Blacktown City FC have temporarily placed a spanner in the works of Wollongong Wolves’ hopes of claiming an early Premiership after shocking the league leaders with a 2-0 win at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday.
The celebrations for the South Coast based side will have to wait another week as a first half goal from Grant Lynch and a second half strike from Joey Gibbs made the difference in a tight contest.
It was a huge result for Blacktown who are now in with a shot of a top two finish after APIA’s shock draw to Sydney FC on Saturday.
The action started with Wollongong on the attack when Darcy Madden flicked on for Lachlan Scott in the 5th minute but his header was well saved by Tristan Prendergast down to his right.
A nice cross from Adam Berry midway through the second stanza of play found an unmarked Joey Gibbs in the box but, unfortunately for the home side, his header was over the crossbar.
The tightly fought contest didn’t provide many clear-cut goal chances in the first half, so when they did arrive they were a real treat.
Just like in the 34th minute when Grant Lynch opened the scoring for the home side. A pin-point accurate free kick from Adam Berry found Lynch in the box who headed home with some style after no Wollongong defender managed to track his run.
In the second half the opening salvo belonged Thomas James who fired his free kick straight at Prendergast.
However, it was Blacktown City that struck again in the 53rd minute when Berry made a great dash down the left before floating the ball across the face of goal to Gibbs who made no mistake with his diagonal volley.
Shortly afterwards Blacktown could have made it three when a Berry free-kick reached Mason Versi at the back post but he flashed his header only fractionally over the crossbar.
In the 61st minute Lachlan Scott went down in the box and actually stayed down until treated, but referee Kurt Ams decided against giving the visitors a penalty.
Wollongong Wolves then had a great chance in the 72nd minute when substitute Brandon Stojcevski danced his way past a few defenders in the box before firing on target but he was denied by a great Prendergast save.
The last real chance of the contest belonged to Wollongong and it arrived right at the death when Chris Price tried to flick the ball unsuccessfully over Prendergast’s head.
After the game Mark Crittenden, coach of Blacktown, was delighted to have secured full points against a rampant Wollongong.
“Yes, very happy because this gives us a top three spot and at the start of the season some people didn’t give us any hope at all,” he said.
“We had a lot of belief and the boys executed very well against a very good Wollongong side. Full credit to what Luke [Wilkshire] has done with this team but today we had a plan and we executed the plan very well and got the result.”
In the opposition dressing room Luke Wilkshire, coach of Wollongong, was still upbeat and very proud of his team.
“I think we played some good football today,” he said.
“We didn’t test their ‘keeper enough even though we had a lot of possession but credit to Blacktown because they defended really well.
“We want to win every game and here was no different but unfortunately it didn’t happen for us today. We have Rockdale next week, we’ll dust ourselves off, prepare and be ready for next week.”
BLACKTOWN CITY FC: 2 (Lynch 34’, Gibbs 53’)
WOLLONGONG WOLVES: 0
Sunday, 28th July 2019
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Nick Backo, Patrick Teleki
Fourth Official: Kyle Fenton-White
BLACKTOWN CITY FC: 1.Tristan Prendergast, 3.Daniel Collins, 4.Yianni Spyrakis, 5.Grant Lynch, 6.Matthew Lewis, 9.Joey Gibbs (10.James Demetriou 83’), 12.Lachlan Campbell (7.Devante Clut 91’), 15.Mason Versi (35.Rhett Desilva 70’), 17.Dakota Askew, 19.Adam Berry, 22.Leroy Jennings.
Substitutes not used: 20.Dylan Niski.
Yellow Cards: Collins 78’, Desilva 92’
Red Card: Nil
WOLLONGONG WOLVES: 1.Justin Pasfield, 2.Taylor Macdonald (13.Stefan Dimoski 84’), 3.Darcy Madden (14.Harry Callahan 60’), 4.Nikola Djordjevic, 7.Christopher Price, 9.Thomas James, 11.Takeru Okada, 15.Nick Littler, 16.Guy Knight, 17.James Stojcevski, 24.Lachlan Scott (20.Brendon Stojcevski 67’).
Substitutes not used: 6.Ben Tosi, 12.Luke Kairies.
Yellow Cards: Pasfield 62’, Callahan 70’
Red Card: Nil
Player Ratings have now been hidden due to the second half of the season commencing.
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo