Blacktown City held on to get a 1-0 win over Sutherland Sharks at Blacktown City Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon after going down to 10 men in the first half.
The red card just before the half-time break gave Sutherland an excellent opportunity to use their one-player advantage to take something from the game, but the visiting Sharks couldn’t capitalise on the opportunity.
A solid Blacktown City side bunkered down for the final 45 to keep Sutherland at bay, with a first half Hirokai Ayoama header the only goal of the match.
The win gives the hosts a valuable three points as they continue to battle at the top end of the ladder as the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s season heats up.
Blacktown City started off the action early, calling Sutherland custodian Anthony Bouzanis into action in the 7th minute.
They were back for more just moments later after a lovely Ayoama pass gave Jordan Smylie a chance, but the attacker’s shot wasn’t quite on target.
Smylie had another chance in the 12th minute as a well-timed run saw him with the chance to chip Bouzanis, but his effort flew over the crossbar.
Blacktown City managed to hit the back of the net in the 27th minute as Mario Shabow sent a ball over the top to a forward-running Smylie, but the offside flag was raised before the hosts could celebrate.
It wasn’t long before they could celebrate though, with the only goal of the match coming in the 31st minute through Aoyama.
Daniel Collins sent a ball down the right to Dakota Askew, who whipped in a left-footed cross to the goalmouth.
Aoyama was well-placed at the far post and guided a header over Bouzanis and into the netting to get the hosts on the scoreboard.
Blacktown City continued to create chances, with Mitchell Mallia coming close in the 35th minute.
Aoyama sent a ball to Mallia, who weaved through Sutherland’s defence to let off a shot, but it was wide of the target.
The hosts found themselves with a chance yet again in the 38th minute after Chris Lindsay gave away a free kick and earned himself a yellow card in the process.
Mallia stepped up to take the kick just outside the box and directed it towards a seven-man Sutherland defensive wall.
Askew collected the deflection but his left-footed strike soared above the bar.
Mario Shabow earned himself a write up in the referee’s book after hitting Sutherland’s Mitch Smith in the head in the 45th minute.
As Smith fell to the ground, Shabow was shown yellow by Hassan Jomaa, however after conferring with his linesman, the referee showed red to the Blacktown City number 10.
The half-time break gave the home side a chance to form a game plan for their 10-man team and came back to the park with plenty of poise.
Aoyama sent a stunning shot from range towards the target from a free kick in the 54th minute, but Bouzanis managed to read the shot well and denied the hosts the chance to double their lead.
Nick Sullivan had a chance to get the visitors in the game in the 61st minute, but his low strike was collected by Blacktown City goalkeeper Alex Robinson.
The former A-League talent came back for more moments later but his effort sailed high.
James Baldacchino tried to make something of a corner chance in the 71st minute but, despite being well placed to collect the corner cross, the defender’s effort wasn’t able to rattle Robinson.
Substitute James Andrew sent a shot towards goal in the 75th minute after Jason Madonis slipped the ball through to him, but Jackson Bandiera managed to send his effort away from the goal.
Smylie continued to hunt for a goal, creating a chance in the 77th minute but his left-footed effort was just off target.
Berry had a chance in the 80th minute, sending a strike towards goal, but a deflection from Baldacchino saw it out for a corner.
The corner kick came in to Collins, who headed towards Smylie but his header was slightly off.
Sutherland came close again in the 85th minute as Patrick O’Shea set up Lukman Ahmed-Shaibu in front of goal.
Ahmed-Shaibu attempted a bicycle kick but the attacker sent it well off target.
Blacktown City substitute Charles Mendy had two chances to finish off the match.
He sent a ball to Berry in the 90th minute, but Berry rocketed the ball over the goal.
Mendy was back again in the 2nd minute of injury time, forcing Bouzanis to make a full-length dive for the ball, but his shot couldn’t meet the target leaving Blacktown City to wrap up the match with a one-goal victory.
Blacktown City FC 1 (Hirokai Aoyama 31’)
Sutherland Sharks FC 0
Sunday, 1st May, 2022
Blacktown City Sports Centre, Seven Hills
Referee: Hassan Jomaa
Assistant Referees: Emma Kocbek and Samuel Quinn
Fourth Official: Sophie Allum
Blacktown City FC: 3. Daniel Collins, 4. Lachlan Campbell, 5. Grant Lynch, 7. Jordan Smylie (18. Nicholas O’Brien 85’), 10. Mario Shabow, 11. Mitchell Mallia (21. Charles Mendy 82’), 17. Dakota Askew, 19. Adam Berry, 24. Jackson Bandiera (6. Matthew Lewis 82’), 30. Alex Robinson, 32. Hiroaki Aoyama (8. Jak O’Brien 66’)
Substitutes Not Used: 9. Jake Trew, 40. Dylan Niski
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Shabow 45’
Sutherland Sharks FC: 1. Anthony Bouzanis, 2. James Baldacchino, 6. Patrick O’Shea, 7. Harry Callahan, 8. Jason Madonis, 10. Lachlan Everett (9. Jeremy Cox 64’), 12. Lukman Ahmed-Shaibu, 14. Chris Lindsay, 18. Mitchell Smith (17. James Andrew 60’), 21. Michael Neill, 23. Mark Rodic (22. Nick Sullivan 45’)
Substitutes Not Used: 13. Julian Trovato, 16. Jacob Cremen-Cowan, 29. Nelson Lam
Yellow Cards: Chris Lindsay 38’, Mitchell Smith 46’
Red Cards: Nil
3 – Hirokai Aoyama (BC)
2 – Jordan Smylie (BC)
1 – Daniel Collins (BC)