Fifteen minutes was all it took to ruin a beautiful day for the Rockdale City Suns FC faithful in an afternoon that started with so much hope.
The Suns needed just a point to make the top five and play finals football, but instead those dreams were dashed by a Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC side with its eyes on third place.
Bonnyrigg opened the scoring in bizarre fashion when Yuta Kokoda sent in a corner that eluded everyone and bent into the net in the 7th minute to give the visitors one hand on third spot in the cruelest of ways for the Suns.
The lead was doubled five minutes later when Tynan Diaz was able to find space in the box to tap home the White Eagles’ second of the afternoon.
And they found a way through again when Mun-Soo Gil hit a hopeful effort from distance that rippled the back of the net in a sensational opening quarter-hour for the visitors.
Marko Jesic should have pulled one back before the third Bonnyrigg strike only for James Chronopoulos to pull off an amazing save down to his left to deny the young midfielder.
Rockdale didn’t deserve to be three down in such a fashion but when it’s your day everything turns to gold and the White Eagles were certainly not only up for it but picking passes and creating chances almost at will against a shell-shocked Suns.
Dylan Macallister headed over from a high Hristijan Tanoski cross from the left, as Rockdale battled back into the game.
Aaron Peterson and Diaz worked Ivan Necevski between the sticks, while at the other end Macallister was played through in the 42nd minute only to skew the shot wide of the left-hand upright.
Nothing, it seemed, was going Rockdale’s way.
With no further addition to the score before the break it was Bonnyrigg who hit the sheds with a healthy three-goal cushion.
With nothing to lose and all to play for a resurgent Rockdale emerged from the dressing rooms to take the game to their guests and open a few half-chances that were squandered.
It showed intent but lacked precision in the final third.
What had begun as a day where destiny was in their own hands had turned into a nightmare of dependency on other results. Fifth place was still attainable and a possibility but not by their own efforts.
Necevski needed to make a double save in the 56’ minute from yet another White Eagles corner firstly from a Reece Caira header followed up by a Peterson shot before the danger was cleared.
Idriss El Hafiane came close at the near post but saw his shot slide into the side netting in the 62nd minute as Rockdale threatened but couldn’t squeeze the ball in to the net.
Steven Hesketh was adjudged to have fouled Robbie Younis in the box. The reliable Eagles’ striker picked himself up and put the cherry on the cake for Bonnyrigg when beating Neveski to his right.
They hassled and harried but Bonnyrigg took the foot off the pedal to see out the match however for all the effort it was to be the Suns who would have nothing to show at the full time whistle, leaving player-coach Paul Reid dejected at the final whistle.
“It wasn’t that we started slowly but more a case that they hit us and at 3-0 down after 15-minutes we were the better team for the rest of the half and created a few chances of our own,” Reid said.
“Its our own fault as we were giving their players too much time and space especially out wide and they were able to slip plenty of crosses in, obviously the strikers were making good runs to get in behind us but we started poorly and we knew we had to start strongly and that is a little disappointing.
“We needed to put them under pressure and gain the ascendency but to be three behind after a quarter of an hour when we really had to win today, we presumed Marconi would lost to South Coast Wolves, it wasn’t a good start and we were chasing our tails from then on.
“We started the season poorly and that has ultimately cost us in the end.”
Bonnyrigg coach Brian Brown was somewhat happier after the game.
“I didn’t even realise we had scored the first and when someone said it was a goal I said “oh my me” because you don’t see many hit the back of the net straight from a corner,” Brown said.
“Coming here to Rockdale, last game of the season with them chasing a finals spot was always going to be a hard proposition and we knew that, particularly on a pitch that has had a hard season on it but our boys were superb today.
“We were in a similar position to this a few weeks ago at Parramatta when we went into the break 3-one up so we were mindful of that and credit the boys as they learnt from mistake.
“We felt that if we gave nothing away in the first 15 minutes of the second-half we would be ok and we took a punt today by resting a few players but they will be back for the finals and we’re looking forward to our next match now on the back of this although it’s been the culmination of the whole season and not just a single result.”
Rockdale City Suns 0
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 4 (Kokoda 7’, Diaz 12’, Gil 15’, Younis 89’ pen)
Sunday 16th August, 2015
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referees: Nick Backo & Mitch Clark
Fourth Official: Khodr Yaghi
Rockdale City Suns: Necevski, Petkovski, Hesketh, Tanoski, Reid ©, Muruyama (Petrillo 46), Macallister, Jesic, El Hafiane (Lekoski 87’), Alameddine (Iwamoto 77’), Savor
Substitutes Not Used: Bradasevic, Loupis
Yellow Cards: Petkovski 60
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: Chronopoulos, Mansueto (Taylor 18), Vraknovic, Zonjic, Diaz ©, Younis, Spruce, Jenner, Gil, Kokoda (Caira 46), Peterson
Substitutes Not Used: Miller, Douglas, Savicic
Yellow Cards: Caira 78’
-By Micky Brock, National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Linden Sports Centre