Blacktown City came from behind to earn a hard fought three points against Hakoah Sydney City with a 2-1 at Hensley Athletic Field on Saturday.
A Joey Gibbs double, his tenth in 2018, in as many minutes was the difference for the visitors as Hakoah once again tasted defeat after leading.
Amaury Gauthier opened the scoring for Hakoah on the cusp of halftime to give the home side a 1-0 advantage going into the interval.
However, the home side couldn’t contain a relentless Blacktown attack and Gibbs netted twice in two minutes.
Hakoah tried to fight back but it was too little too late as Blacktown scooped the three competition points.
City came into this contest as strong favourites as they looked to consolidate their position in the top four.
Hakoah on the other hand were coming off a disappointing loss to APIA Leichhardt Tigers in the Waratah Cup last weekend.
In a first half which was slow to start, City looked to assert their dominance early on as they dictated the tempo.
Hakoah looked to squeeze the space and make it difficult for City to keep possession.
The first chance did not occur until the 12th when Devante Clut blazed his shot well wide after making space just outside of the box.
City continued to dominate possession and territory but Hakoah continued to prove tough in defence as Gibbs had the next chance for City in the 20thminute but he found his swivel volley easily collected by Hakoah goalkeeper Anthony Bouzanis.
The best chance City created inside the first 30minutes fell again to Gibbs as his header was deflected wide after a lovely cross from the left by City captain Matthew Lewis.
City’s frustration was nearly compounded in the 32nd minute as a sloppy turnover presented a chance to Andre De Jong of Hakoah but he could only send his shot over the bar.
The deadlock was nearly broken in the 35th minute as a wayward clearance was well turned away by Hakoah keeper Bouzanis as he did well to keep the scores level.
For all of City’s dominance they were punished for not being able to take their chances as Hakoah against the run of play took the lead just before half-time.
A lovely exchange of passes on the right ended in a cut back and Gauthier was quickest to react as he tapped in ahead of the City defenders.
A major upset was now on the cards as Hakoah went into the break 1-0 up.
City needed to respond in the second half as they again looked to gain control of the ball and dominate territory.
Gibbs again had a headed chance for City a few minutes after the break but he saw his effort easily saved by Bouzanis in the Hakoah goal.
Hakoah continued to frustrate City as Oliver Green looked to double Hakoah’s lead in the 55th minute but he saw his curled effort finish well wide of the City goal.
Gibbs frustrating night continued a few minutes later as he saw his toe poked effort well saved by Bouzanis after jumping on a rebound.
Hakoah should have doubled their lead in the 63rd minute after De Jong found himself free in the box from a Hakoah free kick but could only direct his volley wide of the target.
These misses would prove costly for Hakoah as City’s persistence paid off in the 74th minute as Gibbs finished clinically into the bottom far corner.
Barely a minute later the game was completely turned on its head.
Gibbs added a second for City as he pounced on a lovely cross from the left to side volley into the back of the net.
City continued to dominate after taking the lead as Gibbs was denied a hat-trick five minutes later for off-side.
Hakoah looked to press for an equaliser but Blacktown’s defence repelled Hakoah’s aerial assault.
Gibbs again came close to completing his hat-trick in the 89th minute but was denied by a point blank save by Bouzanis.
City ran the game out and earned themselves an important 2-1 win to consolidate their top four position while the loss leaves Hakoah eleventh in the standings.
Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden will know his team will need to improve as the season enters the business end of the season albeit with a list of injuries to contend with while Hakoah coach Gavin Rae was left frustrated after his team came up short after a resilient effort.
Hakoah Sydney City 1 (Gauthier 44’)
Blacktown City 2 (Gibbs 74’, 75’)
Saturday, July 21 2018
Hensley Athletic Field, Eastgardens
Hakoah Sydney City: 1.Bouzanis, 19.Cox, 11.Crighton, 10.De Jong, 6.Draper, 21.Gauthier, 8.Green, 3.Kouta, 60.Noji, 16.Orchard, 5.Stamatellis
Substitutes: 20.Combes, 13.Ezekiel, 17.Jones, 12.Roberts
Yellow Cards: Orchard
Blacktown City: 1.Prendergast, 8.Araujo (19’ Cairncross 88’), 23.Bragg (17.Askew 68’), 7.Clut, 10.Evans, 9.Gibbs, 6.Lewis, 5.Lynch, 3.G.Speranza, 4.R.Speranza, 22.Spyrakis
Substitutes not used: 16.Rodic,18.Versi, 20. Savicic
Yellow Cards: Clut, G.Speranza
-By National Premier Leagues NSW Sebastian Kalos