A hungry looking APIA-Leichhardt Tigers were seeking their first win of the season, while Blacktown City were looking to keep their winning streak alive without conceding any goals, but both sides had to settle for a thrilling 3-3 draw at Lilys Football Centre.
Putting the away fans on the edge of their seats, it was the Tigers who started strong from the opening whistle.
Franco Parisi delivered a beautiful ball into the box to find Daniel Forgarty, but his shot was saved by keeper Nenad Vekic in the very first minute of the game. Brad Bartels was there to get the rebound but put his shot over the bar, a mistake he would make amends for later in the game.
Just a couple of minutes later, a pass from Kearyn Baccus was intercepted by Mathew Mayora in APIA-Leichhardt’s attacking third and seeing the opportunity before him, decided to take a shot from outside the box, but his right footed effort did not trouble the keeper.
In the 5′ minute, Blacktown’s first opportunity came as Yianni Frogogiannis and Matthew Lewis played a sweet one two together, but no one was there connect with Lewis’ well delivered ball into the area.
Drama came for the home side as they conceded their first goal of the season in the 8′ minute. Jamie Lobb found his target man Mayora in front of the goal and he made no mistake as he got over his defender and headed APIA’s first goal.
Their lead would not last long as a determined City looked to equalise right away.
A perfectly timed ball through the defence saw Travis Major one on one with Andrew Bazi and as he put the ball around him, his legs were caught, which saw the ref point to penalty spot with no hesitation, producing the first yellow of the game.
A confident Baccus stepped up in the 16′ minute and made no mistake placing the ball into the bottom right hand corner, leaving the outstretched arm of Bazi no chance of a save.
In the 33′ Bazi just mistimed his kick, looking like a little slip due to the wet conditions and Ryuji Miyazawa took full advantage of the situation and at full force was able to hit the ball into the back of the net sliding in with his right foot, which saw Blacktown take a 2-1 lead into the half time break.
In the 51′ minute the patient and persevering APIA brought themselves level with the hosts as Bartels brought down a cross in the box and smashed it in from the right hand side.
Exactly 10′ minutes later Bartels used his pace to beat his defender to come to a prime one on one opportunity with Vekic. He made no mistake, tucking away his finish to fire APIA into the lead.
The fast paced Miyazawa once again used his speed to find himself in a great scoring opportunity, however Bazi managed to pull of a unique save.
Unfortunately for the Tigers though the rebound hit defender Michael West and saw the ball creep over the line bringing the home side level at three each.
It was then the visitors who came a hair’s length away from creating late drama as Bartels’ shot just missed the bottom left hand side of the goal and 3-all it remained.
“We were always going to concede at some stage, even though we were not hoping for three,” Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden said.
“We were a little bit naive defensively… a few things to look at to get ready for next weekend”
APIA-Leichhardt coach Billy McColl, was pleased with the draw.
“I thought it was an open game, I thought anybody could have won it, we gave away soft goals, but at the end of the day we will take the point.”
“We will get our first win soon and I am hopeful we will have a good year.”
“We took the lead and then we lost it and it showed character to come back and equalise the game, but we just were not good enough to get the three points today”
“Brad (Bartels) had a brilliant game and he was all over… he is skilful. He missed an early shot in the first half, but he took his two goals very well."
Blacktown City FC 3 (Kearyn Baccus 16’, Ryuji Miyazawa 33’, Michael West [OG] 72′)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 3 (Matthew Mayora 8’, Bradley Bartels 51’, 61′)
Sunday, 6th April, 2014
Lilys Football Centre, Seven Hills
Referee: Adrian Arndt
Assistant Referees: Thomas Lee and Craig Fisher
Fourth Official: Samuel Grasso
Blacktown City FC: 1.Nenad Vekic; 3.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Yianni Frogogiannis, 6.Matthew Lewis (18.Daniel Araujo 50′) 7.Travis Major (C), 8.Sasa Macura (5.Jacob Poscoliero 70′), 9.Ryuji Miyazawa, 11.Danny Choi, 15.Marco Travaglini, 16.Kearyn Baccus, 19.Zachary Cairncross
Substitutes not used: 13.Blake Tuxford (GK), 17.Keiren Paull
Yellow Cards: Giorgio Speranza 30′
Red Cards: Nil
APIA-Leichhardt Tigers: 21.Andrew Bazi; 2.Travis Oughtred, 3.Jamie Lobb, 4.Brad Bartels, 5.Michael West (C), 7.Stephen Kayes, 10.Franco Parisi (9.Aman Hadid 68’), 13.David D’Apuzzo (16.Jordan Simpson 92’), 15.Mathew Mayora, 12.Daniel Bragg (8.Brad McDonald 62’), 11. Daniel Forgarty
Substitutes not used: 1.Chris Moore (GK), 8.Bradley McDonald, 17.Matthew Castlenuovo
Yellow Cards: Andrew Bazi 15’, Matthew Mayora 75’, David D’Apuzzo 80′
Red Cards: Nil
3. Daniel Choi (Blacktown City)
2. Bradley Bartels (APIA)
1. Ryuji Miyazawa (Blacktown City)
– By Saman Ziaei