The unpredictable movement of Matthew Sim provides headaches for defenders every time he takes to the pitch, and Sunday was no different as his goal decided the game.
The 30-year-old winger put Blacktown City to the sword with an early strike to secure three points for Sydney United 58, narrowing their third-placed opponent’s advantage down to four points on the NPL NSW Men’s table.
United 58 looked rejuvenated, playing with swagger and confidence as they dismantled a well-drilled Blacktown City with a controlled performance that sent a statement to the rest of the league.
“We really put it all together,” remarked Sim.
“We sort of haven’t really been able to put a full ninety minutes together for the last few weeks, have been very good in patches and sloppy in others.
“Sunday was our most complete performance in a while, so it was good to get the three points with a performance like that.”
It’s no coincidence that their improved performance came with a new manager taking control of his first match at the helm.
United 58 revealed Miro Vlastelica as their new head coach last week, stepping up from coaching their U20’s where he was initially recruited on the back of his experience with Sydney FC’s and Western Sydney Wanderers’ youth teams.
“A new voice is always good,” said Sim.
“We’ve got a lot of experienced players in our team who have worked with a lot of coaching teams throughout their careers.
“Having Miro come in last week obviously brought in some new and fresh ideas while also reaffirming some of the things we’ve been doing well and looking at areas we need to improve.
“It’s definitely put us in a good position for the rest of the season.”
Prior to his time at United 58, Sim’s football career has certainly been an interesting one since he burst onto the scene with Manly United at the start of the decade.
After earning a spot in the 2013 NPL NSW Men’s Team of the Year, Sim went on join the Central Coast Mariners where he would feature in the A-League and Asian Champions League.
After a frustrating stint with Western Sydney Wanderers, Sim made the unique move to the South African Premier Division with Cape Town City.
During his time in the coastal city Sim would make 14 appearances in all competitions for the newly re-formed club under the management of former Bafana Bafana midfielder Eric Tinkler.
“It was a top experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Sim reflected.
“I have a few ex-teammates and friends who had played in the A-League who had been in South Africa and spoke very highly of it, so when the opportunity came I jumped at it.
“It was a very good experience for me, not only on the pitch, but off the pitch as well.
“I came home after around 6 months after some personal issues there, but I had an amazing time there.
“The club and everyone associated with the move were all very good to me.”
Now back on home soil, Sim has well and truly found his feet with United 58, who will next play host to Rockdale City Suns.
The sides last met in mid-April in an FFA Cup clash that saw the Suns flash past their highly-rated opponents by a 2-1 score line.
United 58 will no doubt be out to set the record straight when the sides meet at Sydney United Sports Centre on Saturday night.
“We beat them in Round 3 and then they knocked us out of the cup a couple of weeks ago,” said Sim.
“We thought we had the better of that game and should have got something out of it, but they caught us on the breakaway and beat us.
“This weekend they’re coming off a very big win against Wollongong so it’s going to be a tough match, but we know on our day that if we turn up and play to our capabilities then we should be able to overcome any obstacle in this league.
“It’s up to us to come as a group, be prepared, and do the business.”
– By Michael Shoolman