Rockdale Ilinden FC have returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over APIA Leichhardt on Sunday afternoon at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre.
It was a hard-fought battle between the two teams but first-half goals to Tomoki Wada and Kyle Cimenti were unanswered by a hapless APIA side, who struggled to find momentum after recording their first win of the season over Sutherland in a midweek clash.
Both teams kicked off the match with key personnel missing with the hosts having skipper Daniel Petkovski out while the visitors had Josh Symons absent due to sickness.
It was an action-packed opening to the match, with Rockdale coming in hot from the opening whistle.
Bai Antoniou set up a great goal-scoring opportunity for Urosevski after just two minutes, but his strike was rejected by APIA custodian Ivan Necevski, who pulled off a great save to deny the home side.
Antoniou was back at it just moments later, setting up Wada for the opening goal.
After receiving the ball from Antoniou, Wada drew Necevski out before chipping the ball over him and into the netting.
Michael Neill sent a shot to Antoniou in a prime position in front of goal in the 31st minute, however Antoniou couldn’t manage to get a foot to the end of the cross.
Urosevski’s dangerous forward run in the 35th minute paid dividends for the home side after a well-timed pass to Cimenti resulted in a strike that brushed the hands of Necevski and double the lead for Rockdale. It was the young gun’s fifth of the season.
APIA found themselves with an opportunity to get on the scoreboard in the 77th minute from a free kick but Gian Fiorese’s effort was palmed off by Bradasevic and cleared by Wada.
Samuel Gulisano looked poised to take the home side to a three-goal victory in the 85th minute, but his powerful strike flew over the crossbar.
Rockdale coach Steve Zoric was pleased his team were back to winning ways after their Round 5 loss to Blacktown.
“The last few weeks I thought we were rushing it and resorting to long balls at times which is not us,” he explained.
“Hopefully we keep on going and keep our principles.
“The chemistry has been building for the last 18-19 months…it’s a family so that’s how we are.”
APIA coach Paul Dee was proud of the effort his side put in after a high-intensity workload.
“I felt for the guys because it was the end of a very long week and I think it was evident that we had some tired bodies out there but they still kept trying to their credit,” he said.
“Overall it was not the result that we wanted but we just have to look to next week and try and improve on it.
“I think you saw on Wednesday the guys worked extremely hard and were really committed until the end of the game and kept going for the victory so that’s the sort of spirit that we want to see.
“If they keep delivering that every week and we can keep adding to our playing style hopefully you’ll see us improve match by match.”
Rockdale Ilinden FC 2 (Tomoki Wada 2’, Kyle Cimenti 35’)
APIA Leichhardt FC 0
Sunday 4th April, 2021
Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre
Referee: M. Bailey
Assistant Referees: S. Quinn and D. Alter
Fourth Official: M. Ibrahim
Rockdale Ilinden FC: 1. David Bradasevic, 3. Michael Neill (10. Marie Gauthier), 5. Banri Kanaizumi, 7. Alec Urosevski, 8. Tomoki Wada, 9. Bai Antoniou (13. Zac Sfiligoi), 14. Brayden Sorge, 15. Mitchell Stamatellis, 18. Samuel Gulisano, 19. Patrick Savor, 23. Kyle Cimenti
Substitutes Not Used: 11. Nikola Taneski, 22. Andrew Di Blasio, 24. Jayden Anevski, 38. Jad Moussa
Yellow Cards: Alec Urosevski 60’, Mitchell Stamatellis 75’, Samuel Gulisano 90’
Red Cards: Nil
APIA Leichhardt : 1. Ivan Necevski, 2. William Mutch, 3. Paul Galimi (21. Michael Kouta), 6. Harry Callahan, 8. Corey Biczo, 9. Blake Powell (7. Tynan Diaz), 11. Matthieu Cordier, 16. Sean Symons, 18. Adrian Ucchino, 20. Sam Mcilhatton (10. Franco Parisi), 23. Gian Fiorese
Substitutes Not Used: 5. Nicholas Azzone, 22. Luke Turnbull, 26. Vincent Fedele
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Alec Urosevski (Rockdale)
2 – Mitchell Stamatellis (Rockdale)
1 – Tomoki Wada (Rockdale)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Reporter Madeline Riley (@madelineriley23)