Sutherland Sharks knocked Blacktown City’s NPL NSW Men’s Premiership hopes with a 2-1 win at Seymour Shaw on Saturday kick starting the Shire club’s resurrection from the bottom half of the ladder.
It was only the Sharks fourth win of the season but extends their current unbeaten run to eight games.
Silky Spaniard Raul Romero scored from the penalty spot to give Sutherland the perfect start before the ever so skilful Jordan Morfitis doubled their advantage to 2-0 with only 11 minutes left on the clock.
Lachlan Campbell netted late for Blacktown City to set up a nervous close to the match but it wasn’t enough for the visitors as the Sharks hung on for a confidence boosting win.
It was an enterprising start from the home side with new recruit Bai Antoniou proving to be a thorn in Blacktown City’s Side.
It didn’t take long for the Sharks to make inroads with Charles Lokolingoy winning a penalty only six minutes in after he was taken down in the box.
Romero took the spot kick and planted it firmly into the bottom corner and beyond the reach of City shot stopper Tristan Pendergast to make it 1-0.
Leroy Jennings skipped past a couple of defenders to unleash a shot that skidded past the post as Blacktown rallied.
It was an open match with only the last line of defence halting the countless counters, each probing for the weak link, in a thoroughly absorbing half of football.
Blacktown’s constant high press was forcing the Blues back, albeit grudgingly, but they were unable to make their possession tell.
Romero came close to doubling the lead when played in via Lokolingoy, however Prendergast was able to beat away the effort.
New signings Jerry Skotadis and Antoniou combined moments later to test Pendergast once again but their effort was deflected wide.
Sutherland started and ended the half strongly as Romero and Lokolingoy linked up well to test the opposition defence.
Jeremy Cox was introduced for Sutherland at the start of the second-half for Tarik Ercan, a midfielder replacing the handy right-back.
Blacktown continued to maraud down the flanks and found space in behind. Mason Versi was able to cut to the byline, saunter past Cheng and Liam McGing to set up Adam Berry in the 52nd minute but his first time effort was scuffed over the bar.
Great play from Cheng on the right to centre for Antoniou who saw his shot tipped onto the upright via tremendous save from Prendergast in the 62nd minute.
Lokolingoy’s follow up was deflected into the arms of the grateful keeper.
Prendergast was then forced to pull off a point blank save from a Lokolingoy header as the home side began to truly test the Blacktown defence.
It was short lived and City were soon back on the offensive, yet still struggled to find the telling pass that might restore parity.
It proved a false dawn as tenacious work from Lokolingoy unlocked the City defence once more to set up substitute Morfitis who stabbed the ball home from 12-yards to double their lead.
With little options available, credit City who continued to force the pace in their search for something from the match and set up a grand finale after Campbell netted late on, but at the full-time whistle it was the home side who extended their unbeaten run.
Sutherland Sharks 2 (Beneit 7’p, Morfitis 79’)
Blacktown City 1 (Campbell 88’)
Seymour Shaw Park, Miranda
Saturday, 15th June 2019
Referee: Michael Weiner
Assistant Referees: Andre Giev & Lance Greenshields
Fourth Official: Hugh Fenton-White
Sutherland Sharks: 46.Nathan Denham, 2.Quentin Cheng, 3.Marc Warren, 4.Patrick O’Shea, 7.Bai Antoniou (11.Jordan Morfitis 71’), 8.Mateo Poljak, 10.Raul Beneit Romero, 14.Charles Lokolingoy, 17.Liam McGing, 21.Tarik Ercan (9.Jeremy Cox 46’), 22.Jerry Skotadis (19.Harry Sutherland 90+2)
Substitutes not used: 18.Mitchell Evans, 25.Brodie Clarkson
Blacktown City: 1.Tristan Prendergast, 5.Grant Lynch, 6.Matt Lewis, 9.Joey Gibbs, 11.Mani Gonzalez (3.Daniel Collins 65’), 12.Lachlan Campbell, 15.Mason Versi (16.Dale Howarth 75’), 17.Dakota Askew (14.Henry Davies 89’), 19.Adam Berry, 22.Leroy Jennings, 23.Daniel Bragg
Yellow Cards: 20.Dylan Niski
Player Ratings have now been hidden due to the second half of the season commencing.
By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Micky Brock