THE final game of Heritage Round saw Rockdale City Suns defeat Manly United FC by 4-0 in a convincing display at Ilinden Sports Centre.
A hat-trick by Marko Jesic capped a wonderful display by the home side in front of some the club’s royalty from yesteryear.
However, despite the unflattering scoreline, Manly United didn’t play too badly and with some better finishing may have made their hosts sweat a bit more.
For the occasion, the Suns honoured their 1984 NSW Division 1 Champions who formed a guard of honour for the current first grade side as they entered the field. The 1984 captain Bill Pilovski was given the honour of tossing the coin for both captains, a lovely touch for the inaugural Heritage Round.
The game took a little while to warm up and it was not before the eleventh minute that the first real action of note took place: a corner from the right reached Chris Payne but his header was just wide of the mark for the visitors.
Rockdale City Suns took the lead with what was essentially their first chance of the game. Jesic scored from close range after Hristijan Tanoski, with absolute determination on the right, at first lost the ball and then regained before finding Jesic with an accurate cross, which he latter simply had to poke home.
The Suns almost doubled their lead when Alec Urosevksi fired just over the crossbar thanks to a slight deflection from the Manly United defence. It was a very close call indeed but there was to be no further joy for the home fans.
Toufic Alameddine galloped through their defence before unleashing a rocket that skidded just wide of the intended target as the Suns ramped up the pressure.
Manly United tried their luck shortly afterwards when a dangerous cross from Adam Parkhouse was beautifully headed away for a corner by a very alert Steven Hesketh. The first half ended with Rockdale taking their narrow lead into the break.
The first real chance of the second half of play came when a free kick from the right by Parkhouse was headed away poorly by the home defence and Payne, from close range, failed to capitalise at the far post.
Manly United coach Paul Dee made three quick substitutes early in the second half to try to change the flow of the game as his side went in search of the elusive equaliser. Dee would know a thing or two about Rockdale from his playing days with the club.
However, in shortly after the hour mark, it was Tanoski who scored the second goal for Rockdale City Suns. It was a fairly scrappy affair but just like he did in the first half when he set up the first goal, Tanoski never surrendered and with pure determination won the ball back at least twice before scoring with his right-foot shot.
Manly United should really have done a lot better when Jamie Lobb headed the ball down and across the face of goal for Payne but he could only manage a weak finish which was easy prey in the end for David Bradasevic.
A glancing header from a Manly United free kick shortly afterwards brought out the best defensively in Paul Reid who cleared off his own line with a confident volley.
Rockdale City Suns put the game beyond reach when George Codrea cut the ball back from the by-line and Jesic brilliantly scored his second goal of the night as he placed the ball into an unguarded net.
Right on the stroke of fulltime Idriss El Hafiane was fouled in the box and referee Stephen Lucas awarded a penalty which Jesic took brilliantly to complete his hat trick.
After the game Paul Reid, player-coach of Rockdale City Suns, was delighted with the result.
“Obviously the main thing was that we got the three points,” he said.
“Playing against a time like Manly is a very big result because they are there or thereabouts with us in terms of points.
“We started off fairly slowly but we just controlled the game after about the first 15 or 20 minutes. To score four goals at home is great because I don’t think that we have won a game at home this year. It’s a good way to win the first one anyway.”
His opposite, Paul Dee of Manly United, coaching against his former club where he was a successful player, was upbeat after the game knowing that his side had played reasonable football.
“It was a positive first half but it was very disappointing how the result turned out in the second half and how we responded after conceding the second goal,” he said.
“You can’t come away with a win unless you score goals and we had enough chances to score goals but, in saying that, Rockdale scrambled well in defence and it’s not an easy surface to play on. We overall need to do better in front of goal if we are going to win games.”
Rockdale City Suns 4 (Jesic 22, 83’, PEN 90’, Tanoski 65′)
Manly United FC 0
Sunday 14th June, 2015
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees: Joon Park, Leigh Pigrim
Fourth Official: Tristan Harris
Rockdale City Suns: Bradesevic, Alameddine, El Hafiane, Hesketh, Jesic (Pandolfo 90+1’), Murayama, Petkovski, Reid, P Savor, Tanoski (Codrea 82’), Urosevski (Iwamoto 87’)
Substitutes not used: I Savor, Visnic
Manly United: Mitchell, Cholakian, Ferguson (Gallagher 63’), Lobb, McDonald, Oughtred, Parkhouse, Paull, Payne, Saric (Pandurevic 56’), Williams (Forbes 59’)
Substitutes not used: Castelnuovo, Liiband
Yellow Cards: McDonald 43’, Cholakian 72’
3. Hristijan Tanoski (RCS)
2. Marko Jesic (RCS)
1. Paul Reid (RCS)
– by Joe Russo, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Ilinden Sports Centre