On the back of a Luca Kmet cracker and a series of brilliant saves by Sam Benton Manly United have roared into fourth position on the NSW National Premier League ladder with a clinical 3-0 win over Rockdale-Ilenden at Cromer Park on Friday night.

United went to half-time leading 2-0 after goals to Dejan Pandurevic and Kmet before all-out attack resulted in fullback Kieren Paull slotting home a third with ten minutes on the clock.

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United defender Jimmy Oates (right) welcomes Rockdale-Ilenden to Cromer Park on Friday night. Ben Gibson plays peacemaker. Pic: Facetphotography.com.au

“Everyone, including the boys who came on, was ‘on’ last night,” United defender Jimmy Oates said. “It was a very solid and ruthless 90-minute team performance.

“Our reaction press was really successful. We gave them very little time on the ball and they struggled to play out with any quality for most of the game. 

“When they did get into our box we defended it really well as a team.”

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Sam Benton starred for Manly United at Cromer Park on Saturday night with a series of excellent saves. Pic: Facetphotography.com.au

With a blustery sou-wester washing across the ground, United opened the scoring in the 13th minute when speedy 17-year-old Ben Gibson, in just his second run-on start for the club, latched onto a dangerous through ball and was brought down by desperate goal-keeper David Bradasevic.

Pandurevic took the penalty and got lucky when his shot slid underneath the lunging Bradasevic.

The second goal was a scorcher: a clearance from a Manly corner rolled in front of Kmet outside the 18-yard box who took a steadying touch before thundering a beautifully-timed strike into the top right right hand corner.

Check out NPL TV’s highlights package here:

All the highlights of Manly United’s 3-0 win on NPL.TV.

Oates called it “all class”.

“The goal gave us a good foothold in the game and was what we’ve been desperately needing for the past few weeks.

“And the third goal was an awesome team goal with Keiren Paull flying into the box and drilling home a great cut back,” Oates said.

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Seiya Kambayashi lets rip for Manly United at Cromer Park on Friday night. Pic: Facetphotography.com.au

Oates said that United’s best was Pandurevic who was “quality on the ball as usual and won everything in the air; even with his head cut open for the majority of the match”.

“And Keiren Paull rolled his ankle early but battled on and played out of his skin as usual, and put the game out of reach with his goal.

“And in goal Sam Benton made several crucial saves that kept Rockdale out of the game while his distribution and decision making was spot on for 90 minutes,” Oates said.

Match Stats from Football NSW reporter and commentator Chris Curulli (Twitter @ChrisCurulli)

Manly United FC: 3 (Pandurevic 13’, Kmet 16’, Paull 82’)

Rockdale Illinden: 0

Friday, 4 June 2021

Cromer Park, Dee Why

Referee: Katie Patterson

Assistant Referees: H. Fenton-White, L. Jones

Fourth official: I. Covic

Manly United FC: 19. Sam Benton, 2. Kieren Paull, 15. Jesse Piriz, 4. Jimmy Oates, 16. Seiya Kambayashi, 3. James Georgaklis, 24. Finn Ashton (5. Sam Gallagher 68’), 12. Luca Kmet (13. Scott Balderson 86’), 10. Richie Cardozo (23. Jordan Devries 63’), 14. Dejan Pandurevic, 31. Ben Gibson (7. Jack Fulton 86’)

Substitutes not used: 1. Jacob Madden, 18. Lucas Rainbird

Yellow cards: Ashton 56’  

Red cards: Nil

Rockdale Ilinden: 1. David Bradasevic, 3. Michael Neill, 5. Banri Kanaizumi, 6. Daniel Araujo, 7. Alec Urosevski, 8. Tomoki Wada, 9. Bai Antoniou (16. Mohamed Ahmed 71’), 11. Samuel Gulisano (80’ 13. Zac Sfiligoi), 23. Jordan Figon (10. Amaury Gauthier 66’), 14. Brayden Sorge, 19. Patrick Savor

Substitutes not used: 22. Enrol Ordonez Suarez, 45. James Nikolovski

Yellow cards: Gulisano 59’

Red cards: Nil