Blacktown City have dropped valuable points in their race for the 2022 NPL NSW Men’s Premiership following a hard-fought 1-1 local derby draw against Mt Druitt Town Rangers at Popondetta Park on Friday. 

The visitors scored the opener from a cracking Dakota Askew free kick, but weren’t able to find a way past the dogged Mt Druitt Town defence in an engrossing contest with Jack Stewart equalising in the first half to make it 1-1.

There were two late chances for Fumoto Kamada and Bul Juach, giving the Rangers a great chance at a win, but the points were ultimately shared in the battle.

Coming off their win last week, Blacktown City looked to assert themselves in the local derby against Mt Druitt Town Rangers.

The visitors had the first two efforts from Mitch Mallia’s head and Charles Mendy’s boot, but both flew wide.

Blacktown City kept looking for the opener with Jak O’Brien who connected well with a cross in an acrobatic effort that arrowed wide of the post.

The Rangers found their groove with Louis Khoury creating a move down the middle before he ended up deflecting his shot out for a corner which came to naught.

It would be the visitors that struck first in the 24th minute as Dakota Askew stood over the free-kick about 30 yards out and  whipped his free kick onto the post and into the net.

Stung by conceding, the Rangers surged forward through their main man Jack Stewart.

The striker got their equaliser in the 32nd minute when he swept home a Cooper Coskerie cutback to take the score to one apiece.

Looking to go back ahead, Blacktown City went close through Mallia again as another pinpoint cross from O’Brien found the striker’s head, but he nodded over the bar.

Headed into the break, Stewart remained the Rangers best avenue to goal.

The striker had a pair of chances which needed to be well saved by Blacktown City custodian Alex Robinson.

Coming out of the break, Askew had another chance from the set piece for Blacktown City. He stood over the ball inches outside the box but fired his free-kick wide of the mark.

The game continued to be an open affair between the two sides as neither was able to take control.

Blacktown City had a pair of free kicks to restore their advantage.

The first from Askew was whipped wide, then Mallia stepped up for one that also met a similar fate.

The hosts had their best chance of the half through Stewart again.

He strode past several defenders before he thundered a shot into Robinson’s path that fell to John Roberts, whose effort was deflected over.

The Rangers almost found the winner in the final ten minutes.

Again, another surging Stewart run created the space before he cut it to substitute Rhett Desilva who fired wide of the net.

Hearts were in mouths for the Rangers after Blacktown City substitute Jackson Bandiera was inches away from tapping home after strong work from the visitors Mt Druitt Town survived.

Deep into stoppage time, the hosts had a chance to find the winner.

Kamada worked well to find space and flicked it inside to substitute Juach who couldn’t turn home.

Kamada almost saw his name in lights in the dying stages.

The attacker strode forward confidently and unfurled a shot that forced Robinson into a huge save to preserve a point.

Mt Druitt Town Rangers coach Stewart Montgomery was happy with the effort from his side but disappointed to drop two points.

“Another game where we put in a strong performance against a strong side. It was obvious that we should’ve got the points tonight. Football isn’t like that, you have to put your chances away,” Montgomery said.

“We match up well with their formation and found space behind their back three. I thought our front three combined well and the defence did well thus we only conceded one goal tonight.”

For Blacktown City FC coach Mark Crittenden he was glad to take some silverware home in the form of the Mayoral Cup but also rued dropped points.

“I think we were happy to take a point tonight. They were good and their position on the table didn’t reflect their play tonight. It’s nice to take the Mayoral’s Cup but three points would be nicer. We’ll go away with the point and see what happens.”

Match Stats

Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1 (Stewart ‘32)

Blacktown City FC 1 (Askew ‘24)

Friday May 27th, 2022

Popondetta Park, Emerton

Referee: Adrian Arndt

Assistant Referees: Emma Kocbek & Joon Park

Fourth Official: Logan Jones

Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 2. Soloman John Monahan-Vaiika, 6. Louis Khoury, 7. Jack Stewart, 8. Jason Perez (26. Rocco Fragale ‘77), 9. John Roberts, 11. Fumoto Kamada, 17. Cooper Coskerie, 18. Olayinka Sunmola (19. Bul Juach ‘89), 20. Robert Fanella, 21. Tarek Elrich, 25. Mohommad Sabbouh (22. Rhett Desilva ‘73)

Substitutes Not Used: 23. Leonard Abdo, 30. Jerome Narayan, 41. Ivan Sunjic

Yellow Cards: Khoury ‘62

Red Cards: nil

Blacktown City FC: 3. Daniel Collins, 4. Lachlan Campbell (18. Nicholas O’Brien ‘85), 5. Grant Lynch, 6. Matthew Lewis (24. Jackson Bandiera ‘69), 8. Jak O’Brien, 10. Mario Shabow, 11. Mitchell Mallia, 17. Dakota Askew, 19. Adam Berry, 21. Charles Mendy (32. Hiroaki Aoyama ‘69), 30. Alex Robinson

Substitutes Not Used: 9. Jake Trew, 16. Caleb Jackson-Brown, 40. Dylan Niski

Yellow Cards:  nil

Red Cards: nil

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