Sydney United 58 FC swooped late into stoppage time through a Patrick Antelmi strike to snatch all three points against a gallant St George City in a phenomenal Round 14 clash at Penshurst Park on Saturday.
St George City can justifiably feel aggrieved with the result because in many ways they threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Sydney United 58 but couldn’t penetrate, including a missed penalty.
However, football is game where chances must be converted, and St George City learnt that the hard way against a Sydney United 58 outfit that was desperate for all three points after a series of recent draws.
The first real chance of the encounter arrived in the 16th minute when Paolo Mitry fired from close range for the hosts only to see his shot deviated for a corner. The opening quarter of the game was all in favour of the Saints.
The visitors replied in the 24th minute when a long range effort from Devante Clut wasn’t too far off target.
A few minutes later a cross from the left by Yianni Fragogiannis reached Leroy Jennings in the middle but his shot, thanks to an ever so slight deflection, ended up just wide of the goal.
St George City then broke away with a sweeping move in transition and should really have scored. Nathan Roberts did all the hard work galloping up field before finding Presley Ortiz who shot first time and was blocked by Danijel Nizic, but only as far Mitry who fired a rocket that was cleared off the line almost miraculously by Taisei Kaneko for the visitors much to the frustration of the home supporters.
In the 41st minute Fragogiannis took the opportunity to volley a loose ball from just outside the box and in reality, it wasn’t a bad effort as it hit the back fence with some power, much to the relief of substitute goalkeeper Jack Kenny deputising between the sticks for an injured Nicholas Burke.
The first half finished shortly afterwards with the game locked at 0-0.
The first chance in the second stanza of play also belonged to St George City in the opening minutes. A delightful cross by Roberts from the left perfectly reached Kosta Petratos at the far post, but his header was superbly turned away by Nizic with a great reflex save from very close range.
Petratos then had a free-kick from just outside the box, however somehow the visitors were able to perfectly position their defensive wall and force the ball away for as corner.
In the 57th minute a straight-as-an-arrow shot from Clut from outside the box for Sydney United 58 made its way into the safe hands of Kenny.
St George City pushed forward midway through the second half with Kosta Petratos trying his luck, but once again a slight deflection from the Sydney United 58 defence ensured that the ball went just wide for a corner.
The game of one-chance each continued in the 75th minute when Jennings got himself dangerously on the end of a free-kick but couldn’t steer it in from close range in what was probably Sydney United 58’s best chance of the encounter up until that point.
In the 83rd minute a flying Maki Petratos was stopped by Anthony Tomelic in the box and referee Adrian Arndt had no hesitation in awarding the spot kick.
Kosta Petratos stepped up to the mark but slowed and stuttered in his run up allowing Nizic time to guess correctly and save beautifully down to his right.
However, in the 92nd minute, Sydney United 58 stole the show with a goal that wasn’t for the purists but counts all the same; somehow the ball broke free for super substitute Patrick Antelmi who never needs a second invitation to pounce and drill it into the back of the net.
Speaking post-match, Sydney United 58 coach Miro Vlastelica was happy with the result.
“During the last month we were in games where we were in total control and teams did the same to us, as we did tonight to them,” he said.
“You are not always at your best and we were probably not at our best tonight, but the result has to fall your way sometimes.
“We had our chances too, including Leroy [Jennings] in front of open goal, but it was a wrestling match that in the end fell for us.
“Our defence was okay, our goalkeeper Danijel was good and overall I am happy with the points.”
On the other hand, St George City coach Mirko Jurilj was clearly frustrated that the game slipped away right at the death.
“In terms of clear cut chances, we had most of them, even though they did have their moments,” he said.
“Sometimes when you can’t clear your lines towards the end, along with a couple of miskicks gives a good quality striker like Patrick [Antelmi] a chance and who with composure dinks the ball over the goalkeeper.
“100% we deserved at least a point, and I am getting a bit sick of hearing that you guys are doing well as if they are surprised.
“I know as a player what it takes to win this league and we have a very good football department here at St George, but it was just one of those days where we should have won but we didn’t and it came back to bite us.”
St George City 0
Sydney United 58 1 (93’ Antelmi)
Saturday 6th May
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Assistant Referees: Amirhossein Hosnani and Arinath Gobinath
Fourth Official: Hayden Michlmayr
St GEORGE CITY: 12. Jack Kenny, 2. Pedro Ferrari, 3. Daniel Alessi, 7. Nathan Roberts (70. Maki Petratos 67’), 10. Paolo Mitry (8. Dominic Cox 67’), 11. Kosta Petratos, 14. Dean Pelekanos, 23. Franco Maya, 24. Alexander Kyriacou, 30. Presley Ortiz (20. Aiden Mostofi 79’), 99. Matthew Keremelevski.
Substitutes not used: 9. Marley Peterson, 26. Thomas Lopez, 51. Salvatore Glinatis
Yellow Cards: Maya 80’, Pelekanos 85’
Red Cards: Nil
SYDNEY UNITED 58: 1. Danijel Nizic, 3. Bailey Rule, 4. Adrian Vlastelica, 5. Anthony Tomelic, 6. Chris Payne (9. Patrick Antelmi 63’), 7. Taisei Kaneko (16. Ante Bakmaz 92’), 10. Devante Clut (14. Andreas Agamemnonos 72’), 11. Yianni Perkatis (17. Mathew Bilic 63’), 12. Hiyori Kawaguchi, 21. Yianni Fragogiannis, 22. Leroy Jennings.
Substitutes not used: 18. Glen Trifiro, 20. Luke Cukar.
Yellow Cards: Kawaguchi 52.
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Danijel Nizic (SU)
2 – Pedro Ferrari (StG)
1 – Franco Maya (StG)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo