Manly United fall short at Rockdale
By Chris Curulli
Photo: Football NSW
Manly United suffered an opening day 2-1 defeat at the hands of Rockdale Illinden FC in sweltering conditions on Sunday afternoon.
Both sides converted a penalty each in the first half before the three points were decided by a well-struck goal from substitute Nikola Taneski against his old club.
The hosts were granted an opportunity to open the scoring from the spot after 11 minutes as Sam Guilisano’s free kick was adjudged to have collided with Dominic Ferguson’s elbow inside the area. Alec Urosevski made no mistake in converting a powerful low penalty past Dylan Mitchell.
Manly equalised in the same fashion as five minutes before the interval they were awarded a penalty for Rockdale captain Daniel Petkovski’s heavy challenge on Kieren Paull. Brendan Cholakian calmly slotted home to restore parity for the visitors.
Despite a second half where Manly forged the lion’s share of goalscoring opportunities, the decisive strike was registered in favour of the home side.
In the 66th minute substitute Nikola Taneski was released into a pocket of space out wide and advanced into the penalty area before driving a powerful effort off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net.
Manly upped the ante in an attempt to salvage a result but chances for Dejan Pandurevic, Scott Balderson and an acrobatic Richie Cardozo effort deep into stoppage time all failed to meet their mark.
Manly’s goal scorer Brendan Cholakian was frustrated with the outcome after a tough battle in testing conditions.
“It was extremely hot out there and you could see that both sides were struggling to take the game to the intensity that we would have liked to,” he said.
“I think we played well in patches and kept possession in spells.
“We defended very well for the majority of the game and only conceded from an unlucky penalty and one of their only other shots on target.
“In the second half we made a few poor decisions in the final third which probably cost us in the end.”
Paul Dee’s side will be eager to bounce back when they welcome Blacktown City to Cromer Park for their first home game of the 2020 National Premier Leagues NSW season. Kick-off is at 7pm on Saturday 7th Match.