A sensational Peter Simonoski hat-trick has lifted Sydney United 58 back into the winners circle as they defeated National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s newcomers Mt Druitt 3-1 at Sydney United Sports Centre on Monday.
It was the perfect response from United 58 after last week’s drubbing at the hands of Marconi Stallions with Simonoski’s display exactly the performance coach Miro Vlastelica would’ve had in mind when he signed the striker in the off-season.
The former Wolves front man opened the scoring midway through the first half before giving the Edensor Park based side a 2-0 buffer at the interval.
Mt Druitt hit back early in the second-half but despite their efforts to get back into the game they couldn’t stop United 58 and Simonoski who wrapped up the win and his hat-trick ten minutes from the final whistle.
The result keeps Sydney United 58 on track with the rest of the top five and settles the ship after a few bad results in recent weeks.
It was Simonoski who fired the first salvo of the afternoon in the second minute of play that sailed over the bar to register United 58’s intentions.
It was edgy stuff as both probed for openings and looked confident going forward only to break down in the final third.
Rangers’ closest moment in the opening quarter-hour was when Fabricio Fernandez found time to spin in the box and plant a left-footer wide of the upright, chances being the exception rather than the rule.
United were making most of the running however the slick and speedy counters of Rangers, though threatening, were easily mopped up by the home defence.
Simonoski beat the off-side trap in the 24th minute but the ever alert Nick Trimble tracked back and made a perfectly timed interception in the the box to defuse the situation.
It was a warning that went unheeded as four minutes later he did it again when slipping between the two centre-backs to plant the ball past Carlos Saliadarre to give the home side the lead.
Matthew Bilic needed to step in when Rangers’ Alex Boyadjian run through the centre of United’s defence, again inside the box required perfect technique.
Bilic had a great match fresh from nine months out of the game via a knee injury with the talented left-back star putting in a good shift.
Sebastien Gallegos once more found space between the backs from a Tariq Maia through ball before standing up Saliadarre and squaring for Simonoski to tap home his easiest goal of the season and double United’s lead going into the break.
With no changes to either side after the interval, it was back to business on the pitch with the only difference being the visitors needed to chase the game in the sweltering conditions, exposing themselves to the possibility of the swift counter.
Luke Clifford tried a speculative effort from the edge of the box that took a deflection and looped agonisingly wide of the upright with Thomas Manos left scrambling.
However, moments later Fernandez lobbed the ‘keeper to reduce the deficit and once more it was game on.
The goal had Rangers’ tail up and two successive opportunities came and went without the desired effect as United’s backline, solid all match, showed signs of rocking.
Substitute Toufic Allameddine, on for Hiten Satoh and returning to his best after injury, skinned Jordan Roberts down the left, bulldozed through the ever dependable Yianni Fragogiannis and slipped a pass to Fernandez whose shot was smothered by the impressive Manos. United were coming under increasing pressure but managing to keep ahead.
Clifford should have restored parity when showing composure in the area but placed his curling left-foot shot narrowly over the angle of bar and post in the 68’ minute.
It wouldn’t have been against the run of play in this phase of the match.
United awoke from their slumber and mounted plenty of pressure in return as the match opened up into end-to-end football and when Simonoski scooted in from the right he went for the hat-trick shot instead of squaring for the better placed Matthew Sim on the six-yard line. An option he could, perhaps, be forgiven for.
Saliadarre saved from Simonoski and then repeated from Sim with the rebound falling to that man Simonoski again but the bounce of the ball saw a miss-hit that bobbled over the line and out.
It remained to be seen whether United would rue the mounting catalogue of spurned opportunities.
Simonoski finally put the tie to bed when netting his, and United’s, third in the 80th minute in what had been a nail-biting finale that deflated the Rangers’ bubble.
Sim attempted to put the icing on the cake in stoppage time but skewed his shot across the face in the final act of the match.
The result eased the pressure on United coach Miro Vlastelica who seemed to think today’s performance was proof it was back to business as usual for his side after their shock five goal drubbing seven days earlier.
“It was important we produced a good result today after last week but realistically I would prefer to lose one game by 5-goals than 5-games by one,” Vlastelica said.
“We should have shut up shop after half-time but we allowed them back into the game and it was edgy for a while but Peter (Simonoski) showed his quality after missing a couple to settle the tie with the third goal.
“I’m pleased with the overall performance but we need to close teams out when we’ve got the lead and we’ll obviously work on that.”
A lack of a clinical edge proved to be Mt Druitt’s biggest weakness and coach Aidan Desmond said his team paid the price for their wastefulness.
“We simply were not good enough in the final third,” Desmond said.
“We got ourselves back into the game but our first-half performance wasn’t good enough and our finishing wasn’t good enough today.
“We huffed and puffed but we let ourselves down in their box and after gifting them two goals where we stood still and watched them play through, it wasn’t our best performance.
“If you make mistakes at this level you get punished and today we paid for them.”
Sydney United 58 3 (Simonoski 28’, 43’, 80’)
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1 (Fernandez 53’)
Sydney Utd Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Monday, 22nd March 2019
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant. Referees: Joon Park & Janush Adabjou
Fourth Official: Ivica Covic
Sydney United 58: 21.Thomas Manos, 3.Jordan Roberts, 5.Anthony Tomelic, 7.Peter Simonoski, 10.Sebastien Gallegos (18.Glen Trifiro 70’), 11.Yianni Perkatis, 14.Nick Stavroulakis (12.Liam Rose 82’), 15.Tariq Maia, 17.Matthew Bilic, 19.Joshua McDonald (8.Matthew Sim 65’), 22.Yianni Fragogiannis
Substitutes not used: 9.Patrick Antelmi, 1.Danial Sadaka
Yellow Cards: Simonoski 30’
Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 1.Carlos Saliadarre, 2.Hiten Satoh (11.Toufic Allameddine 58’), 3.Lachlan Roberts, 4.Solomon Monohan-Vaiika, 6.Blake Thompson, 7.Luke Clifford, 8.Mathew Clowes (17.Jordan Gomez 76’), 9.Alex Boyadjian (15.Cooper Coskerie 80’), 10.Fabricio Fernandez, 12.Nick Trimble, 13.Lord Darkoh
Substitutes not used: , 25.Matthew Nikolovski, 19.Christian Long
3 – Simonoski (SU)
2 – Stavroulakis (SU)
1 – Clifford (MDTR)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Micky Brock