Rockdale City Suns hosted South Coast Wolves at Ilinden Sports Centre on an atrocious day in Sydney and ran out 1-0 winners, when it should have been so much more.
A medium but constant rainfall prior to kick-off made the conditions slippery under foot and both teams battled to gain control of the midfield.
It was a sensational start for the home side when ‘keeper Tomislav Arcaba hoofed a long punt forward that evaded the Wolves defence for the ever elusive Nikola Taneski to run on to. He needed no second invitation and slotted the ball home in the 2’ minute.
Chris Price found himself in the book for simulation as the Wolves sought an equaliser and were lucky not to be further behind in the 8’ minute when a Sean Symons’ effort was cleared off the line.
There was a lengthy stoppage for Askin Oygur who went down under a minor challenge. He looked to have caused some damage to his left knee but was able to continue after treatment.
Price attempted to make amends when his cross took a deflection off Paul Kohler that completely wrong-footed Arcaba, but fortunately it went behind for a corner.
Symons looked to set up Tadgh Purcell on the counter but Idriss El Hafiane swept in to gather the ball and slip the defence, however his shot had pace but lacked direction as the Wolves again received a let-off.
Symons was again sent away down the left and cut back inside the box to set up El Hafiane whose first time effort slipped past the post in the 42’ minute.
It was much the same after the break with Rockdale having most of the play, Symons and El Hafiane both having half chances easily dealt with early on.
Purcell was set up neatly in the box and his swivel and turn before unleashing the shot had Collison down smartly at the near post to push the ball around for a corner in the 55’ minute.
South Coast finally had an opportunity at the other end when Ricky Zucco fired wide in the 57’ minute but it was all too few as the visitors struggled to contain a rampant Suns midfield.
Purcell, Taneski and El Hafiane were found unmarked in the box with the latter finally finding a shot that was beaten out by Collison, as Wolves rode their luck once more.
Zucco attempted a shot from 30-yards out that was well wide of the mark in the 65’ minute, a measure of how impenetrable the Suns defence was looking on the day.
A free-kick gave the visiting Wolves a chance that was sent in by Matt Bailey in the 67’ minute that had Arcaba flying out to double punch clear in Superman guise, his side breaking immediately upfield for Taneski to take too strong a touch that Collison was able to gather.
Collison was then forced to beat away substitute Daniel Barac’s chance 2’ minutes later but falling to Takuya Murayama, his pass fell short of the intended recipient to be cleared once more.
A nasty head clash in the 80’ minute saw Arcaba need urgent attention but the Suns’ shot stopper wasn’t leaving this battle and continued between the sticks.
Wolves had one last chance at redemption with a 96’ minute free-kick, Bailey with the step-over for Jake Timpano to take, that was put into the wall as the final whistle blew in what ended a tighter match than many expected.
Rockdale could and should have put the result beyond doubt. Branko Culina said: “We were saying to players before the game that the objective is, after a heavy loss, it’s always important to come back and win your next match because good teams do that.
“However we made it very hard for ourselves today with all the missed opportunities.
“Had it been anywhere from 6 to ten goals it wouldn’t have been out of place today and although our transition from defence to attack was good, our finishing left a lot to be desired and is something we will be working on in training."
A disappointed Wolves coach Richard Lloyd said: “It could have been much worse for us today and we played terribly in the first-half particularly.
“In the second period we showed a bit more of what we are capable of doing but we need to turn up and play from the first whistle.”
“(The goal) was just too simple, a long punt from the ‘keeper and we’re one behind and you can’t do that at this level.
“All the boys are disappointed and every week it seems to be our own doing and we know it’s in our own hands to sort this out and change things but we’ve got to get rid of these silly mistakes.”
Rockdale City Suns 1 (Nikola Taneski 2′)
South Coast Wolves 0
Sunday 6th April, 2014
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: Chris Young
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling and Joon Park
Fourth Official: David Haslett
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Tomislav Arcaba, 3.Steve Hesketh, 4.Sean Symons (16.Daniel Barac 61), 5.Paul Reid, 6.Takuya Murayama, 8.Paul Kohler, 9.Tadgh Purcell, 11.Nicola Taneski, 12.Idriss El Hafiane (13.Ben Cornish 79), 21.Patrick Savor (2.Andrija Petkovic 79), 23.Askin Oygur (C)
Substitutes Not Used: 19.Tony Lo, 22.David Bradasevic (GK)
Yellow Cards: Steve Hesketh 24′
Red Cards: Nil
South Coast Wolves: 1.Daniel Collison (G/K), 2.Jack Keating, 4.Michael Robinson, 6.Zachary Mackenzie, 7.Chris Price, 8.Matthew Bailey, 9.Peter Simonoski (11.Mitch Del Turco 62), 10.Ricky Zucco (20.Joey Lavelle 72), 15.Darcy Madden, 22.Samuel Matthews (3.Chris Nathaniel 89), 26.Jacob Timpano (C)
Substitutes Not Used: 5.James Baldacchino, 30.Tom Hamilton (GK)
Yellow Cards: Chris Price 7′
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Sean Symons (RCS)
2 – Nikola Taneski (RCS)
1 – Darcy Madden (SCW)
– By Micky Brock