Mt Druitt Town Rangers have continued its stunning second half of the NPL NSW Men’s season after stunning Rockdale City Suns with a 2-0 victory at Popondetta Park on Saturday evening.
The result was the Rangers second win in as many games with their performance sure to put a smile on coach Aidan Desmond’s face.
Two goals in the first half sealed the deal for the home side.
Strikes from the mercurial Fabricio Fernandez and John Roberts were enough to seal all three points as Mt Druitt secured their first back-to-back wins of the season.
For Rockdale it was another stiff reality check as Nick Porecca’s side stumble their way through the second half of the campaign.
Mt Druitt had a fast start to the contest when Fernandez fired narrowly over the cross bar from outside the penalty area only four minutes into the contest
While the Uruguayan’s targeting may have been off at first, he certainly made a better go of it with his second chance on goal.
Toufic Alameddine did all the nice work on the right and squared the ball for Fernandez who cleverly found the back of the net to give the home side a 1-0 lead 12 minutes in and added to his goalscoring tally of seven for the 2019 season.
Only a few minutes later Mt Druitt could have made it two. A cross from Jake Mammone found Fernandez who blasted the ball onto the crossbar but from the rebound John Roberts couldn’t find the back of the net.
Rockdale’s best early chance fell to Alec Urosevski in the 22nd minute when he tried his luck from distance only to be denied by Carlos Saliadarre.
It was the same player a minute later who won the ball for the visitors and charged towards goal to find himself one-on-one with Saliadarre, but the Mt Druitt goalkeeper was able to come out and beautifully block off his line.
In the 34th minute a dangerous cross from the left by Mick Neill deserved to have someone on the end of it, but there was no one home for Rockdale and the chance went begging.
Late in the first half a shot from Jacob Esposito only just missed the intended target as Mt Druitt Town Rangers looked to double their lead prior to the interval. And that lead did indeed arrive late in the first stanza of play.
Mirijan Pavlovic, the former Marconi Stallions player, created doubt in the minds of the defenders but had his shot blocked, but then the ball fell to Roberts who on the turn managed to find the bottom corner of the net.
In the second half the first salvo arrived shortly after kick-off when Alameddine couldn’t connect properly with his shot and David Bradesevic didn’t have much trouble making the save.
Joshua Gould almost conceded an own goal when he volleyed a Rockdale City cross in the 53rd minute onto his own goalpost for what would have been a classic own goal.
Mt Druitt pressed forward again through the right channel midway through the second half when Roberts threaded the needle for Alameddine but his powerful, diagonal attempt sailed over the crossbar.
A third goal there and then would have definitely closed the door on Rockdale getting back into the encounter.
A corner from Fernandez in the 73rd minute went straight onto the crossbar and then a delightful counter-attack shortly afterwards saw Esposito charge from inside his own half and deliver a great ball to Fernandez who eventually hit the side netting.
Alex Boyadijan entered the fray late but he immediately tested Bradasevic with a nice shot from an acute angle. It was to be the last real opportunity of the game
Afterwards Aidan Desmond, a very pleased coach of Mt Druitt Town Rangers, said that his side certainly now has a lot of belief in themselves after some positive results.
“We put in a good shift tonight and it could have been more, and we also kept a clean sheet which was great,” he said.
“The boys have taken a lot confidence from their midweek FFA Cup game in Wollongong where we kept them scoreless and we were the first team to do so.
“There is a lot of belief amongst the boys in the change room at the moment and we face Manly in the Waratah Cup this Wednesday for our fourth game in ten days.
“Its’ a really happy change room and the boys know that they are good enough and deserve to be in this league.”
Whereas in the Rockdale City Suns dressing room assistant coach Matthew Ribarovski summed up their performance which was where they would have liked it to be.
“Overall it was a bit of a flat performance tonight from us and unfortunately were behind the eight-ball after their early goal,” he said.
“We created two one-on-one chances in the first half and some really good chances in the second half, but to be honest that’s the way things go sometimes.
“It’s tough away game against Mt Druitt on a cold night and on a fairly bumpy pitch which doesn’t suit our style of play, but at the end of the day we can’t make excuses for our flat performance.”
Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 2 (Fernandez 12’, Roberts 44’)
Rockdale City Suns: 0
Saturday, 15 June 2019
Popondetta Park, Emerton
Referee: Daniel Stack
Assistant Referees: Sarah Ho, Ray Osborne
Fourth Official: M. Howarth
Mt DRUITT TOWN RANGERS: 1. Carlos Saliadarre, 3. Jacob Esposito (15. Cooper Coskerie 87’), 4. Solomon Monahan-Vaika, 5. Jake Mammone, 6. Blake Thompson, 10. Fabricio Fernandez, 11. Toufic Alameddine (12. Nicholas Trimble 87’), 13.Lord Dakoh, 14.Mirjian Pavlovic (9.Alex Boyadjan 82’), 16.Joshua Gould, 19.John Roberts.
Substitutes not used: 17. Jordan Gomez
Yellow Cards: Dakoh 89’
Red Card: Nil
ROCKDALE CITY SUNS: 1. David Bradasevic, 2.Daniel Petkovski, 3.Mick Neill, 7.Alec Urosevski, 8. Aleksandar Canak (9. Jonathan Grozdanovski 58’) 11.Leigh Egger, 12.Idris El Hafiane, 14.Brayden Sorge (19.Patrick Savor 61’), 18.Sasa Macura, 20.Howard Fondyke (17.Matthew Lecce 86’), 45.Jordan Figon.
Substitutes not used: 5.Jake Trajkovski, 22.Max Rowston.
Yellow Cards: Macura 94’
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings have now been hidden due to the second half of the season commencing.
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo