Hakoah Sydney City East put a dent in Rockdale City Sun’s finals hopes with an Oliver Green deflected goal handing them a tense 1-0 win at Hensley Athletic Field on Sunday.
Green’s 51st minute effort was the stroke of good fortune the home side needed in a tough encounter where goals were at a premium.
The win ensures Hakoah Sydney City East will return for another season in the NSW State League top flight with the three points staving off the threat of relegation.
It was a hard fought result for the home side who took advantage of a fatigued Rockdale side backing up from their midweek FFA clash against A-League powerhouse Sydney FC.
For the visitors, it all comes down to next week now. They find themselves outside the top five now, on goal difference after Paul Reid’s side failed to make their chances count.
Now they need to beat Sydney FC next week and rely on a favour from Wollongong Wolves to make it.
Spurred on by Marconi’s victory last night, Rockdale looked to reassert themselves in the top five. They dominated the chances in the first half, Michael Neill thrashed an effort against the post then Blake Ricciuto couldn’t direct his header as the Suns poured forward.
Ricciuto had another chance through a swarm of defenders as the Suns kept Hakoah Sydney City East custodian, Anthony Bouzanis busy in the first 45 minutes.
Idriss El Hafiane and Jonathan Grozdanovski both had chances as the Suns burned brighter.
Much of the best work for Hakoah Sydney City East came through top scorer, Anthony Frangie.
The striker hit the base of the post with his first effort in the 13th minute then added the crossbar to the collection in the 29th minute before having to be subbed at the break.
Coming into this afternoon, Hakoah hadn’t lowered Rockdale City Sun’s colours in their return to the NPL but that changed on 51 minutes.
A corner fell kindly to Oliver Green, the attacker shot and had a healthy deflection that wrong-footed Ante Covic, making it 1-0 to the home side.
Sensing the urgency of needing at least a point, Rockdale coach Paul Reid sent on Alec Urosevski to find a goal. The striker was involved early as his knock down produced a volley from Aleksander Canak that whistled wide.
Next the Suns patiently built up inside the box for Urosevski, the striker bound onto goal but arrowed his effort wide as it looked to be an afternoon of frustration for the visitors.
As the clock ticked down, it looked like Hakoah would be likelier to score. Green had a chance to score a brace as he nodded over, before Micthell Stamatellis flicked a header over in the 86th minute.
Rockdale had a pair of free-kicks near the end to possibly snatch something from the contest. Harris Gaitatzis lofted both teasingly into the box but both were collected safely by Bouzanis as Hakoah Sydney City East clung onto a narrow win.
Afterwards a delighted goalscorer in Oliver Green praised the character and resolve of the Hakoah Sydney City East side against a tough opponent.
“I got a bit lucky with the deflection but we’ll take it,” he said.
“ We’re a big club with history so we need to be here. We definitely stuck it out to the last minute and now, we’re going to celebrate.”
Hakoah boss Gavin Rae was relived his side maintained their composure to secure the win.
“I’m Just delighted to get a win. Narrow 1-0 wins have been tough for us to get this season, so it’s good,” he said.
“We knew it was going to be tough but the boys dug deep. Now we hope to finish the season strongly with the possibility of three straight victories.”
In the other dugout, Rockdale City Suns coach Paul Reid was disappointed with the effort this afternoon which now has their finals chances out of their hands.
“It’s a game where we knew it would be tough, and we had to take our chances,” he said.
“Hakoah play a certain way, they got a deflected goal which is unfortunate. I don’t think they created much and we missed our chances.
“Now it’s not in our hands to make the finals. It’s disappointing but we move on. We have to focus on getting a result against Sydney FC and hopefully other results go our way.
“The disappointing thing is we’re up for the games against big A-League teams but these are the games that truly count, so we need to be up for them as well.
Hakoah Sydney City East 1 (O. Green ‘51)
Rockdale City Suns FC 0
Sunday 5 August 2018
Hensley Athletic Field, Eastgardens
Referee: M Wiener
Assistant Referees: M McOrist, J Adabjou.
Fourth Official: J Ewin
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1. BOUZANIS Anthony, 3. KOUTA Michael, 5. STAMATELLIS Mitchell, 6. DRAPER Cameron, 8. GREEN Oliver, 11. CRIGHTON Jordan (4. WALKER ‘79), 14. FRANGIE Anthony (10. DE JONG ‘45), 19. COX Dominic, 20. COMBES James (15. KATSIONIS ‘89), 21. GAUTHIER Amaury, 60. NOJI Takayuki
Substitutes not used: 17. JONES HARRY 40. FIGUEIRA Michael
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
Rockdale City Suns: 1. COVIC Ante, 2. PETKOVSKI Daniel, 6. RICCIUTO Blake, 8. CANAK Aleksander, 10. GAITATZIS Harris, 11. GROZDANOVSKI Jonathan, 12. EL HALFIANE Idriss, 14. SORGE Brayden, 17. ALAMEDDINE Toufic (7. UROSEVSKI ‘72), 19. SAVOUR Patrick (4. HESKETH ‘72), 21. NEILL Michael,
Substitues not used: 15. PETRILLO N, 16. SAVOR Isaac, 25. SOUTTER Jake
Yellow cards: Canak ‘76 P. Savour ‘69
Red cards: nil
By National Premier Leagues reporter Justin Davies