Blacktown City FC produced a sublime performance in front of their own fans to brush aside Bonnyrigg White Eagles by a 4-1 score line in blustery conditions at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Sean Rooney opened the scoring for the hosts with a brilliant finish before Ryuji Miyazawa put his side three up with a goal in each half.
Robbie Younis came off the bench to pull a goal back and give hope to Bonnyrigg yet any chances of a comeback were dashed soon after when Travis Major rounded off the win with a cool finish.
The result sees Bonnyrigg slip behind Sydney United 58 FC and into third while Blacktown City move ahead of Rockdale City Suns and into fourth as the race for finals football heats up.
Both sides took time to settle into the game as they battled against each other and the strong winds which caused general gameplay to become disjointed throughout the match.
In a match where chances were few and far between the first effort on target was produced by Vuko Tomasevic who looked to catch out Brody Crane with a powerful 40-yard drive; despite the ball finding a lot of movement Crane was well positioned to make a confident save.
The ball remained caught up in a scrappy midfield battle for an extended period before Major looked to spark life into his side soon after the half hour mark.
Mark Crittenden’s decision to play Major on the left side of midfield rather than on the left side of defence has proved to be a stroke of genius in recent months and that trend looked to continue as the enigmatic youngster cut inside from the left flank to shrug off the challenge of Jordan Crighton and fire wide of goal.
Major’s next attacking run saw him dart across the pitch and clear down the right wing to meet Ray Miller’s brilliantly weighted through ball; Major’s cross was delivered with the same pin-point accuracy to find Rooney in the box.
Rooney took full advantage to open the scoring with the most delightful of finishes as he deftly flicked the ball behind his leading leg and inside the near post.
The fans had barely retaken their seats before they were brought to their feet once again as Blacktown City quickly doubled their advantage.
Rooney was afforded space on the right flank to swing a dangerous cross into the box; Miyazawa perhaps best judged the flight of the ball in the wind as he beat Matthew Nash to a seemingly routine catch before tucking the ball into an open goal.
The quick fire double put the hosts in the driver’s seat going into the interval, leaving Bonnyrigg with it all to do in the second half if they were to keep pressure on league leader’s Sutherland Sharks.
Miller was the stand out player of the opening half and he looked to produce more of the same in the second as he skinned Crighton with his blistering pace before firing goalward from 20-yard; the effort required a fine low save from Nash who tipped the ball away for a corner.
Brian Brown looked for a quick remedy to bolster his side’s attack which had proved toothless so far, bringing in Robbie Younis and Alex Canak to aid their hunt for a route back into the match.
The visitor’s next corner almost paved the way for a goal as a Younis took control of a goalmouth scramble to tee up Tomasevic on the edge of the box; once again Crane was positioned to deny the defender once again with a pair of safe hands.
Howard Fondyke was next to test Crane as he met Chis Tadrosse’s ball with a powerful first-time strike; the custodian was again up to the task.
Younis crafted Bonnyrigg’s next chance as he held the ball up on the edge of the box before sliding Mitch Long through on goal with a smart ball; Crane reacted quickly to block Long’s attempted finish before Andrea Del Brocco bravely threw his body into the path of Younis’ follow-up to deflect the ball clear.
Blacktown City almost wrapped up the game soon after when Kearyn Baccus intercepted Tadrosse’s clearance before putting Rooney one-on-one with the goalkeeper; Nash was quick off his line to spread his frame to deny Rooney a second of the afternoon.
Miyazawa made no mistake with his next chance soon after; the fleet-footed Japanese import slipped in behind Bonnyrigg’s backline to meet Patrick Gatt’s long ball before rounding the keeper slotting home to secure his brace and give his side a seemingly unassailable lead.
Bonnyrigg responded quickly as their substitutes combined well to pull a goal back within minutes; Canak found Younis in the box and the striker was clinical as he tucked his finish into the back of the net to give his side hopes of a comeback.
It was not to be as Major wrapped up the win for Blacktown City soon after, collecting Rooney’s pass before calmly placing the ball past Nash with the coolest of finishes.
Crittenden then withdrew Miller for Matthew Mayora for the closing minutes; the midfielder received a deserved ovation from the fans for his brilliant performance on the afternoon.
