An Alex Boyadjian goal deep in added time has helped Mount Druitt Town Rangers claim a dramatic 2-1 win against Hakoah Sydney City East at Hensley Athletic Field on Sunday.
With scores locked as regulation time elapsed, Boyadjian was the man on the spot to fire home as the final seconds elapsed to give Mt Druitt their first win in seven league matches.
The visitors were the ones to break the deadlock after 35 minutes when a brilliant free-kick from Fabricio Fernandez hit the back of the net.
Hakoah finally found an equaliser with 12 minutes left on the clock thanks to James Coombes but it wasn’t to be enough as The Rangers snatched the winner at the death.
In the 12th minute Hakoah Sydney City East came close to striking the first blow of the game.
A cross from the right by Steven Katsionis fell nicely to Shohei Okuno who then found Nathan Roberts on left, but even though he unleashed a mighty shot it sailed just over the crossbar much to the frustration of the home supporters.
A few minutes later Taka Noji shot from a dangerous position close to goal, but the ball was well blocked by the Mt Druitt Town Rangers defence.
In the 29th minute Hakoah should really have taken the lead when a beautiful counter-attacking move resulted in a cross by Roberts reaching an unmarked Shohei Okuno at the back post, but incredibly on the slide he shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
However, it was Mt Druitt Town Rangers that took the lead in the 35th minute after absorbing the Hakoah pressure. A Fabricio Fernandez free-kick beat all and sundry and ended up in the back of the net under the guard of ‘keeper Ryan Norval.
Just prior to the break Hakoah almost equalised and perhaps they should have gone into the interval with the goal they deserved. But it wasn’t to be.
Blake Thompson brought Amaury Gauthier down just outside the box and it was Gauthier himself who took the ensuing free-kick which goalkeeper Carlos Saliadarre did very well to save down low to his left.
The second stanza of play almost opened with another goal to Mt Druitt when they fluffed two chances in the space of a minute.
A long cross drifted over to Alex Boyadjian at the back post but he missed the target and then, almost immediately, a powerful drive by Fernandez had ‘keeper Norval scrambling to get down low to save the day for Hakoah.
In the 58th minute a free-kick from an acute angle by Shohei Okuno forced Saliadarre to punch the ball away in what was Hakoah’s first chance of the second half.
Another Okuno free-kick five minutes later found Hristjian Tanoski, who had just came on as a substitute, lurking dangerously in the box but his header from close range was well held by Saliadarre.
It was Saliadarre again who kept Hakoah out in the 73rd minute when somehow he blocked, almost instinctively, a point-blank shot from Roberts. It was starting to seem that it just wouldn’t be the home side’s night. However, the goal did arrive shortly afterwards.
A few minutes later a long cross was kept in by Okuno and then flicked on to Dominic Cox who missed with a shot from close range that was deflected. But from the ensuing corner by Okuno it was James Coombes who climbed highest and scored with a powerful header that brought a nice ovation from the home fans in the stand.
In the 84th minute Toufic Alameddine received the ball from the left but his shot from a dangerous position was met by the finest of touches by Norval who tipped the ball over the crossbar for a corner. It was a very close call indeed as the visitors seemed determined to get their lead back.
Close to the final whistle a chip over the top found Oliver Green sprinting towards the opposition goal but somehow, when confronted one-on-one with Saliadarre, he sprayed his shot over the crossbar and the golden chance for Hakoah to take the lead vanished.
Alex Boyadjian then sealed victory for Mt Druitt in stoppage time when Boyadjian received a lovely ball and threaded it home past Norval.
After the game Aidan Desmond, coach of Mt Druitt Town Rangers, was pleased with the victory.
“Credit to the boys for holding the lead for so long and then credit to them to find a way to win the game,” he said.
“The biggest concern was losing Nick Trimble and that height at the back through injury because they certainly threatened with that direct ball. It cost us a goal; a high kick to the head and we lost a player and then it cost us the goal.”
Hakoah Sydney City East coach Gavin Rae said was finding the positives in the game that seemed to slip away from his side.
“It’s frustrating because we got back in the game but we killed ourselves right there at the end,” said the former Scotland international.
“In patches of the game we played well enough but in other patches we gave them too many chances. Overall, we didn’t play bad – at halftime I said to the boys to stay positive as we were down thanks to a great free-kick, and I said to the boys to go out in the second half and be true to themselves and be positive. It’s just unfortunate to lose right at the end.”
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1 (Coombes 78’)
Mount Druitt Town Rangers: 2 (Fernandez 35’, Boyadjian 92’)
Sunday, May 10 2019
Hensley Athletic Field, Eastgardens
Referee: Tim Danaskos
Assistant Referees: Jack Bell, Matthew Staples
Fourth Official: Ivica Covic
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1.Ryan Norval, 3.James Coombes, 4.Bradley Walker, 5.Steven Katsionis (7.Addison Sayan 66’), 6.Dominic Cox, 8.Oliver Green, 9.Shohei Okuno, 10.Nathan Roberts, 13.Robert Ezekiel, 24.Amaury Gauthier (16.Hristijian Tanoski 62’), 60.Taka Noji.
Substitutes not used: 14.Jordan Koton, 17.Harry Jones, 25.Max Ephraim
Yellow Cards: Green 75’
Red Cards: Nil
Mount Druitt Town Rangers: 1.Carlos Saliadarre, 4.Monahan Soloman-Johnn, 6.Blake Thompson, 7.Luke Clifford, 8.Matthew Clowes, 9.Alex Boyadjian, 10.Fabricio Fernandez (17.Jordan Gomez 92’), 11.Toufic Alameddine, 12.Nick Trimble (15.Cooper Coskerie 77’), 13.Lord Darkoh, 16.Josh Gould (2.Hiton Satoh 70’).
Substitutes not used: 20.Alvin Singh, 25.Matthew Nikolovski
Yellow Cards: Gould 41’, Alameddine 93’
Red Card: Nil
3 – Fabricio Fernandez (MDT)
2 – James Coombes (HSC)
1 – Carlos Saliadarre (MDT)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo