Hakoah Sydney City East have stunned Rockdale City Suns 3-0 in a performance no better described than a smash and grab in their National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
It was an incredible result for the Eastern Suburbs based side as they survived wave after wave of Rockdale attack, and less than 30 per cent possession, to snatch three points and a second straight win.
A goal to Nathan Roberts against the run of play helped the visitors take a surprise lead after 40 minutes despite seeing little of the ball for the majority of the first half.
It was more of the same in the second stanza with Gauthier converting from the penalty spot to double Hakoah’s lead before securing victory with another at the death.
Ryan Norval was in inspired form for the visitors playing a major role in the win with a number of brilliant saves to deny Rockdale.
It was an unlikely result but one which is sure to be remembered by both sides long into the season.
The hosts started the better of the two sides but were unable to truly put their imprint on the game in the early stages.
Hakoah were pinned back early by the home side’s attack and did well to absorb the pressure.
However, Rockdale were only getting started and upped the ante 15 minutes into the contest.
Striker Jonathan Grozdanovski should’ve given the home side the lead 16 minutes when his breakaway run was blocked by a last ditch tackle from Connor Shaddock.
Matthew Lecce was the next Sun to spurn a chance when he fired wide from inside the penalty area. Alec Urosevski had a header saved soon after.
Urosevski was proving to be a handful and forced an incredible diving save from Norval in the Hakoah net to keep the game scoreless.
It was one way traffic going into the half with Rockdale creating chance after chance.
However, in a bizarre twist of fate it was the visitors who broke the deadlock after 40 minutes.
Roberts was in the right place at the right time to cooly fire home from inside the penalty box after a pass into the box by Takayuki Noji.
Hakoah had the wind in their sails after the goal and went narrowly close to doubling their lead when Noji fired inches wide of the post.
A brilliant save from Norval right on the cusp of the interval ensured Hakoah went in with an unexpected lead as Rockdale were left to ponder what went wrong.
As expected, Rockdale raced out of the blocks in search of an equaliser.
Time and time again the home side pushed for their opening goal to no avail as a determined Hakoah side dug in deep.
Unbelievably, the visitors did it again and found the back of the net against the run of play when Gauthier converted from the penalty spot after being taken down in the box.
You could hear a pin drop at Ilinden Sports Centre as nobody in the ground could comprehend how the home side were trailing by two.
None more so than Rockdale coach Paul Reid.
With the rain starting to pour down, Hakoah were happy to sit back and slow the tempo of the contest.
Rockdale become more desperate as the minutes ticked away and missed another great chance 73 minutes in when Urosevski fired over after being sent through by Nikas.
Norval had been a thorn in the side of Rockdale all match and he was at it again six minutes from full time.
The Hakoah shot stopper made a brilliant effort to deny a rasping shot from Urosevski before Rockdale substitute Khang Hoon Cho wasted a gilt-edged chance by firing over an empty net.
It summed up the match for Rockdale who despite their dominance couldn’t find a way to score.
To add insult to injury for Rockdale, Hoakah’s Gauthier wrapped up an incredible result in the 92nd minute with a brilliant volley from close range to make it 3-0.
A philosophical Rockdale coach Paul Reid summed up what was a frustrating day for the home side.
“I said to the boys after the match that very rarely will you experience a game where you dominate the entire match and go down like that,” Reid said.
“Hakoah had very few opportunities to score and managed to put the ball in the back of the net each time.
“The boys had their heads down after the match but I told them that’s just football. Sometimes things just don’t go your way.”
A jubilant Gavin Rae praised his squad’s resilience with the Hakoah coach revealing his team executed the game plan to perfection.
“It was Rockdale’s first home game of the season and we knew we were going to have to keep things tight at the back and weather attack after attack,” he said.
“The boys really stood up today and everybody did their job which makes the win even more satisfying.
“It goes to show that on our day we can take it to any team in the competition. I’m really proud of our performance and hopefully it spurs the boys on to continue that form into the coming weeks.”
Rockdale City Suns 0
Hakoah Sydney City East 3 (Nathan Roberts 40′, Amaury Gauthier 59, 93′)
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Sunday, 24th March 2019
Referee: T Danaskos
Assistant Referees: M McOrist, R Osborne
Fourth Official: N Ryan
Rockdale City Suns: 1. David Bradasevic, 2. Daniel Petkovski, 3. Mickey Neill, 7. Alec Urosevski, 9. Jonathan Grozdanovski (10. Josh Da Silva 68’), 12. Idris El Hafiane (18. Sasa Macura 58’), 15. Nic Petrilo, 17. Matthew Lecce, 19. Patrick Savor (6. Khang Hoon Cho 81′), 20. Howard Fondyke, 23. Panny Nikas
Substitutes not used: 22. Max Rowston, 21. Blake Currey.
Yellow Cards: El Hafiane 39’
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1. Ryan Norval, 2. Connor Shaddock, 3. James Coombes 6. Dominic Cox, 7. Adison Sayan, 10. Nathan Roberts (14. Jordan Koton 77′), 11. Jack Green, 16. Hristijan Tanoski (12. Steven Chester 90’), 17. Harry Jones, 24. Amaury Gauthier, 60. Takayuki Noji.
Substitutes not used: 36. Ellis Belios, 8. Oliver Green, 25. Max Ephraim, .
Yellow Cards: Gauthier 69’ Cox 89’
3 – Ryan Norval (HSCE)
2- Amaury Gauthier (HSCE)
1- Alec Urosevski (RCS)