A LATE goal condemned Rockingham to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of local rivals Mandurah City in the first leg of the Liam Dixon Cup at Lark Hill on Saturday night.
The biggest crowd of the season so far braved the cold weather as Mandurah arrived as league leaders and many people’s favourites for promotion this season.
However, Rockingham started the better of the two sides with Gersholm Rowland guilty of missing three chances in the opening 10 minutes; his trio of shots were either wide or straight at Mandurah goalkeeper Brad Eiffe.
Mandurah’s first chance came in the 11th minute but Jeff Bright’s shot went wide of the target.
This was followed by a spell of pressure from the visitors with Oliver McGee and Andy Brown both missing chances for Mandurah.
The game then went into a midfield stalemate, with neither able to break down the opposing defences.
On half time Mandurah came closest to scoring when Craig Tone’s shot hit the post and Jordan Rhodes placed the rebound wide.
The second half started and again Rockingham came out the brighter of the two sides.
Lyon Hodgkiss headed over from a corner, while Rowland had a good shot saved by Eiffe after he dribbled past two defenders.
The game again went into a stalemate, with neither team wanting to give the opposition a chance.
Ryan Kennedy’s free kick on the hour mark was comfortably saved and this seemed to spark Mandurah into action, as they went straight down the other end of the pitch, only for Oscar Thompson to head over the bar from a Rhodes cross.
Rhodes was then involved with the only goal of the game.
A long ball down the Mandurah right wing found Jonathan Brooks, who managed to get down to the line before whipping in a low hard cross for Rhodes to score at the far post.
He made no mistake, sending Mandurah 1-0 up with little time for a Rockingham riposte.
Earlier in the day, Rockingham’s reserve team lost 4-0 to Mandurah’s reserves, while the Under-18’s won 1-0 to remain top of the ladder.
Next week, Rockingham host South West Phoenix while Mandurah welcomes UWA Nedlands.