Suns rocked by hungry Tigers


APIA Leichhardt Tigers has returned to the top of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s ladder after defeating Rockdale City Suns 2-0 at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.

Goals to Sean Symons and Jordan Murray condemned Rockdale to their third straight defeat as APIA made it back to back wins.

Murray gave APIA the lead early in the second half and they didn't look back as Symons wrapped up the result with an 84th minute strike,

The early exchanges were hard fought with neither side giving much away.

In the 20th minute a corner was partially cleared by the Rockdale defence, but only as far as Tasuku Sekiya. The APIA attacker knocked it just wide of the goal from close range. It was the first real salvo of the contest.

In the 28th minute Murray on the turn volleyed the ball towards goal, but Ante Covic was up to the challenge by reaching up and grabbing it safely with both hands.

A great chance arrived for the Tigers in the 34th minute when Sekiya drilled his shot into the crossbar after lead up play from Murray.

Symons probably should have done better with his free-kick in the 40th minute from just outside the box. His strike made its way along the ground and into the safe hands of Covic.

The first half ended scoreless and in much the same way it had started with both sides playing cautious football.

The first real chance of the second stanza arrived in the 54th minute when Jordan Murray scored the opening goal of the evening.

A low cross from the right by Corey Biczo found Murray on the edge of the box and he neatly placed the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

In the 73rd minute Sekiya was given far too much space on the left, and after a quick run, he unleashed a shot that Covic managed to turn around the post and away for a corner.

In the 75th minute Jordan Figon thought that he had scored, but the assistant referee spotted a hand ball in the area and the goal didn’t stand.

Goalkeeper Luke Turnbull had made a spectacular reflex save from a close range header and then, after a series of hits and misses, Figon had the ball in the back of the net for the Suns to no avail.

APIA doubled their lead in the 84th minute when a Symons drilled a Matthew West cross into the back of the net.

Sekiya nearly made it 3-0 only a minute later but put his shot wide.

APIA Leichhardt Tigers coach Danial Cummins was justifiably proud of his side.

“The team has worked hard, and as I have said before, we had a long look in the pre-season about what we were going to do and it is now paying off,” he said.

“We have beaten Blacktown City, Sydney United 58 and Rockdale City Suns, so we are on the turn and it gets serious from now but the boys will take a lot of confidence after beating these top teams.”

His counterpart at Rockdale City Suns Paul Reid, himself out injured with a fractured elbow, was still upbeat about his side’s effort and performance despite the loss.

“We have lost our last three league games and haven’t scored in any of those games, so it’s obviously something that we have to change,” he said.

“We were scoring goals at the start of the year but now we are below par. In the first half today we were solid and tight defensively but a couple of mistakes from us in the second half and they scored their goals.

"It’s disappointing and we are getting punished for our mistakes.”

Match Stats

Rockdale City Suns: 0

APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 2 (Murray 54’, Symons 84’)

Sunday 21st May 2017

Ilinden Sports Centre Rockdale

Referee: Kris Griffith Jones

Assistant Referees: Andrey Giev, James Tesoriero

Fourth Official: A. Brett

ROCKDALE CITY SUNS: 22. Ante Covic, 2. Daniel Petkovski, 3. Steve Hesketh, 4. Trent McClenahan, 6. Blake Ricciuto, 7. Alec Urosevski, 8. Aleksandar Canak (11. Jonathan Grozdanovski 87’), 10. Harris Gaitatzis, 12. Idriss El-Hafiane, 14. Brayden Sorge, 23. Jordan Figon

Substitutes not used: 1. David Bradasevic, 16. Isaac Savor, 33. Norval Tobias

Yellow Cards: Hesketh 43’, Canak 67’, Petkovksi 89’

Red Cards: Nil

APIA LEICHHARDT TIGERS: 22. Luke Turnbull, 2. Nathan Millgate, 3. Paul Galimi, 8. Corey Biczo, 11. Jordan Murray (9. Matthew West 77’), 13. David D’Apuzzo (7. Sean O’Connell 64’), 15. Themba Muata-Marlow, 16. Sean Symons, 18. Adrian Ucchino, 19. Brandon Lundy, 20. Tasuku Sekiya

Substitutes not used: 17. Adrian Vlastelica, 26. Christian Theuma, 28. Franco Parisi

Yellow Cards: Ucchino 55’, D’Apuzzo 60’, West 88’

Red Cards: Nil

Player Ratings

3. Sean Symons (ALT)

2. Paul Galimi (ALT)

1. Blake Ricciuto (RCS)

-by Joe Russo, PlayStation®National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Reporter, at Ilinden Sports Centre Rockdale