ROUND twelve of the Grade 20s competition was played out over the weekend; with two games on Saturday afternoon and four on Sunday as all teams were back in action after washouts last week. This weekend’s match of the round saw Rockdale City Suns earn an unlikely point against APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Lambert Park on Sunday.
Match of the Round
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC v Rockdale City Suns FC, at Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt Tigers fought back from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw at Lambert Park against Rockdale City Suns on Sunday afternoon to hold their place in ninth on the ladder, while Rockdale stay eleventh. Goals from Isaac Savor and G. Cordria late in the first half gave the visitors a 2-0 lead going into the break, but Alessandro Colandrea and Jason Perez hit back midway through the second half to claw a draw back for APIA.
Despite having suffered a loss to last-placed Bonnyrigg White Eagles last week, and coming into this match seven points behind their opponents in APIA, Rockdale looked the stronger of the two sides in the game’s early exchanges, with Cordria and Michael Loupis combining well up front to register the first few shots on goal. APIA responded with efforts from Lachlan Scott and Michal Rydzewski, but both hit their shots at Rockdale goalkeeper Aleksander Visnic.
APIA eventually began to control the run of play, Rydzewski and Colandrea threatening in attack, while Rockdale tested the structural integrity of the netting behind the goal with a series of unconvincing, off-target strikes from distance. Colandrea had a good opportunity to open the scoring when he was presented with a loose ball in the box, but he smacked his volley well over the crossbar from only a few metres out.
With halftime approaching, Rockdale scored an unlikely goal when APIA goalkeeper Christopher Moore came out to punch a free kick and misjudged the flight of the ball, slapping it down for Isaac Savor to put away for a 1-0 lead to the visitors. Minutes later, they doubled their advantage: Vincent Giannini struck the post after cutting inside a defender on the left, and Cordria pounced on the rebound to give his side a 2-0 lead going into the break.
This fixture ended 1-0 to APIA at Ilinden Sports Centre on the first day of the season, and the home side began the second half determined to take the game to Rockdale in order to earn another result. Scott had a chance to make it 2-1 when he was played in behind the Rockdale defence early after the restart, but had his run cut short by a charging Visnic.
At the other end, Savor hit the crossbar with a looping header, coming within inches of giving Rockdale an almost unassailable lead. Mathew Cook and Colandrea had shots for APIA, and a goal for the home side began to seem inevitable. It came from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute; Alessandro Colandrea stepping up to convert the penalty that he had won after being bumped over in the box.
Rockdale’s discipline faltered somewhat after APIA’s goal, and both Stefan Dubocanin and Marko Bosnar picked up yellow cards for fouls in the midfield. Five minutes after Colandrea’s penalty, APIA scored a second when Jason Perez’s free kick from deep on the left wing swung into an awkward area at the far post and snuck past Visnic through a sea of bodies.
APIA might have found a late winner through Dominic Cox or Colandrea, but neither could put their opportunities away. The match ended on something of a sour note when APIA captain Adrian Vlastelica was sent off for a cynical challenge in the midfield deep into added time, and the final whistle blew before Rockdale could make anything of their numerical advantage, the match ending 2-2.
"I love working with this group of players," said APIA coach Danial Cummins.
"They’re young though, and they lack a bit of experience that you need to keep from getting into that situation where we’re 2-0 down.
"They were two silly goals that we conceded, and it wasn’t really the result we were looking for – three points would’ve got us a lot closer to fourth – but we’ve got some big games coming up, and we look forward to next week hoping that everyone learned something from this."
Rockdale coach Matthew Ribarovski admitted his side was fortunate to earn a point after a disappointing second half.
"We were lucky to get away with a draw to be honest. We had a lead, sure, but they were all over us early in the second half.
"I’ve only had the boys for three weeks, so we’ve got something to work on as we try to move a bit higher up the table in the next few rounds."
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC 2 (Colandrea 63′, Perez 68′)
Rockdale City Suns FC 2 (Savor 41′, Cordria 44′)
Sunday May 31, 2015
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: Colandrea, Cox, Cook, McArron, Moore, Perez, Rhodes, Rydzewski, Scott, Van den Berg, Vlastelica
Substitutes: Adattini, Alassmi, Koliomihos, Monianci, Zvezdakovski
Rockdale City Suns FC: Bosnar, Dubocanin, Giannini, Loupis, Maude, McGinn, Pandolfo, Savor, Visnic, Cordria, Woo
Substitutes: Kagars, Lazarevski, Russell, Tipevski, Gould
Blacktown Spartans FC 1-2 Sutherland Sharks FC, at Blacktown Football Park
Sutherland Sharks squeezed to a narrow 2-1 win over Blacktown Spartans at Blacktown Football Park on Saturday afternoon to move back into first place after Marconi Stallions were held to a 1-1 draw at Melita Stadium. While Jeremy Cox scored the first of the Shark’s goals, Charles Lokolingoy returned from the first team to score the second in the Sharks win, which sees Blacktown Spartans remain in 10th.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 2-2 Manly United FC, at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Following up from their 2-1 win over Rockdale City Suns last weekend, Bonnyrigg were again in fine form on Satuday afternoon as they recorded a 2-2 draw with fifth-placed Manly Unted. United went into the halftime break ahead by the odd goal in three, but Bonnyrigg responded well to earn their fifth point this season.
South Coast Wolves 1-3 Sydney Olympic FC, at Win Stadium
Following a 4-1 loss to Marconi last weekend, South Coast Wolves fell to a third consecutive loss this Sunday, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Sydney Olympic. James Andrew and Jack and Oliver Green all scored for the visitors, while Marcus Beattie struck in the second half to give his side a consolation goal.
Sydney United 58 FC 1-1 Blacktown City FC, at Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United were denied a third straight successive wins by Blacktown City FC on Sunday afternoon at Sydney United Sports Centre, mounting a second half comeback to ultimately draw 1-1. United stay fourth heading into round 13, when they will face first-placed Sutherland Sharks.
Parramatta FC 1-1 Marconi Stallions, at Melita Stadium
Marconi’s run at the top of the ladder was cut short on Sunday afternoon by Parramatta FC, who held the Stallions to a 1-1 draw at Melita Stadium. Jake de Marigny scored first for the visitors to give his side a 1-0 lead at halftime, but Parramatta fought back well with a goal from Andre Schroeder, and the match ultimately ended 1-1, a result which sees Marconi slip to second while Parramatta also fall one place to seventh.
– by Max Grieve, PS4 National Premier Leagues Grade 20s Reporter