Marconi Stallions have failed to cement their spot in the top five after they were held to a 0-0 draw in torrid encounter at Marconi Stadium on Sunday.
The home side will rue what should’ve been three competition points after veteran defender Michael Beauchamp’s goal on the cusp of half time was disallowed for offside.
It proved to be one of the best chances of the afternoon with both sides struggling with the windy conditions.
Blacktown were forced to sit back and defend late int contest as the Stallions pushed for a winner, but it wasn’t to be for Peter Tsekenis’ side.
The home side mast a fast start to the contest as Sean Rooney dispossessed Yianni Spyrakis in the first minute oh play.
The former A-League striker cut the ball back in the box after Blacktown’s defender slipped but City shot stopper Tristan Prendergast was on hand to clean up.
Marko Jesic fired a free-kick into the wall that rebounded out for a corner as the home side pressed home the early advantage.
Tricky winds made set pieces more difficult with Marconi struggling to hit the target with corner kicks while their midfielder Brandon Vella struggled to keep his shots down firing a chance over the bar during the opening exchanges.
Blacktown struggled with the early enthusiasm of the home side but thought they had a penalty in the 14th minute when Joey Gibbs went tumbling at the other end.
However, much to the joy of the home support it was waived away by the referee.
Gibbs had a chance moments later from a free kick but it failed to hit the target.
Nenad Vekic, up against his old team, came to the Stallions’ rescue when Gibbs was played in with a ball over the top in the 25th minute that was eventually cleared.
City mounted a small period of sustained pressure on their hosts however, neither could find the important opener in a tense and keenly contested affair.
Matters were not helped when Gibbs, always the livewire, was unable to reach a centre from Mason Versi on the right.
Blacktown were finding their feet and growing into the fixture. They were beginning to rack up the half-chances but needed to find that final touch.
Marconi countered with a volley from 25-yards that was well saved by Prendergast, the hosts taking up the reins and pushing forward again with Rooney also coming close with a half-volley seconds later.
Michael Beauchamp wheeled away in delight on the stroke of half-time but he was soon left puzzled as his goal was disallowed.
It proved to be the final action of the half as both teams went into the break deadlocked.
Gibbs again fired a free-kick toward goal on the resumption which Vekic could only punch clear as far as Giorgio Speranza whose first time effort lacked direction.
Blacktown, with the wind at their backs, adopted their more familiar role of pressing high up the pitch and containing the Stallions inside their own half and forcing them to play out from deep positions.
Vekic was sharp to save with his feet once more from Gibbs who found himself unmarked in the box with his back to goal. The former Newcastle Jets and Western Sydney Wanderers frontman spun to deliver the shot in what was the Blacktown’s best chance of the much so far.
The tactical, if somewhat scrappy, battle continued and for all the toil and effort, neither was able to find the goal.
Prendergast was forced to tip around the post from a long range Judah Cleur effort in the 75th minute.
Rooney should have put the result to bed when he was put through in the final minute. Lobbing over Prendergast the ball wouldn’t come down quickly enough with two City defenders running back on the line and he lifted his shot over the bar.
An entertaining scoreless draw was the result at the final whistle but Marconi coach Tsekenis saw it very differently.
“To be honest, that was one of the ugliest games I’ve seen in some time,” he said.
“The conditions were poor, the wind was swirling and the pitch wasn’t the best after a couple of games.
It made it difficult and it was one of those games where you had to force an error and take the chance.
“Both sides could have scored a couple of goals but 0-0 is probably a fair result at the end.”
Blacktown coach, Mark Critttenden, echoed the sentiments of his opponent.
“Conditions were difficult and it wasn’t an easy day at the office,” he said.
“We had a couple of good chances to win it for ourselves and I felt we dominated the second-half but that’s football.
Today we lacked that little bit of quality in front of goal perhaps and that is hurting us.
“A draw was probably a fair result but we’re left to rue what might have been.”
Marconi Stallions 0
Blacktown City 0
Marconi Stadium, Fairfield
Sunday 8th July, 2018
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistants: Nick Backo & Hugh White
Fourth Official: Anthony Mansour
Marconi Stallions: 1.Nenad Vekic, 3.Liam Youlley (16.Hassan Jalloh 77’), 5.Michael Beauchamp, 8.Sean Rooney, 9.Charles Mendy (6.Sean O’Connell 64’), 10.Marko Jesic, 12.James Andrew (11.Judah Cleur 73’), 14.Peter Pelekanos, 22.Brandon Vella, 23.Christopher Nunes, 38.Yianni Nicolou
Substitutes not used: 4.Troy Danaskos, 21.Kristian Serutkovski
Yellow Cards: Andrew 61’, Nicolou 64’
Blacktown City: 1.Tristan Prendergast, 3.Giorgio Speranza, 4.Roberto Speranza, 5.Grant Lynch, 6.Matt Lewis (17.Dakota Askew 73’), 7.Devante Clut, 8.Daniel Araujo, 9.Joey Gibbs, 18.Mason Versi, 22.Yianni Spyrakis (19.Zach Cairncross 81’), 23.Daniel Bragg (10.Connor Evans 63’)
Substitutes not used: 16.Mark Rodic, 20.Stevan Savicic
Yellow Cards: Bragg 44’
-By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Micky Brock