After gaining a point in last week’s game, the South Coast Wolves go back to the drawing board as Rockdale City Suns, themselves bouncing back from a horror 1-5 score the previous week, went on to win this encounter 1-0 at their home ground, Ilinden Sportsground.
In a match played on a heavy pitch, that sustained rain at regular intervals throughout the game, Rockdale scored an early goal that ultimately secured the three points. However, the Suns had any number of chances to improve the score line but these went begging, with players taking the wrong option, by poor finishing or being thwarted by opposition defence as well as sterling goalkeeping by Daniel Collison.
The Wolves kicked off proceedings with Ricky Zucco attempting to go down the middle towards the southern end. Eventually the Suns goalkeeper Tomislav Arcaba cleared as Chris Price was in the vicinity. A clever flick by Matthew Bailey set Sam Matthews on his way further on into the Suns territory.
Arcaba pumped a high ball up the field in the ensuing play. It caught the Wolves defence napping as Nicola Taneski latched onto the clearance after it bounced and skidded off the turf. He had no trouble in tucking it past Collison. This was a virtual gift at only two minutes into the match and the Wolves had it all in front of them from this early stage.
Following their dream start, Rockdale had much of the first half possession with experienced midfielder Paul Reid being in a creative mood as his lifted passes and short ones to set up attacking forays at will. Sean Symonds proved to be a headache for the right side Wolves players as he made many inroads down his team’s left channel. In the 8th minute, he had two scoring opportunities in succession. His first effort was headed away by Darcy Madden, the Wolves left back. Collison was there with a high jump to palm out his second. Four minutes earlier, Patrick Savor sent in a ball for Taneski but before he could inflict any damage, Madden intercepted once again. Following, an Idress El Hafiane corner kick flew to the far post where Wolves’ Zac Mackenzie was positioned to head away to safety. On twenty-one minutes, Symonds moved down the left before passing to El Hafiane. His left footed shot was unfortunately for Rockdale too high and too wide. As the half time was near, and the rain became heavier, Reid threaded the ball to Symonds before El Hafiane’s chance on goal went wide. Just prior to the break, a Reid free kick traversed straight into the grateful arms of Collison. Rockdale had looked in control and were the better side and Paul Kohler and Askin Oygur had charge of their domain.
After being a goal down after two minutes, the Wolves found it somewhat difficult to gain and then keep possession when they had to try and redress the balance. Two much space allowed the Suns midfielders to increase their control with a couple of the Wolves midfielders dropping deep to help out in defensive duties as Rockdale attacked on the many occasions that they did. However, Bailey was at his best as he played enticing passes to his supports and made good runs at the opposition in. On ten minutes, he found himself within goal range but lost the momentum when he appeared to hesitate and before too long Rockdale had dealt with this danger. After a time Price and Peter Simonoski swapped wide positions from their starting positions of Price on right and Simonoski on the left in order to increase productivity. Left defender Madden also impressed with his go forward attitude, his ball control in the slippery conditions and his timely interceptions.
The Wolves tried valiantly to redress the situation that they were in but opportunities to score were sporadic at best. Arcaba came out of his area to beat Zucco to the ball on twenty minutes and barely two minutes later, he came out again to head the ball away as Bailey chased down. An ensuing Bailey shot was edged away for a corner kick. He did the deed again ten minutes later and his following corner kick went straight in to the Suns ‘keeper.
Rockdale began the second half hell bent on keeping their lead and to not squander any chances that may come their way to increase their position. The troublesome Symonds was involved in two early forays. Collison took his cross from the left. Scant time later, he left a spreadeagled Jack Keating in his wake as he moved to the goal line in order for an intended cut back pass but the Wolves defence scrambled it away before he carry out his intention.
Tadg Purcell and El Hafiane combined to move with the latter positioning himself in the box. He cut back to Takuya Murayama and his attempted chip over Collison went over. Collison was called into action minutes later when got down at his near post to save but concede a corner kick. Further opportunities presented themselves as three players were waiting as a Reid lifted pass was placed in the surrounding area, but not one could take advantage. Taneski looked to increase his total. On sixty-seven minutes he was through but could bring it home as Collison spread himself. Very late in proceedings he beat a defender and had Collison to beat but the goalkeeper pulled a good save to deny him.
The Wolves picked it up in the second half and the passing movements began to stick a bit more. Matthews won a free kick about 25 metres out from the Suns’ goal. He had determinedly tried to maintain possession under a sustained physical challenge and was winning out until he was subsequently fouled. However, the free kick brought no jubilation. Zucco placed a shot from distance on sixty-five minutes that was speculative at best. It flew wide.
