Last season’s Grand Finalists Rockdale City Suns have recorded back-to-back wins in the 2014 National Premier Leagues IGA NSW Mens 1 competition following an entertaining 4-1 round five victory over neighbouring St. George FC.
Despite both clubs hailing from well and truly within the St. George area, the Sunday afternoon game was switched to Seymour Shaw due to the unavailability of St. George’s home ground WIN Jubilee Oval, and given the significant adverse weather conditions throughout the week leading into the clash, perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that the venue was switched to the more "rain tolerant" artificial surface at Seymour Shaw.
Sustained pressure from the opening whistle had St. George on the back foot for most of the opening exchanges as Rockdale looked threatening on a number of occasions. Rockdale’s live-wire forwards had the St. George defence searching for answers, but it was a shot by defender Paul Kohler, who had charged through the middle from the back, that took a deflection off a St. George defender and hit the right post before an ever-alert Nikola Taneski slotted it past the keeper and into that back of the net with just 9’ minutes gone to ensure that the visiting side would play from the front.
The lead was doubled in the 22’ minute when a perfectly weighted ball from out on the right found an awaiting Tadgh Purcell on the left edge of the box. Purcell immediately found support in Taneski who was quickly smothered by rapidly retreating St. George defenders, but the ball fell nicely to the feet of Rockdale’s Sean Symons who had no trouble in guiding it past the St. George keeper, Dion Shaw.
St. George had a realistic opportunity to peg a goal back in the 38’ minute when the energetic Bruno Pivato found an unmarked Laureano Gomez Castro out on the right. Gomez Castro in hindsight could have taken an extra touch, but his unbalanced shot sailed way off target and harmlessly over the crossbar to ensure that the visitors held a two-goal advantage at the break.
Rockdale picked up where they left off after the resumption of play and it was the brilliance of Taneski out on the right in the 47’ minute who outpaced a number of St. George would-be defenders to get in behind the line. Taneski passed to teammate Idriss El Hafiane on the front edge of the box before he found an unmarked Symons out on the left. Symons second goal of the afternoon was only denied by a brilliant save by St. George keeper Shaw down low to his left to ensure that the home side remained in the contest.
St. George’s best opportunity of the game came in the 63’ minute when a contentious free-kick just on the left edge of the box had Rockdale exposed for the first time in just on an hour of play. A brilliant curling free-kick by Pivato found a diving David Dascal at the far post where his powerful header went agonising close to crossing the line. A quick-thinking Jason Naidovski dived at the left post to tap the ball in as the ball drifted across; however luck was with the visitors’ side as the ball evaded all would-be goal scorers.
Momentum had appeared to swing in the favour of St. George and the home side came close in the 74’ minute when Aleksander Jovovic cleverly passed a ball back to an unmarked George Codrea just outside of the box. Once again however, luck had deserted the men in white as Codrea’s powerful shot slammed into the crossbar and out of harm’s way.
The miss proved costly for the home side as a mere two minutes later Rockdale’s lead swelled when in the 76’ minute they added a third a goal through their ‘go to’ man in Taneski after he had been cruelly denied an offside goal just 60 seconds earlier.
St. George did hit back in the 88’ minute with a consolation goal through the hard-working Dascal, who had come up into the box for another set play following a free-kick from David Talveski. A plethora of players scrambled into the goal mouth for the free-kick where an initial header shot was saved by Suns keeper Tomislav Arcaba before the left-back Dascal slammed the ball home.
An injury time goal to the Suns replacement Daniel Barac after a well-weighted cross from the right by fellow replacement Tony Lo, ensured that the visitors would have the final say in the score-line where Rockdale ran out well deserved 4-1 winners over a luckless St. George outfit.
“Despite the win we did let ourselves down a little bit with some of the things we normally pride ourselves on,” claimed Rockdale City Suns coach Branko Culina.
“Moving the ball quicker and applying the pressure is what we normally do well, so I was a little disappointed in that area, but we’re not a team that scores a whole lot of goals so to win by three goals is certainly one of the positives.”
“You can never dominate an entire game for the full 90’ minutes, no matter who you are, but I was certainly disappointed that we didn’t close the game out and I would have probably liked to have ‘killed them off’ as they were certainly there for the taking.”
St. George coach Manny Spanoudakis was very disappointed with his side’s performance and conceded that despite the venue change he felt that the ground [Seymour Shaw] didn’t necessarily suit his side’s style of play.
“But that’s not taking anything away from Rockdale as they started the game with a very good tempo,” claimed Spanoudakis.
“We started a little bit tentative and Rockdale took full advantage of that. We certainly had some good signs out there today, but the young players in our team are not making the right decisions and at crucial times are taking the wrong options.
“In the second-half we made some adjustments where I made a substitution early on and we went to a 3-4-3 format which seemed to work for us as we gained some territory. We certainly had a number of chances with a good header on goal and then a shot that hit the cross-bar – if we get those in then we’re back into the game.”
St. George FC have the short turnaround this week as they travel to Bonnyrigg Sports Club next Saturday evening to take on Bonnyrigg White Eagles, whilst Rockdale City Suns are at home for next weekend’s planned Round 6 clash on Easter Monday as they play host to Marconi Stallions FC at Ilinden Sports Centre.
St. George FC 1 (David Dascal 88’)
Rockdale City Suns 4 (Nikola Taneski 9’, 76’, Sean Symons 22’, Daniel Barac 90+1’)
Sunday April 13th, 2014
Seymour Shaw, Miranda
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Assistant Referees: James Tesoriero and Nathan Wotton
Fourth Official: Lachlan Keevers
St. George FC: 1.Dion Shaw; 2.Costa Andricopoulos (5.Bill Tsanidis 56’), 3.David Dascal, 6.Mirko Jurijl, 9.Jason Naidovski (7.Chris Gomez 69’), 10.Bruno Pivato (23.George Codrea 69’), 12.Aleksander Jovovic, 13.Lenox Tweneboa, 15.Djordje Degenek, 19.David Talveski, 38.Laureano Gomez Castro
Substitutes Not Used: 16.Jonathan Castano-Acero, 21.Lucas North (GK)
Yellow Cards: Bruno Pivato 51’
Red Cards: Nil
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Tomislav Arcaba, 3.Steve Hesketh, 4.Sean Symons, 5.Paul Reid (16.Daniel Barac 83’), 6.Takuya Murayama, 8.Paul Kohler, 9.Tadgh Purcell (19.Tony Lo 66’), 11.Nikola Taneski, 12.Idriss El Hafiane, 21.Patrick Savor (13.Ben Cornish 36’), 23.Askin Oygur
Substitutes Not Used: 22.David Bradasevic (GK), 25.Nicholas Petrillo
Yellow Cards: Ben Cornish 53’, Askin Oygur 60’, Takuya Murayama 63’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Nikola Taneski (RCS)
2 – Sean Symons (RCS)
1 – David Dascal (SGFC)
-By Gary McDonald, NPL NSW Mens 1 Reporter, at Seymour Shaw Park