Sydney United 58 continued their dominance over the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition with a 4-1 victory over Hakoah Sydney City East at Sydney United Sports Centre.
Chris Payne and Panni Nikas were the chief destroyers with the former scoring a fantastic hat trick before Hakoah substitute Adrian De Jong struck back. Nikas responded within a minute to give United 58 their three goal cushion again.
The match will be remembered for an exquisite goal by Payne who combined with Nikas on the edge of the box to score a goal which had the United 58 faithful left in awe.
Hakoah Sydney City East started the match on the front foot, pinning Sydney United 58 in their own half by maintaining possession and playing long balls into the opposition’s box in the first five minutes.
The first chance fell to Hakoah in the third minute when Jordan Mundell kept the ball in play before cutting back to an oncoming Deklan Gilmartin whose first time shot went wide of the mark.
Sydney United 58 quickly got into their usual passing game and got their first shot on target in the 6th minute when Payne laid off to Nikas with the latter stepping past one defender before his shot fell straight to the chest of Hakoah goalkeeper Anthony Costa.
United 58 didn’t make a mistake with their next opportunity a minute later as a through ball saw them beat the offside trap and create three on one situation. Nikas dribbled the ball into the box on the right hand side before squaring the ball to a free Payne who tapped in to give his side a 1-0 lead.
The home side’s confidence continued to grow and in the 18th minute Nick Stavroulakis won the ball before offloading to Yutaro Shin to start a counter attack. Shin found Payne on the left hand side who then passed onto Nikas with the attacking midfielder laying a through ball to Shin. The winger’s first tough let him down though as Costa came out to clear the ball.
Hakoah attacker Hussein Akil was hungry to get his side back into the game and on 23 minutes found space in the middle of the park before unleashing a shot straight to Sydney United goalkeeper Thomas Manos.
Manos was called into action again five minutes later when Adrian D’Mello cut off a failed Jacob Tratt clearance before his volley was easily saved by the keeper.
The misses came back to haunt Hakoah when Sydney United 58 doubled their lead thanks to a piece of magical play in the 38th minute. Nikas and Payne combined again to perfection, passing the ball to each other four times on the edge of the box leading to the latter going through on goal and poking the ball past a rushing Costa and into the back of the net.
United 58 almost made it 3-0 on the stroke of half time when a failed clearance from the corner forced Hakoah to clear off the line.
Payne came out of the break eager to secure his hat trick and almost had it in the 49th minute when he dribbled into the box on the left before cutting the ball onto his favour right foot with his shot hitting the left hand upright.
Two minutes later Payne thought he had his third in the bag when he beat the offside trap to go one on one with Costa from a perfect Ursok long ball. Payne composed himself before rounding Costa, but made his angle to score incredibly difficult. With the goal at his beckoning, Payne touched the ball towards the goal with the ball trickling along the goal line with Hakoah’s defence retreating well to clear the ball.
The former A-League striker finaly secured his treble when he made it 3-0 in the 60th minute – with a stroke of luck going his way.
After Peter Triantis received the ball in the middle of the park he played a lovely through ball to Jacob Tratt on the right hand touchline who passed back inside to Nikas. The latter put Tratt through in space with a great first time header before his wayward left foot strike fell right into Payne’s path for the marksmen to tap into the net.
Payne was on fire and almost had his fourth in the 68th minute. Triantis played another inch perfect ball, this time to Masato Mochizuki who went flying down the left hand touchline before his cross fell straight to Payne. Luckily for Hakoah, goalkeeper Anthony Costa was quickly off his line to thwart the chance.
Hakoah were not throwing up the white flag yet and on 73 minutes almost got a goal back when substitute Andre De Jong rose well from a corner to head goalwards only for Triantis to clear off the line.
De Jong made no mistake just minutes later when he struck the ball into the back of the net as United 58 failed to clear a free kick.
United 58 were not happy with the scrappy goal they conceded and restored their three goal cushion right from the kick off when Panni Nikas got onto the ball in the box, wrong footing his defender with a great step over and sending the ball into the bottom left hand corner to make it 4-1.
Hakoah’s night went from bad to worse when Adrian D’Mello was given his marching orders after receiving his second yellow with six minutes remaining in the match.
Following the match Sydney United 58 head coach Mark Rudan was pleased with his side’s performance despite conceding a sloppy goal.
“I’m disappointed with the goal, we certainly need to improve in our defensive set pieces,” he said.
“But I thought we were in total control and dominated from start to finish.
“It’s been a heavy work load for us, it’s been 15 games so far including the cup competition and we are pretty much rotating 14 players so it’s good to now have a break from the midweek games.
“But I keep saying we’ve got a long way to go and we’ve got a good challenge next week at home (against Blacktown City).
“The boys are in fantastic mental and physical condition so we are really looking forward to that game next week.”
In the away dressing room Hakoah head coach Mark Robertson was disappointed with his side’s character against the top placed United 58.
“It’s always tough when you come up against a team that is sitting up the top,” he said.
“You look for character in players when you go one behind, can you get back to 1-1 but at the end of the day we didn’t show character and that’s unfortunate, that’s just the way it was on the night for us.”
Sydney United 58 host their second consecutive home game when they take on Blacktown City in a special heritage round top of the table clash next week as Hakoah return home to face Wollongong Wolves.
Sydney United 58 4 (Payne 7’, 38’, 60’, Nikas 77’)
Hakoah Sydney City East 1 (De Jong 76’)
Venue: Sydney United Sports Centre
Referee: Michael Weiner
Assistant referees: N. Backo and M. Clark
Fourth official: M. Mcorist
Sydney United 58: 21. Thomas Manos, 17. Theo Kofinas, 10. Robert Mileski © (11. Nikola Taneski 73’), 3. Masato Mochizuki, 23. Panni Nikas, 6. Chris Payne (2. Kristopher Vlismas 85’), 7. Yutaro Shin, 14. Nick Stavroulakis, 24. Jacob Tratt, 8. Peter Triantis (18. Anthony Vrlic 81’), 20. Tomislav Ursok
Substitutions not used: 1. Alec Khoshaba
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1. Anthony Costa, 7. Hussein Akil (23. Andre De Jong 61’), 16. Costa Andricopoulos, 5. Nathan Bowden-Haase, 18. Adrian D’Mello, 10. Deklan Gilmartin (31. Kevin Lopes 61’), 9. Neil Jablonski ©, 14. Lee Jones, 17. Jordan Mundell, 11. Gavin Rae, 42. Adrian Vranic (8. Paul Orgad 69’)
Substitutions not used: 3. Dylan Blumber,, 20. Matthew Mckenzie
Yellow cards: D’Mello 21’, 84’, Mundell 36’, Costa 90’
Red cards: D’Mello 84’
3- Chris Payne (SU58)
2- Panni Nikas (SU58)
1-Peter Triantis (SU58)
-By PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Chris Georges