Two extra-time goals has helped Sydney United pull off one of the most spectacular finals comebacks in National Premier Leagues NSW history to snatch a 7-3 win against Blacktown City at Lily Homes Stadium
Locked at 3-3 at the end of 90 minutes, after fighting back from 2-1 and 3-2 down, United delivered a masterclass in extra-time to score four unanswered and secure the most incredible of victories.
Former Blacktown City striker Patrick Antelmi came back to haunt his former club by scoring eight minutes into extra time before a Tariq Maia wonder strike and a famous Matt Sim double at the death gave United 58 the historic victory and bundled City out of the finals.
The first 20 minutess of the match was nothing anyone could have predicted with five goals an a missed penalty in what was an explosive opening to the contest.
Peter Simonoski gave the visitors the lead after eight minutes before Blacktown hit back with a penalty for Matt Lewis. Dakota Askew spurned a brilliant chance moments later when he missed Blacktown’s second penalty of the night.
The two sides then traded goals with Grant Lynch finding the back of the net before Simonoski levelled from the penalty spot but only before Leroy Jennings would then give Blacktown the lead once again.
A Tomislav Uskok goal midway through the second half set up what would be a thrilling close to the match with the scores locked at 3-3.
It was a difficult way for Blacktown’s season to come to an end, but one Sydney United 58 and their fans will definitely not forget.
It took Sydney United 58 less than three minutes to find a breakthrough when Maia took advantage of a scattered Blacktown defence to set up Simonoski
The midfielder received the ball at the edge of the box before beating two defenders and delivering a perfect cross which was hammered into the back of the net.
The goal stunned blacktown into action and within only two minutes they were awarded a penalty when Mason Versi was cut down in the box by Yianni Fragogiannis.
Matt Lewis kept his cool to fire past the keeper and level the score at 1-1.
Incredibly only three minutes later Blacktown was awarded another penalty when Fragogiannis cut down Versi a second time.
This time Blacktown couldn’t take advantage from the spot with Dakota Askew blasting his shot over the bar.
The match was travelling at breakneck speed and before the fans could catch their breath City had taken the lead 13 minutes in
Lynch beat his marker to fire in from inside the penalty area off a looping corner kick.
The goal failed to settle the match and Sydney United 58 were the recipients of a penalty on the 17 minute mark.
Simonoski wasn’t going to be denied and dispatch a perfect penalty to level the scores again at 2-2.
However, Blacktown had other ideas and kept up the helter skelter pace of the match by taking the lead only two minutes later.
Jennings got his head to the ball to nod it into the bottom right corner and make it 3-2 for the home side.
After a wild opening 20 minutes, Blacktown finally took control of the contest midway through the half.
City were happy to push the ball around with deft passing moves without truly punishing the opposition defence.
United 58 had one or two half chances but by the 40th minute mark the game had truly settled down.
There was one last moment in the first half when a spectacular acrobatic save from Pendergast denied a rasping effort from Yianni Perkatis who had unleashed a shot from 30 yards out.
It was an incredible first half of football and both sides, as well as the fans, were desperate to catch their breath at the break.
The interval failed to slow the game with both sides exploding out fo the blocks at the resumption.
It was end to end with attack the primary focus.
Patrick Antelmi was brought off the bench by United 58 coach Miro Vlastelica to injected some extra firepower for his side.
Something had to give and it was United 58 who were the benefactors in the 74th mini as Uskok fired in from close range to tie the scores once again at 3-3.
Blacktown were straight back on the attack and Jennings could’ve given the home side the lead but he was unable to turn a cross across the face into the net.
It was a nerve-wracking final minute with two United 58 efforts cleared off the line by blacktown with the referee’s full-time whistle proving a saving grace as the match headed to extra-time.
As expected it was foot to the floor football from the start.
Blacktown pumped long balls into the box looking to test United 58’s central defenders, but it failed to create the breakthrough the home team was looking for.
After eight minutes of extra time the flash-point arrived.
Antelmi lived up to his reputation as a super-sub by running onto a dangerous crosss not the box and tapping it past the keeper to give United 58 a shock lead.
Before Blacktown could process what had happened, the visitors were up 5-3 thanks to a spectacular wonder strike from Maia.
The midfielder found the top bins with a sublime dipping effort from thirty yards out which Prendergast was unable to stop.
City needed to find a goal fast and were unlucky not to cut their deficit to only one when Manos made a great stop to parry a powerful driven shot from Dakota Askew,
Uskok needed to head the ball off the line early in the second period of extra-time as Blacktown’s desperate attacking raids moved closer and closer to finding the back of the net.
Time was becoming Blacktown’s greatest enemy and they there everyone forward to get the goals they needed.
But the plan backfired with Matt Sim striking twice on the counter attack to end Blacktown City’s season and secure their spot in Saturday’s preliminary final clash against Wollongong.
United 58 coach Miro Vlastelica said no body could’ve ever predicted a game like this and praised the efforts of his club’s veteran stars.
“The opening 20 minutes was completely crazy and the fact we have been able to fight back from that and get such a big result is a testament to these boys,” he said,
“I told them at half time to use the time to regain their composure and come back out ready.
“Come extra-time the team stood up when the pressure was really mounting. They have overcome a lot of adversity in this match to get the win and they should be very proud of their efforts.”
A sombre Mark Crittenden looked back at a match which had everything but a happy ending for his Blacktown City side.
“We fell apart a bit in extra time and they took advantage. It is as simple as that,” he said.
“It was a wild end to end start to the match and I felt we were the better team for the most part.
“We lost our way and paid the price. Obviously we had to throw everything forward then and United 58 made the most of that.
“At the start of the year a lot of people wrote off this team so even though we have been knocked out tonight I still think it is important to point out how this group has proven many people wrong.
“This team is packed full of talent and they are only going to get better.”
Sydney United 58 will now face the 2019 NPL NSW Men’s Premiers Wollongong Wolves at WIN Stadium this Saturday as they hope to continue its good fortunes in the finals series by booking a spot into the 2019 Grand Final at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday 31st of August where APIA Leichhardt Tigers will be waiting for them.
Blacktown City: 3 (Lewis 7’, Lynch 13’, Jennings 19’)
Sydney United 58: 7 (Simonoski 3’, 17’, Uskok 73’, Antelmi 98’, Maia 100’, Sim 117’, 118’)
Wednesday, 21 August 2019
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: K Ams
Assistant Referees: L Greenshields & P Teleki
Fourth Official: M Weiner
Blacktown City: 1. Tristan Pendergast, 3. Daniel Collins (10. James Demetriou), 4. Yianni Spyrakis, 5. Grant Lynch, 6. Matthew Lewis, 8. Daniel Araujo (12. Lachlan Campbell 64), 9. Joey Gibbs, 15. Mason Versi (13. Rhett Desilva 87’), 17. Dakota Askew, 22. Leroy Jennings (7. Devante Clut 110)
Substitutes not used: 20. Dylan Niski
Yellow Cards: Grant Lynch 57′, Daniel Collins
Sydney United 58: 21. Thomas Manos, 4. Adrian Vlastelica, 7. Peter Simonoski (5. Anthony Tomelic, 96’), 8. Matthew Sim, 11. Yianni Perkatis (9. Patrick Antelmi 58’), 12. Liam Rose, 14. Tomislav Uskok, 15. Tariq Maia (6. Petar Markovic 109′), 17. Matthew Bilic (3. Jordan Roberts 104), 20. Cristian Gonzalez, 22. Yianni Fragogiannis
Substitutes not used: 1. Daniel Sadaka,
Yellow Cards: Tomislav Uskok 34’, Adrian Vlastelica 85′