A brace and an assist from the scintillating Tasuku Sekiya set APIA Leichhardt Tigers up for a stunning 5-0 against Rockdale City Suns at Ilinden Sports Centre on Saturday.
APIA were at their very best as they bounced back from last round’s defeat at the hands of Blacktown City to notch their fourth win of the campaign.
Sekiya started the rout in the 26th minute before adding his second eight minutes later with APIA heading to the half-time break two goals to the good. Josh Symons netted the third midway through the second stanza in a quite bizarre fashion before a delightful pass by Sekiya on the resumption set skipper Sean Symons in for the fourth with Corey Biczo wrapping up the result at the death.
For Rockdale it was another below par performance with Paul Reid’s side paying the price for poor discipline in defence. The result was the Suns third defeat in four games dropping them outside the top five.
However, it was the pace of Rockdale’s Bai Antoniou which troubled the Tigers’ defence early on. Antonio and Jordan Figon helped tee up Harris Gaitatzis inside the box in the 16th minute but he scuffed his effort. It was by far the best move of the opening stanza as both sides battled to gain the upper hand in an absorbing contest.
APIA went on the attack and in the 23rd minute, Nathan Millgate received the ball from a corner which he volleyed over the bar in reply in the visitors first meaningful attack to date. He quite rightly held his head in his hands at the effort but his blushes were spared moments later when Sekiya did put his side ahead in the 26th minute with a neat right-footed finish past Ante Covic.
APIA went further ahead before the interval with another strike on the break thundered home in emphatic fashion by Sekiya for both his and APIA’s second of the evening.
A mesmerising sequences of one-two passes between Gaitatzis and Alex Urosevski just before the break saw the latter in on goal. However, he lifted his shot over the bar. The Suns were piling on the pressure before the interval giving keeper Ivan Necevski some work to do along with his defence.
The second half started similarly to the first as Antoniou volleyed over the bar with Rockdale throwing everything forward in an attempt to get back into the game.
Sekiya narrowly missed his hat-trick when cantering in down the left, wrong-footing Covic but seeing the effort slide millimeters past the far post. With Rockdale forced into pushing forward and adopting the high-press game they would inevitably leave gaps at the back the pacey forward could exploit.
George Howard set Corey Biczo away down the right who cut it back and again a wayward effort off target for APIA, who should have had several more goals.
Indeed, the only difference between the two sides was the visitor’s looked just a tad sharper in their thinking and movement.
Josh Symonds eventually added a third in strange fashion. From a free-kick he appeared to have headed wide but the ball was kept in play and he netted at the second attempt. In a heated debate that followed, Covic found himself in the book.
Antoniou continued to be a rare shining light for Rockdale despite his side’s poor performance and forced Necevski into a stunning save in the 78th minute when another volley from the edge of the area needed a strong hand to tip over.
Any lingering doubt about the result was put to bed when Sekiya picked out skipper Sean Symons to slot home APIA’s fourth of the evening. Four became five shortly after when Corey Bizco found the net to cap off a great night for APIA.
As a parting note, Figon forced another fine save out of Necevski down to his right but with the result assured it would have been little more than a consolation.
“The luckier you get the harder you work in training midweek,” uttered Tiger’s coach Billy McColl at the whistle.
“Every team gets chances and we missed a few tonight but we are creating them to begin with. Obviously the more you create the more chance there are to score.
“It has set us up nicely for the midweek FFA Cup game against Fraser Park. We’re looking forward to it but you have to give credit to the way the boys played tonight. Rockdale are no easy team to beat at home so very happy with the points.”
A dejected Paul Reid rued a sloppy performance from his Rockdale side.
“You cannot give simple chances like that to a team like APIA,” said Reid.
“We said at the break, we’re 2-nil down and they’ve had two chances and put them away.
“Silly, silly mistakes for the goals and teams like this punish you for those mistakes
“We don’t seem to get given easy goals. We get on top of teams, make a silly mistake and find ourselves behind and we simply have to stop doing it.”
Rockdale City Suns 0
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 5 (Sekiya 26’, 34’, J.Symons 68, S.Symons 79’, Biczo 88’)
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Saturday, 7th March 2018
Referee: Katie Patterson
Asst. Refs: Karney Robinson & Nick Backo
Fourth Official: Oliver Lawton
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Ante Covic, 2.Daniel Petkovski, 3.Steven Hesketh, 4.Trent McClenahan, 6.Blake Riccuito, 7.Alec Urosevski, 9.Bai Antoniou, 10.Harris Gaitatzis (5.Paul Reid 70’) 12.Idress El Hafiane (17.Toufic Alameddine 58’), 21.Michael Neill, 23.Jordan Figon
Substitutes not used:, 11.Jonathan Grozdanovski, 19.Patrick Savor, 22.Nicholas Sorras
Yellow Cards: El Hafiane 45+1, Ricuitto 67’, Covic 68’, McClenehan 90+2
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1.Ivan Nececski, 2.Nathan Millgate, 5.Joshua Symons, 14.Howard Fondyke (6.Zac Mackenzie 80’), 8.Corey Bizco, 9.George Howard, 12.Marc Warren, 15.Themba Muata-Marlow, 16.Sean Symons, 17.Brandon Lundy (18.Adrian Ucchino 46’), 13.Tasuku Sekiya (10.Franco Parisi 80’)
Substitutes not used:, 11.Jordan Murray, 22.Blake Tuxford
Yellow Cards: Fondyke 33’, S.Symons 54’
3 – Sekiya (ALT)
2 – Antoniou (RCS)
1 – Biczo (ALT)
-By Micky Brock, FNSW Reporter