Jake Jovanosvski was the hero for Northbridge Bulls in their clash with Sydney FC at the Sydney United Sports Centre as his very late winner denied the Sky Blues of three much needed points on a chilly Saturday evening.
Sydney FC entered this match as underdogs going against the in-form Bulls outfit, but seemed up to the challenge from the opening whistle.
The Young Sky Blues were able to contain a dangerous Northbridge Bulls side for the entirety of the first half, sending them into the break up 1-0 courtesy of a Clayton Taylor goal.
The Bulls levelled the game at the hour mark after Stephan De Robillard perfectly served up a ball for Lachlan Sepping.
Sydney FC regained their lead in the 85th minute through a phenomenal solo effort from Corey Hollman, which seemed likely to be the winner at the time.
The hosts pushed hard until the final seconds and were rewarded with a last-second equaliser after Jovanovski’s header sailed past the crowded goal line sending the brave Bulls fans into chaos as the hosts celebrated their miraculous comeback.
Northbridge Bulls saw the first real chance of the game early on as captain Rory Jordan neatly picked out Yianni Nicolaou from a free-kick, his powerful header was defused by Tom Heward-Belle.
Both side’s defensive lines looked impressive sifting out their opposing numbers chances throughout the early stages of the game.
Sydney FC managed to breakdown the Bulls’ backline in the 20th minute after Hollman sent a dangerous ball through to Taylor.
He was met by the Northbridge defence, but out-powered the opposition defence to find himself with a clear one-on-one where he made no mistakes slotting it past Ryan Wood for the opener.
The Sky Blues remained on the front-foot and came agonisingly close to doubling the lead minutes later.
Callum Talbot played an impressive long ball over the top to Adrian Segecic, sending him through on goal. He was met by an oncoming Wood who impressively denied the rifling shot to keep his side in the game.
Jim Van Weerem’s troops went into the break up 1-0.
Northbridge Bulls entered the second half a determined outfit and looked likely to find their equaliser and were unlucky to not have one shortly after the resumption of play.
De Robillard played an impressive ball through to Bul Jauch giving him a clear sight of goal. It was Heward-Belle’s moment to shine on this on a one-on-one this time as he made a world-class save to deny Juach and maintain his side’s one goal advantage.
Sydney FC thought they had their second after a sensational solo run from Aidain Simmons was capped off with a brilliant finish, however a foul was ruled in the lead up play denying the visitors of their second.
Northbridge made their chances count after this and found their equaliser through Sepping. De Robillard picked out his teammate after weaving his way through the Sydney defence and putting it on a platter for Sepping to level the scores.
Talbot looked keen to answer back immediately for Sydney FC and came within inches after his piercing shot narrowly missed the posts.
The Sky Blues couldn’t be denied much longer and restored their lead in the 85th minute.
Hollman will be in for goal of the season contention after taking the ball from near halfway and getting past the Bulls backline to find himself on the perfect angle for his shot to be driven into the back of the net in what looked to be the winner at the time.
Northbridge were incredibly resilient in the dying stages of the game and broke Sydney FC’s hearts after Jovanovski capped off a chaotic moment of play in the box, scoring a powerful header from a goal line clearance with what would be the final play of the game.
Sydney FC’s Head Coach Jim Van Weeren was impressed with his sides’ improved performance but was undeniably heartbroken with the last minute equaliser.
“Look I think it was one of our better performances of the season to be fair, we were happy with it.
“It was something we should have been able to deal with [the late equaliser], there was a few errors in there that some guys need to hold their hand up for, but you look at when we had an opportunity at one nil to make it two nil but we gave away a really unnecessary foul which caused the goal, they go and score a few minutes later with some sloppy defending and that’s been the story of our season.”
Mile Sterjovski admitted his side weren’t at their best but credited their resilience to push for the draw.
“To be honest I don’t think we were at the races today, Sydney performed really well, credit to our boys even though it probably wasn’t our best performance we were still able to come back and get a point.
“This season there’s been quite a few that have gone the opposite way, especially early on in this season, credit to the boys to keep fighting to keep going to keep pushing forward and keep putting pressure on and in the end we’ve got our rewards so I’m very proud.”
Northbridge Bulls FC 2 (Sepping 60’, Jovanovski 90+4)
Sydney FC 2 (Taylor 21’, Hollman 85’)
Saturday 29th May, 2021
Sydney United Sports Centre
Northbridge Bulls FC: 1. Ryan Wood, 6. Lachlan Sepping , 9. Bul Jauch (16. Jake Jovanovski), 10. Rory Jordan, 11. Stephan De Robillard (4. Lawrence Frederick), 12. Brodie Clarkson, 13. Walter Scott (2. Jack Mcloughlin), 15. Eddie Caspers, 17. Yianni Nicolaou, 21. Anthony Krilic, 23. Milislav Popovic (18. Diego Bonilla).
Substitutes Not Used: 40. Griffin Barry
Yellow Cards: nil
Red Cards: nil
Sydney FC: 30. Tom Heward-Belle, 3. Aaron Gurd, 5. Tom Fay (10. Oscar Priestman) 7. Aiden Simmons , 9. Antonio Saracino (2. Cameron Fong), 11. Adrian Segecic, 12. Jake Girdwood-Reich (32. Kai Kamikura), 13. Clayton Taylor, 16. Stevan Stanic-Floody, 23. Callum Tablot (22. Aleksandar Duncic) 33. Corey Hollman,
Substitutes Not Used:, 15. Scott Browning,
Yellow Cards: Simmons
Red Cards: Saracino
Assistant Referees: J.Adabjou and E.Kocbek
Fourth Official: J.Ewin