Harry van der Saag was the difference for Sydney FC as they fought hard for a 3-2 victory over new rivals Northbridge Bulls at Rockdale Illinden Sports Centre in the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition.
Jimmy Van Weeren made six changes to his side that lost 5-2 to Sydney United last week with Jordi Swibel and Patrick Yazbek as fresh faces in attack.
Having had trouble asserting themselves against Sydney United, Sydney FC went out and did just that with Northbridge Bulls.
Van Weeren’s side had the majority of the ball in the first 15 minutes before Jaiden Kucharski tested the keeper with the first shot on target for the game.
Yazbek’s efforts in midfield saw the youngster win the ball high up the pitch before playing a ball over the top.
The subsequent shot was parried by Ryan Wood before Yazbek stormed in to finish on the follow up in the 37th minute.
Centre-back Niko Ujdar ventured into unknown territory towards the Sydney FC box.
The towering defender swung a ball in that was half-cleared by Sydney FC allowing Rory Jordan to pick up the scraps and adjust himself for a volley into the bottom left corner to equalise in the 43rd minute.
Jordan should have made it 2-1 moments later when Moudi Najjar powered forward unleashing a shot which Tom Heward-Belle couldn’t hold on to.
Jordan’s side-footed attempt trickled wide of an empty net.
Van der Saag’s mvoe to the wing saw him send a pinpoint ball onto the head of Kucharski to send the Sky Blues in front six minutes into the second half.
He made it 3-1 to Sydney only five minutes later when he tapped home Wood’s fumble from Swibel’s free-kick.
Substitute Stephan de Robillard turned inside out and won a penalty for Northbridge Bulls, slotting it into the bottom left corner in the 60th minute.
Jordan should have equalised for the second time in the match when a cross-field ball set him one-on-one. He chipped well over Heward-Belle but the accuracy was off as it went wide.
He took responsibility for his missed chances but was encouraged by his side’s attacking play.
“I feel like I’ve let the team down a little bit,” he said.
“I probably should have had two or three.
“The effort is always there, if we can build on that and put away our chances, come the next couple rounds and later on in the season we can make a strong run.
“As soon as we start taking those chances and building up confidence in front of goal we should start to run away with games as we should.”
Van der Saag’s performance was of a player relishing the chance to play in his natural attacking position.
“You could see in thee first half we were picking them out, we were waiting for the right time to get in between the lines and i got a bit of space and looked up and saw JK and Jordi in the area and jk made the ball look a bit better with his header,” he said.
“I could see (Swibel) was going to the keepers side (for the third goal) and that the floor is wet so I followed up and took a gamble and it worked out.”
Sydney FC 3 (Patrick Yazbek 28’, Jaiden Kucharski 51’, Harry van der Saag 56’)
Northbridge Bulls 2 (Rory Jordan 37’, Stephan de Robillard 60’ (p))
Sunday 14th March, 2021
Rockdale Illinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: Tim Danaskos
Assistant Referees: Andrej Giev, Aaron Bloch
Fourth Official: Eric Saba
Northbridge Bulls: 1. Ryan Wood (GK), 2. Jack McLoughlin, 3. Teph Teph, 4. Nikola Ujdar, 6. Lachlan Sepping, 7. Jake Hollman (15. Edward Casper 64’), 9. Bul Juach, 10. Rory Jordan, 11. Stephan de Robillard, 13. Walter Scott, 15. Edward Caspers, 17. Yianni Nicolaou, 18. Diego Bonilla, 21. Liam Rose, 22. Griffin Barry (GK) 24. Moudi Najjar, (9. Bul Juach 64’), 26. Michael Ruhs (11. Stephan de Robillard 45’)
Substitutes Not Used: 2. Jack McLoughlin, 18. Diego Bonilla, 22. Griffin Barry (GK)
Yellow Cards: 3. Teph Teph 55’
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney FC Youth: 1. Levi Kaye, 3. Aaron Gurd, 5. Corey Hollman, 6. Thomas Main (5. Corey Hollman, 83’) 7. Aidan Simmons, 8. Patrick Yazbek, 10. Jaiden Kucharski (7. Aidan Simmons 64’), 9. Antonio Saracino (14. Aiden Mostofi 64’), 11. Adrian Segecic (17. Jayden Trenkoski 45’), 14. Aiden Mostofi, 15. Scott Browning, 17. Jayden Trenkoski, 18. Oscar Priestman, 21. Harry Van der Saag, (18. Oscar Priestman 78’), 23. Callum Talbot, 27. Jordan Swibel, 30. Tom Heward-Belle
Substitutes Not Used: 1. Levi Kaye (GK), 17. Jayden Trenkoski,
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
3 — Harry van der Saag (SFC)
2 — Jayden Kucharski (SFC)
1 — Rory Jordan (NBB)
-By Nick Rupolo