After defeating Blacktown City last week, Hakoah Sydney City East continued its good run in the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition after scoring three second half goals, downing the Sutherland Sharks 3-1 at Seymour Shaw on a rainy Saturday evening.
It was the quintessential game of two halves with the hosts taking the lead through Japanese import Tomihiro Kajiyama’s fine first-half strike, but there was no stopping a resurgent Hakoah in the second half who romped to victory with goals to Lee Jones, and a double to Kevin Lopes.
The home side took control early on and were ahead after the ten minute mark when Kajiyama stepped inside on the edge of the box and unleashed a supreme curling strike into the far corner.
It was a fine strike from the Japanese import and the winger went close to securing a quick-fire double moments later but fired over the bar after a menacing counter attack from Sutherland.
The Sutherland pressure continued midway through the opening stanza and James Andrew might have done better when breaking through the left channel but his effort was tame and easily collected by Hakoah custodian Matthew McKenzie.
Chances were few and far between for Hakoah Sydney City East although they did provide the standout moment of the first half when midfielder Gavin Rae spotted Sutherland stopper Nikolas Loe off his line and attempted an ambitious lob from inside his own centre circle.
It looked as though Rae’s effort may have been creeping over the goalkeepers head for a miraculous goal but Loe managed to pluck the ball from the sky and recovered excellently to deny forward Neil Jablonski a tap in.
It was fitting that the visitors’ best and only chance of the opening stanza arrived from a shot inside their own half and evidently unimpressed with his side’s first half performance, Hakoah boss Mark Robertson and made two changes at half-time with Steven Abbott and Jordan Mundell replacing Andre de Jong and former Shark Jacob Bandur.
It proved to be an inspired decision from the manager as Hakoah produced a stellar second-half performance in which Mundell was hugely influential.
The forward nearly provided a moment of instant vindication when he rampaged past Sutherland defenders in the area but was denied by the fingertips of Loe and saw his follow up blocked off the line.
Yet, Hakoah were growing in momentum and flooding forward with effortless cohesion and verve. Deklan Gilmartin’s effort from distance had to be palmed away by Loe, and the pressure eventually told when Lee Jones’ free kick from wide evaded a sea of defenders and squirmed underneath the Sutherland keeper to draw the scores level.
The away side continued the onslaught and completed the turnaround ten minutes later when Lopes headed home after Sutherland failed to clear their lines at the second opportunity.
And Mark Robertson’s men added considerable glitz to the result late on when Lopes again, who came on as a substitute, applied an assured finish outside the box after pouncing on a careless piece of play at the back from Sutherland. It was his fifth goal of the season.
Sutherland manager Carlos Villazon admitted his side struggled to deal with the physicality of Hakoah’s attack force, and acknowledged his side must remedy a string of poor showings in the second half.
“I don’t know what the answer is”, he confessed.
‘“We seem to have the same problem every week.
“We create lots of chances in the first and we are punished in the second.
“Today we struggled with the long ball and Hakoah were very physical, that’s what won them the game”.
Sutherland Sharks 1 (Kajiyama 12’)
Hakoah Sydney City East 3 (Jones 65’, Lopes 76, 84’)
Saturday 23rd April 2016
Sutherland Sharks: 17. ANDREW, James (4. KAYES, Stephen), 10. DA SILVA, Joshua (7. PRESS, Jack), 37. FABIANO, Claudio, 9. FIGON, Jordan, 6. GORDON, Matthew, 23. HAYES, Steven, 35. KAJIYAMA, Tomohiro, 5. LITTLER, Nicholas, 21. LOE, Nikolas, 3. MURAYAMA, Takuya
Substitutes Not Used: 1. DENHAM, Nathan, 16. GOMEZ CASTRO, Laureano, 8. MCSTAY, Christopher
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Hakoah Sydney City East: 16. ANDRICOPOULOS, Costa, 15. BANDUR, Jacob (12. ABBOTT, Steven), 5. BOWDEN-HAASE, Nathan, 18. D’MELLO, Aaron (31. LOPES, Kevin), 23. DE JONG, Andrew (13. MUNDELL, Jordan), 10. GILMARTIN, Deklan, 9. JABLONSKI, Neil, 14. JONES, Lee, 20. MCKENZIE, Matthew, 11. RAE, Gavin, 4. WALKER, Bradley
Substitutes Not Used: 1. COSTA, Anthony, 3. BLUMBERG, Dylan
Yellow Cards: 5. BOWDEN-HAASE, Nathan, 11. RAE, Gavin
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Gavin Rae (Hakoah)
2 – Jordan Mundell (Hakoah)
1 – Lee Jones (Hakoah)
-By Jacob Windon