NYL: 10-man Gold Coast trump Sydney FC

Three second half goals handed a 10-man Gold Coast United a 3-1 comeback win over Sydney FC in their NYL match at Southport Tigers on Saturday.

Three second half goals handed a 10-man Gold Coast United a 3-1 comeback win over Sydney FC in their NYL match at Southport Tigers on Saturday.

Goals to Golgol Mebrahtu, Josh Brillante and Ben Halloran cancelled out Jared Lum’s opener – despite being a man down for the last 15 minutes after rangy stopper Ben Wearing brought down Blake Powell on the edge of the area late in the match.

It was one of many cards dished out by referee Jason Crow in what was a heated contest, and Sydney will be ruing a host of missed opportunities in a match that they should have taken something from.

In the first half, United were under sustained pressure from a sharp and crisp Sky Blues side and created few chances – their best came in the 17th minute when Wearing blew a free header over the bar from close range.

Sydney came close to taking the lead a minute earlier with an audacious effort from Lum, who with his back to goal wheeled around on his right foot and curled his shot just a fraction high.

But in the 20th minute Sydney went 1-0 up after Lum profited from a Mitch Cooper turnover in a dangerous area for United.

Rushing forward, his shot was parried away by United gloveman Jerrad Tyson but the ball spilled out to Peter Simonoski, who tapped home the first goal of the afternoon from point-blank range.

Simonoski could have scored again if he made the most of two easy chances that he put wide either side of the goal later in the half.

Sydney should have been up by more – in the 32nd minute, Justin Hayward chested down to a cross to Lum who lashed a dangerous volley just over the goal from outside the danger area, and minutes later Luke Austin floated in a cross met by a rising Hayward, but his header was over the target as well.

To give his side a much-needed spark, Gold Coast mentor Mike Mulvey brought on Golgol Mebrahtu at half time – and three minutes into the second period it paid dividends when the promising striker stole possession from a pedestrian Sydney defence, ran forward and slipped the ball past Sky Blue custodian Dylan Mitchell.

United began show the attacking intent they lacked in the first half and in the 63th minute they took the lead in style after profiting from another Sydney turnover.

This time, Josh Brillante seized the ball in midfield and set on a dashing 40-metre run before tucking away his first goal of the season from just inside the box, capping off a good week for the youngster after making his Hyundai A-League debut on Wednesday night.

They could have gone 3-1 up after Chris Harold rattled the crossbar, but moments later the Sky Blues sent a warning shot through a Mitchell Speer volley, showing the visitors were not out of the contest just yet.

In the 74th minute, they sent another as Powell latched onto a perfect through ball from midfield, rushed towards the area and past Wearing, who felled him and was shown a straight red card.

A few minutes later, Neko Vujevich was lucky not to join Wearing on the sidelines after tugging Powell’s shirt in an almost identical position to the earlier foul, and received a yellow card – but Sydney could do nothing with either of the resultant free kicks.

Halloran made them pay in the 82nd minute with a cracking shot from outside the area that rocketed into the bottom left hand corner of the net, driving a dagger through the heart of a gallant Sky Blues outfit that failed to convert their chances when they needed to.

In the dying moments, Steven Lustica could have added a fourth goal but was thwarted by a good reactionary save from Mitchell, but it mattered little as United leapt back to the top of the NYL ladder with a valuable win.

Gold Coast United 3 (Mebrahtu 48-, Brillante 63-, Halloran 82-)
Sydney FC 1 (Lum 20-)
@ Southport Tigers