A late Joey Gibbs penalty has helped Blacktown City edge 10-man Wollongong Wolves 2-0 in their Round 4 PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at Lilys Football Centre.
The lively encounter appeared destined for stalemate until City substitute James Andrew won a penalty with fifteen minutes remaining under the challenge of Wolves skipper Christopher Price.
The Wolves defender saw red and Joey Gibbs made no mistake from the spot to put Blacktown in front.
Andrew secured the three points after slotting past Justin Pasfield with a tidy finish at the near post for his second goal in as many weeks.
Mark Crittenden’s side welcomed the Wolves to Seven Hills on the back of two consecutive victories over Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Sutherland Sharks.
City has begun to hit their stride during the competition’s fledgling weeks and the visitors employed a conservative approach in the first half.
It led to a gritty opening forty-five minutes with very few chances for either side.
The Wolves put in an energetic and committed showing off the ball, while looking to break through the pace of Joshua Macdonald and former Blacktown City goalscoring hero Patrick Antelmi after spells of Blacktown possession.
It was a strategy that rarely threatened to come into fruition, although Jacob Timpano’s outfit did nearly take the lead when David Stojic found himself with a half-chance inside the box.
However, the Wolves midfielder dragged his effort wide and failed to test Blacktown City goalkeeper Tristan Prendergast.
The home side probed with little effect before the break with their best chance falling to Shayne D’Cunha.
The former Wanderers starlet has proven himself a real threat from set-pieces with two goals already this campaign.
This time the City centre-half could only flick a header from a corner midway through the first half.
The closest the hosts came to breaking the deadlock arrived when Danny Choi made a trademark bolt down the left flank with Wollongong defender James Baldacchino nearly deflecting the winger’s cross into his own net.
City began the second stanza with more purpose and Choi forced Wolves keeper Justin Pasfield into a smart save at the near post.
Soon after Joey Gibbs struck the crossbar with a thunderous strike from range.
Pasfield then pulled a save out of the top drawer to deny Mitchell Mallia, with the Wolves gloveman denying the winger’s goalbound effort with a stunning acrobatic effort.
Having frustrated Blacktown throughout the second half, the Wolves spurned a superb chance to open the scoring themselves when Hayden Morton broke free inside the box.
However, the former Spartan was unable to find Yuzo Tashiro who would’ve had a tap in.
It proved a critical lack of killer instinct for Wollongong, who found themselves a man down and a goal behind when substitute James Andrew was felled inside the box by Christopher Price.
Price was dismissed for the challenge and Gibbs made no mistake from the penalty spot, outfoxing Pasfield and hammering an unstoppable effort down the centre.
With Wollongong pressing for an equalizer, Andrew put the score beyond doubt soon after, bursting into space down the right and beating Pasfield with a tidy finish at the near post.
Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden said the 2-0 victory was his side’s best performance of the campaign so far.
“We were really good tonight, I’m really happy," he said.
“Credit to Wollongong, it was a very good game of football.
"I thought the first half was fifty-fifty. Wollongong are a good side and they’re going to cause a few headaches this season. I really rate what they’ve got.
“At the end of the day we just kept trying to do what we do and Jimmy came on and created a bit of havoc.”
Wollongong Wolves coach Jacob Timpano was proud of his side’s efforts and rued the concession a game-changing penalty.
“We came here with a game plan and I thought we executed it quite well," he said.
“We kept Blacktown at bay and it was an even contest until the penalty. It’s a shame we couldn’t hurt them a bit more.”
Blacktown City 2 (Gibbs 74’, Andrew 86’)
Wollongong Wolves 0
Saturday 1st April 2017
Lilys Football Centre, Seven Hills
Blacktown City: 8. Daniel Araujo (12. James Andrew 71’), 19. Zachary Cairncross, 11. Danny Choi (22. Yuta Konagaya), 15. Shayne D’Cunha, 10. Connor Evans, 9. Joey Gibbs, 6. Matthew Lewis, 14. Mitchell Mallia (17. Lewis Beumie 85’), 1. Tristan Prendergast, 3. Giorgio Speranza, 4. Roberto Speranza
Substitutes Not Used: 5. Grant Lynch, 20. Matthew Symes
Yellow Cards: 14. Mitchell Mallia 79’
Red Cards: N/A
Wollongong Wolves: 16. Patrick Antelmi, 5. James Baldacchino, 23. Steven Hayes (18. Nicholas Bernal 79’), 14. Joshua Macdonald (11. Hristijan Tanoski 84’), 4. Hayden Morton, 1. Justin Pasfield, 7. Christopher Price, 9. Michael Robinson, 10. David Stojic (8. Brendan Griffin 73’), 30. YuzoTashiro, 20. Benjamin Tosi
Substitutes Not Used: 12. Luke Kairies
Yellow Cards: 7. Christopher Price 24’, 1. Justin Pasfield 76’
Red Cards: 7. Christopher Price 24’, 74’
3 – Connor Evans (BCFC)
2 – James Andrew (BCFC)
1 – Patrick Antelmi (WOL)
– By Jacob Windon