A sublime volley from Mason Versi has saved the day for Blacktown City as they snatched a 1-1 draw against Rockdale City Suns at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday.
The youngster connected with a accurate delivery from Dakota Aksew to net the equaliser with only 10 minutes on the clock.
Former Blacktown striker Jonathan Grozdanovski had given Rockdale the lead mid-way through the half, but it wasn’t to be for the visitors.
A tight first-half ended locked scoreless with both side’s unable to capitalise on their early chances.
Blacktown had an appeal for an early penalty turned down by the referee when Mason Versi went down in the penalty area.
Rockdale tested the Blacktown defence time and time again with their ability on the counter attack but they were unable to create any true shots on goal with City’s shot stopper rarely tested.
The windy conditions also played their part in what proved to be a hard fought opening 45 minutes.
Paul Reid’s Rockdale side returned from the break with a new vigour and were unlucky not to have taken the lead in the opening exchanges of the second half.
Toufic Alameddine thought he had found the back of the net when he successfully chipped the keeper with a deft dink but his shot hit the post and rebounded out.
Rockdale took the upper hand mid-way through the second stanza thanks to a clinical headed finish from Jonathan Grozdanovski in the 66th minute..
Blacktown looked to fight back straight away but couldn’t find a way past Suns keeper Ante Covic.
The former Socceroos gloveman pulled off a quality double save to stop Blacktown in their tracks after a slick build-up.
With ten minutes left on the clock it was Blacktown’s young up and comers who combined to score the equaliser.
Dakota Askew delivered a pinpoint cross which was finished by Versi with aplomb.
Joey Gibbs had a moment he would wish to forget late on as he spurned a gilt-edged chance missing the target with his shot from inside the box.
Both teams had chances to finish the match on top but it just wasn’t to be with both side’s unable to find a winner.
The result means Blacktown remain in fourth spot on the ladder with two games to play while Rockdale tightens their grip on fifth and the final playoff spot.
Blacktown will next week travel to Lambert Park to take on Sydney FC on Saturday night while Rockdale will hope to tie up finals qualification with a win on the road against Hakoah Sydney City East at Hensley Athletic Field on Sunday.
Blacktown City: 1 (Mason Versi 79’)
Rockdale City Suns: 1 (Jonathan Grozdanovski 66’)
Sunday, July 29 2018
Lily Homes Stadium, Seven Hills
Referee: David Webb
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields & Nathan Wotton
Fourth Official: Matthew Riedy