A desperation strike from Daniel Araujo has helped Blacktown City snatch a last gasp 1-1 draw with Rockdale City Suns at Lily’s Football Centre on Sunday.
Aruajo’s 77th minute goal ensured Blacktown retained their spot at the top of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition ladder.
Rockdale will feel like it was two points lost after taking the lead when Jonathan Grozdanovski fired home with twenty minutes to play.
However the competition leaders delivered in the final stages despite a slow and conservative approach for most of the match.
The result means Blacktown will have a chance at securing the Premiership next week when they take on second placed APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
Blacktown caught their opponents off guard right from the opening whistle with Yuta Konagaya beating the Rockdale defence only 25 seconds into the match. Sadly for the home fans Ante Covic stood tall to make the save.
The opening scare was a wake-up call for the visitors who quickly found their way as the match become far less adventurous than its opening salvo.
Both sides had their moments though the first half but it was clear Blacktown had one eye on their FFA cup clash with the Central Coast Mariners with the team taking a very conservative approach.
Alec Urosevski looked Rockdale’s best option going forward with the winger a constant presence on the left wing.
In the 26th minute Urosevski was unlucky not to have given Rockdale the lead when he headed narrowly over the cross bar after a slick length of the field counter-attacking move.
Counter-attacks proved to be the Suns’ best option going forward with Blacktown controlling possession but posing very little threat as they sat back happy to pass the ball around the midfield and defence.
The match remained scoreless going into the half-time break with neither side looking like finding an opener.
The match opened up more in the second stanza and Blacktown were unlucky not to have hit the back of the net in the 48th minute when Joey Gibbs fired into the side netting after Roberto Speranza flicked the ball back into play as it headed for the touch line.
Konagaya was denied again by Covic in the 52nd minute with the custodian making another key save in the 60th minute to stop a Gibbs header.
Rockdale would take the lead in the 67th minute when Blacktown old boy Grozdanovski side footed into the net after a skirmish in the penalty area.
Blacktown wasn’t going to give up that easily and found themselves level at 1-1 in the 77th minute when Daniel Araujo bundled the ball over the net from close range after Covic was unable to contain a flick on goal from Gibbs.
Both sides pushed hard for a winner in the final ten minutes and Covic was forced to make yet another key save in the 83rd minute to deny Araujo.
Rockdale had the final chance of the match in the 88th minute but they could only fire over the crossbar as both teams were forced to settle for a draw.
Blacktown Assistant coach Luke Roodenburg said the draw was a fair result for his side.
“We did well to fight back after conceding the goal. We were confident we could get something from the game and in the end I think to get a draw isn’t the worst result for us,” he said.
We are focused on winning the premiership and even though APIA narrowed the gap between us with their result last night it didn’t change our approach to this game.
“It is a big week for us with a chance to play the Central Coast Mariners in the FFA Cup on Wednesday before backing up against APIA on Sunday.”
Rockdale’s Ante Covic agreed the 1-1 result felt a little like a defeat.
“There is plenty of disappointment among the squad that we couldn’t get the win today especially after taking the lead with not much time left on the clock,” he said.
“We are confident we can compete come finals times but we need to find a way to win matches like the one today.”
Blacktown City FC: 1 (Araujo 77’)
Rockdale City Suns FC: 1 (Grozdanovski 67’)
Sunday, July 30 2017
Lily’s Football Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: S Edeling & J Park
Fourth Official: A Verma
Blacktown City FC: 1. Tristan Prendergast, 3. Giorgio Speranza 4. Roberto Speranza, 5. Grant Lynch, 6. Matt Lewis, 8. Daniel Araujo, 9. Joey Gibbs, 10 Connor Evans (21. Ken Chun 73’), 16. Mark Rodic (12. James Andrew 59’) 19. Zach Cairncross, 22. Yuta Konagaya
Substitues: 20. Tomislav Romic, 17. Lewis Beumie, 23. Peter Cejka
Yellow Cards: Lynch, R Speranza
Rockdale City Suns: 22. Ante Covic, 4. Steven Hesketh, 4. Trent McClenehan, 5. Paul Reid, 6. Blake Ricciuto, 7. Alec Urosevski, 8. Aleks Canak (14. Brayden Sorge 86’), 9. Daniel Petkovski, 10. Harris Gaitatzis (12. Idriss El Hafiane 73’), 11. Jonathan Grozdanovski (23. Jordan Figon), 18. Daniel Saric
Substitutes: 1. David Bradasevic, 16. Isaac Savor, 44. Brodie Smith