The Suns were faced with a tough away trip to Bonnyrigg and while many teams have played defensively against the White Eagles this season, Mark Rudan?s men put Bonnyrigg?s backline to the test.
A Bonnyrigg own goal gave Rockdale the lead before Dylan Macallister gave the Suns a 2-0 lead which made Tynan Diaz?s late free-kick stunner a mere consolation for the hosts.
It was the home side that began with the greater urgency, though, as Diaz whipped in a dangerous free kick that forced an early save from Rockdale ?keeper Ryan Norval.
Diaz looked lively in the midfield and he helped Bonnyrigg settle in the opposition half for the opening 10? minutes.
The midfielder created Bonnyrigg?s first real chance when he sent a cross into the box on 10? minutes, but Ben Spruce?s header was plucked out of the air by Norval.
That allowed Rockdale to break on the counter for the first time in the match and Alec Urosevski took a direct approach through the midfield but his long-range effort sailed over the crossbar.
As the Suns persisted in pushing the ball forward, Bonnyrigg looked to sure up their defence and they reduced Rockdale to hopeful shots from distance.
Although they were under the pump for the opening 20? minutes, Rockdale continued to surge forward and Urosevski came close to grabbing a goal when he headed on a Takuya Muruyama cross that went just over the crossbar.
Rockdale?s execution in the final third of the pitch left much to be desired and Bonnyrigg were keen to make the Suns pay for their wasted chances.
A deft chip from Adrian Ucchino put Diaz through but the Bonnyrigg number 7 had his shot blocked by a Rockdale defender.
Bonnyrigg continued their raid on the Rockdale goals and Chris Payne almost latched onto a Robbie Younis pass but the ball was taken from his feet by Suns ?keeper Norval.
A series of strong challenges and yellow cards brought the vocal Bonnyrigg crowd into action and they were soon on the edge of their seats when Younis found himself in a good position just inside the area, but he blasted his shot over the bar.
As the half-time whistle approached, Bonnyrigg were desperate to have something to show for their efforts and Tynan Diaz came incredibly close to scoring with a powerful shot that hit the under side of the crossbar and was cleared off the line by Rockdale?s defence.
Both sides emerged from the break hungry for no less than three points, which opened the game up immensely. Tommy Cirjak broke away for Rockdale in the 51? minute and drove to goal but he was chased down by a resilient Ucchino.
Just 2? minutes later, Rockdale hit the back of the net through Dylan Macallister but the forward was in an offside position.
The crossbar again wreaked havoc for Bonnyrigg in the 63? minute when Norval spilled Ben Spruce?s header and the ball rebounded off the bar following a goalmouth scramble.
Bonnyrigg regained possession from the clearance and Chris Payne sent a strong header towards goal that forced a fingertip save from the Rockdale number 1.
The pressure didn?t faze the Suns and Macallister broke away to release Urosevski but Adrian Ucchino proved vital in defence with a goal saving tackle.
It was Bonnyrigg?s turn to have a goal disallowed in the 76? minute when Alex Canak followed in a Tynan Diaz shot but he was ruled to be offside.
Lady Luck had already cast a cruel spell over the White Eagles and their woes were compounded when a Rockdale shot was parried away by Bonnyrigg ?keeper Andrew Bazi, only for the ball to rebound off defender Ben Spruce for an own goal in the 79? minute.
With 10? minutes left on the clock, Bonnyrigg sent all guns blazing in search of an equaliser, but Rockdale proved impenetrable at the back.
The game was then put beyond doubt when Dylan Macallister tucked away a neat shot into the far post to give Rockdale a 2-0 lead in the 88? minute.
Tynan Diaz sent a trademark curling free kick into the top corner to pull one back for the home side but it was too little, too late as Rockdale moved into fourth position.
Bonnyrigg coach Brian Brown believes his side was far less eager than they were during last week?s 4-1 win over Manly:
?We didn?t get into a rhythm tonight, the game stopped and started a lot but I still feel we had enough chances to put the game away,? Brown said.
?I don?t think we panicked, we just didn?t hold our shape the way we have been doing.
?We started throwing too many forward and at times we were attacking with four or five players and they were catching us on the break.
?We?re only four points clear at the top now and we said from day one this will go right down to the last game, we just have to be ready for our next game.
?There is plenty to work on, it?s about more or less keeping the boys focused on what their role is in the team.?
Knocking off the first placed White Eagles is a feat only two other teams have managed this season and Rockdale coach Mark Rudan said the most important thing was to take the game to Bonnyrigg:
?They are doing awfully well this year but the intention was to win the game and in the second-half we did more of what we worked on during the week,? Rudan said.
?We took a couple of knocks in the first-half but that happens, we really toughed it out, we kept our discipline and I thought we were really courageous.
?Players continued to do their job until the 90? minute and they always wanted the ball.
?You can see why they (Bonnyrigg) are the league leaders, they put us under a lot of pressure particularly in the first-half.
?Our boys do it every training session and every game, we work awfully hard to put a game plan in place so I couldn?t be prouder.
?I really believe in these boys so it?s good to see they are starting to believe in themselves.?
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (Tynan Diaz 90?+2?)
Rockdale City Suns 2 (Ben Spruce Own Goal 78?, Dylan Macallister 88?)
Saturday 21st July, 2012
Bonnyrigg Sports Centre, Bonnyrigg
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 20.Andrew Bazi; 13.Nikola Stanojevic, 6.Nikola Zonjic, 11.Ben Spruce, 5.Chris Tadrosse, 23.Mitchell Long, 7.Tynan Diaz, 18.Adrian Ucchino, 8.Aleksander Canak, 9.Robbie Younis (19.Harris Gaitatzis 84?), 15.Chris Payne
Substitutes Not Used: 21.Ken Chun, 10.Jordan Simpson, 2.Alex Mansueto, 44.Vincent Veneri
Yellow Cards: Robbie Younis 42?, Chris Payne 72?, Alex Canak 78?
Red Cards: Nil
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Ryan Norval; 2.Takuya Muruyama, 3.Giorgio Speranza, 21.Ricky Perinich, 23.Askin Oygur, 8.Paul Kohler (17.Sash Tirovski 89?), 5.Pece Cvetanovski, 15.Tommy Cirjak (11.David Talevski 90?), 16.Anthony Perri, 18.Alec Urosevski, 9.Dylan Macallister
Substitutes Not Used: 10.Jason Naidovski, 12.Huseyin Jasli, 22.Aaron Liddell
Yellow Cards: Takuya Muruyama 19?, Giorgio Speranza 23?, Askin Oygur 56?, Anthony Perri 75?, Sash Tirovski 90?
Red Cards: Nil
-By Mitchell Grima