Blacktown City FC put a disappointing week behind it with a marvelous performance against Canberra FC in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues 2015 Finals Series.
The PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 1 Premiers were dominant form start to finish as it sealed a 4-1 win over Capital Football’s NPL Premiers Canberra FC.
Goals from Mitchell Mallia, Patrick Antelmi, Travis Major and Joey Gibbs sealed the win and progression in the finals as the home side ensured it will play in Sydney again next week against Moreton Bay United FC.
Blacktown settled into its rhythm early on and found its passing game clicking almost instantly as Daniel Araujo and Sasa Macura ran the show in the middle of the park.
Ahead of them, Mallia, Antelmi, Gibbs, and Major looked in ominous form and it didn’t take long for the brilliant front four to register the first goal of the game.
Mallia found the back of the net after just here minutes when he put the finishing touches on a lovely move that saw the ball moved crisply from the right side of the box with Major all the way to the left where Mallia was on hand to tuck home nicely.
Gibbs tried his luck twice before Antelmi managed to double the lead after 12 minutes.
The former Leeds United forward picked up the ball 23 yards out from goal and hammered a shot on target straight at Canberra FC keeper Sam Brown, but the young keeper could only punch the ball up into the air and bundle it over the line as he tried to recover.
The youngster in goals redeemed himself four minutes later when he produced a stunning save to deny Major, as Canberra’s defenders Nathan Evans and Izach Clements struggled to keep up with the onslaught.
The third goal game after 30 minutes when Major put away a simple tap in after a failed attempt at the offside trap allowed Major in to score beyond the sprawling Brown after Canberra had initially cleared a corner.
It was truly a case of slim pickings for Canberra as it struggled to make any headway into the Blacktown City defence, marshaled superbly by Matt Lewis and George Timotheou.
Antelmi was shown a red card before the first half ended, after he stretched himself into a tackle on Canberra’s James Field, who would not return after the half-time break.
Canberra did not get a lot of time to use their one-man advantage it only took three minutes of the second half for Thomas James to earn a straight red card after he pulled down Lewis and back-chatted towards the referee for giving the foul against him.
With the two teams even in numbers and the game over on the score line, Blacktown continued to push hard for a goal that would seal a home game for them next week.
That moment eventually arrived after 66 minutes through Gibbs who showed his razor sharp instincts at their best when he prodded the ball home after Brown made a good low save but failed to push the ball away from the potent ex-Western Sydney Wanderer.
Canberra did manage a consolation effort from Daniel Subasic in stoppage-time, but it proved too little, too late for the travelling team despite some good performances from Subasic and Josip Jadric.
Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden was happy to see his team respond so well to last week’s Grand Final heartache.
“To bounce back form last week was good and I think we dominated possession which was good and maybe it should have been a few more,” Crittenden said.
“I’m competitive and I told the boys we just want to win everything we’re in. So our aim now is to win this and get the automatic qualification for the national stages of the FFA Cup next season.”
Blacktown City FC 4 (Mallia 4’, Antelmi 12’, Major 31’, Gibbs 67’)
Canberra FC 1 (Subasic 89’)
Sunday 20 September 2015
Lilys Football Stadium, Seven Hills NSW
Referee: Ben Abraham
Blacktown City FC starting line-up: 1.Nenad VEKIC (gk), 3.Giorgio SPERANZA, 4.Yianni FRAGOGIANNIS, 5.George TIMOTHEOU, 6.Matthew LEWIS (18.Eoin MONTFORD 71’), 7.Travis MAJOR, 8.Sasa MACURA (21.Yianni PERKATIS 67’), 9.Joseph GIBBS, 12.Daniel ARAUJO, 14.Mitchell MALLIA (10.Christos TOMARAS 62’), 16.Patrick ANTELMI
Substitutes not used: 13.Tristan PRENDERGAST (gk), 17.Lewis BEUMIE
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Antelmi 42’
Canberra FC starting line-up: 1.Sam BROWN (gk), 4.Thomas MILICEVIC (10.Kye EDWARDS 79’), 5.Izach CLEMENTS, 7.Robert DEELEY, 8.Ian GRAHAM, 9.Thomas JAMES, 13.Daniel BENNETT, 14.Josip JADRIC (19.Nikolas BARISIC 82’), 17.Aidan BRUNSKILL, 20.James FIELD (6.Daniel SUBASIC 46’), 23.Nathan EVANS
Substitutes not used: 11.Marko VRKIC, 22.Shaun BURKE (gk)
Yellow cards: Brunskill 39’, Jadric 42’, Clements 87’
Red cards: James 49’