Sydney FC has ended their 10 week winless streak with a comfortable 2-0 result against a disappointing Rockdale City Suns FC at Lambert Park on Saturday.
The Young Sky Blues were in control of the entire contest, and if not for their wastefulness could’ve finished the contest by half-time.
A rifled finish from one of the hottest young prospects in the game, Sam McIllhatton, sent Sydney FC into the break up 1-0 before Jeremy Cox confirmed the points with a great finish in the second stanza to help his side fight their way off the bottom of the ladder.
Rockdale City Suns coach Paul Reid offered no excuses for his sides poor performance, despite playing three games in a short time-frame after their FFA Cup triumph on Wednesday against Sydney United 58, they weren’t at the races tonight and were dominated by a youthful Sky Blues side.
Under hot conditions, both teams took their time to work into the contest. The first fifteen minutes was more a chess match than a full-bloodied contest.
The two midfields held the majority of the ball trying to prise an opening.
The Suns were the first to offer some attack.
Alec Urosevski slipped in Jordan Figon down the right before the striker fired a shot right at Sydney FC custodian Duro Dragicevic.
From there it was all Sydney FC. The Sky Blues played well on the counter attack, and it helped to produce their first goal of the afternoon.
Luke Ivanovic sent a ball down the line for Cox. The Sky Blues’ marksman had the sense to cut back for Hassan Jalloh, whose initial effort was blocked, right into the path of McIllhatton to rifle home for a 1-0 lead.
McIllhatton almost turned provider in the 25th minute. The midfielder who had a stellar game in the middle of the park, released Jalloh down the left which gave the striker room to burst into the box, but he placed the finish right at Ante Covic.
Next Jerry Skotadis combined with Jalloh. The two had a neat interplay around the box before Skotadis whistled an effort wide of the post, as the Sky Blues pushed for a second.
Despite some enterprising play and a few near misses from Sydney FC’s Jalloh, Rockdale managed to get themselves to the break only down by a single goal.
The break proved the perfect recharge for the visitors as they began the second half energised and in control of the match.
Sydney’s resolute defensive effort found them the second goal. A quick break allowed Skotadis to roam free, as he stroked a ball into Cox, the deadly striker arrowed home well to make it 2-0.
Even being two goals to the good, the Young Sky Blues looked more likely to add to the scoreboard than their opponents. Skotadis with the best chance on another quick break but couldn’t find the finish.
Suns coach Paul Reid rung the changes, looking for a route back into the contest. Substitute Bai Antoniou sparked the Suns attack – he almost poked home in the 85th but Dragicevic made a superb save. Antoniou was at it again right at the death but his injury time free-kick fell safely to the keeper again.
The final whistle brought some joyous celebrations for the Sky Blues who finally found a way to turn their tireless efforts on the pitch into wins.
Coach Robbie Stanton was glad to see the effort from his side rewarded.
“We certainly created a lot of chances. We could’ve been 4 or 5 goals up at halftime. I thought we did extremely well and happy to keep the clean sheet,” he said.
“We’ve been beaten by a goal or two several times this season, so I’m glad today was our day. We’ve played like that plenty times this season and haven’t received the reward.
“Where we are on the ladder doesn’t reflect our play this season. This competition is about results and that is a big result for us today.”
For Paul Reid and the Suns, the player coach offered no excuses for his side’s play and effort against Sydney FC.
“I don’t make that [playing three games in 6 days] as an excuse. I said that to the boys, but that isn’t why we were poor today,” Reid said.
“Sydney is a good side. They have definitely improved this season – They were first to the ball and physical against us. I said at half-time we were lucky to only be a goal down at the break. Overall it was a poor game from Rockdale.”
Sydney FC 2 (McIllhatton 21’, Cox 61’)
Rockdale City Suns FC 0
Saturday 19 May 2018
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee: C. Fisher
Assistant Referees: K. Robinson & J. Bell
Fourth Official: S. Kelly
Sydney FC: 2. CURTIS Brendan, 3. FLOTTMAN Patrick, 4. MCGING Liam, 6. AGAMEMNONOS Andreas, 7. SKOTADIS Jerry, 8. MCILLHATTON Sam, 9. JALLOH Hassan (10. DEVLIN ’81), 11. IVANOVIC Luke, 14. KING Joel, 15. COX Jeremy (SCIBILIO ’88), 30. DRAGICEVIC Duro
Substitutes not used: 1. EVANS Mitchell, 16. MUTCH William, 18. SWIBEL Jordan
Yellow cards: McIllhatton ’73
Red cards: nil
Rockdale City Suns FC: 1. COVIC Ante, 2. PETKOVSKI Daniel, 4. MCCLENAHAN Trent, 6. RICCIUTO Blake, 7. UROSEVSKI Alec, 10. GAITATZIS Harry (12. EL HAFIANE ’67), 15. PETRILLO Daniel, 17. ALAMEDDINE Toufic (9. ANTONIOU ’59), 19. SAVOR Patrick (14. SORGE ’67), 21. NEILL Michael, 23. FIGON Jordan
Substitues not used: 11. GROZDANOVSKI Jonathan, 25. SOUTTER Jake
Yellow cards: Gaitatzis ’46 Covic ’73 El Hafiane ’89
Red cards: nil
3: Sam McIllhatton (SFC)
2: Hassan Jalloh (SFC)
1: Ante Covic (RCSFC)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW Reporter Justin Davies