A costly defensive error has cost Sutherland Sharks a break-though win as they were held 1-1 by local rivals Rockdale City Suns at Seymour Shaw.
Suns’ striker and former Shark Jordan Figon fired home to level the scores after Alec Urosevski pounced on a sloppy back pass to extend the Sharks winless streak to 10 games.
A sensational volley from Jeremy Cox had given Sutherland the lead after 37 minutes but it would only last for seven minutes until Rockdale found an equaliser.
It was a frustrating result as well for Rockdale as they missed the chance to move into top spot with a win.
It was a cagey start to the match with neither side creating any real headway in the opening ten minutes.
A looping free-kick from Marc Warren nearly set-up an opening goal in the 20th minute but Harry Sutherland’s headed effort sailed narrowly wide.
Sutherland were on the ascension and had another great chance denied moments later when Charles Lokolingoy had a shot from just outside the 18-yard box deflected by a scrambling Rockdale defence.
The home side were beginning to take control of the match and it didn’t take long for them to find a break though.
Warren broke loose on the left flank and fired in a curling cross which was volleyed into the back of the net by Cox with clinical precision.
But their lead would not last for long.
Urosevski pounced on a poor back pass from Sutherland’s Tarik Ercan and forced a save from Nathan Denham with a shot across goal.
Figon was in the right place at the right time to tap home past a scrambling Denham to level the score.
Sharks midfield maestro Mateo Poljak tested the keeper with a blistering long range effort but Rockdale shot stopper David Bradasevic had it covered to ensure both sides went into the break locked at 1-1.
Sutherland started the second half the better of the two sides and Suns keeper Bradasevic was forced to make two diving saves not long after the restart.
The visitors gave the Sharks fan a scare in the 56th minute when Urosevski’s free-kick from 30 yards out whisked past the outside of the post.
The match was mired in controversy in the 73rd minute when a Lokolingoy header cannoned off the underside of the cross bar and seemingly over the goal line, however the referee thought otherwise ruling no-goal.
Sutherland’s spirit was not to be quelled and they continued to push forward for a winner.
Juan Romero tested Bradasevic with a header after a late run to the far post but it was saved by the gloveman.
Rockdale nearly snatched a late winner thanks to a mazy run from another former Shark, Panny Nikas, but some desperate defending stopped the mercurial midfielder in his tracks only 8 yards out from goal to ensure the match would end locked at 1-1.
Rockdale goalscorer Figon said his side expected a tough battle and it was exactly what Sutherland served up.
“The game was a real dogfight in stages and although a win would’ve been preferred we will take the point,” he said.
“Seymour Shaw is a tough place to come and they were probably the better side in the first half.
“We did well to keep in the match early but in the second half we struggled to capitalise on our chances.
“We are still up the top end of the table and in the chase for top spot so we have to remain positive and move on to next week.”
Returning Sharks great Nathan Denham said the tough performance from his team mates to claim a fourth straight draw was proof they were on the cusp of a breakthrough win.
“We’ve been able to push the top teams and take points from them which I think shows we’re not far off from where we need to be,” he said.
“We played some good football tonight and could’ve very easily have snatched the win. While the results haven’t been their so far this season the mood among the team remains positive which is a great sign.
“For me I felt really good and was very happy in my first game back from retirement. I had done it for so long it’s just like riding a bike.”
Sutherland Sharks 1 (Jeremy Cox 37′)
Rockdale City Suns 1 (Jordan Figon 44′)
Saturday, May 18 2019
Seymour Shaw Park, Miranda
Referee: A Higgins
Assistant Referees: M McOrist & J Park
Fourth official: P Reynolds
Sutherland Sharks: 46. Nathan Denham, 3. Marc Warren, 4. Patrick O’Shea, 8. Matteo Poljak, 9. Jeremy Cox (2. Quentin Cheng 79′), 10. Raul Romero, 11. Jordan Morfitis (7. Juan Romero 70′), 12. Blair Brown, 14. Charles Lokolingoy, 19. Harry Sutherland, 21. Tarik Ercan
Substitutes not used: , 25. Brodie Clarkson, , 32. Alexander Lopez, 26. Mario Aleksik
Yellow cards: Morfidis 45′, Warren 69′, O’Shea 69′
Rockdale City Suns: 1. David Bradasevic, 2. Daniel Petkovski, 3. Michael Neill, 7.Alec Urosevski 8. Aleks Canak (9. Jonathan Grozdanovski 75′), 11. Leigh Egger, 12. Idriss El Hafiane, 17. Matthew Lecce (23. Panny Nikas 65′), 18. Sasa Macura (20. Howard Fondyke 86′), 19. Patrick Savor, 45. Jordan Figon
Substitutes not used: 14. Brayden Sorge, , 22. Max Rowston,
Yellow cards: El Hafiane 30′, Urosevski 69′, Canak 69′
3 – Raul Romero (SSFC)
2- Marc Warren (SSFC)
1 – Alec Urosevski (RCS)