Bonnyrigg White Eagles have stunned league leaders Sydney Olympic with a shock 1-0 upset at Bonnyrigg Sports Ground on Saturday.
A 77th minute strike by Bonnyrigg fan favourite Tynan Diaz in his first game back after a two month injury layoff helped snatch the surprise win and inflict Olympic’s first defeat in 10 weeks.
Olympic struggled to get into gear on a difficult Bonnyrigg pitch and the home side took full advantage.
Both sides had their fair share of chances but it was the fast finishing White Eagles who had too much momentum to stop.
The result opens the door for APIA Leichhardt Tigers to cut Olympic’s three point lead at the top of the standings while it has also brought Bonnyrigg back into finals contention.
Dean Bereveskos had the first chance of the game for Bonnyrigg, stinging the palms of Henderson with a powerful effort.
The home side went forward again, this time Ray Miller crossing for James McKenzie who should’ve hit the target with his header.
On 12 minutes James Chronopolous was called into action, saving well from a George Timotheu free kick.
A minute later and Olympic should’ve hit the front.
Riley Woodcock crossed early for Alejandro Sanchez whose header went inches wide of the White Eagles’ goal.
It was the end of the night for Olympic’s star man Sanchez as he went off with an injury on the half hour mark.
The tense game was almost broken in the 63rd minute by Nick Tsattalios and despite hitting the back of the net, his effort was chalked off for an off side.
Only a minute later and the home side should’ve had the lead.
After a long lay off, Diaz was back in Bonnyrigg colours, crossing in a free kick to the far post.
Four Bonnyrigg players rushed at the ball with David Vrankovic not able to connect with what would’ve been a certain goal.
Tsattalios had another chance getting up at the far post but he couldn’t head the ball on target.
White Eagles’ captain Ray Miller played a fantastic ball through for Diaz who tried to beat his defender before shooting wide of Henderson’s goal.
Diaz was in the mood and went close again in the 76th minute after a head down by Jae Wook Woo, only for his left footed strike to go wide.
The White Eagles winger was rewarded for his efforts in the 77th minute with a well-placed header.
Korean import Woo rose well again as Diaz ran onto the ball and headed beyond Henderson to send the home fans into hysterics.
Olympic pushed everyone forward for the final kick of the game from the corner but to no avail as the White Eagles celebrated a vital win.
Brian Brown couldn’t be happier with his team’s victory.
“It was a must-do, playing the team on the top of the table wasn’t going to be easy but I think we just battled and worked hard,” Brown said.
“In the second half we had a couple other chances that would’ve made it easier but I’m just happy with the win.”
The White Eagles move just outside the finals places but Brown is focused on the next job at hand.
“I just want to have a nice glass of red wine tonight, think about Wednesday’s FFA Cup clash and then get ready for next week’s game,” he said.
Abbas Saad was disappointed with the surface at Bonnyrigg Sports Ground.
“What else can you do on this pitch but battle, you can’t play football,” Saad said.
“I’m proud of my boys, they fought hard and tried to play football.
“The surface was unplayable.”
He also praised the opposition on their performance.
“Credit to Bonnyrigg, their will power. They’re desperate and they gave everything,” he said.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Diaz 77’)
Sydney Olympic 0
Bonnyrigg Sports Ground, Bonnyrigg
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Referee: T. Danaskos
Assistant referees: A. Giev, N. Wotton
Fourth Official: J. Mcfarlane
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1. Chronopolous, 10. Adeli (3. Vrankovic 57’), 12. Bereveskos, 13. Mckenzie, 14. Smith, 15. Miller (2. Avery 83’), 16. Gallaway, 17. O’Rourke, 18. Gil, 20. Tosi (7. Diaz 58’), Woo.
Substitutes not used: 21. Bradasevic, 11. Kadric.
Yellow card: McKenzie, Gallaway, O’Rourke
Sydney Olympic: 1. Henderson, 2. Whiteside, 4. Timotheu, 6. Kuleski, 7. Angel, 8. Madonis, 9. Pavicevic (19. D. Burgess 53’), 10. M. Burgess, 11. An, 14. Sanchez (33. Tsattalios 31’), 23. Woodcock.
Substitutes not used: 20. Consoni, 18. Hooper, 21. Athanastris.
Yellow cards: Angel, Whiteside
Player Ratings have now been hidden due to the second half of the season commencing.
-By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Nikola Pozder