A Daniel Araujo strike has helped Blacktown City to consecutive wins as they edged Hakoah Sydney City East 1-0 at Lily Homes Stadium.
It was a match defined by the chances which were missed as both sides spurned penalties before City clung on for a hard fought three points.
Araujo found the back of the net early in the second half with a clinical headed finish from a Matthew Lewis cross.
The visitors had a chance to snatch a point when they were given a late penalty but it wasn’t to be for Hakoah as Amaury Gauthier’s spot kick was saved.
The opening salvo of the game didn’t arrive until the 16th minute when a free-kick from Shohei Okuno rolled along the carpet and missed the intended target by a narrow margin.
Some nice play in the 24th minute from Hakoah Sydney City East saw Dominic Cox eventually serve the ball on a platter to Addison Sayan who fired his rocket just wide of the goal much to the relief of the home fans.
A few minutes later Cox again played king-maker when he set up Okuno who hit his volley just over the goal from a great position.
Blacktown City, after absorbing the pressure from Hakoah, then created some great chances of their own.
They almost hit the target in the 26th minute when Joey Gibbs delightfully chipped the ball over for Emmanuel Gonzalez, but his attempt was majestically saved by Ryan Norval who needed two bites of the cherry to get the ball under his control.
A minute later the ball flowed up the same end and Gibbs this time sent his diagonal shot crashing into the post past a diving Norval.
A double chance to Blacktown then eventuated in the 32nd minute and really the home side should have taken the lead there and then.
A rocket by Gonzalez was parried by Norval but only as far as Leroy Jennings who forced Norval into another great reflex save to deny the home side the breakthrough.
Blacktown City’s best chance of the first stanza of play came in the 39th minute.
A shot by Lewis from the right met the hand of Steven Katsionis just inside the box and referee Stephen Lucas awarded the home side a penalty.
Gibbs stepped up to take the penalty but Norval saved it low down to his right sending the ball actually across the face of goal in the other direction.
It was to be the last action of a wonderful, free-flowing half of football despite neither side being able to break through.
In the second half Blacktown City did though take the lead in the 54th minute when a fantastic cross by Lewis was met by Daniel Araujo who clinically headed home from the centre of the box to give the men in black the lead.
In the 66th minute though Hakoah should have equalised when a beautiful cross by Gautier from the left was met by the head of Oliver Green at the back post but, despite his best efforts to direct the sphere into the goal, Tristan Prendergast was able to get it away for a corner.
In the 72nd minute Hakoah received a penalty in very similar way to Blacktown’s in the first half. Handball was called against City defender Grant Lynch.
In the same way that Blacktown failed to convert, so too did Hakoah. Gautier’s rather tame spot kick was saved by Prendergast down to his left.
Blacktown should have doubled their score in the 77th minute.
Gibbs played a nice ball to Jennings who slammed it into the post with venom and the rebound was hit wide by Desilva who seemed almost surprised with the golden chance in front of an open goal.
But in the end it didn’t matter for Blacktown as the earlier goal was enough to secure them the full haul of points.
After the game Mark Crittenden, coach of Blacktown City FC, was pleased with the victory.
“At the end of the day it’s a good three points,” he said.
“I thought we had enough chances, they did too, there were two penalties missed and we hit the post twice, but we didn’t take our full chances when we should have to be honest.
“We collected all the points today for the Club Championship with three wins, so it was a big day for us. “Hakoah is always a tough club to play against because they battle all day, but we’ll take the three points as we prepare for our FFA Cup game against Sydney United 58 on Wednesday.”
Hakoah Sydney City East coach Gavin Rae said he was frustrated given the nature of recent losses when his side was clearly in the game again.
“It’s a tough time. We are in games and we are massively competitive but we are getting beat by odd goals which is frustrating,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a rut but we have character and we’ll keep going.
“In football you need to keep picking up points and get some momentum, so we’ll keep fighting and keep going.”
BLACKTOWN CITY FC: 1 (Araujo 54’)
HAKOAH SYDNEY CITY EAST: 0
Sunday, 17th May 2019
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling, Janush Abadjou
Fourth Official: Brett Merchant
BLACKTOWN CITY FC: 1.Tristan Prendergast, 5.Grant Lynch, 6.Matthew Lewis, 8.Daniel Araujo (18.Josh Bartolotto 86’), 9.Joey Gibbs, 11.Emmanuel Gonzalez (16.Rhett Desilva 67’), 12.Lachlan Campbell, 17.Dakota Askew, 19.Adam Berry, 22.Leroy Jennings, 23.Daniel Bragg (15.Mason Versi 67’).
Substitutes not used: 20.Dylan Niski
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Card: Nil
HAKOAH SYDNEY CITY EAST: 1.Ryan Norval, 3.James Coombes, 4.Bradley Walker, 5.Steven Katsionis, 6.Dominic Cox, 7.Addison Sayan (60.Taka Noji 72’), 8.Oliver Green, 9.Shohei Okuno, 13.Robert Ezekiel, 16.Hristijian Tanoski (12.Steven Chester 76’), 24.Amauri Gauthier.
Substitutes not used: 11.Jack Green, 17.Harry Jones, 25.Max Ephraim.
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
3. Leroy Jennings (BC)
2. Joey Gibbs (BC)
1. Ryan Norval (HAK)
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo