A late Alec Urosevski penalty has helped Rockdale Ilinden snatch a late 1-0 victory against Northbridge Bulls FC who earlier had a missed their spot-kick at Sydney United Sports Centre on Saturday night.
It was a contest in which chances had to be earned, and Rockdale Ilinden FC was able to make their one count.
Urosevski was the hero yet again for Rockdale, finding the back of the net from the penalty spot with only five minutes left on the clock.
The result was a reality check for the Bulls, who were without the magic they displayed in their dominant 5-1 win against Sydney United 58 in round six.
Moudi Najjar had a spot-kick saved in the first half, while Michael Ruhs and Stephan De Robillard were unable to put the side ahead throughout the game before conceding in dying stages.
Rockdale had a fast start to the contest, with Urosevski firing straight at the keeper.
Next, Tomoki Wade stung the hands of Northbridge Bulls custodian Ryan Wood with a pair of efforts that were collected. Urosevski was again in the thick of the action when he cut inside before shooting wide of the post.
Northbridge Bulls started to find their rhythm and were gifted the opportunity to open the scoring from the spot due to a handball. Moudi Najjar stepped up to take the spot-kick, but it was saved well by Rockdale shot-stopper David Bradasevic.
The home side dominated the rest of the first half. The combination between Michael Ruhs and Najjar created some sublime chances. Ruhs strode into the box twice but placed both efforts right at Bradasevic as the teams went into the sheds locked at 0-0.
Coming out of the break, both sides looked to find an opening to break open the contest. The battle in the midfield continued to be ferocious, with no time to waste for any attackers looking forward.
The best chances for Rockdale continued to fall to the feet of striker Urosevski. Twice he found space inside the box, but his finishing touch deserted him as the ball was claimed easily by Northbridge keeper Ryan Wood.
Stephan De Robillard was busy across the whole 90 minutes. The midfielder almost found himself with the opener before it was denied by the woodwork. The game started to crack wide open a touch as the teams searched for a winner.
It was Rockdale coach Steve Zoric who turned to his bench first to change the contest. Zac Sfiligoi entered the game and dipped a shot wide of the post. Moments later, he thrashed one that almost burst through Wood’s gloves.
Time ticked into the final ten minutes, both teams trying to find the winner. In a tight game, Rockdale’s opener came from the spot. A handball gave Urosevski a chance from the penalty spot. The striker slammed the ball into the bottom corner taking his goalscoring tally to six for the season.
Rockdale Ilinden FC was able to hold onto the three points despite some late pressure from Northbridge Bulls. That result makes it back-to-back wins for them, with a visit to Sutherland Sharks next up for them.
Talking post-match, Northbridge Bulls coach Mile Sterjovski thought his side matched it well against last year’s Grand Finalists.
“It was a good performance from both sides. We came up against a team that made the Grand Final last year, and we limited them well. They showed they are a quality team. It wasn’t our night tonight.” Sterjovski said.
Rockdale Illinden FC’s Steve Zoric was happy to take three points tonight and make it back-to-back victories for his side
“It was a tough game. They [Northbridge Bulls] are a mobile side, especially in transition. That is what cost us the penalty in the first half. We thought as long as we kept the game locked up, we could find a winner.” said Zoric.
“The most important part of the back-to-back wins is getting two clean sheets. I thought David [Bradasevic] was outstanding on the penalty save. He was like a leopard getting to the ball and kept the ball out.”
Northbridge Bulls FC 0
Rockdale Ilinden FC 1 (Urosevski ‘85)
Saturday 10th April 2021
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Referee: K. Patterson
Assistant Referees: C. Wright & L. Webb
Fourth Official: D. Alter
Northbridge Bulls: 1. WOOD Ryan, 3. THEPH Theph, 4. UDJUR Nikola, 6. SEPPING Lachlan (16. JOVANOVSKI ‘82), 10. JORDAN Rory, 11. DE ROBBILLARD Stephan (18. BONILLA ‘82), 13. SCOTT Walter, 15. CASPERS Edward, 17. NICOLAOU Yianni (8. EVE ‘45) 24. NAJJAR Moudi, 26. RUHS Michael (2. MCLOUGHLIN ‘45)
Substitutes not used: 14. PANNUCIO Giovanni, 40. BARRY Griffin
Yellow cards: Scott
Red cards: nil
Rockdale Ilinden: 1. BRADASEVIC David, 3. NEILL Michael, 4. STAMATELLIS Michael, 5. KANAIZUMI Bani, 7. UROSEVSKI Alec, 8. WADA Tomoki, 9. ANTONIOU Bai, 10. GAUTHIER Marie (13. SFILIGOI ‘73), 18. GULISANO Samuel, 19. SAVOUR Patrick, 23. CIMENTI Kyle (11. TANESKI ‘89)
Substitutes not used: 22. DI BlASIO Andrew, 24. ANEVSKI Jayden, 45. NIKOLOVSKI James
Yellow cards: Stamatellis
Red cards: nil
3: Alec Urosevski (RCK)
2: Stephan De Robillard (NB)
1: David Bradasevic (RCK)
By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)