis Shannon gave Sunshine a first-half lead before Nicholas Symeoy equalised early in the second half.
Manuel Sadik put Sunshine ahead with under twenty minutes to go but an equaliser ten minutes from time again by Symeoy ensured the points were to be shared.
Moreland started the game the stronger of the two sides and had two glorious opportunities to take the lead within a minute.
The first fell to Joel Nikolic whose low strike was saved by Nabi Tuna in the Sunshine goals before Tom Reilly cleared the ball away for a corner.
The next chance came less than a minute later when Brad Murray’s ball fell to Simon Simeoy in the box but he smashed the ball off the crossbar.
Moreland were then made to rue their inability to take the lead when Sunshine made it 1-0 on 19 minutes.
Sadik set up Shannon in the box to slot the ball in the bottom corner of the goal and out of Moreland goalkeeper Nikola Kostadinovski’s reach.
Shannon almost made it 2-0 ten minutes later but his long-range strike narrowly missed the goal.
The last chance of the half fell to Josh McMonagle-Ihasz of Moreland but he sprayed his effort wide of Tuna’s net.
An injury to goalkeeper Kostadinovski forced Zebras coach Danny Gnjidic in to a change at half-time with Francesco Greco coming on in his place.
It didn’t deter the Zebras as they came out of the half-time break in search of an early equaliser, and they had just that after only 87 seconds.
Scott Robson played the ball in the middle for Nikolic who squared it for Symeoy and he made no mistake by slotting it past Tuna.
Moreland had all the chances again early in the half and a volley from Murray went over the bar before a McMonagle shot bounced off the outside of the post.
The game then went through a lull until Sadik put the hosts back in the lead with a fantastic header from a high cross.
The lead was short-lived though, with Sunshine punished for pushing too many men forward by a counter-attack.
Robson played a ball to Murray who set up Symeoy for his second of the game, a smart finish in the corner of the goal.
Sunshine almost re-took the lead less than 60 seconds later but a shot by Matthew Oghanna was blocked on the line by the head of Zebras captain Mile Medjedovic.
One last clear-cut chance would fall to both sides in the remaining minutes.
The Zebras received theirs first when Nick Symeoy played a stunning ball over the defence for Nikolic but the striker’s first-time chip sailed just wide of the goal.
Sunshine’s chance fell right on the 90 with a corner kick played in to the back-post.
Sadik was the man running on to the ball but he could not direct his shot down, blasting it well high and wide.
George Cross head coach Tony Ciantar was pleased with his side’s effort despite conceding the lead twice in the game.
“The boys’ commitment was second to none. I have been away for four weeks in Brazil and to come back to these last two games their level of commitment has been second to none,” said Ciantar.
“That’s why the boys get rewarded, scoring goals today and dominating the game. We were just a little bit unlucky not to pinch the result.”
Zebras boss Danny Gnjidic was happy to settle for a point in the end but still believed his side was worthy of the three points.
“I actually thought we did enough to win the game. Especially in that first half before we conceded, we had a couple of chances early where we should have taken the lead and that would have changed the whole game,” said Gnjidic.
“Credit to the boys for coming back. The desire was there to win the game and we will settle for a point. As said to the boys 8-10 weeks ago we would have lost that game.”
Sunshine George Cross 2 (Shannon 19, Sadik 72’) drew with Moreland Zebras 2 (N, Symeoy 47’, 80’) at Chaplin Reserve. [HT: 1-0]
Sunshine George Cross XI: 21. Nabi TUNA, 2. Eddie CETKIN, 4. Tom REILLY, 5. Christopher DIB, 10. Adrian LOGOZZO, 8. Chris OGHANNA, 3. Damian RASTOCIC (17. Jacob ATTARD 60’), 18. Shannon LEWIS, 19. Manuell SADIK, 14. Anthony CASSAR, 16. Matthew OGHANNA.
Un-used substitutes: 1. Lucas SPINELLA, 12. Jamie MAGRO, 11. Muhamad CHAWK, 13. Kojo BROWN.
Yellow cards: Rastocic 31’, Sadik 70’, M. Oghanna 79’
Red cards: Nil
Moreland Zebras XI: 21. Nikola KOSTADINOVSKI (1. Francesco GRECO 46’), 2. Simon SYMEOY, 3. Johhny CRIVELLI, 5. Nicholas SYMEOY, 7. Scott ROBSON, 9. Joel NIKOLIC, 10. Danilo BONILLA-OSPINA (14. James PAPADIMITRIOU 87’), 12. Josh McMONAGLE-IHASZ (8. Daniel SWEENEY 77’), 16. Mile MEDJEDOVIC, 18. Adam CENTOFARI, 19. Brad MURRAY.
Un-used substitutes: 20. Nicholas KALAMBOKIS, 17. Jack TURNER.
Yellow cards: McMonagle-Ihasz 36’, Sweeney 84’
Red cards: Nil
Image credit: Aleksandar Kostadinoski