Rockdale City Suns have overcome the Central Coast Mariners 5-2 at Pluim Park on Saturday night to end the two run winning streak for the home side.
It was a tough night for the Central Coast who came up against a dominant Suns side who knew they needed to get the job done and they did exactly what was needed.
Brendan Gan was a standout for Rockdale who combined viciously with Nikola Taneski to create mayhem in the Mariners Academy back third for most of the match.
In the 6’ minute Brendan Gan stepped over the ball to take a corner from their left hand side, the delivery was dangerous and found its way to the other side of the mixer for Askin Oygur who headed it back into the box for Rockdale’s Paul Kohler who added the finishing touches inside the six yard box to put the away side 1-0 up.
After going a goal down the home side were not deterred and stuck to their game plan to play out from the back although wayward passes let them down on several occasions.
The long ball momentarily crept its way into the gameplay of the Mariners Academy but after a few failed attempts they started to go back through their middle man Adriano Pellegrino who did a top job in controlling the centre of the park with some impressive touches throughout the first-half.
The Mariners Academy found themselves with a set piece in a dangerous area but failed to convert, which allowed Rockdale to counter through Idriss El Hafiane who raced down the right and whipped in a perfect ball to the head of a free Gan who managed to accurately direct his effort, only to be denied by an impressive Jordan Nikolovski diving save in the 21’ minute.
As the half wore on, the home side were running out of answers at the other end of the pitch and were finding it tough to trouble the opposition’s backline.
Alike the rest of their season, possession was never an issue but they lacked a danger man up front as Christopher Payne was being marked out of the game.
But it was the marksman, Payne, who dropped his markers for an instant and found himself free in the box to drive home from inside the box to level the scores in the 27’ minute of play.
Taneski teamed up well with Gan in Rockdale’s front third to cause issues in the Mariners Academy defence however it was Alec Urosevski who found himself on the other side of the Academy backline and netted with his first chance of the match in the 30’ minute.
Nikolovski did well in an attempt to thwart the one-on-one opportunity but couldn’t get enough glove on the shot to send it off target which saw Rockdale take a 2-1 lead.
The final 15’ minutes were much more open as both teams shared an even take of the field position but neither were able to trouble the scorers, which saw the sides hit the sheds with Rockdale up 2-1.
Just 1’ minute into the second-half there was action as Rockdale’s Askin Oygur clipped the heels of Jed Prater who was holding the ball up in the opposition box, which won them a spot kick.
Again, it was Payne who confidently stepped up to take the penalty and made no mistake rolling his shot into the bottom corner which gave Diego Barcena no chance to make a save, leveling the score at 2-2 in the 46’ minute.
Pellegrino continued to light up the middle of the park, one instance in particular he was circled by four Rockdale players and still managed to dance his way out with the ball at his feet.
But it was some questionable goalkeeping that saw the Mariners Academy undo the deadlock off the back off a Gan shot that squeezed inside the front post of Nikolovski 62’ minutes into the match.
As the match progressed into the closing stages Paul Reid continued to show his experienced and dominated the centre of the park for Rockdale and took a lot of pressure out off his backline.
Gan continued to be an overarching influence in the match and curled in an inviting cross from the left side, after some scrap in the box Taneski ended up with the ball at his feet and finished accordingly to extend Rockdale’s lead out to 4-2 on 76’ minutes.
Taneski’s goal was well earned as he provided plenty of spark for Rockdale up front.
A minute later the Mariners Academy had a golden opportunity to pin one back with some more scrap in the box at the other end of the pitch but Rockdale’s desperate defence was enough to halt the attack.
At the death it was Rockdale who finished the match off in style as Reid combined with Taneski with a pin point cross in from the left for the attacking weapon to volley home at close range in the 90’ minute.
Mariners Academy’s Brad McDonald switched his focus immediately to next week and looked to put the tough loss behind him:
“That’s football mate, everything has to come to an end but we have one more game left and hopefully we finish on a win.
“I think we made a couple of silly mistakes, at times we played better football but other times they did, we just need to take our chances and they took theirs and that’s what counted.
“During the week we don’t have to change anything, the last two weeks have been good and if we stick to the same we’ll be fine, but on the day we need to take our chances and go man for man.”
After a stellar performance Brendan Gan was confident in his side’s ability and thinks they are good enough to go all the way:
“We’re feeling pretty good, we needed a win to get us on track for the finals and it was a big game for us coming an hour and a half away, which isn’t easy coming up against the Mariners, they are very structured and hard to break down but tonight we did the job.
“I was happy with my performance but I was more happy with the boys, we haven’t been playing the best in the last couple of weeks but tonight we came out and did the job.
“I think we’re good enough to win it, you could see tonight that we pretty much dominated, a few minutes here and there they had the ball but tonight it was our game, we’ve shown against the top teams with a draw or a win so I think we can do it.”
Next week serves crucial for both sides as Central Coast Mariners Academy will battle it out with South Coast Wolves which could decide who will remain in the top flight and Rockdale City Suns will need to pick up at least a point to ensure themselves a spot in the finals.
Central Coast Mariners Academy 2 (Christopher Payne 27’, 46’ (pen) )
Rockdale City Suns 5 (Paul Kohler 6’, Alec Urosevski 30’, Brendan Gan 62’, Nikola Taneski 76’, Paul Reid 90’)
Saturday 10th of August, 2013
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees: Tim Turner and Thomas Lee
Fourth Official: Alec Mouawad
Central Coast Mariners Academy: 1.Jordan Nikolovski; 2.Matthew Crowell, 3.Jamie Lobb (11.Louis Bozanic 85’), 23.Bradley McDonald, 22.Liam O’Dell, 6.Christopher Payne (5.Brady Smith 79’), 7.Adriano Pellegrino, 16.Jed Prater, 4.Kieron Stallard, 24.Nathan Verity (8.Daniel Bragg 69’), 26.Mapu Ridge
Substitutes Not Used: 20.Imrako Behan, 10.Tomislav Cirjak
Yellow Cards: Adriano Pellegrino 60’
Red Cards: Nil
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Diego Barcena; 10.Richard Cardozo (11.David Talevski 87’), 7.Brendan Gan, 8.Paul Kohler, 6.Takuya Murayama, 23.Askin Oygur, 5.Paul Reid, 14.Nikola Taneski, 9.Alec Urosevski, 12.Idriss El Hafiane, 3.Giorgio Speranza
Substitutes Not Used: 24.Aaron Liddell, 13.Sam Munro, 15.Max Burgess, Roberto Speranza
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
-By Tyson Scott