A LAST gasp goal from Joey Gibbs saved Blacktown City’s blushes in a hard fought 1-1 draw against Rockdale City Suns at Ilinden Sports Centre.
Down 1-0 with time running out, Gibbs’ clinical finish in the 84th minute ensured City kept its unbeaten streak alive, when Hristijan Tanoski’s goal looked like it might have given Rockdale City their first win of the season.
It was a laboured start to the match from both sides as gale force winds hampered any attacking buildup.
Clear cut opportunities were in short supply as the game became bogged down in the middle third.
A rifling Tanoski shot cannoned off the woodwork in the 33rd minute and was Rockdale’s best chance of the first half.
Blacktown City speedster Danny Choi was a constant menace on the left flank but the visitors were unable to find the finishing touch required.
Unsurprisingly, the teams went into the sheds scoreless at half time.
The second stanza started much the same with the strong winds having a big say in the flow of the game.
However after nearly an hour it was Rockdale who found the breakthrough.
Alec Urosevski’s cross beat the Blacktown City defence before Tanoski tapped the ball home from six yards, putting the Suns went ahead 1-0.
Urosevski was again in the centre of the action 69th minute however the winger could not keep his shot down after finding space at the edge of the box.
Blacktown City refused to quit and sent players forward as the second ticked away.
Rockdale City did well to hold out wave after wave of Blacktown City attacks but in the 84th minute the reigning champions found their way.
Captain Zach Cairncross made a marauding run over half way before lobbing a pass into the box for Gibbs to finish from nine yards out.
A final Blacktown attack nearly gave the visitors a surprise win however Suns keeper Tomislav Arcaba did enough to deny Blacktown’s final flourish.
Suns’ coach Branko Culina rued what should have been his side’s first win of the season.
“It is very disappointing to give that game away,” he said.
"We had most of the opportunities and controlled the game but once again we have been unable to maintain our composure for 90 minutes.
“We played well for most of that game and showed glimpses of what we can do.
“To not come away with the three points is very frustrating.”
Rockdale City Suns 1 (Tanoski 55’)
Blacktown City FC 1 (Gibbs 84’)
Referee: Adam Susz
Assistant Referees: Joon Park, Janush Adabjou
Fourth Official: Daniel Stack
Rockdale City Suns: Arcaba; Giannaros (Petrillo 45’), Hesketh, Tanoski (Taneski 73’), Reid, Murayama, Jesic, Urosevski (Alameddine 69’),El Hafiane, Dascal, Savor
Substitutes not used: Iwamoto, Bradasevic
Yellow Cards: Reid 71’
Blacktown City FC: Vekic; Speranza (Grozdanovski 78’), Lewis, Evans, Macura, Gibbs, Tomaras (Araujo 67’), Choi, Antelmi (Perre 67’), Beumie, Cairncross
Substitutes not used: Prendergast, Flottman
Yellow Cards: Tomaras 56′, Speranza 68’
3 – Danny Choi (Blacktown)
2- Hrlstijian Tanoski (Rockdale)
1- Connor Evans (Blacktown)