Manly United have completed an incredible comeback to snatch 3-3 draw with Rockdale City Suns at Cromer Park on Saturday.
The reigning Champions appeared down and out after conceding three goals in the opening 27 minutes but an inspired fightback ensured the Northern Beaches side took home a point in a six goal thriller.
An attacking flurry from Rockdale had Manly searching for answers midway through the first half as Alec Urosevski, Blake Ricciuto and Jordan Figon all hit the back of the net to give the visitors a seemingly unattainable lead.
But Manly, playing only their second home game of the season, gave their fans plenty to smile about with a spirited fightback as Nikola Taneski, Jamie Lobb and Dylan Macallister all scored to claim an unlikely draw.
Rockdale opened the match in perfect fashion as Urosevski broke through the Manly defence and opened the scoring after a cutting pass from Paul Reid.
It was one way traffic in the opening stages as Rockdale sent wave after wave of attack at Manly. Bai Antoniou was unlucky not to double the visitors lead in the 8th minute when he hit the upright with a stinging shot from outside the box.
Manly had a rare chance on goal in the 18th minute but what a chance it was. Taneski rocketed a powerful shot but an acrobatic diving save from Ante Covic kept the ball out of the back of the net.
It was a different story at the other end of the park. A scrappy battle for the ball in the 23rd minute fell to Figon who fired into the Onion bag from six yards out to make it 2-0 to Rockdale.
Only three minutes later it was 3-0 to the visitors. Ricciuto needed only to tap the ball in from close range after a perfect cross from Toufic Alameddine.
Manly refused to drop their head and found a breakthrough in the 35th minute thanks to some individual brilliance from Taneski. The pacy attacker raced past his marker to break free of the defence before cooly placing his shot past the shot stopper.
The goals continued to flow with Manly making it 3-2 in the 38th minute. Jamie Lobb unleashed a spectacular curling free kick from the edge of the penalty area which Covic could do nothing about.
Supporters needed the half time break to catch their breath with both sides throwing everything forward in an incredible five goal opening stanza.
It was a much more subdued start to the second half as both teams appeared determined to consolidate their position.
The cagey approach meant the first real chance of the half didn’t come until the 60th minute when a sumptuous chip from Taneski forced yet another acrobatic save from Covic.
Both sides began to open up their attack as the game wore on, but fatigue was taking its toll.
Manly Coach Dee introduced veteran strike Dylan Macallister and it proved to be an inspired decision.
The former Melbourne Heart and Central Coast Mariners front man created plenty of headaches for the Rockdale defence as the home side pushed for an equaliser.
If it doesn’t happen the first time, try and try again appeared to be the mantra for Manly, it proved to be a rewarding mindset.
Denied twice in quick succession by Covic, Macallister finally struck in the 82nd minute with a clinical header from a pin point corner kick to tie the ledger.
Rockdale refused to give in despite conceding three straight goals and missed a gilt-edged chance to snatch a winner.
Urosevski received a cross but scuffed his shot from only a few yards out in the 86th minute.
It proved to be the final attack of the game as Manly held on until to the final whistle to secure a hard earned point.
Manly United FC: 3 (Taneski 33’, Lobb 36’, Macallister 82’)
Rockdale City Suns: 3 (Urosevski 2’, Figon 23’, Ricciuto 27’)
Cromer Park, Cromer
Saturday, April 14 2018
Referee: C Fisher
Assistant Referees: A Giev, J Park
Fourth Official: J Katz
Manly United FC: 1. Dylan MITCHELL, 2. Kieran PUALL, 3. Jamie LOBB, 4. Travis OUGHTRED, 6. Dominic FERGUSON, 8. Sasa MACURA, 10 Brendan CHOLAKIAN, 11. Nikola TANESKI, 12. Leigh EGGER, 17. Gianni STENSNESS (9. Dylan MACALLISTER 61′) , 33. Marley PETERSON (7. Marco SAMA 74’).
Substitutes not used: 14. Mitchell ROOKE 20. Shaun CATLIN, 23. Daniel ALESSI
Rockdale City Suns: 1. Ante COVIC, 2. Daniel PETKOVSKI, 4. Trent MCCLENAHAN, 5. Paul REID (12. Idriss EL HAFIANE 62’), 6. Blake RICCIUTO, 7. Alec UROSEVSKI, 9. Bai ANTONIOU, 17. Toufic ALAMEDDINE (8. Aleks CANAK 67′), 19 Patrick SAVOUR (3. Steven HESKETH 79’), 21. Michael NEILL, 23. Jordan FIGON
Substitutes not used: 11. Jonathan GROZDANOVSKI, , 22. Nicholas SORRAS
Yellow Cards: Savor 15’
3 – Taneski (MU)
2- Lobb (MU)
1- Figon (RCS)