A 60th minute Brad Walker strike has helped Hakoah Sydney City East clinch a hard fought 2-1 PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s win against Sydney FC at Hensley Athletic field.
The hard-fought victory was Hakoah’s third of the season and first ever win against their Eastern suburbs rivals.
After taking the early lead through Andre De Jong, Sydney FC could have equalised going into the break but for a penalty that hit the post.
Hakoah were then caught early in the second half by a Charles Lokolingoy goal which seemed to spur them back into action and, thanks to Walker’s goal shortly afterwards, ensured that they would secure all three points.
The opening goal arrived in the 4th minute when a poor clearance from goalkeeper Tom Heward-Belle was intercepted by Andre De Jong and sent straight back past the young shot stopper into the back of the net.
The goal was a gift for the home side and the Sydney FC bench must have rued such an error.
Hakoah were at it again in the 9th minute when an Alek Lekoski cross from the left reached Jack Green who found his shot on target neutralised by Heward-Belle.
In the 17th minute a nice run along the by-line by Bai Antoniou ended when his cheeky shot was well saved by Anthony Bouzanis. It was Sydney FC’s first real chance of the match.
Antoniou found himself with some space in the 24th minute and fired towards goal from some distance, But the skilful winger’s effort narrowly sailed over the crossbar.
Hakoah came close in the 26th minute when De Jong rolled the ball across from the right to Jack Bell, but his shot lacked power and goalkeeper Heward-Belle made a desperate save low down to his left.
In the 39th minute Sydney FC were awarded a penalty when the ball bobbled up from Christian Gonzalez and hit the hand of Gavin Rae.
From the 11-metre mark Chris Zuvela took the spot kick but, despite sending goalkeeper Anthony Bouzanis the wrong way, the ball hit the post and Cameron Draper cleared the rebound.
It was close indeed but no goal much to the delight of the home faithful as Hakoah went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
In the second half in the 48th minute a nice turn and swivel by Gideon Sweet in the box ended when his shot was well saved by Heward-Belle.
A minute later though Sydney FC scored an easy goal when a cross from the right was headed by Brad Walker. However, it went straight into the path of Charles Lokolingoy who volleyed it home.
It was really a goal out of nothing and certainly one that seemed to stun the home side.
Anthony Frangie missed a gilt-edged chance in the 57th minute when he missed the target while one-on-one with the keeper after some brilliant lead play where he clicked the ball over his marker.
However, Hakoah were successful shortly afterwards and did regain the lead in the 60th minute when, after some aerial ping-pong, the ball fell to Walker who delightfully turned his volley into the bottom corner of the net.
A minute later a dangerous William Mutch cross from the right to Lokolingoy in middle almost resulted in Sydney FC’s equaliser, but his shot was just wide of the mark.
The game ebbed and flowed and in the 70th minute an outstanding, floating cross from the right by Neil Jablonski reached De Jong at the far the post. His dangerous volley from close range was well saved by the feet of Heward-Belle. It could have been game over there and then for Sydney FC had they conceded again.
Despite a tightly contested final twenty minutes of the encounter, there were to be no further changes to the score.
After the game Hakoah’s coach Gavin Rae was pleased to have obtained all three points
“To get the points is the most important thing but it was the professional performance which is what pleased me most,” he said.
“The boys showed good character throughout the game and probably deserved the win. We have a difficult away clash next week to Parramatta FC so we’ll dust ourselves down and get ready for that encounter.”
Meanwhile, over in the Sydney FC dressing room coach Robbie Stanton was philosophical and pleased with his side’s performance.
“I was happy with our performance. We made a mistake at the start and confusion led to a goal which put us on the back foot straight away,” he said.
“Unfortunately we missed a penalty and then in the second half we eased ourselves back into the game gradually.
“Defensively I thought that we were okay but some mistakes are coming from inexperience. We got the equaliser in the second half but another lapse in concentration got us again by not reading danger.”
Hakoah Sydney City East 2 (De Jong 4, Walker 60’)
Sydney FC 1 (Lokolingoy 49’)
Sunday 30th April 2017
Hensley Athletic Field Pagewood
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Thomas Lee, Raymond Osborne
Fourth Official: Nathan McOrist
HAKOAH SYDNEY CITY EAST: 1. Anthony Bouzanis, 4. Brad Walker, 6. Cameron Draper, 7. Alek Lekoski (9. Neil Jablonski 62’), 10. Andre De Jong, 11. Jordan Mundell, 12. Jack Green (3. Rob Ezekiel 83’), 14. Anthony Frangie (15. Dean Bereveskos 92’), 16. Oliver Green, 17. Gideon Sweet, 19. Gavin Rae
Substitutes not used: 2. Remi Wolanski, 8. Paul Orgad
Yellow Cards: Jablonski 80’
Red Cards: Nil
SYDNEY FC: 20. Tom Heward-Belle, 2. Brendan Curtis, 3. Patrick Flottman, 4, George Timotheou, 6. Nikola Kuleski, 9. Bai Antoniou, 12. Charles Lokolingoy, 14. Cristian Gonzalez (8. Juan Zapata 59’), 16. William Mutch (22. John Iredale 72’), 17. Chris Zuvela, 21. Andreas Agamemnonos
Substitutes not used: 1. Mitchell Evans, 39. Liam McGing
Yellow Cards: Kuleski 51’, Zuvela 88’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Andre De Jong (HSC)
2 – Charles Lokolingoy (SFC)
1 – Brad Walker (HSC)
-by Joe Russo, PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Reporter, at Hensley Athletic Field