A gutsy Blacktown City FC have returned to the top of the National Premier Leagues NSW ladder with a 2-0 win against Sydney United 58 FC in front of a strong crowd at Lily Homes Stadium.
The win was a huge three competition points for City who took an early lead through Jak O’Brien before Daniel Collins wrapped up the win in front of a passionate home crowd on ‘Back to Blacktown day” in the dying minutes.
United 58 suffered a costly early injury as Matt Sim was forced from the field inside the first five minutes with the visitors struggling to rediscover their rhythm.
Patrick Antelmi had a handful of chances to find the back of the net but was unable to score against his former club Blacktown who went on to take a huge win in the context of then premiership race.
In a high octane opening to the game, both sides looked to start strong with early chances falling to both Antelmi and Lynch however their efforts fell safely into the hands of both opposing keepers.
An early forced substitution for Sydney United saw Matt Sim leave the field through injury being replaced by Jackson Khoury. With United playing down a man for a matter of minutes before Khoury’s introduction, Blacktown came close to finding the opener with a sweeping move leading to a pinball like situation with countless shots on goal being contained by the steadfast United defence.
With United back to full strength, Clut and Trifiro started to find a foothold in the middle of the park as they began to find Antelmi and Payne up front with an array of half chances in quick succession.
As both sides began to find their feet after fast starts, Blacktown found the opener off the back of a united attack. A lofted ball from the halfway line cleared Poscoliero at the back, arriving on the glancing head of Jak O’Brien, who neatly sent the ball past the on rushing Nizic from the penalty spot in the 13th minute.
With momentum now riding high with Blacktown, they pushed to find a second, coming close in the 22nd minute via the foot of Desilva. Bandiera drove into the box off the back of a move beginning inside his own half. Heading towards the by line, a zipping low cross found Desilva who was unlucky to find the back of the net with his outstretched shot going wide.
From here, the game began to stretch out as the fast opening to the game started to take its toll on both sides. Antelmi, the busiest up front for United, looked the most likely, whose half chance on the half hour after a swift interchange with Khoury on the edge of the box, deflected wide into the side netting.
Chances became few and far between to close out the half with neither side managing to gain an advantage in the middle of the park.
A fast opening to the second half saw United start the better of the two as they pressed to find the equalizer. With the Blacktown defence under pressure, sloppy passing led to an early opportunity for Antelmi whose interception was quickly snuffed out by Tristan Prendergast in goal.
With United penned in the opposition’s half, Blacktown were seemingly only going to be let out off the back of counter attacking football. And this came fifteen minutes into the second half as a Bandiera interception saw him charge down the left in an attack that called upon United goalkeeper Nizic to keep the scores at bay.
Bandiera’s counter offered the Blacktown defence some reprieve although it wasn’t long before Trifioro led the United search for an equalizer. With Payne and Antelmi creating headaches across the forward line via interchanging play, Devante Clut was picked out wide on the right whose ensuing cross found Payne. However, his 63rd minute snap shot was blocked yet again by the determined Blacktown defence.
With United on the front foot, committing numbers forward, two quickfire chances fell to the feet of Blacktown forward Travis Major on the counter in the form of a volley blazed over the bar from a pinpoint O’Brien cross and that of a one on one off the back of a Lynch interception and crafty passing from Mario Shabow in the 72nd minute.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, with Blacktown yet again held prisoner in their own half, a quick interchange of passing saw Payne find himself driving towards goal from the right. The striker’s ball across goal was scuffed by Antelmi, falling to Khoury, who placed the ball in the bottom left corner. However, to no avail, the goal wasn’t awarded due to a foul in the build up.
Breaking on the counter in the 84th minute, a silky Shabow for Blacktown played a cunning ball behind the defence for the on rushing Sean Rooney, whose shot was saved well by Nizic down to his right. The corner that followed resulted in the ball falling to defender Daniel Collins whose left footed strike rocketed into the bottom left hand corner of the net, seemingly securing all three points for Blacktown in the 84th minute.
The final minutes of play saw a Trifiro strike touched into the back of the Blacktown net, however it was again called for offside. With the clock counting down Blacktown managed to see out the game, taking with them a crucial three points that sends them back to the top of the table.
Blacktown coach Mark Crittenden expressed his joy at full time crediting his sides’ ability to see the game out.
“We set out with a plan and idea of how we wanted to play today and it paid off. Sydney United are such a great side, with great players, so we had to work on the counter”
“We probably could have had more goals in the end. We had a handful of one on ones that we didn’t bury but we’re very pleased to take all three points.”
“The most pleasing thing was the effort, against a really really good team. The boys had to dig deep for the full ninety minutes, so to come away with the win is big.”
Blacktown City FC 2 (O’Brien 13’, Collins 84’)
Sydney United 58 0
Sunday 6th June 2021
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: Adrian Ardnt
Assistant Referees: H. Futon While, J.Park
Fourth Official: I.Covic
Blacktown City FC: 1. Tristan Prendergast, 3. Daniel Collins, 4. Lachlan Campbell, 5. Grant Lynch, 6. Matthew Lewis, 7. Travis Major (9. Sean Rooney 81’), 8. Jak O’Brien, 11. Rhett Desilva (10. Mario Shabow 56’), 19. Adam Berry, 24. Jackson Bandiera (22. Carlos De Oliviera 70’), 29. Nicholas O’Brien.
Substitutes not used: 14. Caleb Jackson Brown, 18. Suleyman Bangura, 20. Dylan Niski,
Yellow Cards: O’Brien 90’
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney United 58 FC: 1. Danijel Nizic, 2. Christian Gonzalez (17. Matthew Bilic 79’), 3. Jordan Roberts, 4. Adrian Vlastelica, 6. Christopher Payne, 8. Matthew Sim (7. Jackson Khoury 4’), 9. Patrick Antelmi, 10. Devante Clut (15. Tariq Maia 63’), 14. Andreas Agamemnonos, 16. Jacob Poscoleiro, 18. Glen Trifiro
Substitutes not used: 5. Anthony Tomelic, 13. Jordan Ivancic, 44. Josip Orlovic.
Yellow Cards: Gonzalez 42’, Poscoleiro 67’
Red Cards: Nil
-By Joseph Esposito