Sydney FC suffered a narrow defeat to Blacktown City FC in the Playstation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition with a late goal handing a 1-0 win to Blacktown City FC.
The match appeared headed towards a scoreless draw before Joey Gibbs broke the deadlock with a match winning header, his second of the season, in the 87th minute.
Danny Choi had the first real chance of the match when he found himself standing over a free kick just outside the box in the 10th minute.
Choi's shot went wide of the wall and it dropped wide of Thomas Heward-Belle's far post too.
The home side threatened most through Charles Lokolingoy who was continually fed with passes lofted over the fullback.
Picking up the ball on the right flank, Lokolingoy drifted inside his marker and squeezed a pass to Antoniou Bai for Sydney’s first attempt on goal, but he lifted his shot over the bar.
Blacktown looked likely to take the lead midway through the first half when Joey Gibbs latched onto a loose ball in the six-yard box. Gibb's first shot was blocked, and his second was deflected wide for a corner.
Mitchell Mallia was first to Danny Choi’s set piece, picking the ball up just outside the near post, and smacked a low shot at goal from a tight angle which Heward-Belle saved.
Robbie Stanton’s men responded immediately, again finding Lokolingoy, with a long ball down the wing.
The striker cut inside to open up the angle for a fierce shot, but Tristian Prendergast made a strong save to deny him an opening goal.
The first half ended with a flurry of chances for the visitors, and Sydney FC might have counted themselves fortunate to have gone into the break with the match scoreless.
City skipper Matthew Lewis saw his shot skip just wide of the post after it was deflected off-target by a desperate piece of last-ditch defending, before Shane D’Cunha headed a corner against the crossbar moments before the halftime whistle.
Blacktown City took some time to get back into their rhythm as the second half started which allowed Lokolingoy to roll a pass across the top of the box for the arriving Andreas Agamenonos, whose disappointing shot went wide.
Momentum swung back in Blacktown City’s favour as the second half professed and the visitors had their best opportunity of the match.
Mallia skipped down the right wing and cut inside to square a pass for D’Cunha, whose shot was deflected up for Gibbs arriving at the near post. The striker had a seemingly free header at goal but was denied by the scrambling Heward-Belle on the line.
The visitors continued to pile on the pressure, but Sydney FC provided a reminder of their attacking threat as the match drew to a close. Lokolingoy tested Prendergast with a curling shot which drew a sharp save from the Blacktown City goalkeeper.
With the match edging towards a scoreless draw, Blacktown City’s Roberto Speranza found space on the right to cross to Joey Gibbs.
Gibbs glanced a header off the far post and past Heward-Belle, putting Blacktown City in front.
Sydney FC had a final push for an equaliser but Blacktown City held out to take all three points from a fascinating encounter at Lambert Park.
"The performance was good,” said Sydney FC coach Rob Stanton.
"We certainly worked extremely hard, but if you slack off for a minute then you get punished, and that’s where we’re falling short – we don’t have the same kind of experience as they do.
"The boys are learning fast, and we’re so proud of them. It’d be nice if we could learn quicker. It might mean picking up a few better results – but I’m confident that if we keep going like we’re going, we’ll start winning games soon.
"Tonight we built up well, we found space, we understood their pressing game – we just fall short on a few details, and until we work on those then we’re going to keep falling short."
Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden was full of praise for a tough opponent after a win which keeps his side unbeaten after five rounds.
"It was a good game of footy,” he said.
“They’re very well-organised and structured. They stick to their plan. I thought we had a lot of good chances, and we did well to put one away.
"Credit to them, they knocked the ball around really well. I think we deserved to walk away with three points given the chances we created, but we set ourselves a target of 13 points from the first five games and that’s where we are at."
Sydney FC 0
Blacktown City FC 1 (Gibbs 87')
Saturday, April 8 2017
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee: B. Abraham
Assistant referees: A. Giev and N. Wotton
Fourth official: M. McOrist
Sydney FC: 21. AGAMEMNONOS Andreas, 9. BAI Antoniou (18. FOFANAH Alusine 61'), 11. ARDITTI Christopher (8. ZAPATA Juan 67’), 2. CURTIS Brendan, 3. FLOTTMAN Patrick, 14. GONZALEZ Christian, 20. HEWARD-BELLE Thomas, 12. LOKOLINGOY Charles (40. MASKIN Daniel 87’), 39. MCGING Liam, 16. MUTCH William, 17. ZUVELA Chris
Substitutes not used: 1. EVANS Mitchell, 38. MCILLHATTON Sam
Yellow Cards: MCGING Liam 57'
Red Cards: N/A
Blacktown City: 8. ARAUJO Daniel (17. BEUMIE Lewis 89’), 19. CAIRNCROSS Zachary, 11. CHOI Danny Seung-Joo (12. JAMES Andrew 73’), 15. D’CUNHA Shane, 10. EVANS Connor, 9. GIBBS Joey, 6. LEWIS Matthew, 14. MALLIA Mitchell, 1. PRENDERGAST Tristian, 3. SPERANZA Giorgio, 4. SPERANZA Roberto
Substitutes not used: 22. KONAGAYA Yuta, 5. LYNCH Grant, 20. SYMES Matthew
Yellow Cards: CAIRNCROSS Zachary 26'
Red Cards: N/A
3 – Mitchell Mallia (BCFC)
2 – Thomas Heward-Belle (SFC)
1 – Connor Evans (BCFC)
Sydney FC take on the Newcastle Jets in their final home game of the season at Allianz Stadium on Saturday 15 April! Be there to see your Sky Blue presented with the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Premiers Plate!!!