Blacktown City have made it three wins on the trot after a comprehensive 3-1 victory over the Sutherland Sharks at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday
A brilliant brace from Matty Lewis in his 300th game set the tone for the home side before Leroy Jennings secured the points with an 85th minute finish.
Peter Simonoski levelled the score at 1-1 midway through the second stanza but Sutherland were unable to contain an in form Blacktown side.
The win keeps Blacktown in second spot on the ladder, behind Marconi on goal difference, while Sutherland are still without a win after three games.
The opening salvo of the game arrived in the 10th minute when Rhett Desilva for Blacktown City had a shot from outside the box that was beautifully turned around the post by goalkeeper Ryan Norval.
In the 17th minute a free-kick from the right by Adam Berry reached Grant Lynch in the middle of the box, but he skied his volley from close range as the home side tried their luck in the heavy rain that momentarily had lashed Lily Homes Stadium.
The real celebration of the afternoon though took place on the half hour mark. Dakota Askew put in a great cross from the right which found Lewis in the box and his powerful header, from close range, ended up straight in the back of the net past an outstretched Norval.
In the 39th minute Blacktown were at it again. Desilva charged down a clearance ball and made his way dangerously towards goal before setting up Berry who then lashed the ball with some intent.
Unfortunately for his side he sprayed it over the crossbar to spare Sutherland’s blushes.
The first half ended shortly afterwards as the visitors went into the sheds to contemplate how to turn things around in the second stanza of play.
However, the same pattern of play emerged early on when in the 49th minute Jennings had his shot from close range deflected away for a corner.
A few minutes later it was Jennings again who was in the thick of the action. This time he beautifully played the ball to Berry in the middle who pulled the trigger in what would have been a certain goal, but Patrick O’Shea threw everything he had in the way to block the attempt in a truly wonderful display of defending.
In the 53rd minute Lachlan Campbell danced his way through some feeble before firing just a millimetre wide as Blacktown wondered if they were ever going to score again.
A few minutes later and Blacktown should really have had their second when a delightful cross by Desilva was flicked on by Charles Mendy and the ball rebounded off the crossbar.
However, after absorbing all the pressure the Sutherland Sharks managed an equaliser really out of nothing.
Marc Warren in the 61st minute cut the ball back to Peter Simonoski who slotted home from close range as the home side’s defence was caught napping.
However, in the 68th minute Blacktown were given a penalty when a cross from the right was handled by a defender O’Shea and Hassan Jomaa pointed to the spot.
Lewis stepped up to the mark and scored his second goal of the afternoon by placing the ball out of the reach of Norval who had dived the correct way.
Mason Versi tried his luck with a powerful drive for the visitors which wasn’t too far off the mark but then in the 85th minute Blacktown City made it three.
A cross from the right by Askew was met by Berry who fired at ‘keeper Norval who knocked it away instinctively but unfortunately for him straight back to Jennings who this time found the back of the net.
Just a minute from fulltime Blacktown City should really have had their fourth when Suleyman Bangura beautifully fed the ball to an unmarked Jennings who fired over from close range, but it was probably harder to miss than to score from that distance.
After the game the Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden spoke about his team in modestly glowing terms.
“Matty’s 300th was massively important but three points was more important,” he said.
“We didn’t even speak about that during the week because, while milestones are great, it is a team game. With the win now we can celebrate something with Matty.
“We had a couple of chances to put them away a bit earlier and didn’t take them but, in saying that, we’ll take the three points and move forward.
“We still have improvement in us and we are still not playing the football that we would like to be playing. Some of it is good but some of it is still a bit ugly.”
His counterpart Nick Dimovski of the Sutherland Sharks wasn’t too disappointed with his team despite the result.
“Look, we were slow out of the blocks today and that was evident in the first half,” he said.
“We changed it a bit in the second half and I asked the players to respond and they lifted.
“At 1-1, Blacktown City received a penalty and I can’t comment on that because I would never comment on a referee, but in the end we were just pushing for a result when we went 2-1 down and they scored their third.
“We would like to create more chances because if you want to win a game of football, you need to create more chances and take the opportunities.”
BLACKTOWN CITY: 3 (Lewis 30’ and 68’, Jennings 85’)
SUTHERLAND SHARKS: 1 (Simonoski 61’)
Sunday, 15th March 2020
Lily Homes Football Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: Hassan Jomaa
Assistant Referees: N. Wotton, P. Teleki
Fourth Official: C. Wright
BLACKTOWN CITY: 1.Tristan Prendergast, 3.Daniel Collins (4.Yianni Spyrakis 87’), 5.Grant Lynch, 6.Matthew Lewis, 11.Rhett Desilva (15.Jak O’Brien 91’), 12.Lachlan Campbell, 16.Charles Mendy (18.Suleyman Bangura 79’), 17.Dakota Askew, 19.Adam Berry, 23.Leroy Jennings, 24.Jackson Bandiera.
Substitutes not used: 20.Dylan Niski, 21.William Mutch.
Yellow Cards: 32’ Collins
Red Card: Nil
SUTHERLAND SHARKS: 1.Ryan Norval, 3.Marc Warren, 6.Lachlan Everett (99.Jonathan Grozdanovski 73’), 7.Peter Simonoski, 8.Patrick O’Shea, 9.James Temelkovski (15.Mason Versi 46’), 10.Blake Powell, 11.Joey Groenbast, 12.Blair Brown (13.Thomas Papa 59’), 20.Connor Shaddock, 21.Oliver Green.
Substitutes not used: 17.Mario Aleksik, 19.Gabriel Contigiani.
Yellow Cards: Powell 90’ + 3
Red Card: Nil
3 – Matthew Lewis (BC)
2 – Rhett Desilva (BC)
1 – Patrick O’Shea (SS)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo