Jordan Smylie stole the headlines once again with a brace that ultimately decided Blacktown City’s professional 3-1 win over Manly United at Blacktown City Sports Centre on Sunday night.
Smylie was joined by Hiroaki Aoyama and Manly skipper Jimmy Oates on the scoresheet as Round 8’s ‘Match of the Round’ fell the way of Mark Crittenden’s men.
For the second week running, Blacktown burst out of the blocks with a goal inside ten minutes.
Jackson Bandiera whipped in a dangerous delivery that wasn’t dealt with by the Manly defence, allowing Smylie to pounce and prod home from close range.
Less than 20 minutes later it was two, as Aoyama swiveled in the area and rolled the ball past Jack Greenwood in the Manly net.
The game looked to be following a familiar pattern to City’s 4-2 win over Sydney FC last time out; even more once Smylie bagged a brace early in the second half.
Once again it was a delivery from the left that sealed the deal, with Aoyama’s set piece falling to the former Central Coast Mariner who made no mistake in slotting home his eighth goal of campaign.
From that point on Manly United slowly but surely worked their way in to the contest, and after 63 minutes clawed one back.
Seiya Kambayashi’s corner sailed towards the back of the net, resulting in an attempt to palm it away by Alex Robinson offering Manly skipper Oates the simplest of finishes.
Manly continued to push from that point on, but Blacktown showed their customary defensive resolve to soak up plenty of late pressure and secure another comfortable victory in front of their home fans.
While they remain in third position for now, the result sees Blacktown sit within striking range of the summit; level with APIA Leichhardt in second, and one point shy of Sydney FC.
It’s a similarly close standing at the top of the goalscoring charts, with Jordan Smylie’s brace matched by Sydney’s Jayden Kucharski, leaving both a couple of goals clear on top – with eight each.
Post-game, Blacktown City Head Coach Mark Crittenden was pleased with how his side dispatched a tricky opponent and how Jordan Smylie stepped up once again.
“The boys fought hard, and it was a good solid result against a good side,” he reflected.
“When you’re 3-0 up we probably dropped a little bit deep and it was always going to be an interesting last 15 or 20 minutes.
“Jordan is busy, gets himself in the right positions like a good number nine does – he’s doing very well.”
On the other hand, Adam Griffiths knew the damage was done early against a solid City side.
“You can’t give teams like Blacktown a three-goal head-start and expect them to give you a couple of easy ones,” he said.
“We fought to try and get back in the game, and the good thing is that we stuck together and continued to fight to get a win.
“If we got the second it would have really been game on – that’s the good sign, but we need to tighten up our defence like it was for the early part of the season.
“We’re missing a few key players in the final third which doesn’t help the way we attack, we got the ball to the middle third well, but didn’t have enough in attack today.”
Blacktown City FC: 3 (Smylie 9’, 52’, Aoyama 26’)
Manly United FC: 1 (Oates 64’)
Sunday, 24 April 2021
Blacktown City Sports Centre, Seven Hills
Referee: Michael Weiner
Assistant Referees: Joon Park, Jackson Mackie
Fourth official: Rebecca Mackie
Blacktown City FC: 30. Alex Robinson, 3. Daniel Collins, 4. Lachlan Campbell, 5. Grant Lynch, 7. Jordan Smylie, 10. Mario Shabow (6. Matthew Lewis 79’), 11. Mitchell Mallia (21. Charles Mendy 77’), 17. Dakota Askew, 19. Adam Berry, 24. Jackson Bandiera, 32. Hiroaki Aoyama (8. Jak O’Brien 87’)
Substitutes Not Used: 40. Dylan Niski, 18. Nicholas O’Brien, 9. Jake Trew
Yellow Cards: Smylie 92’, Robinson 93’
Red Cards: Nil
Manly United: 20. Jack Greenwood, 2. Kieran Paull, 4. Jimmy Oates, 5. Thomas Fay, 7. Seiya Kambayashi, 8. Dom Ferguson, 12. Finn Ashton, 18. Lucas Rainbird, 19. Alen Aganovic, 22. Bruno Mendes, 29. Marcus Lal
Substitutes Not Used: 3. Jesse Piriz, 17. Zenden Hart, 24. Mitch Mattison, 10. Luca Kmet
Yellow cards: Ferguson 37’, Ashton 44’
Red cards: Nil
3 – Hiroaki Aoyama (BC)
2 – Jordan Smylie (BC)
1 – Daniel Collins (BC)