Berries deny Suns victory in entertaining climax


Both sides entered the fixture coming off important victories against Sydney Olympic and Manly United FC respectively, though despite taking turns at dominating possession throughout the 90? minutes today, neither side managed to run away with the win.
Rockdale City took the lead courtesy of Marino Musumeci?s exceptional lobbed effort over goalkeeper Hamish McLean midway through the second-half before the Berries found their equaliser in the 90? minute via the boot of substitute John Tsironis.
The visitors carved out the first opening down the left-flank courtesy of Stefan De Jesus? right boot. The attacking midfielder picked out the head of Daniel Clifford who sent his glancing header inches wide of the target.
Rockdale City nearly opened the scoring on their first forward foray on 12? minutes initiated down the left-flank. The fine counter-attacking move allowed the Suns to pick out Baturay Akin in the middle; the speedy striker?s ?flicked? effort with the outside of his right boot forced Hamish McLean into a fine save down to his right.
Marino Musumeci?s trickery in the middle of the park constantly created the Berries grief in the defensive third. The Suns attacking midfielder carved out space for Akin firstly, before winning his side a free-kick on the edge of the penalty-area ? both chances though, amounted to nothing.
The home-side threatened again on 32? minutes, this time via a set-piece. George Lagoudakis? floated effort from the right-flank picked out the head of Askin Oygur at the back post though the defender failed to get any power behind his header, collecting the boot of a Berries defender in the face at the same time.
The Berries had the Suns? supporters gasping for air when Omar Saadi?s cross-turn-shot from the left-flank nearly caught Ben McNamara unawares. The Suns shot-stopper backpedalled to get the slightest of touches to deflect the ball onto the crossbar as the resulting ball was wasted with the attacking threat fizzling out.
Rockdale?s response was immediate as Adem Kir played an exquisite through ball across the face of goal and into the path of Peter Apolevski. The Suns captain, with only the goalkeeper to beat from an acute angle, failed to force McLean into a save, instead blasted his effort wide of the target.
West Sydney Berries closed the half on the front foot and very nearly opened the scoring with the last chance of the first-period. Kosta Lagoudakis? in-swinging free-kick from the right found the head of David Gardiner who headed powerfully on target past McNamara, though was denied by the crossbar as the Suns defenders cleared the ball away to safety.
The second-half opened in lively fashion as the Berries, firstly, squandered a fine chance. Dimitri Zakilas and Damir Prodanovic both failed to latch onto a finely cut ball across the face of goal, allowing the Suns defenders to thwart the danger with a desperate clearance.
The Suns reply arrived via the feet of Baturay Akin who held the ball a touch too long before releasing Robert Di Meglio. The midfielder?s low-driven effort lacked power and was easy pickings for McLean in the Berries goal.
Marino Musumeci was in the thick of the action on 53? minutes when he cut in from the right-flank and beat two men in the process. The Suns number 19 created the yard of space required though got his left foot effort all wrong as the ball finished well wide of the intended target.
Musumeci again got in behind the defence moments later, this time on the left-flank, and played a fine ball across the face of goal into the path of Apolevski. The Suns captain, with only the goalkeeper to beat from close-range, failed to keep his first-time effort down, blasting over McNamara?s crossbar.
On the hour, the visitors very nearly found the opening goal. Kosta Lagoudakis? free-kick was partially dealt with by the Suns rearguard as a goalmouth scramble unfolded. Half-chances to Prodanovic and Zakilas were thwarted by some desperate Suns defending, as goalkeeper McNamara managed to clear away any further danger.
Jesse Pinto kept the Suns on the back foot when he picked up a loose ball on the edge of the penalty-area. The right-sided wing-back hit a low-driven effort across the face of goal, narrowly avoiding the lunge from Zakilas as the ball finished wide of the target.
