A late Travis Major stunner has helped Blacktown City FC to a 3-2 victory against a resilient Sutherland Sharks at Lily’s Football Centre on Sunday.
The hosts were in cruise control, leading 2-0 at the break after goals to Travis Major and Jackson Bandiera had them on course to extend their lead at the top.
But Sutherland refused to quit with a peter Simonoski brace levelling the scores heading into the final moments of the match.
With the game headed for a draw, Major delivered a cruel blow to the Sharks as he curled in a dramatic late winner that keeps Blacktown on top of the table for another week after Sydney United 58 dropped further points with its 1-1 draw against Northbridge Bulls.
Blacktown City FC worked their way into the contest and started to find joy down the flanks. The hosts found the back of the net in first through. The striker poked home after Carlos De Oliveira was repelled twice to make it 1-0.
Surging forward after the opener, Blacktown City dominated possession in the latter stages of the first half. Mario Shabow surged down the right before he cushioned a pass right into the path of De Oliveira to deflect over.
Just after the half-hour mark, Blacktown doubled their advantage. Another strong run on the right side created a deflection which popped up for Bandiera to nod home.
Needing a response, Sutherland tried to push forward. They had one final chance before half-time but last week’s match-winner Oliver Green put his headed right at Blacktown City FC custodian Tristan Prendergast.
The Sharks found some bite just before the hour mark. Sutherland pulled one back through Simonoski who nodded home after the ball fell to the striker, making it 2-1 with just over 30 minutes to play.
Both sides were pushing forward to find the next goal. Sutherland Sharks had a golden chance when Charlie Jones weaved through the defence before he found James Andrew who swept the ball right at Prendergast.
Sutherland Sharks were brighter in the second half and they got themselves a second goal through Simonoski. The corner was flighted to the far stick, headed against the post then Simonoski lashed home for 2-2.
Feeling the energy shifting, Sharks went close again on the counter. It was started by substitute Alex Masciovecchio who threaded a pass for Sharks top goal scorer Andrew to run onto but the striker arrowed wide.
Time slowly ticked away, as both teams looked for the winner. Sharks pushed forward with a set-piece which saw defender Brendan Hooper flick wide. There was one final twist left in the tail of this contest this afternoon.
Blacktown City FC had one final chance to take all three points. Bandiera roamed free on the left, cut the ball back to Major. The experienced striker curved the ball home, making it 3-2 to the home side and sent the home crowd delirious.
It was Major’s twelfth goal of the NPL NSW Men’s campaign as one of the league’s most deadliest marksman continued his stunning form for his beloved club.
Speaking post-match, Blacktown City FC coach Mark Crittenden celebrated his side’s performance despite allowing the Sharks back into the game.
“I am very happy to get the three points. I thought we had enough chances to win the contest before they came back into the game.
“We don’t worry about the ladder but only the football we’re playing. It wasn’t good enough to concede off a set-piece but it was one of those days however we will celebrate those three points.”
For Sutherland Sharks coach Nick Dimovski, there was plenty of positives to take from tonight despite losing the game.
“I’m proud of the boys’ effort tonight. They fought back well, got it back to 2-2 then copped one late which happens in football.
“It is a positive changeroom there, we can take a lot from that game. We pushed a good side in Blacktown City FC and performed strongly.”
Blacktown City FC 3 (Major ‘28 ‘90+2, Bandiera ‘34)
Sutherland Sharks FC 2 (Simonoski ‘57, ‘75)
Sunday 20 June 2021
Lilys Football Centre
Referee: C. Fisher
Assistant Referees: H. Fenton-White & J. Park
Fourth Official: E. Saba
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 (14. JACKSON-BROWN ‘80), 10. SHABOW Mario (18. BANGURA ‘85), 22. DE OLIVEIRA Carlos (9. ROONEY ‘69), 24. BANDIERA Jackson, 29. O’BRIEN Nicholas
Substitutes not used: 11. DESILVA Rhett, 101. HENDERSON Caden
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
Sutherland Sharks FC: 1. BOUZANIS Anthony, 3. CONTIGIANI Gabriel (25. MASCIOVECCHIO ‘45), 5. HOOPER Brendan, 6. O’SHEA Patrick, 7. SIMONOSKI Peter, 9. COX Jeremy (12. SUTHERLAND ‘85), 10. GREEN Oliver, 13. JONES Charlie, 14. LINDSAY Chris, 17. ANDREW James, 88. MCSTAY Christopher
Substitutes not used: 16. ROEBUCK Gerard, 21. SAUER Luke, 22. SCIBILIO Patrick, 23. WILEY Jarrad
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)