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Great win yesterday by our boys 2-0 in our first home game against Manly.

Football NSW match report below:

Rockdale Ilinden got back to winning ways defeating Manly United 2-0 in their first home match of the 2023 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s season in front of a healthy crowd on a sultry Sunday afternoon at the Ilinden Sports Centre. 

Goals from the club’s new skipper Alec Urosevski and a debut from Loic Puyo all but gave Paul Dee’s men three points in what was a great round 3 clash in Sydney’s South.

The action started as early as the fourth minute when the ‘Baker’ Urosevski was cooking as his shot was parried by Manly keeper Jack Greenwood who made his first start of the 2023 NPL NSW Men’s campaign – the resulting chance then fell to big Lochie Constable who fired in a powerful shot that was cleared off the line by the Manly defence.

It was Urosevski, relishing his new central role in a fluid front three, who sent Jaden Casella free down the right flank whose exquisite cross forced Jimmy Oates to clear when winning a contested header with Bai Antoniou before the ball was finally cleared.

Rockdale were doing all the talking in the opening quarter-hour but were unable to register a strike to show for their efforts whilst Manly were content to play patiently out from the back.

It was the man-of-the-moment Urosevski, who finally opened the scoring after another good stop from Greenwood saw the ball loop upward and toward the back stick for the Ilinden man to nudge over the line from directly under the crossbar for a deserved lead after 18’ minutes.

Tom Fay looped a shot toward goal after the drinks break that never troubled David Bradasevic between the sticks as the visitors registered their first attempt on goal with Finn Ashton testing the gloveman from distance shortly after.

The match became scrappy toward the end of the half with a number of cautions issued but it was the home side who took the slenderest of leads into the break.

It was a resurgent Manly United who returned to the field and pressed for the equaliser that, to date, was proving elusive.

The high temp pace, given the steamy conditions, couldn’t be sustained for ninety minutes proving the worth of the bench players as a flurry of quick substitutions were made.

Mathieu Cordier broke for Ilinden down the left and crossed for Urosevski to step over leaving Brendan Cholakian to strike for goal but great positioning saw Greenwood get his body behind the shot to thwart the effort.

Rockdale were not to be denied on the day when substitute Loic Puyo netted his first NPL NSW Mens goal in stoppage time to double the lead and ensure the home side secured the three valuable points on offer.

For Manly United coach Patrick Zwaanswijk, it was a step forward following his guidance in pushing a new style of football for the Northern Beaches club.

“We are trying a different style of football to what the players have been used to these past couple of seasons,” he said.

“We had our moments and sometimes we didn’t use the right choice at the right time.

“The will is there from the players for all to see but the belief and confidence is lacking a little particularly with the decision making, when to take the shot, lay the ball off, play the one-two or switch play.

“Sometimes we are a little slow in transition or the vision isn’t quite there to see the opportunities but we can keep our heads up and we’ll improve,” he concluded.

Ilinden coach Paul Dee was delighted with his side’s opening win in front of a vocal Rockdale crowd.

“I’m very, very happy with that performance,” he said.

“After last week’s game to this, for every player who took the pitch today, they can hold their heads high.

‘The effort was magnificent and that’s what we asked of the boys and to get the win in front of our home fans is special too.

“We have some of the most passionate supporters in the league, they love the club and the players feel it when they pull on the shirt.

“It’s a special bond from everyone involved at the club and to get the win today in a tactical contest such as this one was fantastic.”

Match Stats

Rockdale Ilinden 2 (Alec Urosevski 18’, Loic Puyo 90+2))

Manly United: 0

Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale

Saturday 19th February 2023

Referee: Craig Fisher

Assistants: Scott Edeling and Arinath Gobinath

Fourth Official: Nick Gela

Rockdale Ilinden: 1. David Bradasevic, 3. Lachie Griffiths, 4. Nikola Ujdur, 7. Alec Urosevski, 8. Isaac Danzo, 9. Bai Antoniou (17. Loic Puyo 58’), 10. Brendan Cholakian (5. Will Mutch 86’), 13. Mathieu Cordier, 14. Brayden Sorge, 21. Lochie Constable (6. Nikola Kuleski 69’), 23. Jaden Casella (11. Peter Kekeris 68’)

Subs not used: 15. Jamie Percevski, 20. Ricardo Rizzo

Yellow Cards: Alec Urosevski 40’

Red Cards:

Manly United: 1. Jack Greenwood, 3. Jesse Piriz, 4. Jimmy Oates, 5. Tom Fay, 6. Finn Ashton (32. Saxon Hillyer 60’), 7. Seiya Kambayashi, 9. Ben Koop (18. Lucas Rainbird 60’), 12. Kristian Santich, 15. Nick Rainbird (29. Hunter Elliott 81’), 19. Alen Aganovic, 23. Harry McCarthy (31. Marcus Lal 73’)

Subs not used: 20. Levi Kaye, 36. Lachlan Mills

Yellow Cards: Jesse Piriz 30’, Harry McCarthy 38’, Jack Greenwood 44’