A sublime hat-trick from Mitch Mallia has helped Blacktown City clinch an incredible 5-3 win against Rockdale City Suns at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
An inspired performance from Mallia helped Blacktown to a 3-0 lead lead at the break with the Maltese international scoring twice alongside a Joey Gibbs strike to have the visitors seemingly put the contest to bed in the opening 45 minutes.
However, the home side refused to lie down and delivered an inspired comeback with goals to skipper Daniel Petkovski and Jordan Figon bringing Rockdale to only a goal behind at 3-2 only 10 minutes into the second stanza.
Blacktown regathered after Rockdale’s fightback early in the second half with Mallia completing his hat trick and Gibbs a brace to ensure Mark Crittenden’s Blacktown side went home with all three competition points.
The first chance was from outside the box. Blacktown’s Devante Clut fired a shot in the 9th minute but Ante Covic got down low to his right to make the save.
In the 13th minute Rockdale City Suns replied. Blake Ricciuto fired from just outside the box but his shot sailed over the crossbar.
A minute later Blacktown City opened the scoring. A cross from Yianni Spyrakis found Mallia in the centre of the box and his header sailed past the outstretched arms of the ‘keeper.
Rockdale City almost equalised in the 23rd minute when a corner was flicked on by a cheeky Toufic Alameddine back heel that was cleared off the line by Giorgio Speranza.
In the 29th minute Blacktown City doubled their lead with a rather simple goal. A nice left foot shot by Mallia found its way into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
In the 36th minute Blacktown City made it three when a Joey Gibbs free-kick was deflected by the wall and past a stranded Covic It was a goal that certainly put the visitors in the driver’s seat going into the break.
In the second stanza of play in the 49th minute, Petkovski got one back for the home side. From a corner, the ball reached Rockdale City’s captain who fired into the back of the net.
In the 54th minute Rockdale got their second and it was now game on. When an initial shot was blocked, the ball made its way out to Alameddine who delightfully chipped it back into the middle for an unmarked Figon who clinically finished from close range.
A minute later the home fans were having palpitations when Alec Urosevski turned and twisted in the box only to have his attempt hit the side netting. It was close indeed and the comeback was almost complete for Rockdale.
In the 69th minute a free-kick fell nicely to Idriss El Hafiane but his shot was only fractionally wide of the intended target. It seemed only a matter of time before Rockdale would equalise.
However, after sustaining the pressure Blacktown City did manage to pull away again. Mitchell Mallia scored his team’s fourth and his own hat-trick in the 72nd minute.
A lovely ball from Devante Clut on the left found him galloping away towards goal and, with all the space and time in the world, he moved into the central position before firing through the legs of Covic.
In the 86th minute a cross reached Alameddine who with a powerful volley sent the ball flying over the crossbar by only a matter of centimetres. However, in the 91st minute Joey Gibbs made it five for Blacktown when the ball drifted his way into the middle and his shot was deflected into the back of the net
The last shot of the game in the 96th minute produced another goal in this exhilarating encounter. A Bai Antoniou shot from outside the box ended up in the bottom corner of the net.
After the game Blacktown City’s coach Mark Crittenden was delighted to have secured the win.
“The first half which we dominated was really good,’ he said. “But the one thing we said at halftime was that they [Rockdale] have a lot of quality in there and that they could come back and really hurt you,” he said.
“So the most disappointing part was to cop those two goals in ten minutes and let them back in it.
“We have some great boys up front and it was good to see Mitchell get a hat-trick and I think that takes him past 50 goals now for the club. It was a good sound effort overall from our side, but disappointing to concede those two goals.”
Rockdale City’s coach Paul Reid meanwhile spoke openly about another game that seemed to slip away from side.
“We started off well but then we conceded another silly opening goal,” he said.
“It’s disappointing because we have the quality. I said at half time that we have to start believing in ourselves because to go a goal down is not the end of the world. We just needed to get on with it and make amends, but we are letting things like that affect us too much.
“We had the momentum in the second half but we had to take our chances because we had them on the back foot. If we had got to 3-3, we may have gone on with it.
“Once they scored for 4-2 the momentum was back with Blacktown, so that really sums up our season at the moment. We need to believe in ourselves and be mentally stronger because we have the players to win games, but we are not doing it at the moment.”
ROCKDALE CITY SUNS 3 (Petkovski 49’, Figon 54’, Antoniou 96’)
BLACKTOWN CITY FC 5 (Mallia 14’, 29’ & 72’, Gibbs 36’ & 91’)
Sunday, May 6th 2018
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: Kris Griffith Jones
Assistant Referees: Joon Park, Hugh White
Fourth Official: Hugh Cawardine
ROCKDALE CITY SUNS: 1. Ante Covic, 2. Daniel Petkovski, 4. Trent McClenahan (19. Patrick Savor 83’), 6. Blake Ricciuto, 7. Alec Urosevski, 10. Harris Gaitatzis (8. Aleksandor Canak 76’), 12. Idriss El Hafiane (9. Bai Antoniou 76’), 14. Brayden Sorge, 17. Toufic Alameddine, 21. Michael Neill, 23. Jordan Figon,
Substitutes not used: 11. Jonathan Grozdanovski, 22. Nicholas Sorras,
Yellow Cards: Neill 18’, Covic 52’
Red Card: Nil
BLACKTOWN CITY FC: 20. Stevan Savicic, 3. Giorgio Speranza (6. Matthew Lewis 74’), 5. Grant Lynch, 7. Devante Clut, 8. Daniel Araujo, 9. Joey Gibbs, 10. Connor Evans, 11. Danny Choi (12. Charles Mendy 78’), 14. Mitchell Mallia, 19. Zachary Cairncross (4. Roberto Speranza 68’), 22. Yianni Spyrakis
Substitutes not used: 1. Dylan Niski, 18. Mason Versi
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
3- Mitchell Mallia (BC)
2- Devante Clut (BC)
1 – Alec Urosevski (RCS)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Joe Russo