IN a dress rehearsal for the Waratah Cup Final this Sunday, Blacktown City FC have taken early bragging rights with a 2-1 victory over fellow finalists Manly United.
The title chasing side scored in each half, to see off a gallant Manly United on a blustery afternoon at Lilys Football Centre.
Blacktown City FC started brightly almost scoring within the first minute. Mitchell Mallia was industrious in the midfield, tracking back to win the ball feeding it to Matthew Lewis who couldn’t force it towards the goal.
Wing play was a feature of the opening half for Blacktown City, as Giorgio Speranza and Yianni Fragogiannis worked tirelessly down each flank. Fragogiannis almost found Travis Major in the 7′ minute but for the intervention of Dylan Mitchell.
Major was the vocal point for the Blacktown City attack – his runs into the box causing the Manly United defence trouble but he wasn’t able to convert the chances in the first half.
It would be the visitors who would be first on the scoresheet. Brendan Cholakian placing himself in the right position from a Sam Galloway cross to tap it past a despairing Blake Tuxford for a 1-0 lead against the run of play.
The constant attacking pressure from Blacktown City FC tolled on Manly United, as Major wasn’t contained down the wing, taking a Fragogiannis pass before putting it right on the head of Mitchell Mallia to level proceedings just before half time.
A gallant Manly side almost responded instantly, as cheeky cross almost made a fool of Tuxford who needed to make a last ditch effort to stop it going towards the goal.
After half time the game regressed into the pattern that evolved in the opening twenty minutes.
Blacktown City FC had most of the attacking chances with Manly United trying their luck on the counter attack mostly through Brendan Cholakian. The striker forced Tuxford into a good save and James Oates could only manage to hit the side netting.
He was the architect for the opening goal but Major was the recipient for the second Blacktown City FC goal. Mallia, this time working down the wing, played in a delightful cross. Major arrived right on cue, to put the ball into the back of the net.
Blacktown City FC were rewarded for their attacking play down either wing prying open the Manly United side and earning their 2-1 lead.
It was almost a third goal for the home side but a foul on the keeper saw it ruled out.
Manly’s stubbornness almost brought them an equaliser late in the contest. Roberto Speranza overhit a cross that was put out for the corner. From the set piece, Chris Payne wasn’t able to put the point blank header either side of Tuxford.
The home side played out the rest of the contest without an incident to secure a vital three points ahead of the Waratah Cup final at Lambert Park this Sunday and kept pressure on Blacktown Spartans at the top of the ladder.
Blacktown City FC 2 (Mitchell Mallia 42′, Travis Major 62′)
Manly United 1 (Brendan Cholakian 29′)
Sunday 15th June, 2014
Lilys Football Centre, Seven Hills
Referee: Benjamin Abraham
Assistant Referees: Murray Wilson and Thomas Lee
Fourth Official: Samuel Grasso
Blacktown City FC: 13.Blake Tuxford, 3.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Yianni Fragogiannis, 5.Jacob Poscoliero, 6.Matthew Lewis(18.Daniel Araujo 70′), 7.Travis Major, 8.Sasa Macura, 9.Ryuji Miyazawa, 14.Mitchell Mallia, 16.Kearyn Baccus (10.Shayne D’Cunha 78′), 19.Zac Cairncross
Substitutes not used: 11.Danny Choi, 15.Marco Travaglini
Yellow Cards: Giorgio Speranza
Red Cards: Nil
Manly United FC: 1.Dylan Mitchell, 2.James Oates, 3.Leigh Egger, 4.Graeme Forbes, 5.Joshua Lawson, 6.Joshua Ward, 9.Christopher Payne, 10.Brendan Cholakian (19.Daniel Saric), 15.Rhys Williams, 21.Patrick Weir, 31.Dylan Whitlock (22.Jack Green)
Substitutes: 8.Daniel Grant, 11.Roberto Speranza, 12.Dominic Ferguson, 20.Tonu Liiband
Yellow Cards: Brendan Cholakian, Rhys Williams
Red Cards: Nil
– By Justin Davies, National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1 Reporter, at Lilys Football Centre