Sydney FC Denied By Late Manly United Equaliser

A stoppage-time equaliser from Manly United captain James Oates halted Sydney FC’s charge and saw Sunday evening’s National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash finish 2-2.

Oates rose highest to send Seiya Kambayashi’s last-ditch corner home with a fine glancing header as Manly came from behind twice to earn a late share of the points.

It was the second time in successive weeks the young Sky Blues outfit failed to see out the match clinching three points after falling to the same fate in their round 3 two-all draw against the Wollongong Wolves where they also copped an extra-time equaliser.

Until the late heroics from Oates, it appeared as though Patrick Wood’s double was going to cement Sydney FC’s status as early 2022 pacesetters.

The 19-year-old Northern Beaches product had opened his season account with a powerful first-half finish and stroked home a composed second-half penalty on either side of Matt Sim’s strike.

Sim equalised for the visitors shortly before the half-time interval, the ex-Sydney United 58 attacker left alone to bury home the scraps from a set-piece that Sydney were caught napping on.

Just as it looked as though another night of misfortune in front of goal was going to befall Manly in Rockdale, the unlikely figure of Oates emerged from the torrential rain and planted his header into the net of Adam Pavlevic, ensuring the Adam Griffiths-coached side return across the Harbour Bridge with a point they hope will kickstart their campaign.

Despite the elation Manly endured some difficult moments throughout the evening, particularly in the opening half hour which heralded two gilt-edged opportunities missed for Ben Koop.

Koop, a former Sydney FC prospect, forced Sky Blues ‘keeper Adam Pavlesvic into action at the near post after being teed up by Seiya Kambayashi, before missing a golden chance moments after in which the unmarked forward headed Kieran Paull’s cross down and onto the crossbar.

Manly were duly punished for those missed opportunities when Corey Hollman pounced on a moment of hesitation from Finn Ashton and darted upfield before playing Wood in to lash in his first goal of the season past ‘keeper Jack Greenwood.

The visitors pegged a goal back through Sim’s second of the campaign, with the veteran attacker peeling off a cluster of players in the box and finishing coolly a few minutes from half time.

It was Sydney who looked the more likely in the second half, with Greenwood making a series of fine interventions to keep out substitute Ben Gibson and Zac Sapsford, although the Manly custodian had his hands on his head when pulling Greenwood down in the area following a superb defence-splitting pass from Hollman.

Wood calmly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to give Sydney the ascendancy, but Oates and Manly had the last laugh.

“We should’ve seen this one through,” lamented Sydney coach Jimmy Van Weeren.

“We lost a lot of points late on in matches last year, and it’s happening again so far this season.

“We are a youth team playing in a men’s competition so we are going to make mistakes, but it’s about changing behaviour and attitude and learning that this kind of thing is not acceptable for our club.”

Match Stats

Sydney FC 2 (Wood 30’, 73’)

Manly United 2 (Sim 39’, Oates 90+3’)

Sunday, 27th March 2022

Ilinden Sports Centre

Sydney FC: 3. Aaron Gurd, 6. Corey Hollman, 7. Aidan Simmons (12. Jake Girdwood-Reich 70’), 10. Jaiden Kucharski, 11. Adrian Segecic (9. Ben Gibson 64’), 14. Zac Sapsford, 17. Jayden Trenkoski, 18. Oscar Priestman, 22. Patrick Wood, 26. Alexander Duracic, 30. Adam Pavlesic

Substitutes Not Used: 1. Harry Aquilina, 5. Kai Kamikura, 19. Joseph Calusic

Yellow Cards: Kucharski, Trenkoski

Red Cards: N/A

Manly United: 2. Kieran Paull, 3. Jesse Piriz, 4. James Oates, 7. Seiya Kambayashi, 9. Ben Koop, 11. Matt Sim (5. Thomas Fay 68’), 12. Finn Ashton (6. James Georgaklis 61’), 18. Lucas Rainbird, 19. Alen Aganovic, 20. Jack Greenwood, 22. Bruno Mendes

Substitutes Not Used: 17. Zenden Hart, 24. Mitch Mattison,

Yellow Cards: Oates 12’, Ashton 18’

Red Cards: N/A