AS FAR as boilovers go, this one was one of the biggest, as Manly United rolled Blacktown City 4-1 in their own backyard.
Paul Dee’s excellent Manly side were 3-0 up at the break thanks to goals from Chris Payne, Travis Oughtred, and Brendan Cholakian. They dominated most of the match, certainly until Joe Gibbs’ late consolation goal sparked a late Blacktown City siege. Blacktown City even won a late penalty, but Manly keeper Tonu Liiband saved Travis Major’s effort, before Cholakian added his second in stoppage time on the counter attack.
Gibbs’ goal was too little, and far too late for Mark Crittenden’s side anyway, who after escaping with a draw against Rockdale City Suns last week, succumbed to their first defeat of the season.
They were up against it from the start, after Payne gave Manly an early lead. The Manly striker was a constant menace and he needed no further invitation when the ball fell to him in the area. He shrugged off a desperate challenge from Matt Lewis, to coolly finish past Nenad Vekic.
Manly’s midfield axis of Bastien Beauchat and Daniel Bragg were dominant, leaving their counterparts Connor Evans and Sasa Macura in the shade.
A Manly corner in the 29th minute yielded their second goal, when Adam Parkhouse’s inswinging corner was flicked on to the grateful Oughtred, who bundled home his first goal since the under 17s. "I didn’t know what to do," the centre half claimed afterwards, but he managed to get it done when it mattered.
Blacktown City were shell-shocked, and Manly full of confidence. Payne tested Vekic with a shot from 40 yards but the keeper was able to back-pedal and tip the ball over the bar. But the third came when a Cholakian free kick from the left evaded a packed penalty area, eventually nestling in the bottom corner, with Vekic left helpless by the defenders blocking his view.
His counterpart Liiband had to be sharp shortly before half time when Patrick Antelmi turned and shot to the near post, but it was Blacktown City’s only salvo of the opening 45 minutes.
Crittenden sent on Daniel Araujo for the ineffective Christos Tomaras for the second half, and Major for the quiet Danny Choi ten minutes later.
It had a galvanising effect, but mostly after Gibbs’ goal gave the home side a sniff of a point.
Adam Parkhouse and Beauchat both went close, and it should have been 4-0 when Daniel Saric rounded Vekic only to shoot into the side netting. Bragg was well placed in the middle for a cut back and was rightly furious when it didn’t arrive.
Major screwed wide with the goal gaping in the 75th minute, before Gibbs bundled home his goal after a scramble in the area.
Suddenly the home side was alive and when Patrick Antelmi was upended by Liiband two minutes later, Major strode to the spot. Liiband guessed the right way and made a great save.
Still Blacktown attacked, and with only three defenders on the park after Sam Perre replaced Giorgio Speranza, they were always going to be playing high risk football.
In the 81st minute, Antelmi’s shot hit the far post, rolled along the goal line, hit the near post, before it was pounced on by Liiband. Somehow, it didn’t go in.
Even more startling was Antelmi’s miss in stoppage time, when a cross from the right needed only a gentle touch from three yards, but unbelievably the striker got his feet tangled and could only clear the ball away from the goal line, when it looked harder to score.
If that wasn’t hard enough to take, Cholakian then raced clear to emphatically add Manly’s well deserved fourth, and complete a top day for the team in blue.
Blacktown City 1 (Gibbs 78′)
Manly United 4 (Payne 9′, Oughtred 29′, Cholakian 35′, 90+2′)
Sunday April 26, 2015
Lilys Football Centre, Seven Hills
Referee: Ryan Shepheard
Assistant Referees: Nicholas Backo and Jonathon Moore
Fourth Official: Adam Vainauskas
Blacktown City: Vekic; Fragogiannis, Cairncross, Evans, Speranza (Perre 73′), Lewis, Macura, Choi (Major 56′), Antelmi, Tomaras (Araujo 46′), Gibbs
Substitutes not used: Prendergast, Monford
Yellow cards: Macura 34′, Fragogiannis 58′, Lewis 90+4′
Manly United: Liiband; Paull, Lobb, Oughtred, Williams, Parkhouse (McDonald 73′), Bragg, Beauchat, Cholakian, Saric, Payne
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Forbes, Kuluski, Castelnuovo
Yellow cards: Bragg 76′, Liiband 87′
3- Daniel Bragg (Manly)
2- Chris Payne (Manly)
1- Tonu Liiband (Manly)
– by Matthew Lopez, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Editor, at Lilys Football Centre