Hakoah Sydney City East has kept their finals hopes alive with a 3-1 win against Sydney FC at Hensley Athletic Field on Sunday.
Hakoah outclassed their opponents for much of the contest and never looked like taking any less that three competition points from the contest.
The home side took a 2-0 lead into the interval thanks to clinical finishes from Harry Jones and new recruit Amaury Gauthier.
Sydney FC gave the home side a late scare when Jordan Swibel scored in 85th minute, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation goal when Young Sky Blues’ Liam McGing turned the ball into his own net in the 90th minute to ensure Hakoah the win.
The result moves Hakoah to sixth in the standings only one point outside the top five, while Sydney FC finish Round 12 at the foot of the ladder.
It was an energetic start to the clash from both sides with neither outfit happy to just sit back and settle into the match.
Hakoah had the best of the early possession but they were lucky not to concede an early goal when Jones was forced to clear off his own line at the five minute mark after a damaging run and cross from Sydney FC’s Hassan Jalloh.
It took until the 18th minute for the home side to get their first real chance on goal when Anthony Frangie’s driven effort from the edge of the box was saved by a quality diving save from Duro Dragicevic.
The young Sky Blues shot stopper was at it again only moments later when he denied what appeared to be a sure goal with a brilliant reaction save to block Amaury Gauthier’s shot from inside the penalty area.
Hakoah’s early pressure finally paid off in the 24th minute.
Robert Ezekiel delivered a sweeping cross from the eastern touchline which beat the Sydney defence before falling at the feet of an unmarked Jones to tap home from point blank range and give the home side a 1-0 lead.
The goal inspired the home side to push forward and stretch their advantage with Frangie and Josh Orchard going close after a flurry of Hakoah chances.
Gauthier was proving a dangerous outlet in attack for Sydney City East and forced another great save out of Dragicevic with a powerful shot from the edge of the box in the 42nd minute.
It was only time before the striker would find the back of the net and it turned out he didn’t have to wait long at all when he capitalised on an error by the Sydney defence only one minute later.
Takayuki Noji pounced on a loose pass as Sydney attempted to play the ball out of their territory before passing to Gauthier who unleashed a quality finish into the top right corner from the edge of the penalty area.
It was his first goal for his new club after recently switching from the NPL 2 where he played for the Rydalmere Lions.
The goal was the perfect end to the half for Hakoah who had dominated proceedings in the opening 45 minutes.
The first half momentum wasn’t lost as the home side were in control from the start of the second stanza.
Sydney FC were forced to weather attack after attack from Hakoah but managed to keep their opponents from stretching their lead.
The match fell into a lull midway through the second half with Hakoah happy to sit on the ball and Sydney FC too fatigued to pressure their opponents.
A powerful shot from Frangie from the edge of the penalty area sparked the clash into life on the 71st minute mark, but Dragicevic was up to the challenge.
Dragicevic was forced into action moments later as he showed off his athleticism to deny a dipping and swerving strike from Gauthier.
Sydney FC refused to give up and opened their account in the 85th minute courtesy of substitute Swibel.
However, any hope of a Sydney FC comeback was soon extinguished in the 90th minute when Flottmann turned the ball into his own net to give Hakoah a 3-1 lead.
While his side was down and out, Sydney FC keeper Dragicevic saved his best moment till last as he pulled off a flying diving stop to deny a curling De Jong free-kick.
A beaming Gavin Rae was delighted with the result but said it was the way his side played which truly impressed him.
“We dominated the game today and really took it to Sydney with everyone of our players performing to a high standard,” Rae said.
“Our new signing Amaury (Gauthier) has made a great start to his time at the club and gives us plenty of new options going forward.
“It is such a tight league where any side can come away with the win on their day. Hopefully this result is one we can build off.”
Sydney FC coach Robbie Stanton rued a disappointing result for his young side.
“We just didn’t do enough today, it was as simple as that,” Stanton said.
“The team didn’t operate at 100% and we paid the price for it.”
Despite the defeat, Stanton praised the performance of his goalkeeper.
“Duro (Dragicevic) was exceptional today and it is really disappointing he was unable to get a clean sheet,” he said.
“That for me was his best performance of the season. He looked very strong and I’m delighted with how he is developing as a player.”
Hakoah Sydney City East: 3 (Jones 24’, Gauthier 43’ , Flottman OG 90’)
Sydney FC: 1 (Swibel 85′)
Sunday. May 27 2018
Hensley Athletic Field, East Gardens
Referee: D Stack
Assistant Referees: S Edeling & A Hosnani
Fourth Official: P Reynolds
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1. Anthony BOUZANIS, 3. Michael KOUTA, 6. Cameron DRAPER, 8. Oliver GREEN, 10. Andre De JONG, 13. Robert EZEKIEL, 14. Anthony FRANGIE (19. Dominic COX 82’), 16. Joshua ORCHARD, 17. Harry JONES, 54. Amaury GAUTHIER, 60. Takayuki NOJI (18. Jordon KOTON 90’)
Substitutes not used: 7. Jack GREEN, 20. James COOMBES
Yellow Cards: M Kouta 40’
Sydney FC: 30. Duro DRAGICEVIC, 2. Brendan CURTIS, 3. Patrick FLOTTMANN, 4. Liam MCGING, 6. Andreas AGAMEMNONOS, 7. Jerry SKOTADIS, 8. Sam MCILHATTON, 9. Hassan JALLOH (16. William MUTCH 68’), 11. Luke IVANOVIC (18. Jordan SWIBEL 78′), 14. Joel KING 15. Jeremy COX
Substitutes not used: 1. Mitchell EVANS, 10. Cameron DEVLIN, 12. Patrick SCIBILIO,
Yellow cards: Curtis 69’ McIllhatton 90′
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