Tony Candy?s side finished a strong second place in the league and a key component of his side is midfielder Ryan Peterson, who has had a fantastic season in the heart of the side.
Peterson is a vital cog in Candy?s midfield, strong in the tackle and an excellent passer of the ball. He made his full debut for the Grade 20s during the season and slotted in perfectly in the match against APIA Leichhardt at Lambert Park.
?He?s a real talent, a player of the future,? Candy said in the lead up to the Grand Final.
Peterson himself assessed the season as a successful one.
?We had a very strong beginning with some strong results against all opposition,? he said.
?We had our ups and downs of course, but the real highlights was our 10-0 win against Sydney Olympic.
?Everyone was pulling the strings that day.
?We?ve had injuries during the season but everyone has stepped up throughout the year to ensure that we?ve had a quality eleven on the pitch for every game,? Peterson added.
Sutherland Sharks won the Premiership by 11 points, but were vanquished in the Grand Final qualifier.
Peterson said the win was well deserved.
?Coming into the game, we felt like we knew a lot about Sutherland?s strengths? he said.
?We worked on some tactics in training and we implemented those strategies into the game,? he added.
Tony Candy?s side have forged a reputation as a formidable attacking outfit, never more so than in the aforementioned 10-0 win over Olympic.
Peterson had only words of praise for his coach.
?Tony?s a spectacular coach,? the youngster said.
?He?s a coach that wants the best for everyone.
?He likes a really attacking style of football, but he?s adaptable depending on the situation and the opposition.
?There are techniques and tactics we work on in training so that we?re all on the same page,? he said.
All of which has led to a Grand Final appearance on Monday, where Candy?s Blacktown City take on the Jakob Tielman coached Parramatta FC.
Having also defeated Sutherland, Parramatta FC are worthy opposition, something Peterson was keen to acknowledge.
?We?ve played Parramatta three times and they?ve all been close encounters,? he said.
?They?ve all been decided by the odd goal.
?We definitely respect them as opposition.
?We?re confident we?ve worked out their style of play though and that we can exploit their weaknesses on Monday,? he added.
For a young player with a bright future, Monday?s Grade 18 Grand Final could be the first step on a long football journey ahead.
-By Matthew Connellan
Grade 20s will be kicking off at 5pm.
The round 22 clash between both teams will now be played at Lambert Park on September 2nd 2012.
It was always going to be a match the Suns would have to set the pace in if they were to realise the dream of finals football, although the visitors knew a draw or win, should other results go their way, would be key in the coming weeks to realising their own goal of a top-five finish.
Rockdale were industrious in midfield and created the first half-chance of the match when James Monie set up Sash Trajcevski who attempted to lob Symon Jaegar in the Blacktown net, though the attempt did not quite come off.
The visitors replied 2? minutes later when a decent looking cross in from the left was met by the head of Luke Roodenburg. With Dion Shaw advancing, it proved enough to put the Blacktown midfielder-cum-striker off and the ball slipped narrowly wide of the post.
Blacktown City created several chances with Milorad Simonovic having a shot deflected wide, and then Shaw being forced into a full length save minutes later.
Rockdale came back strongly when a Shay Spitz free-kick into the wall rebounded to Dominic Hudap who hit a shot with the outside of his right foot from the edge of the area that skimmed past the post with almost the last kick of the half.
Stern words in the dressing rooms had both sides out faster and brighter upon the resumption with Blacktown?s Mitchell Duke robbing Mirko Jurilj and crossing immediately for the ever present Roodenburg to head tamely toward Shaw, as Rockdale countered on the break resulting in Spitz miscuing a shot wide at the other end.
Monie played in Jeffrey Issa who put an effort across the face with no Rockdale teammate able to take advantage. Moments later, the same player blasted over after terrific work down the left involving Spitz as the rain teemed down and lightening flashed around the ground.
An already bumpy pitch became greasy with many players unable to keep their feet which reduced the effectiveness of both in turning their hard graft into opportunities, and not until the 68? minute did Rockdale fashion a chance. Spitz, again, set up Paul Dee to shoot, forcing a full length save from Jaegar at his near post.
