A last gasp goal to reigning golden boot winner Franco Parisi has saved APIA Leichhardt from defeat as the Tigers notched a 3-3 draw with Rockdale City Suns in Sunday’s PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at Ilinden Sports Centre
Parisi’s 88th minute strike secured a point for John Carnevale’s side after a scintillating second half fightback from 3-1 down.
It was a game for the fans with end to end action, late drama and plenty of goals.
The first attempt of the game arrived in the sixth minute of play when Blake Ricciuto created some great space down the left channel but he cross was cleared by APIA’s David D’Apuzzo
Rockdale fans didn’t have to wait long for their side’s opening goal when Alec Urosevski hit the back of the net in the 8th minute.
A well played pass from Ricciuto threaded its way through a wall of APIA defenders and Urosevski was able to beat an advancing Ryan Norval to score.
In the 13th minute a cross from the right by Trent McClenahan found Urosevski but the goal scorer couldn’t double the lead this time.
Rockdale was left ruing a golden opportunity missed in the 23rd minute.
A brilliant cross from the right by Aleksandar Canak found Toufic Alameddine but his powerful header was a fraction wide.
In the 25th minute Rockdale doubled its lead.
A well-rehearsed free-kick was successful as Urosevski placed the ball along the carpet and into the box where Alameddine diligently deviated the ball into the back of the net.
APIA Leichhardt dragged a goal back when the new Emperor of Leichhardt, Tasuku Sekiya cut it back to Jordan Murray who was able to tap home after the ball rebounded off the woodwork.
Right at the death of the first half APIA Leichhardt came very close to equalising.
The mercurial Franco Parisi did all the hard work on the left before firing a cross over to Bradley Bartels who headed the ball against the external netting.
It was so close but it would have been hard for Rockdale to have swallowed such a bitter pill before the break as they had outplayed their rivals for most of the first half.
In the second stanza of play in the 50th minute APIA fired the first salvo when an accurate cross from the right by Bartels reached Jordan Murray but his powerful header was just wide of the net.
In the 54th minute Rockdale City Suns scored its third goal of the evening when a Dylan Macallister cross found Ricciuto at the far post.
Left unmarked, All Ricciuto needed to do was tap the ball into the back of the net as the home side stretched the lead to 3-1.
The Tigers came close to scoring when Bartels had his close range shot blocked by the home defence after a series of scrambled half attempts and then Sekiya, in the 60th minute, shot over when he could have done a lot better.
APIA Leichhardt did strike gold though in the 62nd minute when a long-distance Murray rocket finished in the back of the net to make it 3-2 – his second of the match.
The game stagnated for a little while until the 82nd minute when a wondrous free-kick from distance by substitute Hristijan Tanoski went over and around the wall before forcing Norval into a diving save.
In the 88th minute APIA Leichhardt equalised when Franco Parisi, virtually out of the blue, managed to get in a great shot which was unstoppable for Rockdale goalkeeper David Bradasevic to save.
Rockdale thought they had stolen victory in added time when Idriss El Hafiane found the back of the net.
However the cheers of the Rockdale faithful were quickly subdued when the assistant referee raised his flag for offside as the game ended in a 3-3 stalemate.
After the game Rockdale City Suns’ player-coach Paul Reid was clearly frustrated that his side didn’t claim the full three points on offer.
“We shouldn’t have let them back into the game because we were up 3-1 and we were the better team,” he said.
“The disappointing thing is that the three goals we scored were really good team goals but the three goals that they [APIA] scored were from really poor defending by us.
“It’s not just one mistake that leads to those goals, it’s three or four mistakes. We conceded three sloppy goals and we shouldn’t have let them back in the game at all. We worked hard to score our goals but the goals we are conceding are disappointing.”
APIA Leichhardt’s coach John Carnevale agreed the second half is where his side evened the game.
“I was very happy with our second half. We created the first four or five opportunities in a few minutes in that second half,” he said.
“There was a bit of sloppiness at the back that saw us down 3-1 but the boys roared back. This season we’ve had such a high injury toll and to come back against Rockdale like that makes me very happy.
“In the first 20 minutes we took a while to get into the game. We were not pacing ourselves and not keeping to the game plan that we had, but we could have been even at the end of the first half with a header hitting the side netting. Overall with the resources that we have, I am very happy to have come back against Rockdale.”
Rockdale City Suns: 3 (Urosevski 8’, Alameddine 25’, Ricciuto 54’)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 3 (Murray 29, 62’, Parisi 88’)
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: Kris Griffiths Jones
Assistant Referees: Kearney Robinson, Danny Horstead
Fourth Official: Chris Hughes
Rockdale City Suns: 1. BRADASEVIC David; 2. PETKOVSKI Daniel, 3. HESKETH Steven, 4. McCLENAHAN Trent, 5. REID Paul (12. EL HAFIANE Idriss 61’), 6. RICCIUTO Blake, 7. UROSEVSKI Alec (10. MAKRILLOS Peter 68’), 8. CANAK Aleksandar, 9. MACALLISTER Dylan (11. TANOSKI Hristijan 79’), 15. PETRILLO Nicholas, 17. ALAMEDDINE Toufic.
Substitutes not used: 22. BAZI Andrew, 16. SAVOR Isaac.
Yellow Cards: Petkovski 1’, Hesketh 43’
Red Cards: Nil
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 92. NORVAL Ryan; 2. MILLGATE Nathan, 4. BARTELS Bradley (19. HASEGAWA Kenta 68’), 5. HOOPER Brendan, 10. PARISI Franco, 11. MURRAY Jordan, 13. D’APUZZO David, 16. SYMONS Sean, 18. UCCHINO Adrian, 20. SEKIYA Tasuku, 23. OLSEN Nicholas (8. BICZO Corey 74’).
Substitutes not used: 1. LIIBAND Tonu, 3. FSADNI Matthew, 6. AUSTIN Luke
Yellow Cards: D’Apuzzo 13’, Millgate 25’, Hooper 41’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Blake Ricciuto (RCS)
2 – Daniel Petkovski (RCS)
1 – Franco Parisi (ALT)
-by Joe Russo, PlayStation®National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale