Bankstown Lions fortitude and grit wins derby

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A goal to Shannon Burgin minutes after half-time was enough for Bankstown City Lions FC to secure a win in the derby against Rockdale City Suns at Ilinden Sports Center in front of 1200 people on Saturday night.

It was Rockdale who controlled the match and created more chances but the visitors made the most of one of their best chances when Burgins headed home to draw first blood. The striker struggled to get into the match in the first half but he managed to jump highest to get on the end of the swinging free-kick.

The first 45 was a tasteless affair and lacked the fire and passion that was expected to be evident in this match.

Both sides struggled to make an immediate impact on the game, but it was Rockdale who looked to settle into the encounter the best with a couple of opportunities in succession. Strong defending from the visitors left the Suns wincing as they failed to capitalise early but their start left them encouraged and determined.

The home side continued to pile on the pressure and allowed Bankstown barely a sniff. The Lions struggled to deal with the Rockdale’s width and quick ball movement. The only halt in Rockdale’s dominance were Bankstown’s rare quick and decisive attacks, though two of those were ruled offside.

Bankstown looked to pinch the lead three minutes from the break but couldn’t find the accuracy to test the Rockdale ‘keeper. The visitors fought hard to shift control of the match but failed to depict Rockdale’s disciplined shape.

The Burgin’s goal not long after the teams returned from the break was the only change to a relatively similar second half as Rockdale surged forward but failed to really muster up a clear chance.

It was Jeffery Issa who had Rockdale’s best opportunity though he failed to hit the back of the net as he snapped his shot straight at the rushing ‘keeper. Bankstown couldn’t do any better in a replica situation just minutes later when Dion Shaw dove low to his left to save.

A long-distance drive from Joshua Lawson was hit well but Bankstown weren’t worried as the attempt didn’t threaten their well-held one goal lead.

They withstood the Rockdale onslaught and counter-attacked with authority. Burgin nearly scored his second as he hit the crossbar at the end of yet another dangerous and fast attack.

The home side didn’t look phased by the close call and hit the post themselves in the 78th minute after a superb volley from Sash Tirovski. It was a symbol of the Suns frustrations as they continuously came close but couldn’t finish.

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