4? minutes later and the first goal of the game arrived for Blacktown. A pass from substitute Bruno Pivato for Simonovic saw a deflected shot loop over the head of Shaw to give the visitors the lead.
Rockdale couldn?t up the tempo as they were giving it all with a number of players missing ? Ben McNamara (gk) trialling with an A-League club, Giorgio and Roberto Speranzo likewise engaged overseas and Itsuki Hasegawa having returned to Japan, without mentioning injured and suspended players ? they moved to a back three as they pushed for an equaliser.
It was then a personal moment of horror for Suns goalkeeper Dion Shaw saw Blacktown secure the points.
Pece Apoloveski lost the ball in a one-on-one tackle as he became the latest victim to slip over. The resulting cross looked harmless enough and going wide when Shaw ran the ball down. Roodenburg looked to be chasing a lost cause until the custodian went to ground and the ball slipped from his grasp to leave the Blacktown man the easiest of chances to almost skip his way to the goal-line and tap it home.
Shaw had, until this point, had a terrific match but it?s a moment that will always haunt the young shot-stopper which, had he been an outfield player, would never be highlighted.
?It?s been the story of our season,? said Suns coach Wally Savor afterwards before continuing:
?We struggle at the scoring end and when that happens the luck doesn?t seem to go you way it seems.
?I feel that if we are just a little more positive in the final third our fortunes will change but you sometimes need to make your own luck in football.
?Our final ball in and the options available is something we work on in training but maybe we have a mental block when it comes to game day but we?ll keep practicing and push to the end of the season as we have a tough road in and we just have to take each game as it comes.?
Mark Crittenden looked relieved when stating:
?They certainly started quicker than us in the first-half and when the rain came down on that pitch in the second period it became a skating rink as you no doubt saw, so it was always going to be a battle and possibly the side that could get the bit of luck would come away with it and thankfully it was us today.
?Micky?s (Simonovic) strike was a good one and took a little deflection to give us the lead but I thought we created the better chances in the first-half and struggled to take them and that?s the way it has been for us this year, creating chances but unable to finish.
?We wanted to consolidate our fifth position on the ladder and knew it would put us in a strong position if we won and other results went our way.?
The Grade-20 encounter finished with a 2-1 victory for Blacktown City FC.
Footnote: U/20 Grade referee and NSWPL Grade 4th Official, from South Africa, Daniel Elder acquitted himself with some aplomb in the conditions with all officials playing a particularly essential part in proceedings in trying weather conditions. Well played gentlemen.
Rockdale City Suns 0
Blacktown City FC 2 (Simonovic 72?, Roodenburg 84?)
Sunday 7th August, 2011
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: Andrew Best
Assistant Referees: Steven Nguyen and Christian Mehl
Fourth Official: Daniel Elder
Rockdale City Suns: 22.Dion Shaw; 2.Paul Dee, 3.Shay Spitz, 5.Jeffrey Issa (15.Adrian Karakolevski 86), 6.Joshua Lawson, 7.Pece Apolevski, 8.Dominic Hudap, 10.Sash Trajcevski (17.Sash Tirovski 67), 12.James Monie (19.Marino Musumeci 78), 21.Mirko Jurilj, 23.Askin Oygur
Substitutes Not Used: 18.Sean Thomas, 24.Aaron Lidell
Yellow Cards: Lawson 77?
Red Cards: Nil
Blacktown City FC: 1.Symon Jaegar; 3.Mitchell Duke (16.Daniel Vellonio 91?), 4.Travis Major, 5.Patrick Gatt, 6.Matthew Pressello, 7.Luke Roodenburg (C), 8.Matthew Brennan, 10.Mitch Long, 11.Milorad Simonovic, 13.Matt Lewis, 15.Ray Miller (18.Bruno Pivato 64)
Substitutes Not Used: 14.Keiran Paull, 17.Adam Jenner, 40.David Bradesvic
Yellow Cards: Lewis 39?
Red Cards: Nil
-By Micky Brock
Missing influential players Kosta Lagoudakis, Sash Tirovski, Josh Lawson and Paul Dee, the Suns fought hard with substitute Shay Spitz scoring the winning goal in the 67? minute.
