A dramatic last minute Patrick Antelmi strike has ended Rockdale City Suns unbeaten streak as Sydney United 58 claimed a 3-2 win at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
Rockdale paid the price for an off-colour start to the match as their rivals United 58 snuck in to snatch all three points and hand Suns’ interim head coach Nick Porecca his first defeat since taking on the top job in round five.
United 58 struck early through Matt Sim before Peter Simonoski gave the visitors a 2-0 advantage at the interval.
Alec Urosevski led from the front for Rockdale scoring twice in the second half to seemingly secure at least a point from the contest.
However, United 58 would have the last laugh with Antelmi finding the back of the net in dramatic style to clinch an incredible victory for the visitors.
The result catapults United 58 into third spot on the ladder while Rockdale cling onto a top five place in fifth.
It was United 58 who drew first blood when Sim turned home a centre on the right from close range in the fifth minute to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Rockdale had been caught cold but fought back in midfield allowing only a Peter Simonoski long range effort in the opening quarter-hour.
Anthony Tomelic pounced on a Suns error to set up Simonoski but he was unable to beat Rockdale keeper David Bradasevic.
Glen Trifiro stroked a free kick just over the bar moments later as the visitors kept up the pressure on their opponents.
Unied 58 were winning the midfield battle and the Suns were struggling to deal with mounting pressure.
After 37 minutes United extended their lead when Sim, again down the right flank, turned provider for Simonoski to side-foot home.
It was no more than play deserved as the Suns were off the pace in the opening half.
Just before the break Jonathan Grozdanovski forced a fine save out of Thomas Manos followed by Sasa Macura trying his luck from distance. The visiting keeper dealt with both efforts comfortably as United 58 took a deserved lead into the break.
Rockdale would have to up the ante in the second period if they were to turn their fortunes around from a surprisingly lacklustre first-half performance.
The lead should have been extended further on the resumption when a defensive error allowed Simonoski to volley inside the box but his effort flashed narrowly wide of the upright.
Rockdale responded when Matthew Lecce tested Manos followed by an Urosevski shot across the face.
Grozdanovski had a chance of his own when he galloped clear but his shot from the edge of the box was woefully high.
Manos was called into action again when Urosevski spun and shot in the box with the keeper gathering at the second attempt.
Urosevski found a breakthrough for Rockdale when a corner to the back post eluded everyone but the quick thinking striker who fired home from an acute angle.
It was Urosevski again in the 82nd minute whose shot flashed beyond Manos before he could move to level the score at 2-2.
Rockdale was in the ascendancy and were forcing the pace in the closing moments of the match.
Manos denied Urosevski his hat-trick from a free-kick late on to keep his team in the contest.
However, it would be United 58 who would have the last laugh when Antelmi snatched a winner deep into stoppage time when he poked home from a goalmouth scramble.
Miro Vlastelica was understandably happy at the final whistle
“We were the better side in the first-half and we felt Rockdale were very flat,” he said.
“We scored two good goals but let them back into it in the second-half when we knew they would come back at us hard.
“Credit to the boys, they kept on going until the end and got the rewards with a late winner.”
Rockdale City Suns 2 (Urosevski 63’, 82’)
Sydney United 58 3 (Sim 2’, Simonoski 37’, Antelmi 90+3)
Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Sunday 26th May 2019
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees: Adam Powers (ACT) & Alex McConachie (ACT)
Fourth Official: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Rockdale City Suns: 1.David Bradasevic, 2.Daniel Petkovski, 3.Mick Neill, 7.Alec Urosevski, 9.Jonatahn Grozdanovski, 11.Leigh Egger, 17.Matthew Lecce (6.Khang Hoon Cho 77’), 18.Sasa Macura, 19.Patrick Savor (14.Brayden Sorge 57’), 20.Howard Fondyke, 45.Jordan Figon
Substitutes not used: 5.Jake Trajkovski, 15.Nicholas Petrillo, 22.Max Rowston
Yellow Cards: Fondyke 24’, Petrovski 58’
Sydney United 58: 21.Thomas Manos, 3.Jordan Roberts, 4. Adrian Vlastelica, 5.Anthony Tomelic (12.Liam Rose 64’) 7.Peter Simonoski, 8.Matthew Sim, 11.Yianni Perkatis, 15.Tariq Maia, 18.Glen Trifiro (9.Patrick Antelmi 79’), 20.Christian Gomez (17.Matthew Bilic 64’), 22.Yianni Fragogiannis
Substitutes not used: 1.Daniel Sadaka, 6.Petar Markovic
Yellow Cards: Perkatis 89’
3 – Urosevski (RCS)
2 – Sim (SU58)
1 – Trifiro (SU58)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Micky Brock