Rockdale Ilinden FC have opened their season on a winning note overcoming Manly United 2-1 at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
Goals to Alec Urosevski and Nikola Taneski were the difference for the home side as they held on despite a fast finishing Manly side putting the pressure on late.
Urosevski opened the scoring after 11 minutes from the penalty spot but Manly evened the ledger in the 38th minute when they too successfully dispatched a spot kick.
Manly were the aggressors in the second half but it was Rockdale who found the winner when Taneski scored against the run of play midway through the second stanza.
A late salvo from the Northern Beaches side nearly snatched a draw but it wasn’t enough as new Ilinden boss Steven Zoric tasted victory in his first official game in charge.
Urosevski thought he had opened his account for the season in the 8th minute when he hit the back of the net after being played in by Jordan Figon, but he was ruled to be offside.
However he didn’t need to wait long to get a second chance with Rockdale awarded a penalty after Sam Guilisano’s free-kick hit the hand of a Manly defender in the penalty area.
Urosevski didn’t miss this time firing into the back of the net with a driven effort from the spot.
The home side lost major offseason acquisition Tomislav Arcaba to injury after only 21 minutes with the shot stopper forced from the field and replaced by Daniel Bradasevic.
The game was slowly beggining to open up and Rockdale right back Sam Guilisano was finding acres of space to move on his flank.
The former APIA winger creating a number of headaches for the Manly defence.
In the 37th minute the game took a turn when Keiran Paull was taken down by an overzealous shoulder check in the penalty area from Rockdale captain Daniel Petkovski.
Cholakian made sure his effort counted sliding his spot kick under the outstretched arms of substitute keeper Bradasevic.
New Ilinden signing Amaury Gauthier fluffed a brilliant chance to give his side the lead when he fired wide from only six yards out.
Manly had the last chance of the half with Marley Peterson firing high over the bar as both teams went to the break deadlocked at 1-1.
Manly started the better of the two sides after the restart and had Rockdale camped in their own half.
Dejan Pandurevic was becoming a handful for his marker and but was let down by his finishing.
The pressure was mounting on Ilinden as they fought to keep out the energised Manly attack.
But in a cruel twist of fate, it was Rockdale who found the next goal when Nikola Taneski hammered home from inside the penalty area.
It was against the run of play but it was exactly what the doctor ordered for the home side.
The visitors refused to give in and went straight back on the attack.
Manly winger Scott Balderson was lucky not to have been sent off in the 78th minute when he cleaned up Banri Kanaizumi with a shocking studs up challenge.
Japanese import Tomoki Wada was denied by the cross bar in the 82nd minute after his deft chip had beaten the keeper.
Bradasevic made an incredible reaction save in added time to deny Balderson, but the flag was already raised for offside.
Richie Cardozo attempted an audacious bicycle kick with one of the final plays of the game but the Manly striker’s effort sailed wide.
It would be the last chance of the game with the final whistle sending the Rockdale faithful into raptures.
Rockdale coach Steven Zoric was full of praise for his side admitting the victory was a massive weight off his shoulders.
“The Boys really stood-up today and dug-in when things were seemingly going against us,” Zoric said.
“They showed great discipline to keep their head and get what was a brilliant win for the club.
“For me it was a bit of a relief to be honest. As my first game in charge I really wanted to start the season on the right note and so to get the result meant a lot to me personally.
“I’m really confident in what these boys have to offer and was pleased with the effort today.”
Manly boss Paul Dee was able to look to the positive despite the loss.
“It was a really tough game for both sides and I was really happy with a number of things we did today, unfortunately the result didn’t go our way,” Dee said.
“We were lacking in the final third but that’s something we should be able to fix with more gametime.
“Next Saturday we are home and it is Back to Manly day so I’m confident we can give an improved showing in our next match.”
Rockdale Ilinden FC 2 Urosevski 11’, Taneski 65’
Manly United 1 Cholakian 38’
Sunday, March 1 2019
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: Katie Patterson
Assistant Referees: R Osborne, M Reidy
Fourth Official: N McOrist
Rockdale Ilinden FC: 22. Tomislav ARCABA (1. David Bradasevic 22’), 2. Daniel PETKOVSKI, 3. Michael NEILL (10. Nikola TANESKI 44’), 6. Banri KANAIZUMI 7. Alec UROSEVSKI, 8. Tomoki WADA, 11. Amaury GAUTHIER, 14. Brayden SORGE, 18. Samuel GUILISANO, 19. Patrick SAVOR, 23. Jordan FIGON (15. Mohamed AHMED 58’)
Substitutes not used: 4. Mitchell Stamatellis, 9. Dimi PETRATOS, ,
Yellow Cards: Savor 32’, Neill 43’, Ahmed 84’
Manly United: 1. Dylan MITCHELL, 2. Kieran PAULL, 5. Sam GALLAGHER, 8. Dom FERGUSON, 10. Brendan CHOLAKIAN, 11. Joseph FOX (13. Scott BALDERSON 69’), 14. Dejan PANDUREVIC, 16. Dean BEREVESKOS 17. Marley PETERSON (9. Richard Cardozo 76’), 22. Paul Katsetis (24. Jamie GLOVER 85’) 23. Bradley MCDONALD,
Substitutes not used: 15. Patrick WEIR, 20. Mackenzie SYRON
Yellow Cards: Balderson 79′
3 – Banri Kanaizumi (Rockdale)
2 – Brendan Cholakian (Manly)
1 – Alec Urosevski (Rockdale)