The resurgence of the Rockdale City Suns continues after a 4-1 win against Wollongong Wolves at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
An inspired second half performance was the difference as Rockdale scored three goals in the second stanza despite going into the interval locked a 1-1.
Aleks Canak opened the scoring after only 13 minutes but Peter Simonoski found an equaliser right on the half time whistle with a contender for goal of the season.
It was a completely different story in the second stanza as the floodgates opened for the Suns with Alec Urosevski and Bai Antonio netting before Aleks Canak wrapped up the result with a goal at the death.
The result catapults Rockdale into a tie for fifth spot on 17 points while Wollongong drops down to ninth.
An edgy but frenetic start to the game produced little until Blake Ricciuto headed over after six minutes from a corner on the left as the home side pressed a compact Wolves’ defence.
Rockdale’s early pressure paid dividends with Canak netting for Suns from the edge of the area giving the home side an early 1-0 lead.
Jordan Figon came close with a flick header moments later, however unable to gain enough purchase on the ball it flew across the face of goal.
Wollongong, starting with a back three formation, countered with some neat possession play. Brendan Griffin tried his luck after spotting Ante Covic off his line, but he scooped his effort wide of the mark.
The Wolves looked a little light in the opening exchanges but were certainly gaining the upper hand in the final 20-minutes of the half and it came as no surprise when they finally found the equaliser.
Griffin, Wolves’ liveliest player on the pitch, picked up the ball in midfield and eased it on for Peter Simonoski who took it on and curled a beautiful shot in off the left-hand post to level the scores just prior to the break to level the scores.
The second period was an up and down affair, attack and counter, with much centred around the middle third as neither managed to gain the ascendency to dictate the game nor create a decent opening. With so much at stake it was cagey fare indeed.
Canak blasted into the side netting in the 58th minute from an acute angle as Rockdale managed to work a half-chance .
The Suns were finding openings but none were easy to convert until Urosevski managed to hit the net from distance with the ball bouncing just in front of the outstretched arms of Pasfield.
Urosevski could’ve doubled his tally but Pasfield somehow managed to save low down.
Rockdale furthered their strangle hold on the game when Antoniou netted from the penalty spot in the 77th minute to make 3-1.
Canak added the icing on the cake in the final minute of regulation time when he chipped the ‘keeper to net Rockdale’s fourth of the evening.
It was, perhaps, a flattering score line for the home side but it didn’t dampen Coach Paul Reid’s comments after the match.
“We started off really well but they (Wolves) had a 20-minute period in the first-half when they got on top. We were a little too defensive for my liking and we gave them too much time and make no mistake, their goal was coming,”
“It was poor from our perspective, going into stoppage time and conceding but it was a wake up call for us and I felt we dominated the second-half of the game.
“We changed things a little after the break and when the guys stick to a plan we get the reward for it. To come away 4-1 was perhaps a little flattering but we’ll take that. We put in a more consolidated performance but there is still a long way to go for this season but we’re on the right track.”
Wolves’ Coach, Jacob Timpano, was surprisingly upbeat after the defeat.
“We didn’t come out of the blocks and went a goal down and deservedly so,” he said.
“We were asleep for the first 15-20 minutes but I thought we were the better side for the final 20 and got the goal we deserved leading into the break.
“A couple of cheap turnovers in the second-half and we’re chasing the game and we’re not going to come here and be happy with a 1-3 loss so we went for it. We came close, hit the woodwork and they go down the other end and score. They’ve got experience and are going to punish you if you make mistakes and they did that today.”
Rockdale City Suns 4 (Canak 12’,90’ Urosevski 62’, Antoniou 77p’
Wollongong Wolves 1 (Simonoski 45’
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Sunday, 3rd June 2018
Referee: Sebastian Brennan
Assistant Referee: Scott Edeling & Joon Park
Fourth Official: Nathan McCorist
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Ante Covic, 2.Daniel Petkovski, 6.Blake Ricciuto, 7.Alec Urosevski (11.Jonathan Grozdanovski 81’), 8.Alex Canak, 9.Bai Antoniou, 14.Brayden Sorge, 15.Nicholas Petrillo, 19.Patrick Savor (12.Idriss El Hafiane 72’), 21.Michael Neill, 23.Jordan Figon
Substitutes not used: 4.Trent McClenahan, 10.Harris Gaitatzis, 25.Jake Soutter
Yellow Cards: Ricciuto 67’
Wollongong Wolves: 1.Justin Pasfield, 3.Darcy Madden, 4.Michael Robinson, 6.Luke Wilkshire, 7.Chris Price, 8.Takuya Nozawa (15.Ethan Kambosios 86’), 9.Brendan Griffin, 10.Peter Simonoski, 11.Yuzo Tashiro, 14.Ryan Ensor (13.Joshua Macdonald 70’), 16.Michael Stojanovski (2.Taylor McDonald 79’)
Substitutes not used:, 12.Luke Kairies,
Yellow Cards: Robinson 75’, Madden 86’
-By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Micky Brock