In a game where both chances had their chances, it was a late first half goal to Alec Urosevski that made all the difference on a beautiful Sunday afternoon where Rockdale City Suns came away with all three points against Sydney United 58 FC.
With a game still in hand, the three points could prove massive for the Suns who will still be hopeful of sneaking into the PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 finals.
The goalmouth action started in the 14th minute, when the ball drifted across from the right into the path of Dylan Macallister but his first time strike was well held by goalkeeper Justin Pasfield.
Rockdale City Suns looked the team most likely in the first half hour of play but in reality there was not too much on offer for the fans from either side.
However, in the 33rd minute Rockdale City Suns should really have opened their account when Daniel Petkovski was given far too much space and ran from his own halfway line before firing off a shot that Pasfield punched away.
The ball only got as far as Toufic Alameddine who, from short range, forced Pasfield into a stupendous diving save to his left.
It was a double chance that Rockdale should have definitely capitalised on and it was by far the best opportunity in the first half for either side.
In the 38th minute the visitors did breakthrough after some great work by Macallister led to the opening goal of the game.
He delightfully back-heeled a pass that found an unmarked Alec Urosevski who slotted the ball home into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
In the last minute of play in the first half, a free-kick from Marko Jesic from a dangerous position just outside the box sailed over the crossbar when he should have at least forced Pasfield into a save.
In the second half Sydney United 58 FC jumped out of the box with some real determination and an early corner by Koen Bosma reached Mark Cindric at the far post but his header was well handled by Ivan Necevski for what was the former Sydney FC’s custodian first call-to-arms for the afternoon.
Rockdale City replied in the 51st minute when Macallister latched onto a scrappy ball from a good position just outside the box, but he fired just wide of the intended target.
However, this was a different United to the one that played the first half as Cindric proved in the 58th minute when his dangerous shot from just outside the box forced goalkeeper Necevski into a beautiful save to turn the ball over the crossbar and away for a corner.
Clearly the words of coach Mark Rudan at the break had the desired effect on the home team and the game was vastly different to the first half as both teams pressed at either end for a goal.
In the 63rd minute a header from close range by Urosevski brought out the best in Pasfield who turned the ball over the crossbar for a corner.
Shortly afterwards, Macallister pulled the ball back from the by-line for the visitors but Takuya Murayama could only stab at it and poke it just wide.
Sydney United 58 replied in the 75th minute when Giuseppe Camera charged dangerously into the box down the left hand side but Askin Oygur managed to get an outstretched foot onto the ball and put Camera’s cross away for a corner.
An 83rd minute corner reached Nikola Taneski who, from point-blank range in front of goal, headed just over for the home side.
It was a wonderful chance that went begging for the home side, which was repeated two minutes later when another corner reached Matthew Stamatellis, but Patrick Savor cleared his header off the line.
These were the types of missed chances that probably led to some frustration later on for the home side as Mitchell Stamatellis was sent off right on ninety minutes for a cynical tackle from behind near the corner post.
After the game Rockdale City’s player-coach Paul Reid was obviously very pleased with the result at such a difficult ground to achieve the full quota of three points.
“We’re in a good position now where we are only one point off Sydney United with a game in hand,” Reid said.
“We knew that it was going to be a massive game to keep our season alive and it was a crucial 12 points in the Club Championship.”
Over in the Sydney United 58 FC dressing room Mark Rudan was philosophical about the result and still very confident in his own team.
“It’s that time of the year now where it’s tough and we’re short on players as we only had ten training on the weekend,” Rudan said.
“The players are working as hard as they can under the circumstances but I don’t just look at the game itself, as I look at the season as a whole.
“We’re in the Waratah Cup, Westfield FFA Cup and we’re consistently playing teenagers and no other team, particularly in the top five, can say that, so we need to put things into perspective and all the boys can do is keep positive and work hard because we’re still a chance for the top five.”
Sydney United 58 FC 0
Rockdale City Suns 1 (38’ Urosevski)
Sunday 25th July 2015
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Referee: Michael Weiner
Assistant Referees: Sarah Ho, Raymond Osborne
Fourth Official: Daniel Stack
Sydney United 58 FC: Pasfield, Bosma (68’ Dragicevic), Camera, Cindric (77’ Vrlic), Haydar, Nikas, Paric (65’ Tomelic), Sherlock, Stamatellis, Taneski, Triantis
Substitutes not used: Gonzalez, Babic
Yellow Cards: Triantis 62’, Camera 70’
Red Cards: Stamatellis 90’
Rockdale City Suns: Necevski, Alamaddine (77’ Tanoski), El Hafiane (74’ Reid), Hesketh, Jesic, Macallister, Murayama, Oygur, Petkovski, Savor, Urosevski
Substitutes not used: Iwamoto, Petrillo, Sorras,
Yellow Cards: Murayama 40’, Oygur 43’
– By Joe Russo, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park.