Suns derail Wolves Finals hopes

06.08.2017

An Aleks Canak double has all but put an end to the finals hopes of Wollongong Wolves as Rockdale City Suns secured a 2-1 win at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.

Canak’s strikes in the 15th and 65th minutes helped Rockdale to secure a vital three competition points despite a fast finish from Wollongong.

The visitors thought they may have enough momentum to snatch a draw in the final moments of the match after Patrick Antelmi scored in the 81st minute.

However, it wasn't to be for Wollongong whose slim finals hopes rest on claiming a comprehensive win against Sydney FC next week and hope Sydney Olympic FC lose by an even bigger margin on the road against Sutherland Sharks.

The hosts started the game with their tails up, putting the Wolves under significant pressure for long periods.

Rockdale were creating early chances off the back of quality time in possession. An early Blake Ricciuto header went just wide of the visitor’s net.

The deadlock didn’t last for long when Canak headed home a quality set piece delivery by Paul Reid.

The Wolves reacted in physical fashion, tightening up the game, but it came at the price of a few yellow cards.

The visitors were a threat on the counter. Antelmi was unlucky not to score when he hit a volley just wide of the upright.

Wollongong keeper Justin Pasfield gifted Rockdale a chance on goal when he fumbled a ball in the box but Alec Urosevski was unable to get off a shot in a crowded penalty area.

Rockdale went into the break in the lead and returned in the second half full of confidence.

They Suns took full advantage of their momentum and found a second goal when a Gaitatzis corner found the head of Canak who wasn’t going to miss.

The visitors chances were dashed soon after when a lunging challenge from James O’Rourke led to a red card for the Wolves player.

Rockdale were comfortable to control possession and run out the clock. Harris Gaitatzis missed the chance to make it 3-0 when he failed to convert from a tight angle.

A late goal to Antelmi proved to be only a consolation goal for Wollongong and they will need to rely on favourable results for any chance of a playoff berth.

Rockdale City Suns coach Paul Reid was ecstatic with the result.

“It was our best performance of the season, I expected better from Wollongong. The only thing I’m disappointed with from our performance is we conceded a goal,” Reid said.

Wollongong Wolves coach Jacob Timpano was understandably devastated post-match.

“Rockdale dominated the game and got the goals they deserved,” he said.

“The players dug deep and are completely blameless, they can be proud with how they played,”

Match Stats

Rockdale City Suns FC: 2 (Canak 16’56’)

Wollongong Wolves FC: 1 (Antelmi 81’)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale

Rockdale City Suns: 22. Ante Covic, 2. Daniel Petkovski, 3. Steven Hesketh, 4. Trent Mcclenahan, 5. Paul Reid, 6. Blake Ricciuto, 7. Alex Urosevski (14. Brayden Sorge 89’) , 8. Alexander Canak (12. Idriss El Hafiane 82), 10. Harris Gaitatzis, 11. Jonathan Grozdanovski (23. Jordan Figon 75’), 18. Daniel Saric.

Substitues Not Used: 1. David Bradasevic, , 16. Isaac Savor,

Yellow Cards: Urosevski

Red Cards:

Wollongong Wolves: 1. Justin Pasfield, 2. Michael Robinson, 3. Darcy Madden (6. James Markovic 86’), 4. Hayden Morton, 5. James O’Rourke, 7. Christopher Price, 8. Ethan Kambios, 9. Yuzo Tashiro, 10. Peter Simonoski, 15. Steven Hayes (11. Hristijan Tanoski 57’), 16. Patrick Antelmi.

Substitues Not Used: 12. Luke Kairies, , 12. Sean Eve, 14. Jack Lombo. 

Yellow Cards: Antelmi, Simonoski

Red Cards: O’Rourke.

-By Justin Smith, PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Reporter