Blacktown City continues unbeaten run


Blacktown City survived a late scare against Manly United to continue their unbeaten start to the season and edge the visitors and fellow championship hopefuls 3-2 at Lilys Football Centre on Saturday evening.

It was one way traffic with 80 minutes for the hosts with a brace from star Danny Choi and a goal from substitute James Andrew sending Mark Crittenden’s side heading toward a comfortable victory.

But late consolations from Nikola Taneski and Travis Oughtred sliced Blacktown City’s advantage and added a sheen of respectability to the score line the visitors had scarcely merited prior to their fightback.

Although the visitors were handicapped by the unfortunate late withdrawal of Matthew Fletcher, who was replaced by Taneski in the matches opening moments after a nasty collision with the fence, Warren Grieve’s side could only manage a handful of shots en route to their consecutive third match without a win.

Blacktown City could have been out of sight after forty-five minutes with Joey Gibbs enjoying a slew of first half chances.

The first of these saw Gibbs beat Manly goalkeeper Dylan Mitchell to Choi’s cross but having beaten Mitchell to the ball the Manly defence was able to clear in time.

Choi opened the scoring moments later in similarly scrappy fashion after Mitchell spilled Connor Evan’s free-kick at the near post. After a short skirmish in the box, the former Adelaide United man was on the spot to turn the ball home.

City continued to threaten deep into the opening half with Choi linking up with Gibbs again to produce a good parry from Mitchell, while Gibbs squandered two good chances to score after some excellent feet in the box.

City’s top scorer Daniel Araujo came closest to doubling the lead in the opening half but lashed a powerful snapshot inches wide of the far post.

The hosts did eventually double their advantage early in the second half, and in stunning fashion with Choi grabbing his second.

After plucking Roberto Speranza’s long pass from the sky, Choi shimmied past two defenders on the edge of the box before cheekily prodding the ball through the legs of Oughtred and poking the ball into the roof of the net with his right foot.

Andrew made it three for the hosts swiftly after his substitution with an unerring finish past Mitchell, before Manly pulled a goal back immediately when Taneski tapped home at the back post.

Eyebrows around Lilys were raised further when defender Leigh Egger halved the deficit with a superb finish inside the box after Taneski and Cholakian each saw goal bound efforts heroically blocked by the Blacktown rear-guard, but the hosts held firm to consign the visitors to their third straight match without a win.

Manly United coach Warren Grieve lamented the loss of Fletcher after the game but hailed his troops for a brave display.

“I think that was the critical point of the game for us.

“Matthew offers us so much and is one of the only complete number nines in the squad, so to lose him so early was a massive blow.

“We showed our quality late on in the game and I’m proud of the boys for that but you can’t give Blacktown City a start like that.”

Mark Crittenden hailed his Blacktown side for another dominant display.

“Up until the seventy-five minute mark, that was our best performance of the season.

“We were good – really good.”

Match Stats

Blacktown City 3 (Choi 19’, 54’, Andrew 78’)

Manly United 2 (Taneski 80’, Egger 86')

Saturday 29 April, 2017

Lilys Football Centre, Seven Hills

Blacktown City: 8. Daniel Araujo (22. Yuta Konagaya 77’), 11. Danny Choi (12. James Andrew 70’), 10. Connor Evans, 9. Joey Gibbs, 6. Matthew Lewis, 5. Grant Lynch, 1. Tristan Prendergast, 3. Giorgio Speranza, 4. Roberto Speranza, 15. Shayne D’Cunha, 19. Zach Cairncross

Substitutes Not Used: 17. Lewis Beumie, 20. Matthew Symes

Yellow Cards: 6. Matthew Lewis 59’

Red Cards: N/A

Manly United: 13. Scott Balderson, 10. Brendan Cholakian, 12. Leigh Egger, 23. Matthew Fletcher (11. Nikola Taneski 4’), 21. Joseph Fox, 3. Jamie Lobb, 8. Sasa Macura, 1. Dylan Mitchell, 4. Travis Oughtred, 14. Dejan Pandurevic (6. Dominic Ferguson 62’), 19. Daniel Saric (17. Sam Wilson 78’)

Substitutes Not Used: 16. Sipan Berti, 20. Shaun Catlin,

Yellow Cards: 4. Travis Oughtred 43’

Red Cards: N/A

Player Ratings

3 - Connor Evans (BCFC)

2 - Danny Choi (BCFC)

1 – Matthew Lewis (BCFC)

-By Jacob Windon