It was a testing match for the Reds who fought back to notch two goals and had keeper Vedran Janjetovic the hero as he saved a penalty in stoppage time to gift the Edensor Park boys the points.
Rockdale came into the game with a new man in charge in former Socceroo and ex-United player Wally Savor who replaced Lee Sterrey at the helm late last week.
The Sydney cause wasn?t helped when defender Milan Bosnar was forced to leave the field in only the 6th minute to be replaced by Tomislav Mijic as the United side had to re-adjust its plans which could well have played into the hands of the Suns.
Soon after James Monie went close with a right-footed semi bicycle-kick but the effort was blocked while a couple of minutes later Shay Spitz fired a stinging shot goal-ward that warmed the hands of Janjetovic.
Rockdale had claims for a penalty ten minutes later when Joshua Lawson, having a solid match at left back and containing the impressive Steve Hayes, sent over a cross for Shay Spitz with his effort leaving Suns players in the box calling for handball that referee Jason Blackwood, rightly, waved away.
United?s first real chance of the game came in the 39th minute when Askin Oygur gave the ball away which Luka Glavas pounced on and surged forward. Instead of squaring to a better placed team-mate, Glavas opted for an attempted chip over the advancing Ben McNamara but as the ball bobbled just before contact, it simply scooped upward for an easy take by the Suns custodian.
Spitz, Dominic Hudap and Monie were again involved with blocked shots and headers before United finally cleared their lines but they knew they had been distinctly second best during the first forty-five minutes. United though almost went behind on the stroke of half-time when Hudap went alone with the better option being a pass out to the left for Monie in a better position, yet it remained all square and goal less at the break.
Two minutes after the break and United made another substitution with Elsid Barkhousir brought on to replace Ante Tomic, a move that paid dividends later on.
Rockdale still made the better showing after the resumption and with Monie looping a header toward the net, Janjetovic was able to gather with some ease due to a lack of purchase on the ball. Monie – a minute later, played a through ball for Sash Tirovski to place a right-footed shot across the body of Janjetovic to give the home side a deserved lead in the 55th minute.
United then hit back as Barkhousir levelled the tally in the 71st minute as the pint sized striker proved his worth after coming on as a substitute early in the first half.
The Reds then hit the lead via the always elusive Glavas who looped an effort over McNamara in the 82nd minute which notched up his tenth goal of the year ? and ultimately became the competition?s top goalscorer.
Drama then unfolded in stoppage time as the Suns were awarded a penalty but Jason Naidovski had his spot-kick saved by Janjetovic who secured the points for the Reds in a game they never truly deserved to win.
Suns new Coach Wally Savor was disappointed to have not gotten anything from the match in his first game in charge.
?It was a sucker-punch at the end, we talked about it, be careful of Glavas, the flick on from Vidaic and when they got the equaliser we started to lose our shape and it was a little disappointing after going ahead but they came here and raided the points tonight.
?We can take a lot of positives from the match, the boys performed well and I changed the system to be more attacking and I cannot speak highly enough of the effort because for those watching the game, you would have thought we were the team near the top of the table instead of being the other way around. So from that point of view, we have a lot to take from it because the guys responded very positively to training this week.
?I am annoyed an older head didn?t step up for the penalty and it was left to a younger lad to take it instead of our usual penalty taker but the best players miss throughout the world and although it would have been nice to at least take a point from the game we?ll learn from this and move on, however in saying that we conceded two goals so a penalty miss didn?t lose us the game.?
Jean-Paul De Marigny was in agreement with Savor?s comments when adding.
?I thought the boys did very well as we attended a funeral this morning for Peter Markovic?s father and emotionally that hit us a lot and to be fair I expected that. We came back strongly, I was very impressed and of course Vedran needs to win us nine points a year as that is what a good goalkeeper does and tonight he got us the two extra points.
?We needed to adapt to the conditions and our movement tonight wasn?t as sharp as it usually is or has been in the past and that always makes it difficult to find that final ball but we?ll continue to work on that and find the consistency required . You have to also give credit to the Suns who were tenacious in their defending and of course the new coach always makes a difference too as everyone finds that bit of extra energy and is out to impress.
?I am very happy and relieved with the result, sometimes you win these games and others you don?t so I?m happy with the three points here, it wasn?t easy.?
Footnote: A one minute silence was held prior to the kick-off for the father of Sydney United player Peter Markovic and our condolences and sincere best wishes go to the Markovic family and friends at this sad time.
Rockdale City Suns U/20 Grade side romped home to a four-nil win against their Sydney United counterparts.
Rockdale City Suns 1 (Tirovski 55)
Sydney United 2 (Barkhousir 71, Glavas 81)
Saturday, 25th June, 2011
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: Jason Blackwood
Assistant Referees: Thomas Lee & Cameron Bruce
Fourth Official: Matthew Cropper
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Ben McNamara, 2.Paul Dee, 3.Shay Spitz, 6.Joshua Lawson, 8.Dominic Hudap, 11.Adem Kir 19.Marino Musumeci 85?), 12.James Monie, 13.Giorgio Speranza, 17.Sash Tirovski (9.Jason Naidovski 66?), 21.Mirko Jurilj, 23.Askin Oygur
Substitutes Not Used: 14.Itsuki Hasegawa, 22.Dion Shaw, 4.Sean Thomas
Yellow Cards: Tirovski 63,
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney United: 1.Vedran Janjetovic, 3.Mitchell Speer, 4.Michael Cindric, 6.Milan Bosnar (38.Tomislav Mijic 8?), 8.Shane Lyons, 10.Steven Hayes, 11.Luka Glavas, 13.Ben Vidaic, 15.Ufuk Talay (18.Daniel Rezo 60?), 23.Ivo Bosnar, 29.Ante Tomic (9.Elsid Barkhousir 47?)
Substitutes Not Used: 20.Ryan Norval, 22.Samuel Chapple
Yellow Cards: Lyons 74
Red Cards: Nil
-By Micky Brock