A couple of superb first half strikes saw NWS Spirit FC defeat Blacktown City 3-2 at Christie Park in Round 18 National Premier League NSW Men’s action.

In terms of chances, Mitch Davidson had the first opportunity for the hosts on 6 minutes. Played through, his left footed strike forced the keeper into a save down low.

Blacktown City for their part had the next couple of chances, Mario Shabow setting up Jak O’Brien in the 9th minute to his left, a heavy touch giving Spirit keeper the chance to come out and make the save to deny him.

A similar turn of events occurred 25 minutes in for Charles Mendy who was played through. Mendy firing high and wide of the top right corner.

As the cliché goes, Goals change games and Spirit found their scoring touch in the first half period before the break.

A high press forcing an error from the visitors in the 27th minute. Richie Darko picked up the ball before surveying his options and releasing Mitchell Davidson beyond the defence. Davidson made no mistake with his finish at it was 1-0 to the hosts.

With confidence flowing for Spirit, their lead was doubled 36 minutes in. Ollie Wiggin scoring another Christie Park screamer, the ball falling nicely to him outside the area. Wiggin’s shot with the outside of the foot flying into the back of top left corner of the net.

Two became three with three minutes left in the half. And you guessed it, Richie Darko was the one to join in on the action. His right footed strike after receiving it from Kota Odakura found the top left corner despite Tristan Prendergast’s best efforts.

As you would expect from a side two goals down, the visitors returned to the pitch with some new personnel in Tatsuya Kato and Carlos De Oliveira.

Their first meaningful chance falling on the hour mark, Mendy was released down the right cutting the ball back to Jak O’Brien who didn’t get enough purchase on his shot.

While at the other end, Spirit had a chance for a fourth in the 63rd minute. Kyle Shaw the unlikely one to see his shot blocked on its way towards goal.

Indeed the game was being played primarily in the Blacktown City attacking half, which allowed the hosts to break. Jared Lum doing such in the 72nd minute, Lum flashing his effort across the face of goal.

Life was brought back into the contest with eleven minutes left. Tyren Burnie controlling a ball in from the left before Jak O’Brien finished from close range to bring it to 3-1 in the 79th minute.

Their chance at a second came shortly after, Mario Shabow unable to get enough contact on his effort towards goal after Tyren Burnie cut it to him from the right.

A consolation goal came in the final stages through Carlos De Oliveira who found the bottom left corner of the net in the 92nd minute to make it 3-2.

Speaking to Football NSW after the match, David Perkovic was pleased with all facets of his side’s performance falling the club’s round 7 exit from the Australia Cup on a few days ago.

“First half we were unbelievable, the energy we brought to the game was fantastic defending resiliently on the front foot and we took advantage with some fantastic finishing.

“The second half was a different game coming off our Cup game against Sydney United 58. We had to dig deep, obviously disappointed with the late goal as I thought it was more than a one goal game.

“Our backline was youthful today, I was very very pleased with their effort today and the challenge now is to be consistent.”

While Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden was ruing his sides luck.

“We had two very good chances one on one and didn’t take them and we were punished for it.

“Full credit to them, they were superb in the first half getting in our faces and took their chances. We changed it up in the second and got back into it but ran out of time at the end.”

Match Stats

NWS Spirit FC 3 (Mitchell Davidson 27’, Ollie Wiggin 36’, Richard Darko 42’)

Blacktown City FC 2 (Jak O’Brien 79’, Carlos De Oliveira 94’)

Saturday 3 June, 2023

Christie Park, Macquarie Park

Referee: Craig Fischer

Assistant Referees: Lachlan Hines & Patrick Teleki

Fourth Official: Hayden Michlmayr

NWS Spirit FC: 12. Jacob Madden, 2. Blake Ilitch, 3. Musashi Kokubo, 4. Kota Odakura, 5. Jordan Gomez (22. Abuzar Awaz 76’), 7. Richard Darko, 9. Mitchell Davidson (17. Matthew Cahill 76’), 11. Ollie Wiggin (21. Luiz Lobo 83’), 13. Simon Nicholas, 16. Kyle Shaw, 20. Jared Lum.

Substitutes Not Used: 31. Joel Wade, 18. Federico Gagliano, 26. Maisam Awaz

Yellow Cards: Lum 32’, Kokubo 34’, Madden 77’,

Red Cards: Nil

Blacktown City FC: 1. Tristan Prendergast (GK), 3. Daniel Collins (22. Carlos De Oliveira 46’), 4. Lachlan Campbell, 6. Matthew Lewis (c), 8. Jak O’Brien, 10. Mario Shabow, 12. Tyren Burnie, 16. Ben Berry, 18. Nicholas O’Brien (17. Tatsuya Kato 46’), 19. Adam Berry, 21. Charles Mendy (14. Caleb Jackson-Brown 81’)

Substitutes Not Used: 27. Hayden Sampow, 30. Jacob Fernandez, 41.Enrico Mazzotta

Yellow Cards: Nil

Red Cards: Nil 

Player Ratings:

3 – Kota Odakura (NWS)

2 – Richard Darko (NWS)

1 – Mitchell Davidson (NWS)

By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin).

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