Hakoah Sydney City East have kept their finals hopes alive with a solid 2-0 win against Sutherland Sharks at Seymour Shaw on Saturday night.
It was a convincing performance from Hakoah with victory moving them into the top five, albeit temporarily.
Anthony Frangie opened the scoring for the visitors after 35 minutes before Amaury Gauthier wrapped up the win in the 65th minute with a cool finish.
The loss means Sutherland Sharks fall from fifth position and puts the pressure on Grant Lee’s outfit.
Goals to Anthony Frangie and Amaury Gauthier for Hakoah Sydney City East settled this fixture at Seymour Shaw Park in a growing rivalry with Sutherland Sharks who lacked intensity and initiative.
Hakoah had the first effort of the evening when Mitchell Stamatellis headed over from a free-kick floated in by Michael Kouta on the left.
A surging run via Dom Cox provided the basis for Gauthier to strike, but the opportunity was squandered as Hakoah piled on the early pressure.
An Anthony Frangie effort that looped up into Ryan Norval’s arms via a deflection after only eight minutes played.
Frangie was closer with his next attempt in the 12th minute but watched as the ball curved beyond the woodwork.
Sutherland were struggling to make headway and mustered only the occasional half-chance while City appeared hungrier for the ball and far more intense in their play.
Joshua Da Silva finally replied for Sutherland on the half-hour mark but dragged the ball wide of the uprights from the edge of the area.
But it was that man Frangie who opened the scoring in the 31st minute when once again curling a shot, this time through a crowded penalty area, and beyond the despairing dive of Norval to give Hakoah the lead.
The Sharks’ best chance of the half came in the final moments when Adrian Vranic was stopped by Anthony Bouzianis at his feet with the rebound bobbling wide of the upright.
Sutherland were coming home with a wet sail and posed many questions of the Hakoah defence.
However, the home side struggled but found the answers to keep the home side at bay and hit the half-time break with the slenderest of leads.
It was an intriguing 45-minutes that led to little in the way of goalmouth action but threatened to open up in the second period.
Grant Lee rang the changes by replacing Lachlan Everett with Hayden Morton at the restart to reshuffle the pack and shake things up.
And they almost equalised in the 52nd minute when a Nick Littler rasping volley stung the hand of Bouzanis, pulling off a remarkable save, to keep it out. It was the closest the Sharks had come so far.
Da Silva was then played through and again Bouzanis was Hakoah’s saviour with the striker unable to slot home on the rebound.
The visitors were living dangerously and it was another let off for the visitors.
But it was against the run of play when Gauthier, effective but fairly quiet up to now, finally slotted home City’s second of the evening after a terrific save from Norval. It was a bitter pill for Sutherland to swallow but they only had themselves to blame for their profligacy in front of goal at the other end.
Frangie should have capped off a terrific evening when Gauthier squared the ball to him but his weak effort trickled to Norval leaving the striker holding his head in his hands.
The visitors had the final say of the game when Gauthier shot wide of the upright.
Hakoah coach Gavin Rae felt his team had to work a lot harder than it appeared in the scoreline.
“Possibly we made hard work of the game than we should have and were a little bit slack at the end of the half and the start of the second,” he said.
“We got the job done and that’s the most important thing.”
For Sharks’ coach Lee Grant the result was a familiar tale. “It’s the same mistakes over and over and over again,’ he rued.
“We simply are not learning from week to week. We put ourselves in a situation where we’re a goal behind and chasing the game again.
“I would have to say that is our worst performance this season across the board. We had opportunities and could have salvaged something from the game but we let ourselves down.”
Sutherland Sharks 0
Hakoah Sydney City East 2 (Frangie 31’, Gauthier 65’)
Seymour Shaw Park, Miranda
Saturday, 9th June 2018
Referee: Samuel Grasso
Assistant. Referees: Janush Adabjou & Maggie Price
Fourth Official: Michael Bailey
Sutherland Sharks: 1.Ryan Norval, 2.Jacob Tratt, 6.Lachlan Everett (4.Hayden Morton 46’), 9.Adrian Vranic, 10.Joshua Da Silva, 13.Robert Watson, 15.Nick Littler, 16.Ryoga Suyama (32.James Temelkovski 77’), 17.Leroy Jennings, 18 Juan Felipe Zapata (28.Noah Chia 90+2), 20.Keisuke Hayashi
Substitues not used: 21.Nick Loe, 25.Blake Curry
Yellow Cards: Littler 45+1’, Watson 75’
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1.Anthony Bouzanis, 3.Mitchell Kouta, 5.Mitchell Stamatellis, 6.Cameron Draper, 8.Oliver Green, 13.Robbie Ezekiel, 14.Anthony Frangie (20.James Combs 90+3), 17.Harry Jones, 19.Dom Cox, 21.Amaury Marie Gauthier, 60.Takayuki Noji (7.Jack Green 82’)
Substitutes not used: 16.Joshua Orchard, 30.Conner Edlridge, 40.Michael Figuira
Yellow Cards: O.Green 49’
-By Micky Brock