Rockdale City Suns incredible mid-season turnaround has added another chapter with a 2-1 comeback win against Manly United at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
It was Rockdale’s fourth straight league win and sixth overall since interim boss Nick Porecca took charge of the Suns helping lift them into the top five for the first time since round two.
A brilliant solo effort from Manly’s Brendan Cholakian gave the visitors the perfect start but it wasn’t to be as the home side found their rhythm in the closing stages of the first half when Jordan Figon levelled the score.
A brilliant header from Sasa Macura midway through the second half wrapped up the win for Rockdale and a vital three points.
The home side started the better of two sides with Rockdale creating two big chances to break the deadlock inside the opening ten minutes.
Michael Neill delivered a dangerous cross into the box which flew across the face of goal untouched by either side before Leigh Egger stuck the woodwork with a powerful long range drive only moments later.
Manly were sitting back and looking to pounce on the counter attack through speedy wingers Adam Parkhouse and Dejan Pandurevic.
However, it was club veteran Cholakian who had the biggest impact for the visitors when he broke the deadlock in the 17th minute.
The tricky midfielder created space for himself 25 yards out from goal before firing into the top left corner with a brilliant curling effort to make it 1-0.
A rapid counter attack from Manly nearly doubled their lead in the 34th minute however a shot on goal from Pandurevic was blocked by a desperation effort from Neill.
Rockdale refused to back down and a slick passage of play between Figon and Urosevski set up an impressive equaliser for the home side in the 40th minute.
Figon delivered a cheeky back-heel to Urosevski who fired the ball back to his striker before it was thundered into the back of the net.
The burly striker thought he doubled his tally in the 45th minute after side footing into the top corner but the assistant referee had other ideas as he flagged Figon for offside.
Deadlocked at the interval, Rockdale raced out of the blocks at the start of the second stanza with Figon firing inches wide of the post after a determined solo run.
Tackles were flying in as both teams lifted their intensity hoping to take control of the clash.
Rockdale interim boss Nick Porecca looked to ignite his attack introducing star signing Panny Nikas off the bench in his first league match after injury.
He didn’t take long to make an impact firing a long range strike which sailed agonisingly wide of the goal.
The home side were on the ascendency and Urosevski spurned a gilt-edged chance pushing his chip shot wide when one on one with the keeper.
For all Rockdale’s chances, Manly were still in the contest and a dangerous cross from Parkhouse caught his opponents napping but it was cleared off the line.
Nikas sailed a header over the bar in the 74th minute after a curling ball into the box from Savor
The mercurial midfielder wasn’t able to add to his teams tally himself but he did turn provider in the 80th minute.
A pinpoint corner kick delivery found the head of Macura who flicked the ball over the keeper and into the net to give Rockdale a 2-1 advantage.
The woodwork denied the Suns once again with eight minutes left on the clock after an unmarked Urosevski blasted a shot from six yards out onto the upright with only the keeper to beat.
Manly attempted to find an equaliser in the closing stages but they had few chances with Rockdale dominating possession to close out the match.
Rockdale assistant coach Matthew Ribarovski praised his side’s fighting spirit to bounce back after conceding an early goal.
“The confidence is high among the team and we knew that if played our own game and staled calm then the goals would come,” he said.
“We hung tough and came back at manly hard in the second half.
“We are starting to get everyone back from injury so the competition for positions is heating up. That has been a big benefit for the whole squad and it has been evident in our play. Hopefully we can keep it up.”
An opportunity lost was how Manly United coach Paull Dee best described the result.
“I felt we started the match well but our performance wasn’t quite there in the second half and you could feel the momentum shift,” he said.
“I think we have been structurally sound this season but lacked a clinical edge in front of goal and that was the story again today.
“I’m not too disappointed with how we played but we need to learn from results like this if we are to make the finals this season.”
Rockdale City Suns: 2 (Figon 40’, Macura 80’)
Manly United FC: 1 (Cholakian 17’)
Sunday. May 5 2019
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: K Patterson
Assistant Referees: L Greenshields, R Osbourne
Fourth Official: S Quinn
Rockdale City Suns: 1. Daniel Bradasevic, 2. Daniel Petkovski, 3. Michael Neill, 7. Alec Urosevski (20. Howard Fondyke 85’) 8. Aleks Canak (6. Khang Hoon Cho 82’), 11. Leigh Egger, 12. Idriss El Hafiane, 17. Matthew Lecce (23. Panny NIkas 55’), 18. Sasa Macura, 19. Patrick Savor, 45. Jordan Figon
Substitutes not used: 9. Jonathan Grozdanovski, 22. Max Rowston.
Yellow Cards: Figon 44’, Canak 63’
Manly United: 1. Dylan Mitchell, 2. Kieran Paull, 4. Travis Oughtred, 5. Sam Gallagher, 7. Sam Wilson, 8. Dom Ferguson, 10. Brendan Cholakian, 11. Adam Parkhouse, 13. Scott Balderson (9. Nikola Taneski 46′), 14. Dejan Pandurevic (22. Jamie Glover 76’), 23. Bradley McDonald (6. Joseph Fox 61’)
Substitutes not used: 17. Lewis Miccio 30. Samuel Benton
3- Urosevski (RCS)
2- Figon (RCS)
1- Cholakian (MUFC)