Blacktown City FC has tightened their grip on third place after a tense 1-0 win against Manly United FC at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday.
Joey Gibbs injury time goal in the first half was enough to secure Blacktown’s eighth win of the season.
Manly came to life at the end if the contest with a pair of free-kicks that flew over which might have salvaged a point but it wasn’t to be for Paul Dee’s side.
In the cagey opening stages of the contest, it was Blacktown City FC that created the first chances of the game.
Emmanuel Gonzalez with a pair of chances, the latter from an incisive move flashed wide of the post
Blacktown City FC continued to have the lion share of the chances. Striker Joey Gibbs had a point-blank header saved then the follow up from Gonzalez wasn’t stabbed home as the visitors rode their luck
After the tense start, Manly United FC worked their way into the contest. Their best work came through Charles Mendy and Brendan Cholakian. The former fizzed a shot into the hands of Blacktown City FC’s Tristan Prendergast.
Mendy kept being a nuisance on the right with a pinpoint switch opening up play for the Manly attacker to cut the ball back to Adam Parkhouse, the former A-League man was denied by a superb last ditch tackle from Blacktown’s Daniel Collins.
The home side remained on the front foot. Collins squirted an effort wide then they found joy right on the half-time break.
A wicked cross bent into the area, right into the path of Gibbs to poach home, making it 1-0.
There was almost the perfect start for Blacktown City FC in the second half, Leroy Jennings reacted quickest to a rebound, but their joy was cut short by the linesman flag, as it remained a one-goal game.
Sensing they need to find some thrust in the contest, Manly United FC piled on a handful of chances past the hour mark. Parkhouse tried to snap a low effort that was dealt with then Kieran Paull, pushing further up field, almost clipped a cross-cum-shot into the net.
Despite this, their chances remained half ones, as Scott Balderson almost profited from a rare giveaway from the Blacktown City FC defense but his shot rested comfortably in the grasp of Prendergast.
The best chance for an equaliser came from a set piece for Manly United FC. Both Cholakian and substitute Dejan Pandurevic sent efforts over the bar.
The home side had a chance through substitute Monty Versi to finish the contest. They broke quickly but the striker couldn’t lift his effort over the keeper.
Blacktown City FC held on for the remaining injury time to record an eighth victory of the season.
Speaking afterwards Blacktown City FC coach Mark Crittenden was pleased to take three points in a tough contest.
“The competition is so close, so you can’t afford to drop points so good to get a result tonight against a good side like Manly.” He said.
“We could’ve been two or three goals ahead in the first half but the second half we ground out the result.”
For Manly United FC coach Paul Dee, it was disappointing to lose but it has been a good week for the side as they push for the top five
“It’s a hard place to come. Blacktown are a good side and we started to come into the contest in the second half.” said Dee.
“We tried to balance the side after a tough cup game. I think we’re not far off where we want to be but tonight will hurt for a while.”
Blacktown City FC 1 (Gibbs ‘45+1)
Manly United FC 0
Sunday 23 June 2019
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: T. Danaskos
Assistant Referees: B. Wright & M. Riedy
Fourth Official: N. Gongolidis
Blacktown City FC: 1. PRENDERGAST Tristan, 3. COLLINS Daniel, 4. SPYRAKIS Yianni, 5. LYNCH Grant, 6. LEWIS Matthew, 9. GIBBS Joey, 11. GONZALEZ Emmanuel (16. HOWARTH ‘69), 12. CAMPBELL Lachlan (15. VERSI ‘84), 17. ASKEW Dakota, 19. BERRY Adam 22. JENNINGS Leroy
Unused substitutes: 18. BARTOLOTTO Josh, 20. NISKI Dylan, 21. MUTCH William
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
Manly United FC: 1. MITCHELL Dylan, 2. PAULL Kieran, 4. OUGHTRED Travis, 5. GALLAGHER Sam, 7. WILSON Sam (9. MCCARTHY ‘85), 8. FERGUSON Dom, 10. CHOLAKIAN Brendan, 11. PARKHOUSE Adam (14. PANDUREVIC ‘64), 12. MENDY Charles, 13. BALDERSON Scott, 23. MCDONALD Bradley (6. FOX ‘78)
Unused subs: 17. MICCIO Lewis, 40. BAKER Ryan
Yellow cards: Balderson ‘90+1
Red cards: nil
Player Ratings have now been hidden due to the second half of the season commencing.
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Reporter Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)