Photos by Brendan Esposito
Sydney United 4 (Nikas 17’, Trifiro 29’, 78’, 88’) defeated Edgeworth Eagles 1 (Moriyasu 58’) at Sydney United Sports Park, Sydney, Sunday 2nd October
FORMER Central Coast Mariners’ midfielder Glen Trifiro played a starring role as Sydney United 58 claimed their second NPL Grand Final victory in just four years of the competition. In a match where Edgeworth took it to the NPL NSW Minor Premiers, United’s class shone through on a perfect spring day at Sydney United Sports Park.
It was Edgeworth who came out of the blocks firing with the best of the opening exchanges. Keigo Moriyasu cut through United’s defence on left edge before his cross was well blocked over the goal line by some scrambling defence.
Eagles winger Bren Hammel was then about to go one-on-one with United keeper Tom Manos but was brilliantly stopped by a tackle from Theo Kofinas.
Sydney United 58’s first real chance came in the form of a free kick to Panny Nikas. Nikas’ free kick from just outside the box on the left curled towards the bottom left corner and was well saved by Edgeworth keeper Jim Fogarty.
Just moments later though Edgeworth gave Nikas another dead ball chance, this time from the right side. On this occasion, the free kick took a wicked deflection off the wall, wrong footed Fogarty, and bounced into the left corner. After an even opening 17 minutes the home side had the lead.
But, the Eagles as they have proved all this season, would not go away and the visitors thought they had an equaliser in the 26th minute, when Daniel McBreen headed home a scrappy goal after a scramble in the six-yard box. Referee Alex King awarded the goal, but after speaking to his assistant referee, King disallowed the goal. His assistant had correctly spotted a handball from McBreen in the goal line scramble and the Eagles breakthrough was denied.
Three minutes later and Sydney United 58 provided the sucker punch when Glen Trifiro smashed a stunning volley into the back of the net, after a pinpoint header from striker Chris Payne.
Just before the break, the Eagles had some good chances, the best of them coming when Dylan Holz headed an Aaron McLoughlin cross just wide of the near post.
At half-time the home side would go in with a two goal advantage. The Eagles though were unlucky not to have at least grabbed a goal and continued to poses questions of United in the opening minutes of the second half.
The first of the half came in the 53rd minute when Keigo Moriyasu racing down the left edge of the box, but struck his shot straight at Manos.
Three minutes later and Edgeworth were rewarded for their constant pressure with a penalty when Moriyasu was taken down in the box. The Japanese import’s penalty towards the left corner was well saved by Manos, but the Sydney United keeper parried the shot straight back to Moriyasu who neatly prodded home to halve the deficit.
Edgeworth began to probe for the equaliser and in the 60th minute Aaron McLoughlin had a golden chance to finish at the back post when Keanu Moore hit a pinpoint low cross from the right, but McLoughlin put his shot wide.
Sydney United 58 then began to open up the Eagles going into the final 20 minutes, with Chris Payne and Panny Nikas creating chances for the hosts.
They finally struck in the 78th minute when Glen Trifiro mazed his way from halfway and went one-on-one with Fogarty before burying his shot down the middle.
As the Eagles continued to push numbers forward they couldn’t find an opening, and Glen Trifiro made them pay in the final two minutes to put the nail in the coffin. Substitute Robert Mileski raced down the left edge and rolled a low cross to the back post where an unmarked Trifiro scored his third of the match.
Sydney United 58 with a convincing 4-1 win on the scoreboard, but the visiting Eagles will rue the chances they didn’t take. Sydney United 58 taking out their second NPL Grand Final crown in four seasons and as a result of the win will be assured of a placed in the FFA Cup Round of 32 in 2017.