Goalkeeper Thomas Manos saved the day for Sydney United 58 in their National Premier Leagues NSW Mens match away to Blacktown City at Lily Homes Stadium won by a wonder-striker Matthew Sim free-kick.
Manos made three saves in the closing stages to deny City a point after a sublime curling dead ball from Sim secured the spoils.
Patrick Antelmi, the former City player, almost returned to haunt his former club in the opening moments only for gloveman Tristan Prendergast to turn the ball away.
City initially responded by mounting pressure on their rivals however goal scoring opportunities were a rare commodity as the match bogged down in midfield and became a battle of attrition.
Neither side was at it’s best in a lethargic opening opening half and it was no surprise the teams hit the sheds still locked in stalemate.
It wasn’t until the second period the game sprang to life and an early free-kick on the edge of the box was the catalyst.
Sim placed the ball and curled a left-footed shot teasingly up into Prendergast’s left hand corner to open the scoring for the visitors.
It was to prove the only goal of the game but it wasn’t for the lack of trying by City who switched to a back three and they almost paid the price again when a sweet through ball from Yianni Fragogiannis put Antelmi into the clear but he somehow contrived to fire his effort over the bar.
City pushed and probed and another dead ball situation saw Mason Versi force Manos into the first of three quick successive saves, one more from Versi and another he tipped over the bar in the stoppage time.
The United 58 defence marshaled by veteran Petar Markovic alongside Fragogiannis as well as the marauding runs of Jordan Roberts and the solid display by Yianni Perkatis really shone out for the visitors.
A disconsolate Blacktown coach, Mark Crittendon, commented.
“I don’t think we deserved to lose the game today,
“We gave away a cheap turnover and then a foul to let them in to score.
“I’m proud of the effort from the guys today but like I said, I don’t feel we deserved to lose to a goal like that.”
Miro Vlastelica was rather more upbeat as United 58 recorded its first victory for 2019.
“We always know we are in for a tough game against Blacktown as they are a quality side.
“We could have won by more in the end but we didn’t take the chances we created and we need to work harder on that.
“However, we’ve got the points, kept a clean sheet and we’ll move forward from here.”
Blacktown City: 0
Sydney United 58: 1 (Sim 56’)
Lily Homes Stadium, Quinn Ave, Seven hills
Sunday 17th March, 2019
Blacktown City: 1.Tristan Prendergast, 4.Yianni Spyrakis, 5.Grant Lynch (Mason Versi 75′), 6.Matt Lewis, 7.Devante Clut, 8.Daniel Araujo, 9.Joey Gibbs, 11.Mani Gonzalez (James Demetriou 59′), 21.William Mutch, 22.Leroy Jennings, 24.Jackson Bandierra (Adam Berry 62′)
Subs not used: 3.Daniel Collins, 20.Dylan Niski
Sydney United 58: 21.Thomas Manos, 3.Jordan Roberts, 5.Anthony Tomelic (Nick Stavroulakis 71′), 6.Petar Markovic, 8.Matthew Sim (Adrian Vlastelica 75′), 9.Patrick Antelmi, 11.Yianni Perkatis, 13.Sam Perre, 15.Tariq Maia (Josh Macdonald 62′), 20.Christian Gonzalez, 22.Yianni Fragogiannis
Subs not used: 2.Joshua De Rossi, Daniel Sadaka
3 – Manos (SU58)
2 – Fragogiannis (SU58)
1 – Clut (BCFC)
By Micky Brock, FNSW Reporter