A TERRIFIC thunderstorm produced hail and a heavy downpour before the match, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of Sutherland Sharks as they thrashed Rockdale City Suns 6-2 on the Centenary of Anzac.
With a minute of silence duly observed, the match started at a frenetic pace, even as the heavens opened up once more.
Rockdale City’s Hristjan Tanoski cushioned a header down for Marko Jesic, which was quickly followed by Paul Reid slicing one wide of the upright with the outside of the right boot.
A dreadful error by Sutherland keeper Nathan Denham in the 11’ minute saw Alec Urosevski open the scoring. He was chasing down a ball when Denham slipped on the wet surface at a vital moment, allowing the ball to go through his legs and Urosevski to score from the edge of the area.
But it was short lived when Jordan Figon restored parity from a Chris McStay pass, and it was game on once more.
Suns’ skipper Askin Oygur was deployed in front of his back four and was putting in the hard yards, chasing players down and getting the tackles in. It didn’t prevent Sutherland from hitting the front in the 21’ minute though. The ball bobbled out to Jacob Tratt from a Steve Hayes corner and his shot into the ground looped over Tomislav Arcaba, with the ‘keeper flat-footed, and unable to adjust.
Another Sharks corner and another goal to Tratt came in the 29’ minute as the young defender hammered home after a goal mouth scramble.
It was 2-1 to the home side at the break, but Rockdale City would have wondering just how they found themselves behind after taking the lead.
Sutherland kicked off the second-half but it was Rockdale who made a change, with Oygur slipping back into his more traditional centre-back position.
Arcaba made a save from Aleksandar Jovovic in the 47′ minute, but he could do nothing when McStay thumped home a right footed shot less than a minute later.
Figon worked his way through the area and fired one against the post as Sutherland upped the pressure and in the 53′ minute they went further ahead when Seonjin Park powerfully struck home.
He should have added another, four minutes later, but headed wide of an open net, and then looped another effort over the ‘keeper and bar moments later. Sutherland were running riot.
Rockdale City Suns substitute Nikola Taneski, who came on at the interval for Patrick Savor, found the back of the net in the 62’ minute, finishing past Denham.
Steven Hesketh was shown a straight red card for a heavy challenge on Hayes, as if the task wasn’t difficult enough for the Suns already.
Dylan Caton made his Men’s 1 debut for Sutherland when he replaced Daniel Mitwali in the 71’ minute.
Peter Crevani came on for Hayes in the 80’ minute and with his first touch, tucked away Sutherland’s sixth goal of the evening.
“In the first-half a little bit of luck went our way even though we gave up a poor goal again in the first 10-minutes and I thought here we go again," Sutherland coach Steve O’Connor said.
“After that we played really well for the next 15 to 20-minutes and pulling a goal back straight away helped and we played some really good football. We scored a couple and were on the up then we seemed to stop playing and you cannot do that at this level. We had a period of about 10-minutes before the break when it was panic stations for us.
“The second-half we managed a couple of quick goals and took control of the game after settling the boys down at break and we began to play with confidence and kept the ball moving. These are the things we try and work on and today they’ve come off.
“We’re obviously happy with the win but we should have kept trying to go forward to the end of the game but we look to our midweek FFA Cup game here on Wednesday night.”
Branko Culina said set pieces were a big part of the problem for Rockdale City Suns.
“The problem was we didn’t mark up and a couple of set pieces and that obviously killed us tonight," Culina said.
“Our football in the first-half wasn’t too bad apart from that, and you’re 1-nil up and in the space of a few minutes find yourselves 1-3 down, and that was the turning point.
“We took a risk in the second-half and said why not go for it, but again we were caught with a couple of quick goals and that finished it off. We are missing a few players through suspension and injury but that’s no excuse. We need to sharpen up on this performance and we will start that on Wednesday in the cup.”
Sutherland Sharks 6 (Figon 13, Tratt 21, 29, McStay 48 , Park 53, Crevani 80)
Rockdale City Suns 2 (Urosevski 11, Taneski 62 )
Saturday 25 April, 2015
Seymour Shaw Park, Miranda
Referee: James Lewis
Assistant Referees: Matthew Cassidy & Joon Park
Fourth Official: David Haslett
Sutherland Sharks: Denham (C), Tratt, McKenzie, Gordan, O’Connell, McStay, Park (Lokolingoy 62), Jovovic, Figon, Mitwali (Caton 71), Hayes (Crevani 80)
Substitutes Not Used: Stergiou, Depta
Rockdale City Suns: Arcaba, Giannaros (Petrillo 66), Hesketh, Tanoski, Reid, Muruyama, Urosevski, Jesic, El Hafiane, Savor (Taneski 46), Oygur (C)
Substitutes Not Used: Bradesevic, Alameddine, Iwamoto
Yellow Cards: Oygur 87
Red Cards: Hesketh 65
3 – Tratt (SS)
2 – Figon (SS)
1 – McStay (SS)
– by Micky Brock, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Seymour Shaw Park