Blacktown City welcomed new boys Mt Druitt Town Rangers to the National Premier Leagues NSW Mens competition in a scrappy but dominant match at Lily Homes Stadium decided by a solitary own goal to the unfortunate Rangers defender Nick Trimble.
Rangers had the first opportunity of the game in the opening minute when former Suns attacker Toufic Allamaddine centered for Hiten Satoh after showing his pace down the right but the scuffed shot never threatened Tristan Prendergast in the City net.
In typical season opener, local derby, the pace was urgent and full bodied with Blacktown City penning their visitors back with the high press that produced several half chances without any clear cut opportunities.
Leroy Jennings attempted bicycle kick was mistimed and Rangers managed to scramble it clear however, keeper Carlos Saliadarre was called in to action with an expert full length save to keep his side in the match.
But it was unfortunate circumstances that led to City taking the lead in the 38’ minute when former Ranger Mani Gonzalez broke down the right and into the box. His low shot beat Saliadarre but cannoned back off the upright onto Trimble who, with no time to react, saw the ball hit the back of the net.
Mt Druitt had sporadic chances, but it was Blacktown who went to the break leading by the only goal of the match in a fiercely contested game that neither coach could have too many complaints about in a match dominated by the home side.
A double substitution at the start of the secon dhalf for Mt Druitt saw Giuliano Airoldi and Jordan Gomez replaced Allamaddine and Luke Clifford respectively as the visitors looked to take the game more to City.
It showed ambition but City were soon on the attack once more.
Lord Darkoh managed to get a block in on Daniel Araujo to prevent Blacktown extending the lead and Saliadarre was called in to action once more as Jackson Bandiera stole in down the left but the keeper was smartly down at his post to turn the ball away.
Jennings thought he was clean through seconds later and again Saliadarre was down sharply to smother the ball, an offside flag sparing the strikers’ blushes on this occasion.
Adrian Vranic attempted to reply on the hour mark but his deflected shot took the sting out and City were immediately on the attack and only a last ditch tackle inside the box by Trimble stopped Jennings in his tracks.
Rangers were chasing the game which played to City’s strengths.
Vranic was replaced by Alex Boydjian shortly after as coach Aidan Desmond rolled his last throw of the dice.
Saliadarre, in sparkling season opener form, thwarted Grant Lynch as another City attack was once more halted at the last.
Fabricio Fernandez came close for Mt Druitt in the 78’ minute when whistling a right-footed shot narrowly wide of Prendergast’s left upright in the closest the visitors had come and with City only leading by the solitary goal, there could yet be a sting in the tail in a thoroughly entertaining football match.
It wasn’t to be for a gallant Rangers’ outfit leaving Blacktown coach, Mark Crittenden to comment after the match.
“I felt we totally dominated the first-half and it was great lead up work that led to the goal, to the point where they could hardly get out of their own half.
“It was a very hot and tough day for us and especially the new boys on the block and they came here and certainly gave us a game.
“The second-half, due to the conditions, wasn’t the flashest game of football ever played but we kept a clean sheet, got the three points and we move on to next week and that is all that is important.”
“You never walk away from the pitch being happy after a loss.” Rangers coach, Aidan Desmond, commented.
“It was certainly a game of two halves and we sat a little too deep in then opening 45’ minutes.
“We were unfortunate with the own goal but we changed a few things at the break and came out and produced a performance I was happy with.
“We need to make some better decisions in the top third and we’ll create more opportunities but we’ll learn from this result.”
Blacktown City 1 (Trimble 38’own goal)
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 0
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Sunday, 10th March 2019
Referee: Hassan Jomaa
Assistants: Raymond Osborne & Hugh Fenton-White
Fourth: Sam Kelly
Blacktown City: 1.Tristan Prendergast, 4.Yianni Spyrakis, 5.Grant Lynch, 6.Matt Lewis, 7.Devant Clut, 8.Daniel Araujo (19.Adam Berry 83’), 9.Joey Gibbs, 11.Mani Gonzalez (10.James Demitriou 65’), 21.William Mutch, 22.Leroy Jennings, 24.Jackson Bandiera (3.Daniel Collins 80’)
Subs not used: 15.Mason Versi, 20.Dylan Niski
Yellow cards: Spyriakis 65’
Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 1.Carlos Saliadarre, 2.Hiten Satoh, 3.Lachlan Roberts, 6.Blake Thompson, 7.Luke Clifford (17.Jordan Gomez 46’), 8.Matthew Clowes, 10.Fabricio Fernandez, 11.Toufic Allameddine (15.Giuliano Airoldi 46’), 12.Nick Trimble, 13.Lord Darkoh, 23.Adrian Vranic (9.Alex Boyadjian 66’)
Subs not used: 14.Cooper Coskerie, 25.Matthew Nikolovski
3 – Devante Clut (BC)
2 – Leroy Jennings (BC)
1 – Carlos Saliadarre (MDTR)
-By Micky Brock, FNSW Reporter