Sekiya strike sinks Blacktown City


A Tasuku Sekiya strike on the cusp of halftime has given APIA Leichhardt Tigers a hard fought 1-0 win during their PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash with Blacktown City at Lambert Park on Sunday.

The result was Blacktown City’s first loss of the season with APIA bouncing back from a 4-2 loss last round to secure the morale boosting win.

It was a notable APIA debut for former Hyundai A-League journeyman Ivan Necevski who made a number of key saves for his new side.

Blacktown City remains in top spot despite the loss, but hold only a two point lead from second placed Sydney United 58 and third placed APIA.

It was a hard fought opening to the match with neither side willing to give an inch.

APIA and Blacktown City were running hard in midfield with the game moving at breakneck pace.

The home side had the first chance of the match in the eighth minute when Themba Muata-Marlow’s shot from only six yards out was deflected narrowly wide of the post.

Neither side was able to truly dominate proceedings with physical and tough defence keeping the game locked at level pegging.

In the 30th minute, Sekiya had a great opportunity to score when he lined up a free kick on the edge of the box, but his shot sailed over the bar.

It was Blacktown City’s turn only moments later. James Andrew broke free and went one-on-one with the keeper. However, it was always going to be a challenge to get one past former A-League shot stopper Necevski and the veteran custodian proved his ability with an incredible save.

Sekiya broke Blacktown City hearts on the cusp of halftime with a sublime top corner finish.

City keeper Prendegast made a courageous diving save to deny Jordan Murray, but Sekiya’s clinical finish from the edge of the box was only ever destined for the back of the net.

The helter-skelter pace of the game remained in the second stanza.

Blacktown City pushed forward in search of a goal but APIA wasn’t going to sit back and rest on their one goal lead.

Corey Bizco was a constant threat on the right wing with his pace and crossing creating chances for APIA on the counter attack.

Despite their relentless efforts, Blacktown City was starved of any quality goal scoring opportunities.

The visitors pushed hard for a winner in the dying stages but APIA held strong to earn a hard fought victory.

APIA coach Danial Cummins said the victory was a massive result for the club.

“Blacktown is always a tough competitor and to get a win like we did tonight is incredible,” he said.

“The players didn't give up and it was none more obvious than the way they dug deep in the final 15 minutes of the game to secure the win.

“A win like today’s will be great for the confidence but the focus needs to be backing up with big performances like this each week.

Blacktown City Assistant coach Luke Roodenburg said while it was disappointing to lose their was still plenty of positives to take from the match.

“It was a game of very few chances and the difference was APIA was able to capitalise from their opportunities,” he said.

“You can’t question the drive and effort of our players. They gave everything today and were unlucky to go home without at least a point.”

Match Stats

APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC: 1(Sekiya 42”)

Blacktown City FC: 0

Sunday, April 14 2017

Lambert Park, Leichhardt

Referee: T. Danaskos

Assistant Referees: S Edeling & V Bertuccioli

Fourth official: A Lyndon

APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1. Ivan Necevski, 2. Nathan Millgate, 3. Paul Galimi 4. Josh Symons, 8. Corey Bizco, 11. Jordan Murray (9. Matthew West 64’), 13. David D’Apuzzo (7. Sean O’Connell 56’), 15. Themba Muata-Marlow, 16. Sean Symons, 20. Tasuku Sekiya

Substitutes Not Used: 22. Luke Turnbull, 10. Franco Parisi, 19. Brandon Lundy.

Yellow Cards: Muata-Marlow 20’, Bizco 34’, J Symons 50’, West 67’

Red Cards: N/A

Blacktown City: 1. Tristan Prendergast, 3. Giorgio Speranza (21. Ken Chun 61’), 4. Roberto Speranza (22. Yuta Konagaya 80’), 6. Matthew Lewis, 8. Daniel Araujo, 9. Joey Gibbs, 10. Connor Evans, 12. James Andrew, 14. Mitchell Mallia, 15. Shayne D’Cunha, Zach Cairncross.

Substitutes not used: 5. Grant Lynch, 17. Lewis Beumie

Yellow Cards: James Andrew 71’, Cairncross 29’

Red Cards: N/A

Player Ratings

3 - Josh Symons

2 - Tasuku Sekiya

1 - Ivan Necevski