Blacktown City and Sydney Olympic have shared the spoils after an exhilarating 1-1 draw at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday.
It was a thrilling end to end encounter with Olympic unlucky not to snatch an unlikely victory in a frantic final minutes.
Joey Gibbs fired home for Blacktown midway through the second half, but it was quickly cancelled out when Olympic equalised only two minutes later through Radovan Pavicevic.
Both sides traded chances in crazy closing ten minutes but neither could find the breakthrough as they took only a point away from an enthralling contest.
It was an electric start to the match with Olympic creating two early chances inside the first five minutes which were extinguished by a scrambling Blacktown defence.
It proved to be only an early scare with the home side quickly taking control of possession and controlling proceedings for the much of the first half.
After 25 minutes Olympic missed a perfect opportunity to deliver a hammer blow against the run of play when Pavicevic fired a shot over the bar from only six yards out.
Blacktown fired back almost straight away with a chance of their own with Joey Gibbs diving header from a few yards out blocked by Olympic’s Thomas Whiteside.
The home side spurned another great chance after 30 minutes when a curling shot from the edge of the box from Daniel Bragg was easily saved by Paul Henderson to put an end to a rapid Blacktown counter attack.
The game had begun to really open up with play going from end to end.
City had their best chance of the first half with nine minutes before the break with a chipped effort from Daniel Araujo hitting the cross bar only seconds after Jennings had a blistering shot saved by Henderson.
Olympic had a strong start to the second stanza with a blistering shot from Jason Madonis saved by Tristan Prendergast in the Blacktown goal in the 48th minute.
52 minutes in Olympic shot stopper Henderson was called into action with the veteran keeper’s diving save denying a back post header from blacktown’s new signing Lachlan Campbell.
Centre back Campbell was at it again only moments later with a shot from the edge of the box crashing off the upright.
The former Wanderers youth player turned the game on its head in the 65 minute when he set up Gibbs to open the scoring.
A deft flick pass from Campbell after a marauding run set up a wide open Gibbs who fired home on his second effort after his first was blocked by Henderson.
However, Blacktown’s lead didn’t last long with Olympic firing back only two minutes later.
A pinpoint corner kick delivery was headed home at the front post by an unmarked Pavicevic to level the score at 1-1.
The game was being played at lighting pace with both teams leaving nothing in the tank as they pushed to take lead
Mason Versi’s stinging free-kick from 20 yards out flew inches over the bar as the tempo lifted once again as the match entered the final ten minutes.
Olympic could’ve stolen the match in the 83rd minute when an unmarked Pavicevic broke free of the defence only to fire high and wide with only the keeper to beat.
There was even more late drama with a fumble from Henderson allowing Daniel Collins to poke the ball into the back of the net, However the assistant referee flagged for offside.
The visitors nearly broke Blacktown City hearts with the final kicks of the game but two desperation goal line clearances from Campbell ensured the home side went home with a point.
Blacktown boss Mark Crittenden rued what could’ve been a brilliant chance to take second spot on the competition ladder.
“I felt we weren’t at our best today but did enough to to potentially find a winner,” he said.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t to be but we take a point away and it keeps up moving forward with a tough clash against Sutherland on the horizon.
“It’s going to be a very close title race this season so we need to do everything we can to stay in the mix right until the last game.”
The result was yet another frustrating result for Olympic and coach Abbas Saad felt his side were once again out of luck.
“It was another missed opportunity and we just can’t seem to find the winning touch,” Saad said.
“I thought we outplayed Blacktown today but we conceded a soft goal.
“We showed good spirit to bounce back and equalise straight away while in the final stages we were the ones who looked more likely to find a winner.
“At the end of the day we paid the price for our missed opportunities.”
Blacktown City: 1 (Gibbs 67’)
Sydney Olympic: 1 (Pavicevic 69’)
Sunday, 9 June 2019
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: T Plasto
Assistant Referees: S Ho, R Osborne
Fourth official: J Kelly
Blacktown City: 1. Tristan Pendergast, 5. Grant Lynch, 6. Matt Lewis, 8. Daniel Araujo, 9. Joey Gibbs, 11. Mani Gonzalez (15. Mason Versi 56’), 12. Lachlan Campbell, 17. Dakota Askew, 19. Adam Berry, 22. Leroy Jennings (16. Dale Howarth 81’), 23. Daniel Bragg (3. Daniel Collins 68′).
Substitutes not used: 20. Dylan Niski, 21. William Mutch.
Yellow cards: Collins 94′
Sydney Olympic: 1. Paul Henderson, 2. Thomas Whiteside, 4. Mitchell Stamatellis, 6. Nikola Kuleski, 7. Will Angel, 8. Jason Madonis, 9. Radovan Pavicevic, 10 Harris Gaitatzis, 11. Jinya An, 14. Alex Sanchez, 33. Niko Tsattalios (44. Peter Kekeris 63’)
Substitutes not used: 20. Eze Consoni, 12. Zach MacKenizie, 19. Darcy Burgess, 22. Michael Gaitatzis,
Yellow cards: Will Angel 60’, Kuleski 72’, Harris Gaitatzis 75’ Saad 77’, Kekeris 89′
Player Ratings have now been hidden due to the second half of the season commencing.