It was Blacktown City however who showed they were eager to get back into the top-five with a flurry of attacks from the first whistle. In the 3? minute a quick free-kick provided their first sight on goal as Matt Lewis half-volleyed the ball straight to the chest of Ben McNamara in goal for Rockdale City.
The Suns had their first opportunity 4? minutes later after Tyler Simpson miss-kicked a Steven Veleski cross leaving Jason Naidovski with a world of time to beat the goalkeeper. Unfortunately for Naidovski, Blacktown City goalkeeper Symon Jaeger came off his line to save what should have been the opening goal.
Blacktown City almost took the lead in bizarre circumstances in the 14? minute as Mirko Jurilj almost put the ball into his own net. Mitchell Duke sent a fierce cross into the box which came off Jurilj?s leg and moved goalwards, only to be saved by a diving McNamara.
Rockdale City fans had their hearts in their mouths in the 22? minute as a counterattack led by captain Peter Apolevski sent Veleski straight through the Blacktown defensive line. After beating three defenders, last year?s under-20s golden boot winner could not put the ball past Jaeger who came out well and saved with his legs.
Unfortunately for Veleski that was the last he saw of the match as he was assisted form the field from what looked to be an ankle injury sustained while missing the chance with Adrian Karakolevski replacing him.
The even contest continued as Blacktown City responded, peppering the Rockdale defence with two dangerous raids in the 31? minute.
Blacktown had a great chance to score on the stroke of half-time as Mitchell Duke broke down the left hand touchline but his cross was intercepted by McNamara with two free Blacktown players coming through.
Both sides came out of the break hungry to break the deadlock as the game moved at a rapid pace.
As the teams settled, Rockdale had another chance go begging in the 52? minute. Askin Oygur won the ball in defence for the visitors before feeding Hasegawa who thread a nice ball through to Naidokski on the right. The former Newcastle Jets striker got a shot off early but hit the ball directly at Jaeger.
3? minutes later Mitch Long won the ball off the Rockdale defence before passing to Major whose imposing shot went inches away from the right hand upright.
In the 60? minute Lee Sterrey turned to his bench and replaced Hasegawa with Shay Spitz who made an immediate impact winning a free-kick out wide. Adem Kir whipped the free-kick into the box with Blacktown clearing the opportunity.
The home side had the best chance of the match in the 64? minute as Major threaded a ball through to Roodenburg whose soft shot beat the goalkeeper but hit the post before Rockdale cleared.
Rockdale City finally broke the deadlock in the 67? minute as a poor clearance by Blacktown let Spitz blast the ball into the back of the net for the lead.
Mark Crittenden turned to his bench straight after the goal and substitute Bruno Pivato almost became an instant hero as a half-volley was tipped onto the crossbar and over for a corner.
The goal seemed to switch on the home side as they took control of possession, pinning the Suns in their own half.
In the 79? minute Tyler Simpson went close with his header going wide of the mark.
With 5? minutes remaining, Rockdale set five players in defence to secure three vital points to take back to the Illinden Sports Centre.
The plan worked a treat as a late chance to Simpson was sprayed, ending the game 1-0 to the visitors.
Following the match Rockdale City Suns coach Lee Sterrey said he was happy luck finally turned towards his team:
?We should?ve scored early with Jason Naidovski and the other chance with Steve Veleski, so considering we had those chances I was disappointed with the 0-0 score line at half-time,?? he said.
?Something finally fell our way seeing that we haven?t had that much luck this year. ?We are still looking to find our feet.??
The mood was quite sombre from the Blacktown sheds with coach Mark Crittenden thoroughly disappointed with his side?s performance:
?We gifted them two chances early and luckily for us our keeper made two great saves to keep us in the match,?? Crittenden said.
?We were just not good enough in the last third again and I am extremely disappointed.??
In the Grade-20 fixture, Blacktown City missed two golden opportunities in the final stages ending the match a 1-1 draw against Rockdale City Suns.
Blacktown City FC 0
Rockdale City Suns 1 (Shay Spitz 67?)
Sunday 15th May, 2011
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: Jason Blackwood
Assistant Referee: Sarah Ho and Nick Backo
Fourth Official: Matthew Cooper
Crowd: 400 Approx.
