SYDNEY'S pre-season clean sheet record has finally come to an end after eight matches and more than 800 minutes of play in a 4-1 win over local side Sutherland Sharks
Two goals in each half secured the win for a youthful Sydney squad, with Sutherland's consolation goal coming from the last kick of the match.
Both teams showed a willingness to attack in the early stages of the clash at Seymour Shaw Park but it was the Hyundai A-League outfit that struck the first blow, off the boot of Chris Payne in the 19th minute of the match.
A full blooded shot from Stuart Musialik proved too much for Sharks' keeper Nathan Denham to handle and his fumble fell to Payne who calmly slotted the loose ball, then dedicated the goal to his grandmother, who recently passed away.
The first goal sparked a frenetic period of play. Brad Boardman could easily have equalised for the hosts one minute later but was denied the chance of a clean shot by Sydney's scrambling defence, and former Sutherland star, Brendan Gan came close for the Sky Blues immediately after, with his cheeky chip just missing the mark at the other end of the field.
There were more near misses for both teams but Sydney was the side taking its chances - in the 35th minute Gan combined with Kofi Danning and the lead was out to two.
After beating his defender down the right flank Danning delivered a beautiful ball to the far post and Gan hammered home a fierce header, giving the keeper no hope and doubling Sydney's advantage leading into the break.
Already fielding a young side, Coach Vitezslav Lavicka introduced some National Youth League trialists into the action in the second half but it didn't slow Sydney's momentum.
Kerim Bulut proved that persistence pays eight minutes after the restart, fighting his way past two defenders - and the keeper inside the Sharks' penalty area and stretching the scoreline to 3-nil.
If Sydney's third goal was a demonstration of determination then the fourth was all about finesse. Again on the attack, Bulut made an angled run towards goal before passing square for Glen Trefiro. The Youth League trialist cleverly let the ball run for Chris Payne, before turning inside and receiving the return pass in a perfect position to score.
Trailing 4-0, the NSW Premier League outfit fought hard in the closing stages of the game as it sought desperately to narrow the deficit, and twice in the space of a few minutes the hosts were denied by great saves from Sky Blues' custodian, Ivan Necevski.
The hosts eventually got the reward they deserved in the final seconds of play - a cheap turnover on halfway gifted Sutherland possession and substitute, Matthew Villazon pressed forward before finding the net with the last kick of the match for a final score 4-1 win for Sydney FC.
The Sky Blues will make the final State League stop of their pre-season program against NSW Premier League side, Sydney Olympic at Belmore Oval on Sunday, July 19.