APIA-Leichhardt Tigers blew a golden opportunity to record their fourth win of the season, throwing away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Manly United.
APIA held a 1-0 lead courtesy of Blake Powell’s goal as the match resumed after the original fixture was abandoned on Saturday night due to issues with the lighting.
Franco Parisi doubled the lead in the second half, but Brendan Cholakian and Josh Lawson hit back to level the scores.
For the final 20′ minutes, APIA was hanging on as Manly threw everything at them. Two late chances to win the game were blown, the first saw Jimmy Oates denied by a superb one-on-one save by Andrew Bazi and the second saw Daniel Fogarty fail to square to Marc Warren in the final minute, instead shooting lamely at Dylan Mitchell.
APIA took the lead in the fifth minute on Saturday through Powell. Warren, deputising for Michael West as captain and playing in central midfield, spread the ball to the left to David D’Apuzzo.
His cross found Joe Gibbs at the near post, but his connection wasn’t true, but his attempted finish turned into an assist for Powell, who tapped in with little problem at the back post.
APIA were in charge with Warren proving to be a physical presence in midfield and Gibbs and Powell troublesome up front.
The light tower went out in the 10′ minute and play was suspended. Once they were back in action, Manly got on the front foot and had a shot that went narrowly wide from Oates.
APIA should have doubled their lead in the 28′ minute when Warren advanced on goal, but instead of shooting he passed to Brad McDonald, who was in an offside position.
With 31′ minutes on the clock, the lights went out again and play was again suspended.
Play got back underway on a frosty Tuesday night with the curios sight of a packed penalty area and a Manly corner which was easily cleared.
Cholakian set up Chris Payne for the best chance of the 13′ minute stanza before the break, but the former Sydney FC striker screwed his shot wide.
Manly keeper Mitchell was bailed out in the first minute of the second half after he dropped a cross from D’Apuzzo, as his captain Graeme Forbes was there to clean up.
Only four minutes of the second half had been played when Parisi double their lead. A beautiful one-two between D’Apuzzo and the excellent Brad McDonald saw D’Apuzzo cross from the left. The ball screwed through the area to the back post, where Parisi showed vintage composure to take the ball onto his left foot and finish into the bottom corner.
It should have been all over, but Manly are made of sterner stuff than that while APIA don’t seem to realise how to hold a lead.
It took only ten minutes for Manly to haul themselves into the game, when Cholakian’s shot from the edge of the area flew over Bazi and into the net. The APIA keeper could have done better, as he could have on the second, but his redemption came later in the game.
67′ minutes had been played when Manly won a free-kick on the left. Cholakian’s delivery drew Bazi from his line but he failed to connect with his punch and Lawson was there to head the ball past him and into the net to level the scores.
The goal gave Manly confidence and the tide turned blue.
Manly pressed and substitute Jack Green was lively on the left as Paul Dee’s side began to hammer on the APIA door.
They had an unbelievable chance to win the game in the 81′ minute.
Parisi was dispossessed in midfield as APIA looked to break after defending a corner. Paul Galimi played Oates onside and when he was found, he raced through one-on-one with Bazi. His finish looked destined for the bottom corner by Bazi thrust low to his right to make a superb save.
APIA went straight up the other end, carving out a decent chance for McDonald, but he could only sweep the ball into the arms of Mitchell.
A minute later, Green skinned Brad Bartels and found the byline, but his cross was cut out by the expertly placed Galimi.
APIA was on the ropes and when Forbes headed towards goal from a corner it looked like it would creep in, but a combination of Bazi and Warren on the line kept it out.
In stoppage time, substitute Dom Ferguson lashed a shot from range and Bazi was again sharp, diving low to his left this time to make the save.
Finally in the last attack of the game, APIA could have snatched the points when Warren set Fogarty free on the left. There was but seconds on the clock when he bore down on goal and with Warren screaming for the ball in the centre, Fogarty seemed to neither cross nor shoot, only succeeding in poking a lame ball into the arms of Mitchell.
APIA-Leichhardt Tigers 2 (Blake Powell 5′, Franco Parisi 49′)
Manly United 2 (Brendan Cholakian 59′, Josh Lawson 67′)
Tuesday June 18, 2014
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee: Adam Susz
Assistant Referees: Andrej Giev and Mitchell Clark
Fourth Official: James Tesoriero
APIA-Leichhardt Tigers: 1.Andrew Bazi; 2.Travis Oughtred, 4.Bradley Bartels, 6.Marc Warren (C), 7.Stephen Kayes, 8.Bradley McDonald, 9.Blake Powell, 10.Franco Parisi (11.Daniel Fogarty 83′), 13.David D’Apuzzo, 14.Paul Galimi, 19.Joe Gibbs
Substitutes not used: 40.Stefan Giglio, 3.Jamie Lobb, 16.Jordan Simpson, 20.Ali Nasreddine
Yellow Cards: Marc Warren 62′, Paul Galimi 65′, David D’Apuzzo 69′
Red Cards: Nil
– By Matthew Lopez, National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 Editor, at Lambert Park