Blacktown City claimed a third win in a row after Danny Choi’s second half strike saw off Sydney FC 1-0 in their clash at Lily’s Football Stadium on Saturday evening.
Choi guided in his first goal of the season four minutes after the half time interval to settle any simmering nerves around Seven Hills and ultimately defeat the visiting Sky Blues who had impressively gone toe to toe with the competition heavyweights throughout the contest.
Mark Crittenden’s side now tighten their grip in the top three and remain two points behind leaders APIA Leichhardt Tigers following their big win over Bonnyrigg on Saturday evening, with second placed Sydney Olympic set to face Wollongong Wolves later on Sunday afternoon.
The win is also Blacktown’s first shutout in five matches and despite Crittenden’s men lacking a degree of sharpness in the final third, City will take plenty of positives from a defensive standpoint particularly after a run of matches that has seen the side lose twice to Marconi Stallions and Sydney Olympic and concede five goals in their last two.
Although Robbie Stanton’s Sydney gave the hosts some scary moments in a typically quick start from the Sky Blues, Blacktown made the clearer opportunities in the opening half and were denied by the frame of the goal twice: first through Danny Choi’s fizzing volley from outside the area before Yianni Spyrakis was soon after denied by the foot of the post.
Sydney haven’t kept a clean sheet all season but largely took the sting out of Blacktown’s most dangerous attacking options in the opening half, particularly Mitch Mallia – an impressive feat considering the City winger netted a hattrick in his side’s 5-3 win over Rockdale City Suns last Sunday.
But after labouring to the half time whistle it only took four second half minutes for Blacktown’s other danger man Choi to break the deadlock after the attacker drove at a retreating Sky Blues defence before cutting inside and curling a low shot past Sydney goalkeeper Duro Dragicevic into the corner.
Blacktown had a few chances to double the advantage following Choi’s strike with the former Adelaide United man and Giorgio Speranza stinging the palms of Dragicevic as the tiring Sydney FC defence retreated further into their own half.
For all their control of the second period, City lacked their usual sheen and edge in the final third but remained resolute and foiled Sydney’s tired attempts at pressing for a late equalizer.
Following the match Blacktown coach Crittenden asked for more intensity from his players on the ball but reserved some praise for the visitors.
“I thought we could have put them away in the first half, we might have had one or two and didn’t’ quite get what we deserved,” he said.
“But we came up against a well organised side – there’s some good young lads in there, they never get belted, they drop off into their two banks of four and make things very tough for you.
“Everyone team in our league is solid and hard to beat and they’re no different.
“I think we slowed down a little bit in the second half and didn’t move the ball quite as quickly as we should have but three points is three points and we’ll move on to next week.”
Blacktown continue their championship tilt when they travel to Seymour Shaw to face Sutherland next Saturday evening.
Despite another encouraging display the Sky Blues remain rooted to the bottom of the table after their seventh loss of the campaign. Stanton’s men host Rockdale City Suns at Lambert Park next Saturday afternoon.
Blacktown City 1 (Choi 49’)
Sydney FC 0
Saturday 12th of May 2018
Lily’s Football Centre, Seven Hills
Referee: K Patterson
Assistant Referees: M McOrist & E Kocbek
Fourth official: S Andrews
Blacktown City: 8. Daniel Araujo, 19. Zachary Cairncross (4. Roberto Speranza 45’), 11. Danny Choi (18. Mason Versi 78’), 7. Devante Clut, 10. Connor Evans (6. Matthew Lewis 73’), 9. Joey Gibbs, 5. Grant Lynch, 14. Mitchell Mallia, 1. Tristan Prendergast, 3. Giorgio Speranza, 22. Yianni Spyrakis
Substitutes not used: 20. Stevan Savicic
Yellow cards: N/A
Red cards: N/A
Sydney FC: 30. Duro Dragicevic, 6. Andreas Agamemnonos, 15. Jeremy Cox, 2. Brendan Curtis, 3. Patrick Flottmann, 11. Luke Ivanovic, 9. Hassan Jalloh (18. Finn Ballard-Mcbride 86’), 4. Liam McGing, 8. Sam McIllhatton, 16. William Mutch (14. Joel King 73’), 12. Harry Van Der Saag (10. Cameron Devlin 74’)
Substitutes not used: 1. Mitchell Evans
Yellow cards: N/A
Red cards: N/A
3 – Daniel Araujo (BCFC)
2 – Liam McGing (SFC)
1 – Danny Choi (BCFC)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW Reporter Jacob Windon