Blacktown City FC: 1.Simon Jaeger; 2.Tyler Simpson, 3.Mitchell Duke (8.Chris Bedzo 85?), 4.Travis Major, 5.Patrick Gatt, 7.Luke Roodenburg (C) (18.Bruno Pivato 67?), 9.Kain Rastall, 10.Mitch Long, 11.Milorad Simonovic, 13.Matt Lewis, 17.Adam Jenner (16. Luke Austin 69?)
Substitutes Not Used: 40. Daniel Bradasevic
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Ben McNamara; 13.Giorgio Speranza, 21.Mirko Jurilj, 23.Askin Oygur, 7.Pece Apolevski (C), 11.Adem Kir, 10.Sash Trajcevski, 14.Hsuki Hasegawa (3.Shay Spitz 60?), 8.Dominic Hudap, 9.Jason Naidovski, 18.Steven Veleski (15.Adrian Karakolevski 26?) (16.James Monie 74?)
Substitutes Not Used: 25.Roberto Speranza, 22.Dion Shaw
Yellow Cards: Hsuki Hasegawa 49?, Adem Kir 63?, Shay Spitz 75?
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Askin Oygur (RCS)
2 – Simon Jaeger (BCFC)
1 – Shay Spitz (RCS)
-By Chris Georges
Forced to play almost the entire second-half with a man down following Adem Kir?s second yellow card, the Suns went for broke, attacking Blacktown City meanwhile keeping a well-balanced, well-organised, defensive third intact.
The opening chance fell to the visitor?s via a set-piece swung in by Lachlan Cahill on the right-flank in the 3? minute. The midfielder?s effort was headed on by Mitchell Long though the ensuing scramble in the Suns penalty-area failed to reap reward for Blacktown City FC as the Suns cleared the ball to safety.
Tyler Simpson?s back pass to Luka Dukic had the visitors in a scramble as Marino Musumeci quickly closed in, though the Blacktown City defenders efficiently brought calm to the situation.
At the other end, Luke Roodenburg and Mitchell Long combined nicely for the latter to drive an effort on target. The striker?s first-time effort flashed inches wide of Ben McNamara?s right-hand post.
Domenic Hudap?s brilliance in the middle of the park set Stefan Donevski free on the counter-attack on 17? minutes for the Suns. Despite the room on the left-flank for the former Marconi Stallions? player, his ?square pass? into the penalty-area failed to pick out a teammate and the chance went begging.
Lachlan Cahill then stung the palms of Ben McNamara with his long-range drive; the Suns shot-stopper did exceptionally well to divert the ball around his left-hand post.
The home-side held their own in the middle of the park and continued to pressure Blacktown City with Peter Apolevski and Musumeci combining well on the half-hour to get in behind the visitors defence ? the final pass though was always missing.
Blacktown City?s best chances in the closing stages of the half arrived via set-pieces, though both efforts by Cahill and Mirko Jurilj failed to trouble the Suns defensive line.
Suns goalkeeper McNamara ensured the scores would remain level at the break when he bravely left his line to anticipate Luke Austin?s run-in on goal with a brave save at the midfielder?s feet.
The second-half started in the worst possible way for the home-side as Adem Kir was shown his second yellow card for the afternoon following a late challenge on Cahill. The referee had no choice but to send the Suns? defender from the field, leaving the Suns to fend with 10-men for the remaining 40? minutes.
Blacktown City quickly put the foot on the accelerator with a fine counter-attacking move moments later. Joel Chianese was picked out on the right-flank before delivering a tantalising cross into the penalty-area. Skipper Luke Roodenburg only just failed to get his head to the ball with the goal at his mercy.
Roodenburg did get his head to a Lachlan Cahill cross 2? minutes later, though his effort was easily dealt with by McNamara.
Despite the possession all with the visitors, Hudap did capitalise on a loose ball from Mirko Jurilj to create some space in the attacking third. Hudap closed in on the penalty-area before unleashing a ferocious low-drive on target, denied by a fine save, down to his left, by Matt Ryan.
