Currently sitting in the relegation zone, the Western Sydney Wanderers held out Blacktown City to a 0-0 draw who played the majority of the second half with ten-men at Landen Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Apart from a Wanderers free-kick opportunity in the game’s opening minutes, neither team presented a real attacking threat to the two goalkeepers until the 25th minute.

Whilst Blacktown was able to control the ball in their attacking half consistently, they weren’t awarded many great opportunities on goal.

Producing a lively attack, less than five minutes later, the Wanderers became close to breaking the deadlock.

After a well-timed pass from Nathanael Blair found Alexander Badolato trailing down the right wing, Badolato came so close to executing a near-perfect assist to Ariath Piol.

Roaming in the middle of the box, Piol was unfortunate not to get a touch of the ball, and the score remained 0-0.

As the game started to pick up pace, both teams gained opportunities on goal, but none really caused any trouble for the two goalkeepers on opposite sides of the field.

In the 35th minute, Blacktown City thought they had finally broken the deadlock through a Lachlan Campbell header off the corner kick; however, the goal was disallowed.

To the disappointment of the home team, the assistant official’s flag went to the sky straight away in what was an infringement by Blacktown City.

Still locked up, tensions from both clubs arose after the disallowed goal.

After an uncharacteristic dangerous tackle by Matthew Lewis, the two sides were involved in a push-and-shove, which saw referee Nathan Shakespear hand out three yellow cards.

In the exact same fashion as the first half, a free-kick was awarded in the opening minutes, but this time fell to the home side. Although the shot was to no avail, it gave Blacktown confidence in aiming to find the maiden goal of the game.

Ten minutes later, Adam Berry nearly scored a wondergoal from outside the penalty box but could not connect with the ball fully.

Celebrating his 100th game in the Blacktown City jersey, the goal would have marked a special moment for Berry and the Blacktown faithful, who came out in numbers.

It was to be his final involvement as moments later was given his marching orders for his second caution of the game and it seemed that the Wanderers would cause an upset against their black and red rivals.

However, after intercepting the ball of Teng Kuol in the 71st minute, Tyren Burnie gave Blacktown a wonderful counter-attacking opportunity. Linking up with Jak O’Brien and Burnie came within a whisker of taking the lead.

This was followed by a clear chance by the Wanderers that should have been taken in the 82nd minute. Nathanael Blair couldn’t control a header to get it on target in the game’s best chance after receiving a chip into the box from Frans Deli.

As the clock ticked closer to full-time, Blacktown City were granted one more chance to take home the three points.

Taking the free-kick, goalkeeper Tristan Prendergast entered the ball into the box, surrounded by most of his teammates. Grant Lynch got a header away but his chance was claimed easily by Lawrence Caruso.

The moment summed up the game to perfection. Both teams had chances to take the lead and add a goal to the scorecard but couldn’t connect.

Speaking to Football NSW post-match Wanderers coach Andrew Christiansen was impressed by his side’s performance, especially their defence but felt they should have taken the three points.

“It was an exciting game. I was happy with out performance. We defended really well against a strong team and happy to get a clean sheet. That’s been a goal for us to defend better and we created enough opportunities to win that game,” he said.

“I thought we deserved to win that game, we just didn’t take our chance today.

“I still think that before they had a red card and after (they had a red card) we were the better team. We were more likely to win that game.”

The Wanderers hope to improve their position on the ladder next when they face St George City at home, while Blacktown City will be eager to take all three points against NWS Spirit next weekend.

Match Stat

Blacktown City FC 0

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0

Sunday, 28 May 2023

Landen Stadium, Seven Hills

Referee: Nathan Shakespear

Assistant Referees: Amirhossein Hosnani and Matthew Harris

Fourth Official: Hayden Michlmayr

Blacktown City FC: 1. Tristan Prendergast (GK) 4. Lachlan Campbell 5. Grant Lynch 6. Matthew Lewis (c) 8. Jak O’Brien 10. Mario Shabow (3. Daniel Collins 81’) 12. Tyren Burnie 16. Ben Berry 18. Nicholas O’Brien 19. Adam Berry 21. Charles Mendy (22. Carlos De Oliveira 64’)

Substitutes Not Used: 14. Caleb Jackson-Brown 17. Tatsuya Kato 20. Cayden Henderson 27. Shayden Sampow

Yellow Cards: Lewis 38’ B.Berry 39’

Red Cards: B.Berry 62’

Western Sydney Wanderers FC: 2. Matthew O’Donoghue (5. Luca Pecora 78’) 4. Teng Kuol 6. Frans Deli 7. Jarrod Carluccio (C) 8. Alessandro Lopane (14. George Antonis 64’) 9. Nathanael Blair 10. Alexander Badolato  (13. Marcus Younis 71’) 11. Zachary Sapsford 20. Lawrence Caruso (GK) 26. Yannis Frerck 77. Ariath Piol

Substitutes Not Used: 23. Mason Fernandez 27. Farah Koko 30. William Loucas (GK)

Yellow Cards: Carluccio 38’ Kuol 46’ Deli 67’

Red Cards: Nil

Player Ratings:

3- Grant Lynch (Blacktown City FC)

2- Matthew O’Donoghue (Western Sydney Wanderers FC)

1- Frans Deli (Western Sydney Wanderers FC)

-By Ethan Lee Chalk

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