Blacktown City secured a huge 3-0 victory over Rockdale Ilinden at the Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon, with a Dakota Askew brace and a clever Mitch Mallia strike settling the score as Mark Crittenden’s men celebrated three massive points in Round 12’s ‘Match of the Round’.
Askew’s first was mishit but had enough to get over the line and a wickedly deflected second near the end sandwiched a wonderfully quick thinking and well executed strike from Mallia.
It was a cagey start to the fixture with neither side creating a clear-cut opportunity until Blacktown City’s Mitch Mallia thudded a header against the crossbar in the 9th minute from a whipped in Askew cross from the right.
Bai Antoniou replied five minutes later via the half-volley with a shot that flew past the woodwork and Alex Robinson had his hands warmed by Jaden Casella shot just after.
Mario Shabow popped up and curled one around the post in the ensuing end-to-end exchanges and thumped one over the bar.
Each side had passages of dominance but couldn’t turn them into goals.
The deadlock was finally broken when Mallia, so often instrumental in Blacktown’s play, sped down the left and centred for Askew whose mishit shot bobbled its way into the net to give Blacktown the lead.
Both Mo Ahmed and Will Mutch found themselves in the book in separate incidents before the break.
Rockdale emerged with greater vigour on the restart however Alec Urosevski and Bai Antoniou both had their names taken inside the opening 90 seconds taking Rockdale’s yellow card tally to four with the hosts needing to watch their step for the remainder of the match.
Blacktown were happy to sit in and looked to hit on the break, but it was a dangerous ploy against the pacy attack of Rockdale.
Peter Kekeris surged through the middle and passed to Antoniou whose shot was still rising when it flashed over the bar from the edge of the area.
The plan worked when ‘keeper David Bradasevic was forced to clear outside the area with the ball falling to Mallia, whose first-time effort curled over the gloveman and into the net to double the lead on the hour mark.
It was a beautifully taken goal from the quick-thinking midfielder that left the home side with a mountain to climb.
Urosevski made his way into the area and beat young Robinson only to see the ball cleared off the line by Daniel Collins – it was the closest the injury-ravaged home team had come to scoring.
The tension became almost palpable and continued rising both on the pitch and in the stands as the minutes ticked away.
Mallia limped off after 78 minutes to be replaced by Jake Trew but had certainly played his part for Blacktown prior to his departure.
Askew doubled his tally in fortunate circumstances when his long-range effort was massively deflected leaving Bradasevic wrong-footed and Rockdale down by three.
Blacktown toiled hard for the result leaving coach, Mark Crittenden to comment: “I felt we were dominant today and created enough chances to perhaps score more,” he said.
“Whichever way you look at it, we put ourselves in the positions to take the chances today and created another maybe six good chances to add to the score.
“This is a tough place to come and to get the win is always a hard-fought win here but it was a really well earned three points.
“Some will say we had the luck today, but we outplayed them and got the result we deserved.”
“The breaks didn’t go our way today,” responded Rockdale Ilinden coach Steve Zoric.
“I feel we should have had a penalty when Bai [Antoniou] was brought down in the box at a crucial stage of the game that would have possibly got us back into the match when it was still at 2-0.
“Blacktown were dangerous on the counter and as we pushed forward, they hit us on the break, which they are very good at.
“We had to throw people forward but it just wasn’t our day today but we played some good football in patches and played between the lines, but we just couldn’t get the break and find the net.
“We now need to refocus, and it’s congested at the top of the table so a single result on any given weekend can catapult you back to the top it’s that tight, so we move on to next week.”
Rockdale Ilinden 0
Blacktown City 3 (Dakota Askew 33’,80’ Mitch Mallia 60’)
Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Sunday 22nd May 2022
Referee: Craig Fisher
Assistants: Matthew McOrist and Nick Vermaat
Fourth Official: Nicholas Kour
Rockdale Ilinden: 1. David Bradasevic, 2. Daniel Petkovski, 5. Will Mutch, 7. Alec Urosevski, 8. Nikola Kuleski, 9. Bai Antoniou, 10. Tomoki Wada, 11. Peter Kekeris, 16. Mo Ahmed, 23. Jaden Casella, 88. Chris McStay
Substitutes Not Used: 15. James Percevski, 17. Vince Fedele, 25. Alex Masciovecchio, 27. Jason Cakovski, 47. Alex Casella, 31. Matthew Marrum
Yellow Cards: Mo Ahmed 37’, Will Mutch 45+1’, Alec urosevski 47’, Bai Antoniou 48’, Nikola Kuleski 75’
Red Cards: Nil
Blacktown City: 30. Alex Robinson, 3. Daniel Collins, 4. Lachlan Campbell, 5. Grant Lynch (18. Nicholas O’Brien 87’), 8. Jak O’Brien, 10. Mario Shabow (12. Tyren Burnie 81’), 11. Mitch Mallia (9. Jake Trew 78’), 17. Dakota Askew, 19. Adam Berry, 21. Charles Mendy, 40. Dylan Niski
Substitutes Not Used:14. Caleb Jackson-Brown, 23. Charles Eriku, 40. Dylan Niski
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil