Sydney United 58 asserted their championship credentials and maintained their six-point cushion over second-placed Blacktown City with a 3-1 win over last-placed Blacktown Spartans at Sydney United Sports Centre.
Although Mark Rudan’s side opened the scoring in the first minute of the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s clash through Nikola Taneski, it was not the one-sided affair that the early deficit may have otherwise signalled.
Japanese maestro Shu Sasaki restored parity for the Spartans after an admirable response from the visiting Blacktown side who matched the competition favourites throughout the encounter with an attractive and gutsy brand of football.
But Ben De Haan’s side will live to regret another deeply frustrating evening in which the visitors fashioned plenty of opportunities but failed to properly capitalise, with Jacob Tratt’s first-half strike and Glen Trifiro’s second-half tap-in on debut consigning Blacktown to their twelfth defeat of the season at a chilly Edensor Park.
The first-placed Reds were lining up without the competition’s leading marksman, the suspended Chris Payne but it only took sixty-seconds for replacement Nikola Taneski to shine in the absence of United 58’s leading marksman.
The former Rockdale man opened the scoring with a measured lob over Blacktown shot stopper Carlos Saliadarre.
It looked as though a long evening would be in store for the tenth-placed Spartans but Taneski’s strike sparked Blacktown into a sustained spell of pressure leaving Japanese maestro Shu Sasaki to stun the home crowd with a tidy finish at the back post after good work in the build up by Andre Carle.
United 58 flexed their muscles following Sasaki’s equaliser and it took a fine double save from Saliadarre to keep out Panni Nikas,
However, the Blacktown custodian could do no more when Jacob Tratt restored Sydney’s lead from the following corner. The former Sydney FC product reacted quickest to turn the ball home after Nikas’ delivery ricocheted off the shins of Luka Dukic in a familiar stroke of misfortune for the Spartans.
Despite trailing at the break, Blacktown came out aggressively in the second half but were betrayed by a lack of finesse in the final third as the side squandered several genuine moments of danger. Jordan Crighton wasted an opportunity to find an unmarked teammate from the byline, while forward Anthony Proia
The Spartans came out aggressively in the second half and put their opponents on the back foot. A lack of finesse in the final third proved costly as the side failed to capitalize on several genuine moments of danger. Jordan Crighton squandered an opportunity to find an unmarked teammate from the by-line, while forward Anthony Proia struck the crossbar moments after Sydney United 58’s stretched their advantage to two through Glen Trifiro.
It was nonetheless a timely reminder of the hosts’ quality and the tale of both sides’ respective campaigns to date when the Reds’ debutant Trifiro finished off a sweeping counter attacking move at the back post after United 58 had survived another spell of Blacktown pressure midway through the second half, punishing the Spartans for their profligacy and putting another dent in their survival hopes.
Sydney United 58 3 (Taneski 1’, Tratt 20, Trifiro 67’)
Blacktown Spartans 1 (Sasaki 7’)
Sunday 3rd of July 2016
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Referee: A. Ardnt
Assistant Referees: S. Edeling and P. Telechi
Fourth Official: M. McOist
Sydney United 58: 4. Eddy Bosnar, 21. Thomas Manos, 10. Robert Mileski, 3. Masato Mochizuki, 23. Panny Nikas, 11. Nikola Taneski (18. Glen Trifiro 57’), 24. Jacob Tratt, 8. Peter Triantis, 20. Tomislav Uskok, 14. Nick Stavroulakis (33. Nathan Sherlock 80’)
Substitutes Not Used: 30. Luke Babic, 22. Jack Stewart, 16. Kristopher Vlismas,
Yellow Cards: 4. Eddy Bosnar 88’
Red Cards: N/A
Blacktown Spartans: 16. Andre Carle (2. Jajaw Wand 77’), 11. Jordan Crighton, 10. Futa Nakamura, 9. Anthony Proia, 4. Xavier Quigley, 1. Carlos Saliadarre, 7. Shu Sasaki, 3. Joshua Tanner, 20. Benjamin Tosi, 25. Jason Trifiro, 5. Luka Dukic (15. Thomas Whiteside 45’)
Substitutes Not Used: 41. Domenic Nascimben, 17. Aaron White, 28. Michael Konestabo
Yellow Cards: 5. Luka Dukic 32’
Red Cards: N/A
By PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s reporter Jacob Windon