A trio of second-half goals has helped Blacktown City FC stun potential Premiership candidates Rockdale Ilinden FC 4-1 at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday to once again assert themselves as a ‘dark horse’ in this season’s NPL NSW Men’s Title Challenge.
It was a sensational return to form for Blacktown with the win breaking a two-game losing streak.
Rockdale took an early lead but the home side found a spark from a Matthew Lewis moment of magic to make it 1-1 at the break.
City turned it on after the break with goals to Mario Shabow, Carlos De Oliveira and Travis Major to ensure a well-earned win.
Bright sunshine welcome both sides to Lily Homes Stadium for this contest. Rockdale Ilinden FC got off to a good start with Alec Urosevski having a chance in the opening 60 seconds which went wide.
Grant Lynch tried to spark the Blacktown City FC side in return. The veteran weaved through the defence before he laid the pass to Suleyman Bangura whose effort was soft.
Much of the positive work for Rockdale in the first half came through Urosevski and Mitchell Stamatellis. Both men combined for the opener. Stamatellis passed it wide for Urosevski to float one in off the crossbar for 1-nil.
Again those two operated in tandem in the 18th minute. Stamatellis threaded through a precise ball for the striker whose prodded effort thumped against the post and away. Rockdale aimed to build on their early lead.
Blacktown City FC found their way back into the contest through a moment of Lewis moment. The captain took a fabulous touch then thrashed the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
That goal woke the Blacktown City FC side up inside the final 15 minutes. Mario Shabow, Travis Major and Bangura had chances to put the home side in front. They were unable to find the net and the game headed to half-time level.
Coming out of the break, both sides were much cagier in their approach. Chances were few and far between.
Blacktown City FC held the ball but were unable to find their way past Rockdale shot-stopper David Bradasevic.
Rockdale looked to find a chance on the break. A furious break ended up with substitute Marie Gauthier ghosted into the box but he slid his effort wide of the post.
Blacktown City FC found some joy as the clock ticked into the final 15 minutes. Travis Major rose highest to thump his header against the bar. The rebound fell to the feet of Mario Shabow who slotted home for 2-1.
Not content to sit on their lead, Blacktown City FC continued to push forward and found a third goal. Substitute Carlos De Oliveira found the back of the net to bring the crowd at Lily Homes to their feet at 3-1.
Blacktown City FC put the icing on the cake in stoppage time.
Fan favourite Travis Major with some nice work inside the box and finished past a despairing Bradasevic to make it 4-1.
Speaking afterwards victorious Blacktown City FC coach Mark Crittenden was delighted that the side’s effort has turned into a result tonight:
“We’ve been happy with how we have played the last few weeks and finally got a result. It was a funny first half then we dug deep and got a big result against a good side,” said Crittenden.
“I was confident going into the game. I don’t think we’ve played poorly just haven’t been able to find the back of the net. We did that today and I am quite happy.” he finished.
For Rockdale Ilinden coach Steve Zoric he was disappointed his side weren’t able to find the extra gear against Blacktown City as the 2020 Premiers were brought back down to earth by the hosts.
“It was upsetting and disappointing. We started well [with the goal] and let them into the contest,” Zoric said.
“They were eager and out enthused us tonight. It seemed like whatever changes we made weren’t working today.
“Now it’s back to the training field to work on the small things which cost us.
Blacktown City FC 4 (Lewis ‘30, Shabow ‘75, De Oliveira ‘77, Major ‘90+1)
Rockdale Ilinden FC 1 (Urosevski ‘8)
Sunday 28 th March 2021
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: T. Danaskos
Assistant Referees: C. Wright & M. Allum
Fourth Official: M. Ebrahimi
Blacktown City FC: 1. PRENDERGAST Tristan, 3. COLLINS Daniel, 4. CAMPBELL Lachlan, 5. LYNCH Grant, 6. LEWIS Matthew, 7. MAJOR Travis, 8. O’BRIEN Jak (22. DE OLIVEIRA ‘60), 10. SHABOW Mario (24. BANDIERA ‘82), 11. DESILVA Rhett, 18. BANGURA Suleyman (40. HERNANDEZ ‘85), 19. BERRY Adam
Substitutes not used: 17. ASKEW Dakota, 20. NISKI Dylan
Yellow cards: O’Brien, Collins
Red cards: nil
Rockdale Ilinden FC: 1. BRADASEVIC David, 2. PETKOVSKI Daniel, 3. NEILL Michael (11. TANESKI ‘78), 5. KANAIZUMI Banri, 7. UROSEVSKI Alec, 8. WADA Tomoki, 9. ANTONIOU Bai (18. GULISANO ‘57), 14. SORGE Brayden, 15. STAMATELLIS Mitchell, 19. SAVOUR Patrick (10. GAUTHIER ‘71), 23. CIMENTI Kyle
Substitutes not used: 13. SFILIGOI Zac, 22. DI BLASIO Andrew
Yellow cards: Urosevski
Red cards: nil
3 – Mario Shabow (BCFC)
2 – Suleyman Bangura (BCFC)
1 – Alec Urosevski (RCK)
By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)