Zucco curled a free kick from his position a couple of metres outside the area. Mackenzie tried to head it but nary a touch by anyone. Two minutes later from virtually the same position, Bailey curled his free kick with the same outcome as Zucco’s.
Joseph Lavalle, second half substitute was presented with a scoring opportunity when he was through. However, he could gain enough control on the ball to enact a prospective shot. This was symptomatic of the Wolves today.
Second half replacement Mitchell Del Turco was also injected into the fray in the hope that his speed could conjure up something. He and Arcaba collided as they both went for the ball with ten minutes to go, with play being held up for a few minutes as treatment was administered. Defender, Michael Robinson intervened as he went between Purcell and Ben Cornish at close quarters to dilute an attack.
Wolves captain Jacob Timpano moved up into the midfield as the team desperately searched for an equaliser. He produced a powerful shot on 84 minutes that rocketed in but unfortunately did not have the desired result. In the dying moments his free kick cannoned into the defensive wall.
Rockdale took one of their many chances and in the end was all that needed to secure the victory. South Coast can lament the fact that the early goal should have been preventable and that once again had to chase the game but sorry to say fell short.
In the post match interviews the following stated –
Wolves coach Richard Lloyd – ‘we gave it away, we gift wrapped it. It’s not good enough, and then we are always fighting at the end. We had a good week at training. At the end it is always a scrap. It is disappointing’.
South Coast Wolves goalkeeper, Daniel Collison – on the conceded early killer goal – ‘It was in the first few minutes – the long ball today got us. The wet weather was atrocious but we had our fair chances in the second half but unfortunately we could not jag a goal at the end.’…. On his fine form –‘it was good to keep the boys in the game at certain stages. I thought we were definitely going to press for an equaliser but it wasn’t our day but hopefully we can build on that for Bonnyrigg’.
Rockdale City Suns midfield player, Paul Reid – on the early goal easing their pressure after last week’s result – ‘It certainly did. We said before the game that to come off a 5-1 loss last week which it was a really disappointing performance, considering we had done so well before that. We went into this game thinking it would be tough conditions. It was raining for a lot of the game and it was a very heavy pitch. We said to each other that no matter what, we wanted the three points. It didn’t matter if it was ugly. We had to bounce back from a big loss the week before. It was ugly but it showed a bit of character from the boys. They fought really hard and we could have scored a lot more, but the main thing today that we got the three points.’ ……’We are creating chances and quite a few but it is just that final ball and final decision by our players that are costing us. We put ones wide that we should put into the back of the net. South Coast, even though they are bottom of the table were always going to be a team that fought hard. We only picked up one point last year after they beat us here and had a draw down there but we knew how tough it would be. We got the three points and got back on that winning run.’
ROCKDALE CITY SUNS …………………..1
Nicola Taneski 2’
SOUTH COAST WOLVES.….…………….. 0
@ ILINDEN SPORTS CENTRE ROCKDALE
Sunday 6th April 2014
3.00 p.m. Kick Off
ROCKDALE CITY SUNS F.C.
Coach: Branko Culina
1.Tomislav Arcaba, 3.Steven Hesketh, 4.Sean Symonds (16.Daniel Barac 61’) 5.Paul Reid 6. Takuya Murayama 8.Paul Kohler 9.Tadhg Purcell 11.Nikola Taneski 12.Idriss El Hafiane (13. Ben Cornish 79’) 21.Patrick Savor (2.Andrija Petkovic 79’) 23.Askin Oygur ©,
Substitutes not used: 19.Tommy Lo 22.David Bradasevic
Yellow Cards: Steven Hesketh 24’
Red Card: Nil
SOUTH COAST WOLVES F.C.
Coach: Richard Lloyd
1.Daniel Collison 2.Jack Keating 4.Michael Robinson 6.Zac Mackenzie 7.Chris Price 8.Matthew Bailey 15. Darcy Madden 10.Ricky Zucco (21.Joseph Lavalle 72’) 22.Sam Matthews (Chris Nathaniel 89’) 26.Jacob Timpano (Capt.) Peter Simonoski (11.Mitchell Del Turco 61’)
Substitutes not used: 30. Tom Hamilton,
Yellow Cards: Chris Price 7’
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Christopher Young
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling, Joon Park
4th Official: David Haslett
By Malcolm Rowney
Photo by Milenko Klisic