Rockdale City Suns proved their premiership credentials as they dug deep for a 3-0 victory over an impressive Sydney Olympic outfit during their PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
Olympic were left to rue a dominant opening 30 minutes as goals to Peter Makrillos, Toufic Alameddine and Hristijan Tanoski helped Rockdale to all three points.
The sole sour point for the home side came in the dying minutes of the match when captain Daniel Petkovski was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Sydney Olympic started the match on the front foot creating a chance in the first minute of play when Howard Fondyke played a lovely through ball to an advancing Brayden Sorge who sent the ball across the face of goal just missing two of his teammates.
Michael Gaitatzis had the first shot on goal in the 7th minute, nudging the ball past his defender before his early shot was well saved by a diving David Bradasevic.
The visitors kept the high tempo up, pressing all over the park while passing the ball around with aplomb leaving Rockdale completely rattled.
Jacob Boutoubia, making the most of his rare start for Olympic, nearly would have made it a perfect start in the 18th minute when he easily stepped past Rockdale skipper Daniel Petkovski before unleashing a low drive which bounced up at the last minute only to be deflected out for a corner by a sprawling Bradasevic.
Rockdale moved forward and created a half chance of their own in the 24th minute. After winning a great aerial duel Dylan Macallister saw the ball stop six yards out with the goal beckoning. Luckily for the Blues Mitchell Stamatellis got a boot to the ball before Macallister pulled the trigger allowing Paul Henderson to gather.
It didn’t take Olympic long to get back to their onslaught with Boutoubia again receiving the ball on the edge of the box with his volley floating just wide of the right hand upright three minutes later.
Rockdale finally started turning the tide and had their first shot in the 29th minute. Peter Makrillos got on the end of a great passage of passing by Alex Canak and Alameddine, only for his shot to fly wide.
Makrillos had a second chance on goal four minutes later as Sydney Olympic were caught napping by a long ball by Nicholas Petrillo who found Alameddine in space and free on the left hand side. The winger kept the ball in play by centimetres before cutting back to Makrillos whose deflected shot was saved on the line by Henderson.
The former Stoke City Academy player was not to be thwarted for a third time when a fantastic chipped through ball by Rockdale player/coach Paul Reid found Makrillos free in the box, taking a touch to controlling before tapping past Henderson to make it 1-0.
The goal sparked Rockdale to life as they pushed forward in numbers leaving Olympic’s defence retreating at speed. In the 37th minute Alameddine linked with Canak on the right with the latter’s cross finding Macallister who could not control his header.
A minute later Sydney Olympic thought they were back in the game after Tsattalios tapped home only to be called back for being offside.
Rockdale came out of the break firing, controlling possession while pressuring Olympic all over the park.
The Blues were not going to die wondering and in the 56th minute countered down the right with Jason Madonis playing the ball to Michael Gaitatzis who wrong footed Isaac Savor before his teasing cross was cleared at the last moment by Trent McClenahan.
Three minutes later Olympic broke the Rockdale defence with ease as Harris Gaitatzis played a perfect one-two with Boutoubia before going through on goal, beating the keeper with his shot but seeing the ball trickle past the far post.
Paul Reid almost turned provider again in the 62nd minute, sending a floating ball to Macallister in the box who headed down to an oncoming Alameddine who unfortunately scuffed his shot.
The winger made amends for the error a minute later when he got on the end of a through ball before blasting a shot past Henderson making it 2-0.
The second goal saw the match open up as Rockdale cleared their lined in the 75th minute before moving up field quickly seeing Alec Urosevski played a perfect through ball to Macallister. The former A-League striker took a touch into the box before his shot was well saved by Henderson.
Olympic were not giving up and in the 79th minute substitute Anthony Tomelic picked up a loose ball before his shot from 25 yards out went sailing over the bar.
Madonis was next to have a crack three minutes later with a fantastic mazy run ending in his shot just missing the target.
It would be Rockdale however who would extend their lead in the 84th minute when Macallister chose against shooting to back heel to a free Hristijan Tanoski at the back post who calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right hand corner.
Following the match Rockdale City Suns player/coach Paul Reid said he was impressed with his side’s all round performance while paying special mention to the clean sheet.
“They did come out at us and we knew that,” Paul Reid said.
“We stood firm, they did dominate that first half an hour but we did have a couple of chances on the counter attack.
“We are very dangerous on the counter attack so we knew we would create chances. We spoke before the game about the importance of keeping a clean sheet as we have been conceding too many goals.
“But like I said we stood firm and got that goal which was a bit similar to the Sutherland game last week where we took a lead but weren’t playing very well.
“In the second half we changed a few things and put them under a lot of pressure and went on with it.”
In the away dressing room Sydney Olympic head coach Grant Lee said his side were taught another lesson in taking their opportunities.
“You buoy other teams by the fact that you don’t punish them and then you encourage them because they think they should be down yet they are still in the game,” he said.
“Then we are so naïve in our defending at times which could come from the fact that we get frustrated that we haven’t taken advantage of our opportunities.
“We do have a young side and at the moment they don’t have that experience or knowledge on how to close out a game.”
Rockdale City Suns 3 (Makrillos 34’, Alameddine 63’, Tanoski 84’)
Sydney Olympic 0
Ilinden Sports Centre, Ilinden
Referee: Chris Young
Assistant referees: M. Clark, J. Bell
Fourth official: Matt McOrist
Rockdale City Suns: 1. David Bradasevic, 2. Daniel Petkovski, 4. Trent McClenehan, 5. Paul Reid, 6. Blake Ricciuto, 8. Alex Canak, 9. Dylan Macallister (3. Steven Hesketh 90’), 10. Peter Makrillos (11. Hristijan Tanoski 76’), 15. Nicholas Petrillo, 16. Isaac Savor, 17. Toufic Alameddine (7. Alec Urosevski 70’)
Substitutes not used: 22. Andrew Bazi, 14. Patrick Savor
Yellow cards: Petkovski 55’, 88’, Canak 83’
Red cards: Petkovski 88’
Sydney Olympic: 1. Paul Henderson, 2. Brayden Sorge, 4. Leigh Egger, 5. Jason Madonis, 6. Mitchell Stamatellis, 7. William Angel, 8. Howard Fondyke © (3. Anthony Tomelic 73’), 10. Harris Gaitatzis (15. Jake De Marigny 81’), 11. Jacob Boutoubia, 22. Michael Gaitatzis (14. Jack Green 81’), 33. Nik Tsattalios
Substitutes not used: 20. Denver Crickmore, 26. Cohan Morris
Yellow cards: Tsattalios 36’, Fondyke 52’, Angel 66’
Red cards: nil
3- Toufic Alameddine (RCS)
2- Peter Makrillos (RCS)
1-Jacob Boutoubia (SO)
-By PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Chris Georges