The final chance of the match fell to Aaron Peterson who produced a solid volley only to see his effort blocked by Del Brocco, summing up the afternoon for both sides as Blacktown City showed true grit to earn their win while Bonnyrigg were left frustrated and well beaten despite giving it their all until the final whistle.
Blacktown City FC coach Mark Crittenden was delighted with the win and happy to see that all went to plan for his side this afternoon:
“I’m very happy,” said Crittenden jovially.
“I thought we did well – we played very well last week and didn’t win – so football’s a funny game.
“They’re always extremely hard to beat and to put four past them was very good.
“It was always going to be a tough one, we went against the breeze in the first-half and wanted to go into half-time in front or even all square would have been nice, so it went to plan which doesn’t always happen so it was good.”
Crittenden also took time out to praise both Travis Major and Ray Miller who were both brilliant in today’s win:
“Travis will tell you his best position is up top,” joked Crittenden.
“We keep teasing him that we’ll drop him into right back so he’s ready to leave the club but he’s done well.
“Ray has great feet.
“He’s carried a few injuries and we’re just getting him back now so if we can keep him on the park and get ourselves into the finals he’ll be a hard player to contend with.
“He’s got super feet and is very quick over ten yards so he’s very quick.”
With all eyes on the table going into the latter stages of the season Crittenden will continue to take things one week at a time to keep his side focussed for the run into the finals:
“There are still seven teams that are a chance of making the finals,” said Crittenden.
“I’m not counting my chickens yet that’s for sure.
“We’ve got United and Marconi in the next two weeks so it doesn’t get any easier for us.
“We’ll just keep taking every week at a time.
“I’m happy with the way we’re playing; we’re playing some good football so it’s definitely a positive.”
Bonnyrigg White Eagles coach Brian Brown was disappointed by the result and thought his players deserved more for the effort they showed this afternoon:
“Obviously it’s a bad result on an awful pitch on awful day, really, for us,” said Brown.
“I didn’t think we played particularly that bad to lose 4-1, I just think we’re losing very bad goals.
“There’s a lack of communication in that area and it’s killing us at the moment.
“When we should clear it we’re not, when we should come we’re not, and that’s been hard on us.
“I think we’re just losing goals at killer times and it’s hurting us.
“I can’t fault the effort of the players; a lot of teams would just stop and we’ve kept going until the end.
“We certainly had enough chances to score a few goals but it’s just not happening for us at the moment.”
Brown stood by his squad and accepted responsibility for today’s result while challenging his players to their recent run of poor form around as a team to get their campaign back on track:
“This is the time where if we’re going to show something as a club and a team we’ve got to stand up, stick together, and go forward,” said Brown.
“There’s no question that the guys in the changing room have the talent, I’ve got to take the responsibility for the result because I pick the team.
“If any blame is to be placed on anybody’s shoulders it’s on me because ultimately I put the players on the park.”
Blacktown City FC 4 (Sean Rooney 36’, Ryuji Miyazawa 38’, 74’, Travis Major 82’)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 1 (Robbie Younis 78’)
Sunday 21st July, 2013
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: Michael Weiner
Assistant Referees: Andrej Giev and Lance Greenshields
Fourth Official: Lachlan Keevers
Blacktown City FC: 1.Brody Crane; 3.Andrea Del Brocco, 6.Matt Lewis, 7.Travis Major, 8.Ray Miller (15.Matthew Mayora 83’), 9.Ryuji Miyazawa, 10.Harris Gaitatzis (4.Yianni Fragogiannis 71’), 11.Sean Rooney, 12.Kearyn Baccus, 19.Zac Cairncross (5.Patrick Gatt 26’), 20.Jacob Poscoliero
Substitutes Not Used: 13.Blake Tuxford
Yellow Cards: Travis Major 85’
Red Cards: Nil
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 1.Matthew Nash; 4.Vuko Tomasevic, 5.Chris Tadrosse, 6.Nikola Zonjic, 7.Tynan Diaz, 10.Mitchell Long, 14.Jordan Crighton (9.Robert Younis 50’), 16.Howard Fondyke, 18.Adrian Ucchino, 19.Aaron Peterson, 21.Bo Hyun Chun (8.Aleksander Canak 50’)
Substitutes Not Used: 2.Alex Mansueto, 15.Steven Hesketh, 33.Nikodin Matic
Yellow Cards: Tynan Diaz 90’
Red Cards: Nil
-By Michael Shoolman