On 72? minutes, Rockdale City found the opening goal courtesy of Marino Musumeci. A fine counter-attacking move by the Suns, started by Dominic Hudap in the Suns? half, released Musumeci on the edge of the Berries penalty-area. With the goalkeeper off his line, Musumeci hit an exceptional chip over McLean to find the back of the net, much to the delight of the home crowd.
The Berries replied on 80? minutes via the feet of Stefan De Jesus. The creative midfielder beat two defenders, cutting in from the right-flank, before striking his effort on goal into the waiting arms of McNamara.
The visitors continued to press in the closing stages of the match in-search of an equaliser, and that pressure finally paid off as substitute John Tsironis salvaged a point in the 90? minute. A cross from the left-flank was diverted onto the post by Zakilas, though the Berries number 10 was on the spot to tap home for the easiest of finishes to secure the Berries a very important point away from home.
Following the match, Rockdale City Suns boss Mile Todoroski expressed his views on his side?s showing:
?I congratulated the players because they played well, I cannot say anything about their effort on the field today.
?To draw, is disappointing because we continue to make mistakes in each match and today we conceded a goal in the last minute.
?We created more chances than in the past, and this team (West Sydney Berries) is a very strong team, so today?s match was always going to be a difficult match for us.
?When you look that they (Berries) bit the crossbar and the post, the result in the end was maybe a fair one ? that is the way football goes sometimes,? ended Todoroski.
West Sydney Berries boss John Calleja was relieved his side scored late-on to take a share of the spoils, though did feel perhaps the Berries could have taken something more from the match:
?We battled hard, created some good chances today and really should have scored some goals.
?I am still a little disappointed as we haven?t managed to keep a clean sheet so far, and we really need to lift our concentration in matches.
?In saying this, we played a really well organised team today, and we created some good chances. Rockdale scored a well-taken goal, though we lost possession too easily in the middle, and it is this sort of mistaken that is hurting us at the moment.
?I am really happy with the way we pressured them at the end, we kept going until the final whistle, and I am happy that we managed to take at least a point, even though we perhaps could have done something more,? ended Calleja.
In the Grade 20 division, a Stefan Donevski hat-trick secured maximum points for Rockdale City Suns; the home-side running out comfortable winners with a 3-0 defeat of West Sydney Berries.
Match Stats
Rockdale City Suns 1 (Marino Musumeci 72?)
West Sydney Berries 1 (John Tsironis 90?)
Sunday, 11th April, 2010
Bicentennial Park, Rockdale
Referee: Adam Weir
Assistant Referees: Nick Backo and Matthew Coulquhoun
Fourth Official: Miles Allen-Scott
Crowd: 650 Approx.
Rockdale City Suns: 1.Ben McNamara; 2.Paul Dee, 3.Mark Bariamis, 7.Peter Apolevski (C), 18.Robert Di Meglio, 17.George Lagoudakis (21.Sam Awad 65?), 19.Marino Musumeci (20.Andrija Petkovic 82?), 23.Askin Oygur (16.Steven Bozinovski 62?), 11.Adem Kir, 8.Dominic Hudap, 13.Baturay Akin
Substitutes Not Used: 22.Chad Taylor, 9.Pece Zaikovski
Yellow Cards: George Lagoudakis 45?+1?
Red Cards: Nil
West Sydney Berries: 1.Hamish McLean;  2.David Gardiner, 8.Jesse Pinto, 4.Daniel Clifford, 3.Omar Saadi (20.James O?Rourke 78?), 7.Peter Peralta (18.Shayne Morrisey 85?), 15.Ryan Jones, 16.Kosta Lagoudakis (C), 12.Stefan De Jesus, 21.Damir Prodanovic (10.John Tsironis 65?), 19.Dimitri Zakilas
Substitutes Not Used: 22.Cem Akilli, 23.Alex Sopina
Yellow Cards: Peter Peralta 31?, Ryan Jones 51?
Red Cards: Nil
Player Ratings:
3 ? Marino Musumeci (RCS)
2 ? Mark Bariamis (RCS)
1 ? Kosta Lagoudakis (WSB)
-By Joseph Carlucci