A first half goal from club captain Matt Lewis has helped Blacktown City clinch a hard-fought 1-0 win against Sydney United 58 at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday.
Lewis scored the game’s only goal midway through the first half before marshalling a rigid Blacktown defence to secure three points for his side in their opening match of the campaign.
United 58 made plenty of work for Blacktown City shot stopper but they were unable to get past the experienced Tristan Pendergast.
It was certainly a game of two-halves as United then found themselves on the back foot after as it became City’s turn to squander opportunities before Thomas Manos came into his own and earned his keep.
Patrick Antelmi had the first opportunity of the match after three minutes when he was slipped in by Jordan Roberts on the right, but he could only find the side-netting.
Roberts and Matthew Sim were causing City plenty of headaches on the right with their link-up play.
And it was Antelmi who brought the best out of keeper Prendergast moments later with Blacktown finding difficulty in clearing their lines during the early exchanges.
An Adam Berry free-kick relieved the pressure on the home side but United’s gloveman, Thomas Manos, was able to punch clear after getting through heavy traffic in a congested six-yard area.
Antelmi, again set-up by Roberts, should have opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark when he fired wide after spinning on the edge of the box to create space.
Sim had a further opportunity in the 26th minute as the visitors continued to turn up the heat on their opponents.
But it was Blacktown who opened the scoring with Lewis finding the back of the net after a messy corner-kick which left Yianni Spyriakis bleeding from his head after an accidental clash.
Sim came close to leveling the tie when curling a left-footed effort narrowly over the angle of bar and post that had Prendergast back-peddling rapidly.
United were ruing their luck and the profligacy of their finishing and when Antelmi fluffed his lines with what looked a simple tap in it compounded their first-half woes.
City were fortunate not to concede, again from Sim, on the cusp of half-time but again the chance was squandered and so it the was Blacktown who when to the sheds one-goal to the good, much to the bemusement of their visitors.
Blacktown came out strongly after the break and forced Manos into a save and Hassan Jollah, on as a half-time sub for Charles Mendy, headed wide before forcing Manos into another save at his near post moments later. It was United who found themselves on the back foot.
Leroy Jennings beat the offside trap in the 57th minute and centered for Rhett DeSilva whose feeble header was straight at Manos before Jalloh again headed narrowly wide with Blacktown in the ascendancy.
Matthew Bilic was left holding his head in his hands when put clean through, when creating the overlap on the left, only to blast high and wide of Prendergast’s goal in one of United’s best openings.
A well worked free-kick from Sim in the 65’ minute had Prendergast palm the ball onto the bar, Roberts reacted quickest and acrobatically got the second effort also onto the woodwork before the ball was blasted over at the third attempt in a crowded area. Blacktown were riding their luck, the luck that appeared to have deserted United.
Jalloh broke away down the right, rising a tackle and bursting into the area however his cross was over hit although he was certainly taking his opportunity with both hands and only a last ditch tackle prevented him seconds later. The downfall being he needed treatment after jarring a knee to be replaced shortly after by Suleyman Bangura.
Christian Gonzalez had an effort late on for United that flashed wide of the upright as yet another chance went begging that, perhaps, on any other day would have rippled the net but it wasn’t to be for the visitors when the final whistle blew.
Red’s coach Zeljko Kalac wasn’t disappointed with his sides performance.
“That’s football mate, I’d be worried if we didn’t create chances,” he said.
“The boys were excellent but today we simply didn’t take our opportunities and we created something like 10-12 during the game.
“I cannot complain about the effort the boys put in nor the performance and if we play like that every week we’ll certainly win more than we lose.”
Blacktown coach Mark Crittenden said his players delivered a solid derby performance even though the club was dealt a blow when they lost Joey Gibbs a few days before the season to an overseas contract in Iceland as well as the suspension to crafty midfielder Daniel Araujo.
“They are a very good side and we adjusted a couple of things at the break and performed a lot better,” he said.
“We had chances early in the second-half where we probably should have put the game to bed but it;’s a young team still and a work in progress but 3-points at home, we’ll take that.
“To have stuck it out against a quality side like United, we’ll learn from this and hopefully improve more going forward.”
Blacktown City 1 (Lewis 31’
Sydney United 58 0
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Sunday, 1st March 2020
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant. Referees: Brad Wright & Joon Park
Fourth Official: Nick Ryan
Blacktown City: 1.Tristan Prendergast, 3.Daniel Collins, 4.Yianni Spyrakis, 5.Grant Lynch, 6.Matthew Lewis, 11.Rhett DeSilva, 16.Charles Mendy (7.Hassan Jalloh 46’, 18.Suleyman Bangura 75’)), 17.Dakota Askew (12.Lachlan Campbell 32’), 19.Adam Berry, 23.Leroy Jennings, 24.Jackson Bandiera
Substitutes not used: 20.Dylan Niski,
Yellow Cards: Collins 87’
Sydney United 58: 21.Thomas Manos, 20.Christian Gonzalez, 3.Jordan Roberts, 4.Adrian Vlastelica, 5.Anthony Tomelic, 19.Matthew Sim (7.Mitchell Ruhs 80’), 9.Patrick Antelmi, 23.Devante Klut, 12.Liam Rose, 15.Tariq Maia (18.Glen Trifiro 75’), 17.Matthew Bilic (48.Jackson Khoury 70’)
Substitues not used: 11.Yianni Fragogiannis, 1.Danijel Nizic
3 – Matt Sim (SU)
2 – Jordan Roberts (SU)
1 – Matt Lewis (BC)
By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Micky Brock
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