An injury-plagued Parramatta FC defeated Hakoah Sydney City East 2-1 in their PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at Hensley Athletic Field on Saturday night.
Goals to David Gullo and Marco Sama were enough for Parramatta to notch the win cancelling out Neil Jablonski’s strike for the home side.
While it wasn’t the most inspiring football played this season, Parramatta clung on to their 2-1 halftime lead with Hakoah disallowed two goals after the break.
The home side dominated the early stages of the match, forcing Parramatta into a game of chasing shadows. So it came as no surprise when trusty number nine Neil Jablonski latched onto a fine Costa Andricopoulos cross to give his side the lead after 10 minutes.
The goal awakened Parramatta from their slumber and in the 15th minute a great passage of interplay saw David Gullo equalise. The classy number seven started the movement with a slick turn and completed it with a clinical finish.
Hakoah almost struck back in the 22nd minute when young gun Adrian Vranic saw his angled shot flash past the far post by centimetres.
Both sides enjoyed long passages of possession but it was Parramatta who ultimately capitalised, when Marco Sama somehow wriggled his way through the Hakoah defence to score an unlikely individual goal.
The two sides went to the break with Parramatta FC leading the hosts 2-1.
Four minutes after the restart Hakoah stopper Nathan Bowden-Haase used his height to head home what he thought was the equaliser, only to be denied by the linesman for offside.
Then just on the hour, Parramatta keeper Luke Turnbull came to his side’s rescue when Hakoah launched yet another dangerous cross into the box. Criticised for its direct, long ball approach this season, Hakoah used the tactic well against Parramatta, but despite creating several opportunities, couldn’t find the back of the net.
The game meandered for much of the second half with both teams having their moments. But neither could turn what few chances they had into goals, with bouts of sloppiness and inaccuracy denying both sides.
It was the home side that dominated and came closest to scoring. In the 70th minute Aaron D’Mello unleashed an effort from long range, but his shot skewed wide. Then Kevin Gomez watched two angled efforts sail wide.
Hakoah almost snatched a draw but again Parramatta keeper Turnbull came to his side’s rescue, bravely prevailing in a one-on-one clash with Hakoah’s Andre De Jong.
Just four minutes short of full-time the home side scored but referee Weiner disallowed his second goal of the game. This time for handball.
Parramatta’s victory may have lacked style, but for sheer guts and determination, the effort was sublime.
Parramatta FC coach Frank Cosentino praised the opposition and was happy with his side’s effort.
“A lot of people don’t give credit to Hakoah,” he said. “They’re a good side, they are pretty well-structured and the way they play they do it very well. We knew it was going to be a tough game here and it was. We were 1-0 down and the boys showed character to get back to 2-1. All in all, it was a good effort tonight.
“I think the difference between the two sides was that we wanted it more. It was a pretty even game and no-one really got on top of each other and at key moments we scored two goals. (Parramatta goalkeeper Luke) Turnbull made a couple of good saves, (Hakoah keeper Anthony) Costa made a couple of good saves. As I said, I just think we wanted it a bit more (than Hakoah).”
Despite his side’s efforts, Hakoah coach Mark Robertson was disappointed with the result
“Over the course of 90 minutes it was an even contest,” he said. “Either side could’ve won it, it could’ve been a draw. I think both teams probably could’ve been a bit more consistent this season based on the personnel, the coaches. It’s just the way it goes.
“Sloppy defending saw us concede two cheap goals and then on their side they were obviously sloppy as well, because we had our chances. At this level you make mistakes and you get punished.”
When it was suggested that his side had dominated much of the second half, Robertson replied: “It’s hard for me to say about domination and so forth because I’m a three-point man. I believe the table doesn’t lie. You are where you are for a reason. I’ve been around football for a while, played the game, coached the game and where you sit at the end of the season, that’s where you sit. You can blame the officials, you can blame the players, but it really doesn’t matter.” It is what it is.
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1 (Neil Jablonski)
Parramatta FC: 2 (David Gullo, Marco Sama)
Round 20, Saturday July 30 2016
Hensley Athletic Field
Referee: M Weiner
Assistant Referees: K Robinson, R Osborne
Fourth Official: T Harris
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1. Anthony COSTA (GK), 5. Nathan BOWDEN-HAASE, 8. Paul ORGAD (31. KEVIN LOPES), 9. Neil JABLONSKI, 11. Gavin RAE (10. Deklan GILMARTIN), 15. Jacob BANDUR, 16. Costa ANDRICOPOULOS, 17. Jordan MUNDELL, 18. Aaron D’Mello, 23. Andre DE JONG, 33. VRANIC Adrian.
Substitutes not used: 2. Remy WOLANSKI, 20. Matthew McKENZIE (GK), 21. Ilan KESSLER,
Coach: Mark Robertson
Yellow Cards: Costa ANDRICOPOULOS, Deklan GILMARTIN, Jordan MUNDELL
Red Cards: N/A
Parramatta FC: 1. Luke TURNBULL, 2. Ryan JOHNSTONE, 3. Blade RICHARDS, 4. Joshua SYMONS, 6. Daniel GULLO, 7. David GULLO, 10. Marco SAMA, 11. Ante TOMIC, 17. Joshua GERSBACH, 18. Tom MALLETT, 23. Tayebi DERAZKALA.
Substitutes not used: 12. Chris CARBONI, 15. Nicholas CHYMIAK, 33. Corey FINCH.
Coach: Franco Cosentino
Yellow Cards: 7. David GULLO, 10. Marco SAMA
Red Cards: N/A
-By Derek Royal, PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Reporter