By Chris Curulli
In one of the upsets of the MWFA Premier League Men’s season so far, Manly Vale came out on top in an epic 4-3 victory over Brookvale at Grahams on Saturday afternoon.
In a topsy-turvy contest, despite Brookvale holding the lion’s share of possession early, it was Vale who found themselves 2-1 up midway through the first half.
The defending NSW Champion of Champion’s then began to push hard for another equaliser and completely turned around the scoreline to lead 3-2 at the break.
A vital turning point unfolded during the second half as Brookvale were reduced to ten men.
Michael Yarnold’s outfit maximised their numerical advantage by frustrating their opposition and restoring parity at 3-3, before their skipper Mitch Marks found himself on the end of a set piece with five minutes to play and duly converted a dramatic late winner.
Winger Unai Bell – who struck first in Saturday’s match against his former team – lauded Manly Vale’s work-rate and ruthlessness in front of goal.
“I think this was a great example when hard work sometimes can beat talent,” he said.
“Brookie were definitely a talented team playing some great football but they just couldn’t put it in in the end, and with a few chances we created we managed to get the ball in.
“We may have been a bit lucky at times but we worked really hard for the result.”
While the weekend’s result has no doubt raised some eyebrows, Bell and Vale hope they can continue to embrace the underdog tag moving forward.
“We like to keep ourselves in the shadows and enjoy how people might think playing us is going to be an easy three points,” he said.
“I think we’re surprising in a lot of teams and the only side that will beat us well was BTH (back in March). The other game we lost was against Pittwater and we dominated pretty much the majority of the game.
“We’re clearly playing some good football and with the new players we have in this game it’s clearly a different Vale this year, it’s a lot stronger, a lot braver and I think we will surprise more than one team.”
In other results, CC Strikers and Mosman played out a 0-0 stalemate, Curl Curl bounced back with an emphatic 4-0 triumph over Narrabeen and Wakehurst also registered four goals in a 4-1 home victory over St. Augustines’.
Pittwater came out on top in the clash of the league’s two undefeated clubs, toppling Belrose-Terry Hills 1-0 at Kitchener to afford themselves some early breathing space on top of the ladder.
Harbord versus Seaforth was unfortunately postponed due to wet weather.