The Suns again hit Blacktown City on the counter-attack as Hudap released target-man Sam Awad free down the right-flank. Awad cleverly awaited the run of Apolevski before releasing his captain into the penalty-area, Apolevski?s lunging effort hit the target, though was a routine save for Ryan in the Blacktown City goal.
Despite the numerical advantage, the visitors were limited in the attacking third due to the well-organised Suns defence. Joel Chianese though, in the 65? minute, dribbled his way through to goal. The youngster cleverly dispossessed Askin Oygur on the edge of the penalty-area before rounding McNamara in the Suns goal. With the goal at his mercy, albeit from an acute angle, Chianese drove his effort into the side-netting.
New signing Almir Dizdaric almost got his name on the scoresheet with his first touch as a Suns player in the 80? minute. The lanky striker latched onto a loose ball, though with his first-time volley failed to hit the target.
Moments later, Jeffrey Issa, with his back to goal and only the goalkeeper to beat, failed to slot home from close-range with his shot on the turn. Much to the disbelief of the home supporters, the chance went begging as the Suns were forced to again retreat in defence to combat the constant threat of Blacktown City attacks.
Blacktown City?s quick ball movement in the Suns half failed to hurt Rockdale City as the defenders got behind the ball to frustrate Ozbey and Co. At the other end, another Suns counter-attack saw Apolevski released on the right side of the penalty-area. The captain?s powerful effort on goal looked destined for the top corner, though only just finished wide of the mark.
In the 88? minute, Kain Rastall was on the edge of the penalty-area to pick up a loose ball for the visitors, though his powerful drive thumped against the body of a Suns defender and the attacking raid evaporated.
The Suns players were applauded by their home supporters as they left the field, a sentiment echoed by team boss, Mile Todoroski:
?I am very proud of my players today because they did a very good job.
?Today, I would say we played better than Inter against Barcelona? We remained organised, and we still created some chances even with 10-men, and I am proud for the achievements of the players, even though maybe we could have got something more from the match,? ended Todoroski.
Blacktown City FC boss Aytek Genc was far from impressed with his side?s showing:
?Very disappointed, it is an awful result today.
?The conditions were tough, though we just failed to move the ball quickly enough in the final third. Rockdale is a defensive side and they closed up well, though we were too slow with the ball movement and the players need to take a good look at themselves with this showing.
?The last few results have been far from good, though a lot of these sides we have played against have limited us from playing football with their approach, though we need to be better than this,? Genc ended.
In the Grade 20 division, Blacktown City FC defeated the Rockdale City Suns 3-1 with all goals arriving in an action-packed second-half.
Rockdale City Suns 0
Blacktown City FC 0
Sunday, 30th May, 2010
Bicentennial Park South, Rockdale
Referee: Peter Vrtkovski
Assistant Referees: Nick Backo and Paul Faithfull
Fourth Official: Matt Colquhon
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Ben McNamara; 2.Paul Dee, 7.Peter Apolevski (C), 8.Dominic Hudap, 11.Adem Kir, 12.Stefan Donevski (5.Jeffrey Issa 71?), 16.Steven Bozinovski, 18.Robert Di Meglio, 19.Marino Musumeci (6.Joshua Lawson 55?), 21.Sam Awad (3.Almir Dizdaric 76?), 23.Askin Oygur
Substitutes Not Used: 15.Daniel Pejovski, 22.Chad Taylor
Yellow Cards: Adem Kir 34?, 49?, Robert Di Meglio 37?
Red Cards: Adem Kir 49?
Blacktown City FC: 20.Matt Ryan; 2.Tyler Simpson (3.Daniel Wilkinson 68?), 4.Mirko Jurilj, 5.Luka Dukic, 7.Luke Roodenburg (C) (16.Ante Deur 83?), 9.Kain Rastall, 11.Mitchell Long, 13.Lachlan Cahill (19.Tolgay Ozbey 63?), 17.Joel Chianese, 18.Travis Major, 23.Luke Austin
Substitutes Not Used: 1.Matt Nemes, 12.Bernie Ibini
Yellow Cards: Luke Roodenburg 32?, Mitchell Long 34?, Travis Major 77?
Red Cards: Nil
-By Joseph Carlucci