BLACKTOWN City has clung on to victory against a fast finishing Sydney United 58 to kick off their 2014 PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 campaign with a 3-2 win at Lily’s Football Centre on Sunday.
An incredible first half hat trick from Mitch Malia provided the platform for the home side as they started their championship defence on the right foot.
Both sides went on the offensive early determined to leave their mark from the opening whistle.
It didn’t take long for the first opportunity of the match when Sydney United 58’s Robert Mileski headed wide from Nick Stavroulakis’ inch perfect cross.
United were unlucky not to take the lead in the 16th minute when Anthony Proia hit the back of the net. Assistant referee James Tesoriero’s offside flag quickly quelled the celebrations.
The disallowed goal took the wind out of United and Blacktown City took advantage of their opposition’s lapse in intensity.
Electric winger Mallia broke free of his marker in the 14th minute before unleashing a stinging shot which beat United keeper Justin Pasfield and gave the home side a 1-0 lead.
The goal put the momentum well and truly on Blacktown City’s side and they doubled their lead in the 27th minute.
Once again it was Mallia who used his pace to full effect before beating Pasfield one on one in the box to make the score 2-0 to City.
Despite the deficit, Sydney United refused to back down and began a fight back in the 33rd minute.
Reds attacker Anthony Proia blasting his shot home after some scrappy lead up play to make the score 2-1.
Only moments later the game was deadlocked when a curling Stejpan Paric corner sailed untouched into the top of the net for a 2-2 scoreline.
With time ticking down before the half time whistle, Blacktown City star Malia wrapped up a superb individual first half performance in style.
His curling free kick from the edge of the box beat Pasfield to cement a hat trick and give Blacktown City a 3-2 lead going into the break.
Sydney United 58 FC came out from the break with renewed vigour and were on the front foot desperate to once again level the scores.
Mirjan Pavlovic proved a tough customer for the Blacktown City defence as the Sydney United striker provided a menacing presence up front for the visitors.
Blacktown City keeper Nenad Vekic was tested time and time again by waves of Sydney United attacks. However the shot stopper was in fine form to deny a spate of quality opportunities from the visitors.
Sasa Macura missed a golden opportunity to put the game out of reach in the 88th minute but the Blacktown City big man skied his shot over the bar following a stinging counter attack.
The final whistle was music to the ears of the Blacktown City faithful as they had held out for all three competition points.
“The result was a great way to start the season but the second half performance showed there is still plenty of work to be done,” Blacktown City head coach Mark Crittenden said.
“We were very flat after the break and lucky not to concede.
“Mitch Mallia was exceptional today. I couldn’t fault his performance in the first half.”
Although disappointed with the loss, Sydney United 58 coach Mark Rudan was confident it was only a minor blip in his side’s premiership campaign.
“Its only round one. There is still a long way to go,” he said.
“We were the best side on the field in the second half and were unlucky not to at least take home a point.
“We will go back to training on Tuesday and regroup ready for round two.”
Blacktown City FC 3 (Mallia 14’, 27, 45’)
Sydney United 58 FC 2 (Proia 33’ Paric 35)
Sunday March 15, 2015
Lilys Football Centre, Seven Hills
Referee: Christopher Young
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields and James Tesoriero
Fourth Official: Adam Vainauskas
Blacktown City FC: Vekic, Araujo, Beumie, Cairncross, Choi, Gibbs, Lewis, Macura, Mallia, Speranza (Antelmi 45’), Tomaras (Perre 83),
Substitutes not used: Pendergast, Grozdanovski, Montford
Yellow Cards: Tomaras 40’, Antelmi 65’, Lewis 67’, Macura 87’
Sydney United 58 FC: Pasfield, Camera, Dragicevic, I. Haydar, Kofinas, Mileski, Paric (Cindric 87’) , Pavlovic, Proia (Billic 80’), Stavroulakis, Tomelic
Substitutes not used: Tomic, Babic, Smith
Yellow Cards: Dragicevic 24’, Kofinas 45’, Stavroulakis 53’
3 – Mallia (Blacktown City)
2 – Pavlovic (Sydney United 58)
1 – Cairncross (Blacktown City)