It was always going to be a match the Suns would have to set the pace in if they were to realise the dream of finals football, although the visitors knew a draw or win, should other results go their way, would be key in the coming weeks to realising their own goal of a top-five finish.
Rockdale were industrious in midfield and created the first half-chance of the match when James Monie set up Sash Trajcevski who attempted to lob Symon Jaegar in the Blacktown net, though the attempt did not quite come off.
The visitors replied 2? minutes later when a decent looking cross in from the left was met by the head of Luke Roodenburg. With Dion Shaw advancing, it proved enough to put the Blacktown midfielder-cum-striker off and the ball slipped narrowly wide of the post.
Blacktown City created several chances with Milorad Simonovic having a shot deflected wide, and then Shaw being forced into a full length save minutes later.
Rockdale came back strongly when a Shay Spitz free-kick into the wall rebounded to Dominic Hudap who hit a shot with the outside of his right foot from the edge of the area that skimmed past the post with almost the last kick of the half.
Stern words in the dressing rooms had both sides out faster and brighter upon the resumption with Blacktown?s Mitchell Duke robbing Mirko Jurilj and crossing immediately for the ever present Roodenburg to head tamely toward Shaw, as Rockdale countered on the break resulting in Spitz miscuing a shot wide at the other end.
Monie played in Jeffrey Issa who put an effort across the face with no Rockdale teammate able to take advantage. Moments later, the same player blasted over after terrific work down the left involving Spitz as the rain teemed down and lightening flashed around the ground.
An already bumpy pitch became greasy with many players unable to keep their feet which reduced the effectiveness of both in turning their hard graft into opportunities, and not until the 68? minute did Rockdale fashion a chance. Spitz, again, set up Paul Dee to shoot, forcing a full length save from Jaegar at his near post.
4? minutes later and the first goal of the game arrived for Blacktown. A pass from substitute Bruno Pivato for Simonovic saw a deflected shot loop over the head of Shaw to give the visitors the lead.
Rockdale couldn?t up the tempo as they were giving it all with a number of players missing ? Ben McNamara (gk) trialling with an A-League club, Giorgio and Roberto Speranzo likewise engaged overseas and Itsuki Hasegawa having returned to Japan, without mentioning injured and suspended players ? they moved to a back three as they pushed for an equaliser.
It was then a personal moment of horror for Suns goalkeeper Dion Shaw saw Blacktown secure the points.
Pece Apoloveski lost the ball in a one-on-one tackle as he became the latest victim to slip over. The resulting cross looked harmless enough and going wide when Shaw ran the ball down. Roodenburg looked to be chasing a lost cause until the custodian went to ground and the ball slipped from his grasp to leave the Blacktown man the easiest of chances to almost skip his way to the goal-line and tap it home.
Shaw had, until this point, had a terrific match but it?s a moment that will always haunt the young shot-stopper which, had he been an outfield player, would never be highlighted.
?It?s been the story of our season,? said Suns coach Wally Savor afterwards before continuing:
?We struggle at the scoring end and when that happens the luck doesn?t seem to go you way it seems.
?I feel that if we are just a little more positive in the final third our fortunes will change but you sometimes need to make your own luck in football.
?Our final ball in and the options available is something we work on in training but maybe we have a mental block when it comes to game day but we?ll keep practicing and push to the end of the season as we have a tough road in and we just have to take each game as it comes.?
Mark Crittenden looked relieved when stating:
?They certainly started quicker than us in the first-half and when the rain came down on that pitch in the second period it became a skating rink as you no doubt saw, so it was always going to be a battle and possibly the side that could get the bit of luck would come away with it and thankfully it was us today.
?Micky?s (Simonovic) strike was a good one and took a little deflection to give us the lead but I thought we created the better chances in the first-half and struggled to take them and that?s the way it has been for us this year, creating chances but unable to finish.
?We wanted to consolidate our fifth position on the ladder and knew it would put us in a strong position if we won and other results went our way.?
The Grade-20 encounter finished with a 2-1 victory for Blacktown City FC.
Footnote: U/20 Grade referee and NSWPL Grade 4th Official, from South Africa, Daniel Elder acquitted himself with some aplomb in the conditions with all officials playing a particularly essential part in proceedings in trying weather conditions. Well played gentlemen.
Rockdale City Suns 0
Blacktown City FC 2 (Simonovic 72?, Roodenburg 84?)
Sunday 7th August, 2011
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: Andrew Best
Assistant Referees: Steven Nguyen and Christian Mehl
Fourth Official: Daniel Elder
Rockdale City Suns: 22.Dion Shaw; 2.Paul Dee, 3.Shay Spitz, 5.Jeffrey Issa (15.Adrian Karakolevski 86), 6.Joshua Lawson, 7.Pece Apolevski, 8.Dominic Hudap, 10.Sash Trajcevski (17.Sash Tirovski 67), 12.James Monie (19.Marino Musumeci 78), 21.Mirko Jurilj, 23.Askin Oygur
Substitutes Not Used: 18.Sean Thomas, 24.Aaron Lidell
Yellow Cards: Lawson 77?
Red Cards: Nil
Blacktown City FC: 1.Symon Jaegar; 3.Mitchell Duke (16.Daniel Vellonio 91?), 4.Travis Major, 5.Patrick Gatt, 6.Matthew Pressello, 7.Luke Roodenburg (C), 8.Matthew Brennan, 10.Mitch Long, 11.Milorad Simonovic, 13.Matt Lewis, 15.Ray Miller (18.Bruno Pivato 64)
Substitutes Not Used: 14.Keiran Paull, 17.Adam Jenner, 40.David Bradesvic
Yellow Cards: Lewis 39?
Red Cards: Nil
-By Micky Brock