Spartans resist Rockdale challenge

The Blacktown Spartans didn't give an inch against Rockdale for their win at Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale, on Sunday.
The Blacktown Spartans didn't give an inch against Rockdale for their win at Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale, on Sunday.

BLACKTOWN Spartans returned to their winning ways with a 1-0 victory over the Rockdale City Suns at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.

The lone goal of the match came two minutes before half-time when Corey Biczo took advantage of a Rockdale miscommunication to poke the ball into the back of the net.

Rockdale gave a much better showing in the second period but were unable to break a stubborn Spartans.

The match could have been very different after Blacktown's slow start after they passed the ball directly to Rockdale striker Nikola Taneski whose shot was well saved by Carlos Saliadarre.

The mistake awakened the Spartans who started pressuring the Rockdale defence and almost had the lead in the ninth minute when a corner hit the top of the net after Suns keeper Tomislav Arcaba missed the ball.

Rockdale started to take control of possession in the middle of the first half, passing the ball around the edge of the Spartans' box but unable to unlock the defence.

The goal finally came in the 43rd minute when Biczo made amends for his earlier miss.

The attacker took advantage of a breakdown between Rockdale's centre back pairing of Askkin Oygur and Muata-Marlow, sneaking past the duo and getting a foot to the ball to see it past the oncoming Arcaba.

Rockdale were eager to get their equaliser early in the second half with wingers Sean Symons and Tahj Minniecon both causing havoc to the Spartans' defence.

Symons played a neat one-two with Tadgh Purcell three minutes later to open the Blacktown defence but the former's shot was well blocked.

Former A-League player Paul Reid tried something different from a free kick in shooting distance, faking a shot to release Minniecon on the right hand side. The speedster made his way into the Spartans' box but his cross was well cut off by a diving Saliadarre.

The Spartans were not resting on their laurels as Biczo and Mitchell Long both forced great saves out of Arcaba.

Blacktown Spartans head coach Ben De Haan said he was happy his team stuck to the tactics set out on a difficult pitch.

"It was purely result based today, that's all it was about," he said.

"You can't come here to play, the ground is atrocious and so were the conditions.

"We've been taught a couple of lessons on wet, boggy pitches on Sunday afternoons. People have played like that against us in the last couple of weeks and got the result.

"It is results based for the next eight weeks so we will be working hard."

In the home dressing room Rockdale City Suns head coach Brank Culina was left frustrated with the result.

"Credit to (Blacktown Spartans), we knew they would set up the way they did," he said.

"It was more about physical presence and the battle and they are more physical than us.

"In the end I thought we copped a soft goal as well. Their goalkeeper kicks the ball out, we miss it and then two of our players are caught out. It was always going to be a tough game because of the conditions."


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