Sydney United 58 has ended Blacktown City’s PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Premiership hopes after they clinched a 2-2 draw at Sydney United Sports Centre on Sunday.
Despite leading the competition for most of the season, Blacktown City needed a win against Sydney United and hope APIA Leichhardt Tigers lost in their match if they were to lift the trophy.
However, United 58 had other plans with Anthony Vranic’s last minute equaliser all but quashing their opponents title hopes.
Sydney United 58 took the lead early in the first half thanks to a Yutaro Shin goal but Blacktown City FC hit back earl in the second half through Pete Cejka.
Joey Gibbs gave Blacktown hope of victory but Vranic spoiled any hope of a fairytale finish for CIty when he scored in the dying seconds.
The first action of the game favoured Blacktown City and it wasn’t long until they had their first chance of the match.
Captain Matt Lewis fired wide of the mark after receiving the ball on the edge of the box from a corner kick.
Despite the visitors early attacking pressure it was Sydney United 58 who took the lead.
Glen Trifiro fired the ball into the middle and Yutaro Shin aided it into the back of the net from fairly close range.
Blacktown City tried to hit back in the 19th minute when a free kick from former A-League player Gibbs skimmed the post.
The game ebbed and flowed until the 37th minute when Blacktown City, in the space of a minute, had two clear-cut chances.
The ball was played right to an unmarked Roberto Speranza in the box but his powerful drive was well stopped by an alert Thomas Manos.
Mere seconds later, a rocket drive from outside the box was thundered in by Daniel Araujo only to be denied by a diving Manos.
Sydney United 58 responded in kind in the 42nd minute when a long ball forward reached Christopher Payne near the by-line and, despite showing off some great training ground juggling skills, he could only turn his shot into the side netting.
It was to be the last real chance of an entertaining and hard-fought first half.
In the 49th minute it was Blacktown City FC that evened the ledger.
A loose ball in the box was pounced on by Pete Cejka who drilled it home from close range.
In the 60th minute there was some controversy when Sydney United 58 scored but the goal was disallowed.
A powerful drive by Olsen was parried by goalkeeper Prendergast, but only as far as Anthony Vranic who knocked it in under the crossbar.
However the goal didn’t stand with the referee ruling a foul before the goal was scored.
With eight minutes to play Blacktown City took the lead for the first time in the game.
A free kick by Joey Gibbs was deflected by the wall and wrong-footed goalkeeper Manos before it trickled into the net.
In the 90th minute Sydney United 58 equalised when a corner reached Payne at the far post and he headed the ball into the middle for Vranic to head home from only a metre out.
Sydney United’s 58 assistant coach Jerry Bilokapic praised his side for securing a draw when defeat seemed more likely.
“It was a good finish to the season for us and after a big win on Wednesday night [Westfield FFA Cup win 7-2], it was a great response today,” he said.
“We are now focused on the Westfield FFA Cup and we rested a few bodies today and some we took off early.
The culture here is very good; I have been here now for five years and the culture at the club has been great, so we’ll just continue to do that.”
While in Blacktown City’s dressing the mood was a little more sombre for Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden.
“Going into today who knew what could happen and Rockdale went 1-0 up [against APIA], but we in the end just worry about ourselves and what happens, happens,” he said.
“We are very proud of our achievements because some people thought that we wouldn’t even make the top five, but to finish second is great.
“It has been a good season and there’s still a lot to play for.”
Sydney United 58 FC: 2 (Shin 10’, Vranic 90’)
Blacktown City FC: 2 (Cejka 49’ Gibbs 82’)
Sunday 13th August 2017
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Janush Adabjou, Patrick Teleki
Fourth Official: Anthony Mansour
SYDNEY UNITED 58 FC: 21. Thomas Manos, 5. Anthony Tomelic, 7. Yutaro Shin, 8. Matthew Sim, 14. Nicholas Stavroulakis (32. Nicholas Olsen 46’), 16. Stepjan Paric, 17. Matthew Bilic, 18. Glen Trifiro (43. Yianni Perkatis
46’), 42.Panagiotis Nikas (9. Anthony Vronic 53’), 44. Michael Neill, 66. Christopher Payne.
Substitutes not used: 38. Anthony Trimboli, 40. Luke Pervan
Yellow Cards: Paric 47’, Payne 60’, Vronic 67’
Red Cards: Nil
BLACKTOWN CITY FC: 1. Tristan Prendergast, 3. Giorgio Speranza, 4. Roberto Speranza, 5. Grant Lynch, 6. Matthew Lewis, 8. Daniel Araujo, 9. Joey Gibbs, 10. Connor Evans, 16. Mark Rodic (22. Yuta Konagaya 55’), 19. Zachary Cairncross, 23. Pete Cejka (12. Andrew James 66’).
Substitutes not used: 17. Lewis Beumie, 20. Tomislav Romic, 21. Bo-Hyun Chun
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Card: Nil
-by Joe Russo, PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Reporter, at Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park