It rained goals at Seymour Shaw on Saturday Night as the Sutherland Sharks wrapped up pre season preparations with a convincing 5-1 drubbing over visiting Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
The Sharks fielded a near full strength in the last friendly before the season starts next Saturday with only Steve Kayes and Claudio Fabiano missing out through injury.
It was a positive start by the home side who took every opportunity to get forward under the encouraging demands of coach Carlos Villazon who was vocal throughout.
Callum Fitzpatrick was ever present down the left side of defence, whilst Chris McStay and Josh Da Silva were continually made probing runs to try and find a weakness in the back four of Bonnyrigg.
Eventually after some back and forward movement, Sutherland took the lead via new signing Kevin Lopes who finished calmly after some nice build up in the midfield.
Two further goals were added in the first half and as always with the Sharks, it was quick, fluid and exciting.
First, Tomohiro Kajiyama knocked home a slick pass to take the score out to 2-0 to the home side.
Less than two minutes later Kajiyama was again involved, turning provider for Callum Fitzpatrick.
Bonnyrigg was dispossessed in the midfield where Kajiyama made a quick movement down the left wing, his accurate pull back was dispatched from the edge of the area by Fitzpatrick much to the delight of the Sutherland Sharks dugout.
As the half time whistle sounded off in the background, the Sharks comfortably went into the break up 3-0.
It only got better in the second half, however Bonnyrigg showed a lot more resistance in the early part of the second stanza.
Some tough and physical challenges were the order of the first 20 minutes with more than a few players pulling up a touch lame.
Bonnyrigg was eventually rewarded for their resilience and tough work in the midfield when it reduced the deficit to 3-1. It took a fair bit of luck however with a shot taking a wicked deflection off a Sharks defender before eking its way past the outstretched fingers of Nathan Denham and into the side of the net.
The goal was enough to bounce Sutherland back into gear plus the astute substitutions of Winger Jeremy Cox and Jack Press who would cause the Bonnyrigg defence all kinds of problem in the back end of the match.
It was the aforementioned Cox who restored parity 15 minutes from time after drilling home after a spilled ball from the Bonnyrigg keeper to take the score out to 4-1.
Jack Press had hit a low drive that just couldn’t be held cleanly in what was an impressive cameo appearance from the Fairfield native.
Sutherland weren’t done and added a fifth goal right on full time through former APIA Leichardt striker Nathan Elasi.
Da Silva Santos displayed his speed down the left wing before cutting back and serving Elasi a fantastic chance from the six yard area. Elasi didn’t need any second invitations and slammed the ball home for his first of the evening and Sutherland’s fifth.
Mercilessly time was called not long after this as Sutherland wrapped up its pre season campaign in convincing fashion.
If nothing else, the victory gives it a huge shot of confidence heading into the NPL NSW 1 season which starts next Saturday against Manly.