A LATE goal from Marko Jesic was the difference at Ilinden, as Rockdale City Suns beat a defiant St George.
There was only ten minutes left on the clock when Jesic bore down on goal after a good pass by Tadhg Purcell. With only the keeper to beat, Jesic made no mistake, popping the finish into the bottom corner.
It was just about deserved by Rockdale, who had the more shots on goal, without troubling St George’s keeper too often.
The match was nothing to write home about, as neither side managed to make a genuine imprint on a game of little quality. It was scrappy and in the end, a goal was a surprise.
The game could have had an explosive opening when David Dascal’s sloppy back pass was intercepted by Jesic. He drew out St George’s keeper Dion Shaw and when he squared to Nick Taneski, all he had to was roll the ball into the back of the net. Under pressure, he scuffed the shot and Marton Vass managed to get back to clear off the line.
It was sign of things to come, both for Taneski and for Rockdale City.
There was a curly moment in the fifth minute when Idriss El Hafiane’s cross from the left somehow squirmed through the legs of Shaw, but nobody in red and black was on hand to take advantage.
Just after the half hour mark, Taneski showed good awareness to play in Tahj Minniecon, but the winger lacked composure and blasted over the bar.
Moments later, Minniecon drew blood, his high boot gashing the head of his team mate Paul Reid.
St George fired a warning shot shortly before the break, when former Rockdale winger David Talevski smashed an athletic volley against the bar after a cross from the left by Bruno Pivato.
Then, with one of the last kicks of the half, Taneski had the chance to break the deadlock, but his first touch was poor and his second sent a shot over the bar.
Rockdale came out and attacked at the start of the second half and Reid created a good opportunity on the hour mark.
His cross from the right picked out Steven Hesketh on the back post, but his first time finish was well high and wide.
A few moments later, some beautiful interplay from substitutes Toufic Alameddine, Hristijian Tanoski and Jesic ended with the latter having a shot well blocked by Dascal.
St George’s opportunities became limited to set pieces and attempts on the counter attack, with Bruno Pivato looking to stitch together some enterprising passages of play.
A free kick floated to the back post saw St George substitute Aman Hadid find space in behind but he could only shoot into the side netting.
It looked for all money as if the game would end scoreless, but then Jesic popped up in the ever lengthening shadows to ease Rockdale’s anxiety and leave St George with some serious work to do as the season enters its final throes.
Rockdale coach Branko Culina was happy his side took all three points at home.
"It was never going to be a great game in those conditions, it was very windy and bumpy.
"But you’ve got to find a way to win and we needed to get back on the winning track. We started poorly last week and then played some good football, to no avail.
"You’ve got to bounce back from those results, like the late goal we conceded to Spartans the week before. There is plenty of games left, it’s all about momentum now."
St George skipper Juan Chavez lamented on the three points that got away from them.
"Conditions were tough but I thought we held our own, we just had to get the goal.
"I thought we did well, even shocked them a little bit. The goal was a real killer, a point from here would have been awesome.
"We’re happy enough, the spirit and work-rate is there, but simple mistakes are costing us. That’s the difference between being high or low on the table."
Rockdale City Suns 1 (Marko Jesic 80′)
St George 0
Sunday June 29, 2014
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: Jason Blackwood
Assistant Referees: Leigh Pigram and Mitchell Clark
Fourth Official: Matthew McOrist
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Tomislav Arcaba; (2.Tadhg Purcell 73′) 3.Steven Hesketh, 4.Sean Symons, 5.Paul Reid, 6.Takuya Murayama, 8.Paul Kohler, 10.Tahj Minniecon (7.Toufic Alameddine 58′), 11.Nikola Taneski (21.Hristijian Tanoski 58′), 12.Idriss El Hafiane, 18.Marko Jesic, 23. Askin Oygur (C)
Substitutes Not Used: 22.David Bradasevic, 25.Nicholas Petrillo
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
St George: 1.Dion Shaw; 2.Costa Andricopoulos, 3.David Dascal, 4.Marton Vass, 6.Mirko Jurilj, 8.Nicholas Napoli, 10.Bruno Pivato, 11.Juan Chavez (C) (9.Aman Hadid 62′), 13.Lenox Tweneboa, 19.David Talevski (7.Christopher Gomez 75′), 23.George Codrea (12.Aleksander Jovovic 70′)
Substitutes Not Used: 21.Nick Dimos
Yellow Cards: Lenox Tweneboa 63′
Red Cards: Nil
– by Matthew Lopez, National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 Editor, at Ilinden Sports Centre